Bella

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boarding

(bɔːʳdɪŋ )

  1. uncountable noun

Boarding is an arrangement by which children live at school during the school term.

I left my boys with my sister and drove down the dirt road for my interview with Bella, these interviews that I organise have me anxious and out of my comfort zone every single time. I arrived at Bella’s home and after initial greetings, and quick catch ups with her parents over a flute of champagne, Bella and I got comfy in the lounge room for a chat.

The first question that I asked Bella was, “tell me what boarding school has been like for you?” This eloquently spoken 16 year old young lady started her story.

“I left home in 2013, as a year 8 student at St Hilda’s on the Gold Coast. It was my first time leaving home for longer than a week or two.”

“It was terrifying, boarding is terrifying, but, it has been amazing.”

I promised myself on the drive over that I wouldn’t get emotional. Well, that first sentence killed that promise. My nose started to run and my eyes misted over.

Sport, socialising and being active in the community is big part of the culture of living in the bush. Bella has built close friendships from being a team player as a young girl. As luck would have it she was introduced to her closest friend at a sporting carnival playing netball, and the girls went on to board together at St Hilda’s. There are not only rural and remote girls at the boarding school but a number from Papua New Guinea, Asia, and some prefer boarding over home.

She tells me about the process of being dropped off at her second home.

“For first time parents they are advised to leave a bit earlier so it doesn’t get too emotional. Our parents settle us in and then we head to the boarding house.”

The head of boarding and the boarding mums are at the school for the arrival of the girls to support them in getting settled. Helping the girls set up their new bedrooms, getting comfortable in their new surroundings. Bella is following in her mother’s footsteps at St Hilda’s. She was blessed to be allocated to the boarding mum that guided her mum, through the boarding years. The boarding mum also holds strong ties to the family. Bella’s granny nurtured Bella’s new boarding mum when she was a student at St Hilda’s.

“A boarding mum is a lady that comes to work and looks after boarding girls, they are so kind. I had her in year 8, I was her granddaughter and she loved me the whole way through. So when I finished year 8, I moved boarding house and she moved with me – she was with me for the next two years. I then moved again and now she is looking after my sister. When I started, I mean we were the babies, we are their babies, the babies of the school. These ladies are our mums while we are school. They are a big part of us, I mean we spend more time boarding than we do at home. So they become very special to us.”

“They looked after us through it all. We were naughty, but god they love us.”

Tears are now flowing freely down my face. For Bella, knowing that this young woman is so loved by so many strong women. For her mother for being so courageous and dedicated to her daughter, her education, and growth and sharing her child with another woman that Bella loves so much. And the boarding mum, what a special lady to devote her life to opening up her heart to loving and helping raise teenager girls so far from home.

“As a year 12 girl I get an individual room. They are very nice. The mums come around at 7am and wake us all up. Breakfast is 7.15am so we get dressed and ready to go to breakfast or we can make brekky in the boarding house. We usually just sit and have time with the mums in the morning, watch the news, get ready and then off to school. After school is where we go and do co-curricular activities or tutoring if we have to, otherwise we just go back to our room and do whatever we want until 5.00pm. Prep is at 5.00pm, so we study time until 6.10pm and then go for our dinner sitting, 6.40pm we have prep until 8.30pm. We can study in our rooms or they provide tutors in the boarding house. Most of them are old St Hilda’s girls as well, they come up we chat and study. From 8.30pm is for showering, studying or visiting friends in their rooms. It’s just like home you go around and chat to the mums, chat to your sisters.”

Bella acknowledges the social skills she has developed from being a boarder, she tells me about the situations faced by boarders that sometimes are out of their comfort zone, and what she has learnt from that.

“Every term we change rooms, you find when you’re living beside different people you become better friends with them. A few years ago I was put beside this girl and I was like, “oh no, I do not want to be beside her”, but by the end of the term we were really good friends.”

I have to laugh at little when she is telling me about the deep friendships that are forged in the boarding house. She makes it sound like a five year slumber party with your besties.

“It’s so much easier in boarding to make friends. I mean everyone is your sister we are so open and comfortable with everyone, maybe a little too comfortable. We are always talking to people, always with people, you just get so much confidence. Best part of boarding is just always being with your friends. In the end you are boarding more than you are at home and they are your second family, they just mean so much to you. I mean we can go out on leave on the weekends, but sometimes you just want to say home and hang with your girls. I have boarded for five years and yeah this is my last year. So daunting. I mean I am not going to see all of those girls every day and it is going so fast. I mean crazy fast, and scary knowing it’s nearly over. The whole time you think:

“Oh gosh I want to get out of here”. But now, its like, “oh no! I am getting out of here soon”.

And with friendships established with the girls you live with, you also build relationships with their family. The girls are “allowed out on leave” every weekend. There are a couple of weekends a term that are dedicated to the families and them spending time together.

“I mean, for all the times that mum and dad have come down I don’t remember a time that we just had us as a family. We always take out my sister’s friends or my friends, if they are stuck in. My really good friend, her mum lives in Western Australia so every time mum and dad come down we take her out.”

Bella compares going out on leave to see her parents with the feeling little kids get on Christmas Eve. “Oh yeah, it’s like I can’t wait to see them, I mean we only see them a few times during the term”.

Then for the families the routine of drop off and settling in to school is repeated. Drop off at school, mums and sisters are allowed up to the rooms for settling in, but being a girl’s boarding house, dads can’t go in. Bella tells me, most of the parents sign their girls in at reception, the girls catch up with friends before starting their school routine again. Obviously this is easier on some than others.

“Lucky for me I get to see mine every few weeks, which is very nice. I can also go over and see my sisters in their boarding houses whenever I want, and they can always come and see me.”

Bella participates in a new initiative for the school. She has taken on additional “sisters”. The program starts before the little girls arrive at the school some starting in year 6. Year 12 students connect with them by sending Christmas cards and wishing them a happy new year. On arrival at the school the big sisters look after the little ones, help them with the settling in, they help with homework, and offer support when boarding is overwhelming. Bella is positive that this new programme has helped the little girls greatly.

“I know my first year we all thought we were pretty tough and would hold back the crying. You always end up crying. All you want to do is go home see your family, god, even see the dog. We never had any older girls to help us get through it. Oh, those older girls for me where so scary, they were so big and we were so little. By doing this we are breaking that, we are good friends with them, and both of my buddies are good friends with my sister.”

She is home now for the school holidays, I ask her what it was like this time coming home.

“It’s is so good, so amazing to come home. I mean everything changes. Last time when I was home everything was green, but on the turn to brown. But I got here the other day and there is knee high green grass and we have puppies”.

“I mean and coming home to mum and dad and my youngest sister, oh, it’s everything”.

She goes on to tell me that she hasn’t always been positive and accepting of her life of having to live away from her family to receive an education.

“I am ok now with going away, but in year 9 I threw the biggest tantrum. I was not going back to school. I was not going back to boarding. There was nothing worse. So I just refused. I was just like “nope, I am not going back”. But yeah, year 9 was my worst year. Year 8 is so surreal, so new and exciting. Year 9, I knew what to expect, I knew what was going to happen and I was just like nope, I won’t be leaving mum and dad and my sisters. It was terrible. Eventually, I got in the car and I was taken back. Year 10 was so much fun.”

Year 10 for Bella was not only receiving an education from the school but from travelling the world. Bella an active student at St Hilda’s participates in sport, the adoption of little sisters, and she also represented the school in an exchange program to Holland for six weeks.

“It was the absolute best experience. I had never travelled overseas before, and then I ended up going to Holland living there for six weeks, oh amazing. I was really keen to travel everywhere when I got home from Holland. But now I just love being home. Australia is the best.”

In her last year at school, having made the most of her experiences as a boarder and in her education Bella has completed a hospitality and barista certificate and responsible service of alcohol certificate. She is currently working on her certificate three in childcare and works at the St Hilda’s day care centre with the pre-preps. So what is happening next year?

“Next year I will hopefully go north, maybe the Kimberley’s and either go jillarooing or governessing for a couple of years. I want to eventually go to the Marcus Oldham College”.

This portrait was a difficult piece to create as openly as I normally write. When I was crafting this piece I didn’t simply have Belle to think of. But her parents were taping away at my heart as well, that was the prickly part. I wanted the story from the mouth of the daughter that lives this experience. I wanted this interview and this story because I bow down to the parents that share their pre-teens and teens with a second family so generously. A big thank you to Bella and her Mumma, love you both for sharing your unique story.

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Post 96

Post 96

For this post I flicked through the dictionary and the word that came up for me was “Uncomfortable” – adjective

  • Causing or feeling slight pain or physical discomfort.
  • Causing or feeling unease or awkwardness.

I was a bit miffed actually that this was the word that appeared to me. I was hoping for a word that I had never heard of. Something intelligent, or a word that sounded lovely or something with deep meaning. So I sat with the word rattling around in my head.

Then I got to thinking about the meaning and how I had experienced some unease and awkwardness over the last few days.

In post 94 I wrote about a road trip that I had done with my little family. We drove 566 kilometres to collect my first born. He had been holidaying with my dad for the first week of his school holidays. I was agitated and a little cranky the whole drive out. See it is the first time that I have slept in the same house as my Dad and his partner since he left our family when I was 14. We have had dinner and lunch a couple of times and I never find it a pleasant experience. When we finally arrived at my dad’s place he was ecstatic to see us. I was glad to see him but extremely uncomfortable. Thankfully there are hot springs in the town at the aquatic centre so after a quick hello and grabbing my kid we fled to the water. The look on dads face told me that he was a bit hurt that I was running away so quickly. We went to the local Christmas carols and I honestly just couldn’t be myself. I kept comparing everything that was happening to when I was a child. I don’t remember him once taking us to anything remotely like carols. I could feel the resentment like a boulder in my chest, and I knew at the time my face and mannerisms weren’t polite. I struggled to engage in conversation with anyone, aside from my rock of a husband who could see how much I was struggling. Dad introduced us to his friends, and I smiled and nodded as politely as I could and discreetly left the conversation. It sounds so immature to be like this as a 37 year old woman, I just couldn’t stop the chatter that was in my head about that family driven childhood that I had wished for and only now being on the receiving end of it with my father and me as a wife and mother. The next morning after a sleepless night, I crept around in the dark, getting showered and packing my families belongings. I saw the surprise on my dad’s face that we were preparing to leave before 6.00am. These encounters with my dad and his partner that he left our family for, makes me lose my voice. I can talk for hours on the phone with my dad, but put me at a breakfast table with them and I may as well me choking on the food for the amount of ability I have in forming sentences. By the time we climbed in the car I was feeling sad for my dad. I knew he wanted more from me on this trip – I just couldn’t connect and be the daughter that he wanted over those couple of days. I was in a foul mood the whole seven hours home with unanswered questions running rampant.

This experience was followed two days later by another experience that caused unease and awkwardness. It was a job interview, I was interviewing to keep the job that I currently work in. I am great at my job (way to toot my own horn), I have 15 years experience doing the job. Yes I left it for a while but was still in the same type of job in the same field. I went into the interview with a dry mouth and a pounding heart. After I met the three women on the panel that I had never seen before and the chair of the interview asked the first question. All knowledge of my job evaporated from my brain. My actual thought was have I even done this job before. I took a deep breath and started rambling, I was pulling out words and examples from everywhere. At one point I think that I completely was off track but just kept using key words like team, experience, ethics, confidentiality, infection control, work place health and safety. This awkwardness went on for the five questions that was the whole interview and about half an hour. At the end, one of the ladies on the panel said “ok, you can breathe now”. I walked out feeling uneasy and like such a failure, and so pissed off. Annoyed with myself for not going into that office and being completely confident in the interview for a job that I know backwards. And pissed off with the whole situation. It pisses me off that it will be decided by someone that has never done my job – if I am capable of it and they are happy to give me a permanent position, that they get to decide if I get to keep my job so that I can put my kids through school. I was frustrated with myself on the drive home that I hadn’t made better choices and made myself a bit more uncomfortable and got out of my comfort zone so that I wouldn’t be in this position.  That perhaps I could’ve spent my precious time on an endeavour of my own, where I get to decide what is right for me and my family.

As I thought more about the word uncomfortable, the more that I realised that the more unease and awkward I feel the more I grow and change. The more I want to grow and change so that the unease and awkwardness at that moment is replaced and I can move onto more unease and awkward situations. Sounds uncomfortable doesn’t it.

Post 83

Post 83

Our block of land has trees absolutely overflowing with birds. All types of feathered friends, kookaburras, cockatoos, king parrots, magpies,
butcher birds, owls and lorikeets. It can get very noisy, colourful and a privilege to see so much wildlife hanging out at our home. I often stand with a cuppa coffee at the windows that line the back of our house and watch the crazy antics of the birds, from
a distance. From a distance because I don’t like birds anywhere near me, not just wild birds, I am the same with our chickens. I am happy to throw food over the fence but that is about it. The few times that I have had to feed them, in their pen I look like
a big bird flapping my wings and making enough noise that they will not come near me. The black chook despite my efforts to scare her still pecks my feet – what a bitch, I am feeding her for god sake. I remember as a child going to some sort of zoo or bird
sanctuary and being absolutely paralysed with fear, when a bird came near me.  

 

So imagine my absolute horror when at work I receive a photo and a text message to say that my eldest son has rescued a baby lorikeet that fell
out of its nest that was in a tree in our backyard. This one text set off a flurry of responses along the line of “get rid of the bird”, “you have to make a choice, it’s the bird or me”, “call someone qualified to look after your patient”. My whole work day
was  interrupted and I was freaking internally for my whole shift as my family kept torturing me with photos of their feathery friend. My children with the bird on their head, my husband with the biggest smile on his face holding the little green ball of feathers
and the caged bird in my living room. One that said I would break boy 2’s heart if I said it had to go. I sent one back saying I was willing to risk my kid having a broken heart.

 

I woke the next morning to the bird crying, I don’t know if birds cry but it sounded like it was crying for its mother. I am finished with crying
babies, and I hate birds so was not thrilled to be woken with the cries of a baby bird. For now I seem to have lost the battle of the bird and it is still living with us. I am trying to be nice to it, I did approach the cage twice to look at it and both times
it has shit all over the bottom of the cage. Maybe it’s as scared of me as I am of it.

Post 81

Post 81

I was up to my elbows in healthy ingredients: bananas, berries, apple sauce, apple juice, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, chia seeds, oat bran and flax seeds, when I did some baking during the week. I have been looking for recipes to make for afternoon tea that fill my boy’s bellies. Something healthy, something filling and not full of sugar. I needed something to keep them out of the kitchen for five minutes. They love smoothies when they get home from school, the big cups of creamy berry goodness fills them up, but I was looking for something else. Other snacks we have in the afternoon are cheese and biscuits, fruit, pies, sandwiches, brownies, popcorn. This recipe was included in an email I received from DailyOM, a yoga website that I subscribe to that has some full on shred yoga sessions.  I sweat and move my way through the yoga sessions, I read all of the motivational lessons that Madisyn sends via email. This recipe that was sent through for the very healthy, almost sugar free muffins, was terrible. The aroma filling my kitchen while they were baking in my oven, had everyone hanging out in the kitchen waiting for them to baked. They were barely cool enough to eat when one of my boys stuffed one his mouth and then almost immediately spat it out.  The muffins didn’t have the same fluffy shape as the not so healthy ones that I usually make, that have flour in them, they were a completely different texture.  The bananas, berries and apple sauce sounded delicious combined in a muffin to go with my arvo coffee and chat with my kids.   No these flat pieces of healthiness were bland, oh my god, so bland. The chickens loved them and I whipped up a really early dinner to stop my darlings eating every single item in my pantry.

Day 42

Day 42

Morning, it is 4.56am. Nope I haven’t risen early today. I just haven’t been to bed. I was called into do an overtime shift last night and I stupidly said yes. Very stupidly because I will finish at 7.00am and then have to be back here at 5.00pm for my rostered shift. Yesterday when I wrote at the end of day 41 that I want someone to pay me for my writing so I don’t have to work from 11.00pm until 7.00am, I was completely serious.

I am part of a group on Facebook, set up by Daphne Kapsali the author of 100 days of Solitude. Yesterday she posted an idea of trying to arrange an actual meet up of the women in the group. It would seem I am the only one on the other side of the world. Daphne wrote: Let’s manifest some cash and get Melinda over to Europe. I replied that I would write a book about me travelling to Europe for the meet up (I was joking at the time). But the depth of my hatred for working night duty, has me wanting to go knocking on doors of airlines, accommodation and publishers to fund a trip and a book. I mean seriously isn’t there some new phrase/term on social media called an influencer.

Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that has emerged from a variety of practices and studies, in which focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.

Influencer content may be framed as testimonial advertising where they play the role of a potential buyer themselves, or may be so-called value-added influencers such as journalists, academics, professional advisors.

A person who has the power to influence many people, as through social media or traditional media: Companies look for Facebook influences who can promote their brand.

I mean, I am really happy to whore myself out and represent any company that wants to send me to Europe to meet up with an author and other women from around the world and represent their companies on social media. OHHH how fun, to influence Mothers, to take a trip to Europe to pack up their suitcases and their mother guilt and spend sometime on themselves. Imagine the fun I would have writing an honest, raw, no doubt emotional account into book form.
End/beginning of day 42.

I will probably read this in a few days and be very embarrassed about my fatigued and delirious ramblings.

Depending how I feel may have to ad an extra post to this seen as it is only 5.27am.

Day 36

Day 36

Our school has a school Facebook page and one of the teachers posted a fascinating article about parenting on the page.

It was called Abandon parenting and just be a parent the article is an interview with Alison Gopnik about her new book The Gardener and the carpenter. I also did some more research and the Guardian also talked to Dr Alison Gopnik about her new book.

 

I found these articles to be a fascinating read. I suppose I was more inclined to read it, you know with it being the school holidays and spending more time with the boys. I look at them some days and cannot believe that I gave birth to these gorgeous humans. I have always loved the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”.

I do worry about our parenting style. I do try to be a fit free range with the boys and let them explore and discover and learn lessons in their own way. To a point though. I do sometimes feel like a bit of a helicopter parent and feel as though I am getting a bit worse with that the older they are getting because they are stepping out into the real world, so different to toddler lessons and primary lessons. Alison touched on the work parenting and that it is a term that was introduced in the 1970’s.

It’s interesting that the very word “parenting” is so recent. It only showed up as a word in 1960 and became common in the 1970s, even though, of course, the words “mother” and “father” and “parent” have been around for as long as English has. The rise of that particular word came with the rise of a particular cultural picture of being a parent: that your job as a parent is to get expertise, information and tips that will help you shape children.

 

I have included some fascinating paragraphs that caught my attention when reading the articles.

 

What ends up happening is parents are so preoccupied with this hopeless task of shaping their children to come out a particular way that their relationships with children at the moment become clouded over with guilt and anxiety and worry and the need for expertise.

I so understand this. I found it especially hard when helping boy 1 to pick subjects for year 10. I took the route of if you love your subjects then you will learn lots, get good marks and then you will have lots of options at the end of school. I really tried not to go down path of what do you want to do when you leave school and pick subjects from that, because well his mind may change 10 times in the next 3 years and he may end up doing subjects he hates and fail. He was excited about his subjects so we will see what happens.

 

Gopnik musters all this evidence in an attempt to persuade parents and educators to stop trying to mold children into adults with some desirable mix of characteristics, the way a carpenter might build a cabinet from a set of plans. Instead, we adults should model ourselves on gardeners, who create a nurturing ecosystem for children to flourish, but accept our limited ability to control or even predict the outcome of.

 

It should be fundamentally both reassuring and liberating for parents to know that children are doing most of the work. All the research that shows how incredibly sensitive and intelligent and powerful and good at learning children are and that they do it by observing and watching the people around them doing the things they do every day and by playing spontaneously. Children learn much more from using their own brains to just observe and play than they do by having someone sit down and teach them.

Yes, yes, yes this is why I love Montessori education.

The things that come out of play and free exploration, which are things like capacity for creativity and innovation, those are things that we need more than ever in the adult workforce. It’s a bit ironic that we’re taking a school system that was designed for 19th-century factory workers to be able to do the same thing over and over again—it was to try to develop human robots. In the 21st century, what we need is innovation and creativity, but we’re extending the robot model to younger and younger ages and more and more children.

The message is if you do the things that come naturally to you, that’s the best formula for being a successful parent.

 

End of day 36

Boys and I spent time at the Skate Park and slothing on the lounge talking, laughing and enjoying each other today.

I got absolutely fried on the beach yesterday and today I am wearing jumper, jeans and socks.

Day 35

 

Day 35 – which should really be day 39.

 

I have been MIA the last few days. I just couldn’t post on here. I was feeling fragile, tired and was sick of writing about myself every day. Ridiculous work hours, no sleep, school holidays, pms, and a husband that I was really trying hard to love, but really hated, put a halt to my feeling creative and focused. I had started this 100 day blog challenge for myself to help improve my writing and to see how I would grow or change in the 100 days. However as the days have gone on I have looked forward to the writing and people’s reactions to it. I found myself starting to stress about the stats of the blog and was stressing about the writing of it and if it was what people were wanting to read. Last week on night duty while on my breaks I was researching blogging and sending myself crazy, comparing my blog to people that have hundreds and thousands of followers and feeling like a bit of a failure.  I had myself feeling like the picture below (Willy Wonkas Chocolate factory when they visited the TV room and the little brat shrunk himself and he turned into 1 billion pixels, I felt like I was the billion pixels floating in the air)

 

I had a read of a blog post by Dr Ashlee Good growing pains are real, it was what I needed and it helped ground me. My friend (not my actual friend but love her work) Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a post called go to the water. I did this, this morning with my little family and I floated in the ocean for a couple of hours, I breathed deep, I sunk my feet in the sand, I watched my 3 play and enjoy each other. Amazing how salt waters heals all.

End of day 35.

I am not naked in the feature photo, on the beach, just wearing strapless bikini.

Off to work, but feeling good about writing for me again.

Day 34

Day 34

I read motivational books, and I practice yoga, always try and find the positive, I scroll through Pinterest looking for inspiring quotes, do things like a 100 day writing challenge, to get me outside of comfort zone. But today was a profound day.  I went to my Nannas funeral today.  As I wrote in a post a few days ago, I wasn’t close to her and felt sorry for her because of the life that she could of lead and the life that she chose to have. Today I went to the funeral as a support for my Dad. As we arrived and I watched how the family interacted with each other, I was glad that among us there was no false emotional greeting. We greeted each other with polite indifference, just like when we were growing up.  That was about most honest thing that happened in in the hour and a half that we were together.

My sisters and I sat towards the back of the chapel while the rest of the family was in the first few rows. We were actually more comfortable at the back, we weren’t there under false pretences, we were there for our father. As the three of us sat and listened to the obituary and other tributes we were remembering our own memories of our Nan, completely different versions of the same memories that were being recalled. It was interesting as the rest of the congregation seemed to be doing the same thing, as I glanced at her surviving children in the first row, both had their heads bowed and seemed to be lost in their own memories of their mother. One of the tributes was from my Nans, brother. He was amazingly honest and real in his recall of his sister, saying that he didn’t know her as well as he knew his seven other sisters, and that he had to research her so that he would be able to speak at her funeral.

As my sister and I drove home with had our youngest sister on speaker phone we dissected and debriefed on the funeral. I said to my sisters, I think that has been the most motivational/ profound experience I have had. It makes me want to be a better Mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. It makes me want to get out and live a beautiful life, to be kind and thoughtful and get out of my comfort zone and experience life.  The motivation wasn’t because this is what my Nan did. The motivation is because I want people to be able to speak honestly about me and not have to do research to be able to pay tribute to me at the end of my journey on this earth.

End of day 34

My sister has had to leave her broken car in my yard, and drive 6 hours home in our other sister’s car. This means that she will be back in a week or so to pick up her repaired car, can’t wait to see her again.

I felt incredibly overdressed for the funeral, but was proud that I stood with my sisters and represented mum and dad in a way that said we were raised right.

Day 33

Day 33

 

Boy 2: Mum, I have something in my hair.

Me: If you have nits you are getting number 1 clippers all over.

I walk over to my boy and look at where he has parted his hair.

Me: ahhh, where is the phone I need to call your Father. You have a massive tick.

My Husband: Hey babe.

Me: Tom has a tick burrowing into his head, I can’t remember which way to turn it, clock wise or anti- clockwise! Do I need methylated spirits, I don’t have any in the cupboard. Oh shit why do these things happen when you are at work. How do I get it out? What if it’s the type that can kill him, shit what happens if I don’t get it out?

My Husband: Turn it anti-clockwise and just pull it as you turn it.

Me: Anti-clockwise?

Ok into the bathroom, get the torch, I will get the tweezers, sit on the bathroom floor and I will sit on the bath.

Hold your hair.

Stop moving.

Hold the torch.

Ok I am going to try and get this thing, oh god it’s burrowing in deeper.

Stop moving

Shit, I can’t get it, it’s going deeper, oh god it’s still moving.

Where is your father when I need him!

Ok, I got it, I got it. AHHHHH it’s still alive and moving those creep little parasite legs.

 

End of day 33

Completely freaked out about the tick in my kids head.

Went for a massive walk with my husband and dog this morning, while boy 1 was riding his skate board at the skate park and boy 2 was at a friend’s house. We didn’t get swopped by magpies, in an area where everyone gets picked on.

Day 32

Day 32.

 

I have bookshelves in the lounge room, my office and the library. I also have a stack of books that I keep on my kitchen bench, in easy reach for me to grab a little daily inspiration if I need it. I have Oprahs – What I know for sure, Elizabeth Gilberts – Big Magic, Sophia Amoruso #Girlboss and Lisa Messengers Life and love – creating the dream . Today I reached for Oprahs – What I know for sure, curled up on the lounge with my youngest boy, a cuppa tea and a crocheted blanked and flicked through it. I usually hold whatever book I choose for the day, take a deep breath and ask for guidance or a message for the day (sounds a bit kooky hey, but whatever works). After finishing night duty this morning and only having three hours sleep, I needed some sort of guidance and didn’t think the red variety in a glass would help, so I left it to Oprah. I opened up to page 49 of the book and it was the start of the chapter – Connection.  I want to share a few phrases/ sentences that touched my heart from the chapter:

At our core, longs to be loved, needed, understood, affirmed- to have intimate connections that leave us feeling more alive and human. I loved this one because on my About me page on the blog, this is what I am striving for, for myself and for the readers of my writing.

What I know for sure is that a lack of intimacy is not distance from someone else; it is a disregard for yourself.

I’ve always thought that communication was like a dance. One person takes a step forward, the other takes a step back.

These two resonated strongly with me in regards to my marriage, we have had a shit year and we are working really hard on our relationship and reading these made me think back to the worst and lowest point this year and our lack of communication and I could see clearly the thorough disregard, dislike and frustration that I felt towards myself and how I was projecting that on to our marriage.

I have found myself looking forward to hanging out, laughing, connecting and embracing others as a part of the circle. It’s added new meaning to my life, a feeling of community I didn’t even know I was missing. This struck a chord with me after a Facebook private message conversation that I had with a friend this afternoon about this exact thing.  Connecting with genuine people and them becoming your tribe, and only when you found these relationships did we realise that we have missed not having them all along.

When you make loving others the story of your life, there’s never a final chapter, because the legacy continues. The only thing that will have any lasting value is whether we’ve loved other and whether they’ve loved us. Yes well this is the whole point to life isn’t it cause at the end of the day it is the people and the love that make up our lives not the things.

End of day 32

I saw my husband for about 30 seconds this morning and he hugged me so hard I have a sore shoulder.

I braved egg collecting today, I HATE birds/chickens. But there beautiful eggs where sitting in the chicken coop needing to be collected and I did it. I may have had tears in my eyes from fear and was making a hell of a racket so the chickens wouldn’t come near me, but I got the eggs.

Day 31

Day 31

It is 11.37pm, this a late post today.

I have just finished reading Daphnes latest blog post (Daphne was my last feature for #mesistertribe). It is a thought provoking read about choosing to live the best life that you can right now. It may not be what you imagined, and there may be overwhelming challenges and fear and wishing for something different and lot’s of explaining to do to people that question and judge. But it’s your life right at this very moment and you are growing into more of you by living through the challenges and the fear.

It made me think of how a few months ago I was struggling with different choices that I had made, and how instead of feeling like I was growing and moving forward, I felt like I had taken 20 steps back. Tonight is a perfect example; I am on night duty again. Three years ago, I swore black and blue that I would never do another night duty again in my life, after I resigned from this job. A few months ago, on my first night duty back at said job, I cried the whole way to work. Night duty sends me crazy, sleep deprivation is a form of torture for me, and it makes me a complete and utter cranky bitch who can not function.

As Daphne said in her piece, she didn’t choose solitude; she chose the best life she could. This was sage advise for me as I sit at my desk typing this. Because I didn’t choose shift work and to go back to a place I didn’t want to, but I am choosing what is the best life for my little family right now.

The feature photo is an example of the choice that I made, my youngest took this of me while we had a cuppa this afternoon, shift work and night duty means that I can be there for them during the day and spend the holidays with them and then while they are having sweet dreams, I am making money.

End of day 31

Ate home grown lettuce and radish for lunch, grown by my husband and it was delicious

My two went screen free today and they made creative use of my new camera and their imaginations.

Make up post.

Last night I had a nagging feeling that I had forgotten to do something, but couldn’t put me finger on it.

I had worked yesterday morning, by the time I pulled into our drive way I was in a foul mood. I was sick to death of people, sick of the phone, sick of people continually making demands. I was in a prickly mood about our roster, because I never, ever make requests and I requested certain shifts to make the school holidays easier and of course I didn’t get them.

I had the shits because my three went to lunch and the movies without me. I was annoyed at the dollars being spent, because at the moment it kinda feels like we are haemorrhaging money – yes it is school holidays and the 2 young boys want to be entertained. But I mean really, the children don’t have a shithouse life where they miss out on experiences, they have it pretty good, and it is only day two of holidays.

I was feeling a bit defeated with the blog, and the drop of 200 views for the week.

I got home from work and planted myself in the kitchen to make custard and brownies. Even this simple task that I generally find cathartic didn’t soothe me.

A boiling hot shower, where my skin almost melts off didn’t help, because our new hot water system isn’t as burning hot as I would like.

The walk that my husband made me do, also didn’t help because our massive dog who obviously knew I was in a mood kept walking in front of me.

After dinner and kitchen clean up and two episodes of MASH, I gave up on my day and went to bed at 7.30pm.

I woke at 2.02am, and remembered that I had not written my day 29 blog post and I hadn’t taken a photo of the day.

That’s thing about challenges I suppose, you get challenged, and when you slip up, you can either give up or try again.

(the feature photo is me on father’s day, which was the complete opposite to yesterday)

Daphne Kapsali

I want to send a big thank you to Daphne, an Amazon Top 100 bestselling author, for our Skype conversation.  I was read the first few chapters of 100 days of Solitude and I felt like a connected with her on so many levels, I knew I had to contact her and see if she would be interested in chatting to me. So grateful that she said yes. I was thrilled to learn so much. Thank you Daphne.

It was a constant process and a constant transition. There was stages when I was like “oh this is fine, then it would be this is terrifying, then it would be oh what the fuck am I doing.”

I am quiet shy and introverted and I can’t deal with groups of people, I hate it and I get really insecure. I am very good one to one, and I have my very good friends and I am approachable, but this whole thing, it was a really weird thing, because it was I was on my own but I had to actually open up. I mean this process really helped me, because I have started talking to everybody now. I mean one to one talking to everyone, not in a group.

Hiding behind my computer is a comfortable place for me.

I actually had to do a book launch, presentation for 100 days of Solitude . It was a really little thing last summer. I was deranged, it was absolutely horrible, I nearly walked away. I sat at the back and was like please don’t make me do it, don’t make me do it.

I mean the people on the island don’t speak English and the book is written in English, so they know that I am the girl that wrote the book, they have been really positive, even though they haven’t read it. When I published it, I did change the names. But people would know who is who.

This is funny and it’s a joke now I am known as “one local author”. This name came about because a person that was a non-English speaker, walked into the local bookstore and said “I am looking for a book by one local author”. So I am officially a local now.

I made chick peas with the locals on Sunday. I have only just realised, that is seems to be a gathering of men. I had noticed that it was the men that bought the chick-peas to the oven. I mean, I think it is just an excuse to meet the mates and catch-up on the gossip. When I took my chick peas on Saturday I looked around at all of these men and well me, and I was like “oh maybe they don’t want me here”. But, “I was like oh whatever and lit up a cigarette.”

No, no regrets about being here, I mean I can always pack up and go back. I wouldn’t change anything actually. As long as I know that the option is there.

For the first couple of days it is a shock to the system to be off the island. I have more trouble when I travel from Sifnos to Athens, than here to London. I mean in London, I have my London persona and I switch back into like instantly. I know how to handle London.

But getting on the boat here, where it is all peaceful. And then arriving in Athens which is chaos. There is, absolutely no order to that city, I mean I have grown up there and should know how to handle it, but I just can’t handle it. That is a culture shock. That is like, there are too many people around and they are touching me, why are they touching me.

A couple of years ago when I was here and started this process, it was really interesting, I wanted all kinds of stuff, from all these shops in Athens and London and now when I go back I just don’t want anything. I look at all this stuff and go this is excessive, all these shops and this stuff.

Someone sent me an email with a quote in it something like “All sadness comes from thinking about the past, and all anxiety comes from thinking about the future, and if we are just in the moment we are fine”. That is a nice theory, but we can’t cut ourselves off from everything that has happened and everything that might happen. But if we have moments, where we kinda feel, that we are fine right now, then that is good enough. Just more moments. We just need more moments.

I am counting on the universe to provide. Air bnb is pocket money. I mean, the universe has done alright for me, considering I haven’t had a job for a couple of years, and I am not in jail. I constantly prompt it, I am still here. I mean, you know I have these moments where I am like; oh so when I am positive, shit really happens. And then I forget again, cause you know the fear sets in. I mean it’s a constant thing. You have to truly trust it, like you can’t just pretend. You have to truly trust it or you’re not gonna get shit. You know you have to live like you already have the stuff. Like “I don’t have a job but I am fine” and I just trust, then something actually does come up.

I mean, I know that a good dose of yoga will sort me out. I have to force myself, otherwise I will sit here and feel really sorry for myself. I sometimes have to force myself to do the beach walks. And I am bored of the stairs, there is no novelty left. You know when you get yourself into a situation, and you know that certain things will help you, but you don’t do them? That walk is exactly that, within about 15 minutes the walk clears my head, it just changes everything. I did it yesterday, and it was just before sunset, so I had just about an hour, which is as long as it takes, so that I will have light while I am walking. It was amazing, I was so glad that I did it. I got to the beach and there was nobody on the beach, and I had a swim and I was like; yep, I need to remember this, and this is why I do it cause it makes me feel so much better.

I find that with writing too, and that is why I have been in a weird state because I haven’t done enough writing. I need the method of writing. The 100 days was really worked for me. Because it was basically you are going to have to produce something that you have to post. So it is going to have to be fairly decent. So I would just sit there for as long as it took, and it goes to show that you can do it. It just needs to be a daily thing with writing. Because if I think; oh I will do it at some point, well it’s just never going to happen. It has to be part of the daily routine.

There were days there, where I would sit there and think, what am I going to write about. I have absolutely nothing to say. I haven’t spoken to anybody for 3 days, I haven’t left the house for 5 days. I mean I spoke to the cats, so then I write a post about the cats. It did end up being ideal writing conditions for me once I sat down and started, things would just come. I mean not always obviously. Sometimes I would go away and leave it for a few hours and comeback and start again, but it did come naturally, after a few days.

I mean do people really give a shit about this thing that I am doing? Who gives a shit, some girl on an island, so what! But for some reason, you know, you kind of stumble across something that makes sense to some other people. You know, when I am writing sometimes I feel that it is too much for me, but I have found that it has become easier, because once  I started getting responses from people, saying “that makes sense, I get that too”. Then I kind of go, oh well we are all the same. You don’t have to pretend to be sorted all the time, you don’t have to hide the strange thoughts that you have or whatever. I mean I talk to everybody now, there is a story in everybody, when you talk to them, there is always something that you can relate to.

No, oh god no, no, no, no,no, never do crowd funding ever, ever again. It was incredible, but it is so exhausting, it is so, so stressful. I mean even if you believe in what you’re doing, it does feel a bit icky, you know it’s like “give me your money”. I am really glad that I did it, but no never again. It was incredibly exhausting, I am happy to put in the effort but you have to be on the internet 24/7.

Everyone is on Facebook, I built up a little community there and then I put up a small post about what I was doing and people responded. I mean as long as you be you, the right people will respond and you’re going to feel alright about what you’re doing.

 

I want to send a big thank you to Daphne, an Amazon Top 100 bestselling author, for our Skype conversation.  I was reading the first few chapters of 100 days of Solitude and I felt like a connected with her on so many levels, I knew I had to contact her and see if she would be interested in chatting to me. So grateful that she said yes. I was thrilled to learn so much. Thank you Daphne.

“If you have ever stopped yourself doing something you love because ‘now just isn’t the right time’, read this book.” A personal journey that inadvertently became an accidental self-help guide to doing what you love and living as your true self, whoever that might turn out to be, 100 days of solitude is inspiring thousands of people to claim the time and space they need to find themselves and live their best lives. Amazon Top 100 Bestseller

 

 

Why back me financially, by having to pay to read the interviews? Because I am creating a platform for me to showcase my best work, build a community and get paid to keep on creating. The more patrons in our community means more interviews, and more stories. A portion of this money will be used to pay it forward, sharing the love with other women and girls and raising their voice.

Day 27

Day 27.

Today has consisted of:

Me writing my feature post for tomorrow. I love the process of interviewing and chatting to the awesome ladies that generously share some of their stories. I record the chat on my phone and make notes when I get home (that rhymes).  I try and forget about it, because after the interview I am on a bit of a high. And have so many ideas on how I want to write the piece, but I have found if I let myself settle for a couple of days, and then listen to the chat and read over my notes I get more out of it. I hear things I forgot about, or hear new bits of the conversation that I didn’t pick up on in the chat. So today, I sat and listened to my chat via Skype with Daphne. It was a terrible connection and there was bit and pieces of the chat that dropped out, but overall it was a good talk. I could have chatted for hours to Daphne about writing and life on her little Greek island, while she smoked her cigarette, in her new office. I was so caught up in listening to the recording, I almost forgot to go to my hairdresser appointment.

I love my hair, after getting my hair cut, coloured and styled. But I cannot stand the process. I actually hate sitting in the chair for two and a half to three hours. I mean don’t get me wrong, I have an awesome hairdressing salon that I go to, and the girl’s there are absolutely lovely and crazy skilled in their profession. I just have this weird trait that makes me dislike massages, sitting for 3hours getting my hair done and shopping. If I go shopping I am in and out. I don’t browse. If I can’t find what I am looking for in the first like half an hour, I am out, done, finished, obviously didn’t need what I was looking for cause I couldn’t find it.

Tonight will be homemade pizza. One meat lovers for the boy’s and a vege with loads of mushrooms for me. Then we are off to the Montessori school production, which is always held on the eve of the last day of school for the 3rd term.  Need to be there by 5.45pm and it finishes at 9.00pm.

 

End of day 27

Feeling slightly insane at the moment, one child is blaring country music at one end of the house. The other, is playing some sort of rap, or some such thing and the singer/computer whatever who is making that incessant noise, has 4 words to work with to make up the whole song. I am sure my ears are going to start bleeding.

Feeling the post-holiday blues about going back to work tomorrow. I didn’t have holidays, but 4 days off and I am not jumping for joy at starting at 7.00am tomorrow.

Day 26

Day 26

Apparently this week, is the week, I need to learn to live without essential services for a while. No power yesterday, no water today. We had our solar hot water replaced.  It was only for a few hours, but I forgot to fill the kettle up, so no coffee after school drop off. No washing was done either, no floors washed, they did get a vacuum. My husband was a roof plumber for 15 years, and it just so happened that the company that installed our new hot water system, was a company that he previously worked with. So he strapped on his tool belt and did the roofing part of the job. I admit I did sit outside eating toast, reading a magazine and watching the tradies work, can’t go past a good tradie. For 15 years he whinged and whined about how much he hated roofing, well today when he finished with his tools, and put away the ladders, he told me how good it felt to be back on the tools and work with a crew. I smiled sweetly like a good wife and took this comment with a grain of salt, knowing the depth of his hatred for roofing, I knew this was just him feeling nostalgic.

This proved true when this afternoon he was feeling stiff and sore in his back and legs. So I kindly offered to do some yoga with him. He laughed, mocked and couldn’t take the yoga instructor directing us on the IPod seriously at all, during the whole 40 minute session. He did say that he felt a bit better afterwards, not sure how. Maybe it was all the laughing.

My first born had to work this afternoon (feature photo is me doing pickup). It is still surreal for me to have a child that is now working. Another stage of motherhood, I am learning to navigate. When they are babies, you teach them to hold things, and colours, numbers. When they are 14 you teach them work ethic, to make sure that they are organised with school, sport, and work. We are trying to teach him the value of his hard earned money and how to look after it. We have told him that he has to have, $500 in his account before he can start spending money on his version of luxury items, that $500 is his zero balance. That his pay will be divided in spending and saving and everyday money. This was a tough talk. I thought we was going to do damage to his eyes with the amount of eye rolling going on, and put a kink in his neck with the way he was throwing his head back and saying “oh my god”.  Kinda reminded me, of when he was three and I wouldn’t let him use all the baby wipes to clean the sand pit. This motherhood gig, I think I have figured out a small part of it is all about stages and growth and getting through the best I can, while teaching them to be decent humans. And today was about work and money for the big one, and not wrecking the 4th pair of school shoes for this year for the little one.

End of day 26.

Two days until school holidays

Still laughing about the ridiculous yoga session, feels good to be connecting with him over stupid stuff instead of stressful stuff.

Day 25

Day 25

We had no power today. We did get notice that we were losing power, but I completely forgot. I was a bit annoyed at first, because I had planned to bake and wash and write this blog post early and search YouTube for tips on how to use my new camera. But, no power ended up being a bit of a treat. I folded washing that I had been putting off, I had a sleep, I read a trashy romance novel in the sun and listened to the baby lorikeets that live in our trees, I went for a big walk and met my second born, skater boy on his way home from school.

This afternoon after school there was a mini photo shoot in my backyard, with my new camera, my very unwilling children and me. They weren’t keen on me hanging around and taking happy snaps of them while they were skate boarding and riding bikes. My very generous husband was the complete opposite and let me experiment with my camera and his face.

I am writing this on a laptop, which I kind of find annoying, as I much prefer to type on a desktop. But I am watching Zumbos just desserts on the TV. I HATE reality TV. I never, ever watch it, but some how this has me hooked. I can’t stand the people, but the desserts are amazing. I am shocked and appalled at the way the contestants talk to each other, it’s disgusting and I just yelled “in your face” at the TV, when the only male contestant just got sent home. This is so not me, that one of my boys just got out of bed to see why I am yelling at the TV.

 

End of day 25

We have an owl in our backyard “hooting” tonight, the dog is freaked and keeps whining and will not move from the top of our stairs, and each child has got out of bed and is wanting to know why there is a loud, hooting owl in our backyard. I think it sounds beautiful and hope that it stays.

I also was just on FB, and saw that my sister was in the Country Life newspaper for her work with the ICPA – Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association. So proud of her.

Day 24

Day 24

I received a text message from my dad this morning to say that my Nan, his mum had died in hospital.

I wasn’t close to her and had no significant relationship with her. So I wasn’t overcome with heart wrenching grief when I read the text message.  I feel like an absolute bitch saying that because her blood does flow in my veins and we did spend time with her as children. But it was pleasant or memorable, it was always an effort and it was always kind of a relief to leave.

I was more worried about my dad and how he was handling the news. They didn’t have a close relationship but she was still his mum.

I feel sad though, not because I am going to miss her, but more for the residual anger, hurt and unresolved emotions and unanswered questions that are now at the forefront of the grief. And from my point of view as her granddaughter, her life won’t be celebrated genuinely from the heart by her family. It will be remembered with false bravado conducted by family that don’t know each other.

I feel sad for her and how she treated her family and the relationships that she never got to experience. She was 89 and didn’t have a good life. So it’s not like I can say “she lived a long and happy life”, because she didn’t. I obviously don’t know her side of the story or the reasoning behind the way that she treated my dad, but she wasted and completely destroyed a relationship with her eldest son, and the rest of the family.

I feel sad, because she was a very talented lady in the way of cooking, sewing, knitting, crocheting and she was a buff at history, family history and the local history of where she lived. It is such a waste that she didn’t have solid relationships, with the younger generations in her family so she could pass down all of her knowledge as the matriarch of the family.

End of day 24

Today, has taught me to continue to tell my boys how much I love them as their mother. I whispered in their ear tonight when tucking them into bed, the qualities l love about them.

Feature photo is a picture of me that my second boy took on my new camera and it was his favourite.

Day 22

Day 22.

(Disclaimer there will be foul language in this one – sorry Mum)

Writing the blog earlier today, as I have to go to work this afternoon.

I had a beautiful morning making kokedama, (it’s a plant wrapped in sphagnum moss and string) at a morning tea held for a friends birthday.

Funny story- This said friend, she is one of the Wednesday coffee, school mums. We have had some great conversations, have shared barbecue dinners at a mutual friends place (my bestie), and I have seen her around the school for years. ANYWAY, my school is having a school reunion, I was looking at the Facebook group one day and this comment pops up from my friend. I was like what? How is she in the group? I immediately clicked on her name and stalked her Facebook account and what do you know, it was my friend from Wednesday coffee. I sent her a private message, pretty much saying what the fuck. I didn’t use the “f” word, because she is so divine and doesn’t cuss like a sailor, like I am known to do. And she has 4 blonde haired little angels that don’t hear that word, and I try to be very conscious around not to swear near them. After a long conversation, we discovered we did in fact go to school together but never knew each other. So that is our own special friendship story. It was her birthday during the week and this awesome house wife and incredible mother to 4, who has a degree, a heart of gold and the most amazing baking skills, celebrated her birthday with friends and family. And in her true style gave us a gift to take home, even though it was her birthday.

The feature photo is me a complete tired, emotional, raw mess this morning – I wasn’t going to take this photo, because it is so hideous (with tears and I think there is snot hanging off the end of my nose). But, this was the relief that I felt when I read the comment that Peta’s mum left on the blog post. I posted another #mesistertribe feature last night on my friend Peta Hughes.  As I read her mum’s comment, the thought that automatically popped into my head was, thank god I didn’t fuck it up and that she recognisers her daughter in my writing.

I am in a real love /hate relationship with these features. I love interviewing and chatting to the women that I feature.  The writing for me is stressful and I agonise over it, as I am fearful that I won’t do the story justice. Then I post the feature and I literally, am in bed all Friday night, tossing and turning and thinking about sentences and changing words and my shocking grammar. This whole process is fucking with my head. The 100 day writing challenge is making me feel completely splayed open and raw, and the selfies every day make me nervous.  It is definitely, helping me deal with some of my insecurities and I feel like I am changing for the better, but sweet Jesus. My heart and mind is a mess.

I was so naive going into this I thought that I would be able to just write and post these entries and I may get some likes or comments but, I never thought that I would get the interest, the likes, comments and increase in followers that I have received. This week with the blog it has completely pushed all of my fearful buttons.

End of day 22

I actually made something crafty this morning and it looks good – not Pinterest good but still good. (craft is not my thing – but I had a hoot this morning)

I need to stop writing and get ready for work.

Peta Hughes

I have always known Peta, to be a woman that waves the flag very passionately for feminism, and celebrating women and their accomplishments. I have known her, to be a loyal and devoted friend to the people around her. Peta is very aware of her emotions, and from conversations with her, she tries to live very closely to her core values. I knew that Peta had been in the navy but I didn’t know her role.

I saw a post on Facebook, celebrating the anniversary of the day, she was the first woman, in the Royal Australian Navy to fire a missile. I was so proud of her, and it solidified for me, her passion and commitment to feminism and celebrating women. Because, she had done something so significant, and bad ass in a male dominated profession. I couldn’t wait for our interview.

“I was on the HMAS Sydney, I was the second woman to do the job of fire control technician on frigates. Frigates at this point hadn’t long had women on board.”

“Really, all male crew into the early nineties? How?

“Because it was the whole warfare thing, women were not allowed to go to war, the job that I did was combat role, and I was on a frigate which is a war ship.”

“So why did you choose the job you did?”

“In 1993 when I joined there was three jobs available. They were recruiting for chefs, stewards. My mum and dad had been in the navy, and dad said, “you will be totally bored doing the chef and steward’s job. You could easily do this job of electronics technician.” I had absolutely no interest in technicians I just wanted to travel.”

“If it was all male, why start recruiting women to combat roles?”

“More opportunities where coming up and they had roles that needed to be filled. But you know the thought of sending a women off to war, I mean it’s tradition to protect the little woman and all that. War is the last bastion isn’t it.  Women can be nurses, teachers. Well I mean she can fire a missile too you know. I mean later on I went to east Timor and the Persian Gulf. I didn’t go during the war, I was in Kuwait after the war though.”

“The rank that I was, was a seaman that is bottom rung. I was 22 when I was posted on there, you know a ship is so rank orientated. You need to prove yourself. When I was at Cerberus in Melbourne – Port Phillip Bay, there was 10 female technicians, amongst 400 blokes. We really stood out, we couldn’t hide. When you look at this through a feminist microscope there is sexism and misogyny everywhere, patriarchy everywhere.”

“Ships are like a very, very small towns, people talk. As a naval woman early on in my career I learnt to keep my head down and just do my job. As a woman I was always a little bit afraid of being judged. I felt an enormous amount of pressure being in such a male dominated job.”

“There was aptitude testing to do this role, I passed those. I really liked that it was the crème de la crème of the techos. This was the job that happened to keep me at sea a lot as well, so I was able to do a lot of travel. Out of ten years I spent six on ships. Twelve months of that was in San Diego with my radar and missile course. There is the radar and there is a 3 inch and a 5 inch gun on the launcher and it tracks the target. I mean fire control, I was like oh yeah I want to do that. It was really, really fun, at the time we were so young and so arrogant.”

“So in relation to the missile, the girl ahead of me never go to fire it, all the boys had a turn, I was just lucky really when it came to my turn. I was working for the weapons electrical engineering officer, as a technician, we were operators and maintainers, I was a maintainer technician. But we operated the radar as well, and that is how I came to fire the missile. The gunnery officer directed us what to shoot at, where and when.”

“We had trained and trained and trained, I had my chief, my petty officer, the leading seaman we all worked together. Lots of testing of signals and safety stuff goes on. We would do a preparation called ballistics, so it would take in the weather, wind speed, the temperature anything that would alter where the missile was going to go. So what I fired was an anti-air missile,  it would be a drone remote control air-craft, towing a target, on a very long 2km line. The target was a computer as well. We didn’t want to blow up the target, the missile was designed to blow up near the target. But well I actually blew up the target.”

“I was always really good under pressure, we had been trained to be a machine, we did so much training, so many drills, it was constant, there was sleep deprivation, and there was more pressure. We were machines, our emotions were ignored.”

“My gunnery officer said to me “this is for navy news”. I said without hesitation, nope. I didn’t want to bring attention to myself, I didn’t want to be different to the guys.”

“Really this was such an important step for women in the navy”.

“Yep I know”

“It wasn’t celebrated!”

“Nope, maybe I was thinking it would divisive, I mean in order to survive you just have to get on board with things that are going on around you.”

“I was always good friends with the guys, I never got on board with all the sexist jokes or anything, but I was just quiet, got on with my job and was friends with most people. But above all I had the girls back. When I was on the Melbourne I was an able seaman, and the leading hand in the mess for two years, because I did a great job. And I always was like what happens in the mess stays in the mess. I was always like don’t be talkin’ shit about the sisters here, cause it will not be tolerated. We need to stick to together to be a force.”

“In communal living it is all about honesty and respect for others. If someone needs to be left alone, leave them alone. Wash your clothes, wear your deodorant. Cause someone will tell you, you stink.”

“The absolute best thing about the navy for me was the friends I made, I am still friends with a lot of them. The water was also a saving grace for me. All that water, looking out at the ocean on a starry night with the moon reflecting off the ocean, seeing the dolphins and the whales.”

“By the time I was finishing I couldn’t wait to get away, I was done. I had done my 10 years and I just thought I can’t wait to get away from the patriarchy. The navy has a really poor environmental record which really pissed me off. I had enough of going to sea, I mean they own you. They run everything, tell you when to eat, you just have to do what they say. Once you sign on the dotted line they own you.”

 

Why back me financially, by having to pay to read the interviews? Because I am creating a platform for me to showcase my best work, build a community and get paid to keep on creating. The more patrons in our community means more interviews, and more stories. A portion of this money will be used to pay it forward, sharing the love with other women and girls and raising their voice.

Day 21

Day 21

As I rolled out of bed this morning, I hear this “you didn’t sleep at all last night.” I was so tired my response was a grunt. I didn’t sleep because my shifts are all over the place, and I was stressing about today.

There was nothing to stress about today, but I don’t like having a day absolutely back to back full of stuff.

Get kids organised for school,

Do school drop off,

Braces face (my husband) had a dentist appointment at 9.00am,

He wanted to take me for a massage but I changed it to reflexology. Because I am not a fan of massages, I really don’t like strangers touching me, the couple of massages that I have had, I end up leaving more stressed than before, cause I want to tell the masseuse to stop touching me. I didn’t get either as we had no time.

Instead we went to Chocolateria San Churros, I had the Azteca – there description this is classic Spanish with a merry measure of chilli and cinnamon spice hot chocolate. Honest to god, this deliciousness was so decadent. The chocolate taste was perfect and then there was the burn on the back of my tongue and throat from the chilli, best hot chocolate ever.

We raced home and I made a big batch of spaghetti and then raced off to a hairdresser appointment. I was a bit worried because my hairdresser left and I couldn’t get an appointment before her last day. So I got her replacement. I love going to the hairdresser because I have this thick mop of hair that needs controlling, and I am so much lighter when the clippers and razor have worked their magic. However I am not one for a chatty hairdresser, I do however get goose bumps when they wash my hair and massage my head. I ended up with an awesome haircut and will definitely go back to the new cutter who also provided my perfect amount of chatter.

I headed home with my new hair, after bumping into mum at the hairdresser. I came home and was re-arranging sentences, replacing words and picking apart my feature blog post for #mesistertribe tomorrow.

School pickup was next, and then rushed to second session of cricket training for the week, which was then cancelled because of rain. In lieu of bowling and batting, we went instead and spent the time with my niece who celebrated her first birthday today.

The spaghetti that I made earlier, was garlicky and the perfect flavour of tomato for dinner. The dishes were washed and put away and kitchen cleaned in record time, before my 7.00pm interview with author of 100 days of Solitude, Daphne Kapsali.

It is now 8.54pm, kids safely tucked up in bed. I hugged and kissed them a little harder and longer tonight, after some tragic news from my sister’s community in South West Queensland.

And all of that is why I didn’t sleep last night.

End of day 21.

Big, massive happy birthday to my niece and to my brother in law. I love you both.

I need to go and iron clothes for tomorrow.

Day 20

Day 20

Working where I work really shit me today. It wasn’t a busy day at all, but the people that I had to deal with today just pushed my buttons.  I walked out of working wanting to tell some of them not to think they are so entitled. I wanted to tell one particular person to be responsible for their own shit and that not everything can be fixed by someone else, and to make better bloody choices. (like don’t inject so much ice every day that you don’t know who the father of your kid is, because you don’t recall what happens most days. I mean for fucks sake).

I had big plans for when I got home today, because my husband took boy 1 to cricket training and then work and I had the house to myself until about 5.15pm. Only thing that I got done was 1 load of washing.  I made myself a cuppa and sat down to watch a TED talk.  I love TED, each and every talk that I have listened to, I have learnt something or been inspired or motivated.  Today I chose a talk about telling stories. Dave Isay this was the man presenting the TED talk and this blurb sucked me in:

Dave Isay opened the first StoryCorps booth in New York’s Grand Central Terminal in 2003 with the intention of creating a quiet place where a person could honor someone who mattered to them by listening to their story. Since then, StoryCorps has evolved into the single largest collection of human voices ever recorded. His TED Prize wish: to grow this digital archive of the collective wisdom of humanity. Hear his vision to take StoryCorps global — and how you can be a part of it by interviewing someone with the StoryCorps app.

This 21 minute talk had me glued to my chair. This is exactly what I am trying to do with my #mesistertribe.  Obviously I don’t have the resources to head to New York’s Grand Central Terminal, and chat to people. But I am having a ball interviewing and listening to awesome women and their stories. Can’t wait for Friday to publish my next interview. This talk was definitely a motivating talk for me. Some of the examples that he showed where raw, and honest and I was amazed at the information that people felt safe in sharing. These traits are also what I have noticed when I have been interviewing, I have felt honored and humbled and privileged with some of the information that has been shared with me. I so look forward to sharing more on the blog.

End of day 20.

I am finding taking a picture (selfie) a day for the feature photo for each blog post, as confronting and challenging as my writing challenge.

Looking forward to a big day tomorrow.

Day 19

Day 19.

 

Night duty recover today.

No major dramas with children starting work for the first time.

Finished work at 7am was home by 745am, may have cried with relief when I realised that my husband didn’t have to work today, meaning that I didn’t have to drive anywhere, do school pick up and he offered to cook dinner, so we took kiddies to school and then headed to do groceries to pick up some ingredients for dinner. Yeah really shouldn’t do that when you have slept for 27 hours and are starving. We now have lots and lots of food in the house, the boys were extremely happy when they got home from school today.

I have another interview on Thursday night at 7.00pm, with an author from Greece. We will be Skyping as she is still living there, love the thought of chatting to her while she is on the other side of the world. Excited and nervous to be chatting to her and couldn’t sleep today, because I kept thinking of all of these awesome questions, that I then couldn’t remember when I was a little more awake. While I spent time in my garden picking mulberries off our tree this afternoon (after I spent $5.99 on berries doing the groceries), I did think of a few questions for her, I will reassess when I have had more than 3 hours sleep though, do not want to sound ridiculous.

Don’t want to sound ridiculous, as I could have ended up looking extremely ridiculous, in my tired state today I forgot to wash out the purple shampoo in my hair – for like hours. And it was only my husband saying to me “how do you have time to wash your hair all the time, when the purple shit stays in your hair for so long?” – And cue me running to the bathroom to wash it out. It is fine and I don’t have purple hair.

End of day 19.

My husband cooked a beautiful roast meal, after running me a bath, and he also made me go for a big walk this afternoon.

Boy 2 came home from hanging out next door saying he need a shower, I looked at him in horror, because itchy grubs had got to him and he was one big welt. He is fine now.

Day 18

Day 18

I had a private message from boy 2’s best friend’s mum,  letting me know that he was an awesome friend to her daughter today and it was very much appreciated. I thought that she must be having a tough as he gave her his last avocado, he does not share avocado with anyone. But he made her guacamole at school for morning tea to cheer her up.  I mean really that is his definition of being a good friend.

So this afternoon at 4.20pm I get a call from my husband to say that my firstborns, first day of work was supposed to be today and the manager had just called to find out where our kid was.

Well panic followed this phone call. My boy is a stressor, he stresses for days and days about new things he has to do, or events that are coming up. So imagine the hysteria this afternoon. I found the number of his workplace and told him to ring and apologise and say that you are on your way.  He was as white as a sheet, but called them and told them he was on his way.  He literally threw on his uniform that his about 3 sizes too big (it was the smallest size I could order). I had 7 phone calls and 15 text messages (not joking just counted them) from my husband stressing about the whole situation, I had my highly strung kid who was completely frazzled and freaking out about being late for work and worse than that, not knowing he had a shift. This was all happening as I am trying to drive said kid to his new job, in peak hour traffic. He barely let me stop the car and he was running in the door.

Came back three and a half hours later to pick him up and he was completely high, did not stop talking the whole way home, he didn’t stop talking while eating dinner, and was yelling out to me while in the shower, when I tucked him into bed I actually had to tell him to draw breath and stop talking.

He learnt a lot, he likes the guy that is training him, he can’t wait to get paid, and he never wants to eat the food again where he works.

End of day 18.

It is 8.54pm I start work in less than 2hrs, no sleep for me.

Sad my firstborn is growing up so quickly, he looks older in the 3 and a half hours since I saw him last.

(feature photo, my first born devouring everything in the fridge after first day at work, which was actually three and a half hours)

Day 17

Day 17

 

Father’s day today.

We spent the morning at the beach and had a delicious brekky at a café down the road from where the boys had been surfing.

I sat on the beach and watched my husband and kids having ball in the water. He taught them to read the surf, how to surf, how to body board.

This afternoon I watched them fixing the wheels and trucks on their skateboards. He taught them that, he showed them how to ride skateboards, showed them how to look after them and fix them.

My dad came for a visit this afternoon and my boys automatically walked up to him, shook his hand and asked how he was. He taught them that, they see how he greets people and they copy him.

This afternoon my boys were talking to my Dad about our Valiant and the mechanics of a 1975 model car. He taught them that, he spends time explaining the mechanics of the car to the boys while they work on it.

Tonight when we had finished dinner, the boys got up and helped clean up, they cleared the table and wiped the dishes. He taught them they need to help (they roll their eyes and whinge when he is here making them do it, but when he isn’t here they do it automatically).

Before we got married, I couldn’t wait to have this man’s babies. He has been an involved and active dad since day one. He changed nappies, rocked them to sleep, taught them to ride bikes, catch balls, he has taught them manners and respect, he has taught them to look after and be responsible for the animals we have, he has shown them that men cook, clean and be the housewife while I am at work, he does the school drop off and pick up, he has volunteered and been involved in their sporting teams.

Above all with every small thing he does for them, he is showing them, he loves them and they love him.

Happy father’s day.

 

End of day 17

Found out my dad likes peanut butter and jam on a sandwich.

One detail closer to starting a project with a photographer friend.

Day 16

Day 16

Family day today. It was my niece’s 1st birthday party, she slept through the whole thing, but we celebrated for her. The party was backwards, as she needed sleep and we all wanted to see her cut the cake, so she cut up her pepper pig cake before she went for a nap. Then we feasted on chips and homemade thermomix garlic dip, salad and bbq meat for lunch, followed by birthday cake. I got to spend time with my Grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, my mum and my kids. At one stage I was having a laugh at my boy who was making a comment, about how he hates to try new things, this was after my Grandma scrunched her nose up, and refused to try a warm spinach dip. My cousin then piped up, and said she also hates to try new things. I was having a good old laugh by this point and said that my Grandma has strong genes, to be passing these traits down to the grandkids.  There is such a strong feeling of connection when you are surrounded by people, who share the same basic, familial traits as yourself. As I was eating my lunch, I was watching my grandparents who I adore, and thinking it must be such an amazing feeling to look around, at a party being held for your great-granddaughter, and see that most of the people there, are there because you feel in love with the person sitting next to you.

This afternoon, after a nanna nap, because I was exhausted from being at a 1 year olds party ( I don’t party like I used to). I sat on the phone with a glass of red, chatting, to my other sister, who lives hundreds of kilometres away. She was sipping a beer while we had a 45min conversation about anything and everything.

While cooking dinner and organising children, I then had a chat to my Dad on the phone, his phone call was interrupted by an incoming call from my husband.

End of the day and I have chatted, laughed and spent time with, the majority of the people in this world that share my blood line, and that I love.

It was a good day.

End of day 16.

I found out that my Grandma is a hoon, and loves to ride on the back of motorcycles.

And I want to thank every single person that reads my blog posts. I had a HUGE response to both of my posts from yesterday. Every single like and comment, really does mean the world to me and I am incredibly grateful that people spend their precious time showing me their love. xx

Day 15

Day 15.

 

Wife/mumma life was a tough one today. The frustrating thing though was that all of the arguing and emotional turmoil that went on and snowballed into utter ugliness was over an effing school belt.

My 1st boy runs late every single day.  Everyday single day, I have to hassle my kid into getting ready for school. Anyway when I finally dropped him off late, we were both emotional and felling like crap, I had tears in my eyes the whole way home and ended up spring cleaning both of my boy’s room’s because, I felt like a shit mother and wife and wanted to be around their stuff.  The mopping of their rooms lead to cleaning the walls, then whole house ended up getting mopped and then I had to put away the mop and bucket and the laundry got cleaned out and I had to wash my hands so the bathroom was cleaned as well.

By then it was time to do the school pick up and come home for a coffee, where I checked my emails. Womankind magazine had sent me an email in regards to my entry into the 5 day nature challenge that I participated in and THEY LOVED IT AND I AM GOING TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE NEXT EDITION.

I also posted another blog post today. I featured Amanda Metelli on the blog in the #mesistertribe. Again feeling slightly nervous about how it will be received, I hope she likes it. I loved chatting to her, she was a joy and a great motivator. Please check it out and tell me what you think.

End of Day 15.

Didn’t need to light the fire to warm our house tonight. Spring has sprung.

Going to make a cuppa herbal tea and enjoy my sparkly clean house.

Amanda Metelli

The third lady in my #mesistertribe series is Amanda Metelli.

 

Metelli and I meet at a coffee shop for our interview and were seated in booth seating, it was the perfect setting for our fun chat. This gorgeous lady, saves lives everyday as an emergency department nurse. I was fascinated by her plans to celebrate her own life and wanted to hear more about it. Because I don’t know many women, who plan for a whole year to celebrate themselves, to celebrate their achievements and their successes with the absolute most important people in their lives. As Metelli said to me “these aren’t people that are on a list, just to make a list, these are the most, the most important people in my world.”

Our tea and coffee was delivered to our table and she started telling me about her plans. I love her excitement and how animated she is in telling me all of her plans.

“I literally started planning this party on my 29th birthday. I was on a beach in Nice and I may have had a little bit of a moment, where I had a meltdown, with my Dad – of course.  Where I looked back, and thought I will be turning 30 and what have I achieved.  How can I celebrate all the things that are important?

Metelli went on to tell me that her Dad, started listing everything that his daughter had achieved.

“You have a career, you have your own mortgage, you have travelled and you have great friends.”

Although our conversation was about how she was going to celebrate her 30th birthday these achievements, and the importance of family, friends and self-discovery was the foundation.

“If I could recommended anything for anyone wanting to find themselves. Is to literally pack themselves a suitcase, get on a plane and go somewhere completely foreign. You will find out who you are and what you are willing and not willing to do.”

“Tell me all about this magnificent party that is nothing like a wedding.”

“This party going to be so far from a wedding it is not funny, it’s not a birthday bash or a dirty 30.”

“The invitation has set the tone for the party, no jeans allowed and if you wear joggers, I will kick you out”.

The room is booked, the event planner has meticulously listened to Metelli’s vision and her dream for her 30th birthday celebration, the florist has the flowers picked and the photographer is organised. One of Metelli’s talents is cake making, and I mean amazingly creative, stunning cakes. So she will be creating her own purple, black and gold masterpiece.

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Look at her cake making skills

 

 

“The event planner and the florist have been so great and so excited, I think they are excited not to be doing a wedding or a Christmas party.”

“The morning of the party, I am going to book us all in for pedicures. Because even my Grandma can come to that, the accommodation is booked, I just need to order my dress.”

“I set myself a challenge to lose my 50th kilo by my 30th birthday. I have 10 kilos to go. I’ll order the dress in the next couple of weeks.

After listening to the intricate details of the lavish party, the thought, the challenges and the goals set for this fabulous celebration. I wanted to know how she picked the guests.

“This party is not about things, it is about people, it’s about the people that mean the most to me right now at this point in my life. Who are the 30 most important people that I want to spend an extravagant night with. You know that concept of picking 30 people to have dinner with alive or dead, these are my people.”

“The way you are describing it to me, and the detail you have gone into, this party sounds more like a celebration of the people in your life than yourself.”

“It absolutely is, because if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be me.”

“My mum and dad and my grandma and my grandpa, need to take one hundred percent accountability for the person that I am.”

“I kind of had an epiphany, I needed to define a friend and a colleague. This process was almost like a journey of self-discovery, and me defining who are the most, important people to me. The people that make an effort. I am so lucky and blessed with the people in my life, they have always been there for me, I am so grateful for all of them.”

Day 14

It is 2.09am, yes 2.09am, I am at work that is the only reason I am awake at this ridiculous hour.  My friend that is coming to have lunch with me in a few hours, will laugh her ass off that I am writing at 2.09am.  When we worked together on night duty years ago, we always proof read ANYTHING that the other had written before sending any correspondence.  Cause at 2.00am after 5000 coffees and no sleep. Every single emotion is exacerbated. And there are some pretty bizarre thoughts that pop up at 2.00am.

The night so far has been constant, and the admin team is under staffed. As I was telling someone earlier, I hate night duty with the same fiery hatred that comes from the very depths of hell. But working with good staff always makes for a good night, honestly the shit that is talked about at 3.00am when you are so tired that everything is funny. Is funny in itself. I go through stages :

11.00am and am cranky, I pretty much push the afternoon staff out of the door, because I just want to get on with the night.

About 1.00am I am pushing people out of my way to get a coffee.

2.00am if I am feeling a little rant coming or need to send an email, I try and avoid sending anything at 2.00am nothing nice comes out in an email at 2.00am

3.00am I am delirious after 4 coffees and the sleep deprivation makes you feel a little drunk. And eat, oh lord do I eat, give me sugar, and crunchy things (tonight I ate/ kinda shared a packet of Allen’s party mix and chocolate coated popcorn). And no subject is of limits, and every single thing is funny, like hysterical funny tonight exploding watermelons had me nearly peeing my pants along with, tarts, whores, birth, food, tinder.

5.00am I usually have a heat pack down the front and back of my shirt. I can’t sit up straight, my eyes feels as though they have sand in them and I have been known to fall asleep in my chair.

6.30am another coffee  and I have usually got a second wind and am running around making sure that the department is pristine for the day shift.

7.00am it can vary for me at 7.00am. I am either crazy cranky and give hand over in 30 seconds and bolt out the door before I insult someone. Or will talk so much that the day shift, kick me out the door, where the sun burns my eyes, and I resemble that freaky little creature Gollum, on Lord of the rings.

Trying to sleep during the day is a whole other post.

End of day 14

The feature photo is me this morning, after night duty multitasking. Purple shampoo in my hair, eating brekky in the sun, while chatting to my kids and husband before they go off to work and school. If you look closely at the photo, my eyes are blood shot and I am actually having trouble keeping them open, not to mention the nausea of trying to eat brekky. The thought and effort of having a shower to wash my hair actually brought tears to my eyes

Had 3.5hrs sleep and had lunch with my friend that I did night duty with for years.

Goodnight

Day 13

Day 13.

 

Spent this morning at the beach on a date with my husband. This was after the boy’s had been dropped at school and before my husband had to work. We went to Mooloolaba where this weekend the Ironman world championships are being held.  They event organisers started the set up for the event today. So there was streets closed and fencing running along paths and some beach accesses. This was all fine, we were happy to have an extra-long walk along such a beautiful stretch of the coast. We went for a swim in our togs with our winter bodies, alongside all the beautifully fit, toned and tanned international ironmen and women.

I spent the afternoon at the Montessori school, where my youngest boy goes to school, watching the Italian assembly that is held every year. It is Maria Montessori’s birthday today so her special day is celebrated with a Montessori expo, with gelato as a special treat.

Cricket season started for us this after school today, first training session of the season. All the boys are excited to be back and enthusiastic to start. From now until March, cricket will dominate in our house.  That is a good thing and a bad thing.

Today is a short one blog post. It is 8.07pm, I have to start work in 3 hours and I have to get ready for that and try and get a quick sleep in.

 

End of day 13.

So glad I went for a swim this morning, felt so refreshed and energetic after my freezing dip.

Need to stop typing and get sleep.

Day 12

Day 12.

 

Good afternoon.

Yesterday a lady I went to school with gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl, and she shared her wonderful news on Facebook. While looking at these photos on the way to my car after work this afternoon, my ovaries and heart actually ached with the maternal instinct to have more babies. I was thinking about how lovely it would be to have a baby girl to go with my gorgeous boy’s, how precious new born babies are.

Got in the car, and the song that was playing on the radio brings up very mixed memories for me. It is by Lifehouse- Hanging by a moment. The first memory I have of this song is me dressed in my white wedding dress on the dance floor with my new husband. I absolutely loved our wedding day, I was so happy, full of love and drunk on the excitement of getting married, my dream had just come true of marrying my love. We danced to this song just before we cut our wedding cake, we were surrounded by 75 of our closest family and friends.  Best night ever.

The second memory, I have of this song is the day after I came home from hospital with my first born. I was dressed in light blue flannelette pyjamas with dark blue tea cups on them. My husband of 11 months had just left for work. My c/section wound was painful and I felt nauseated. I was carrying my new born and was about to walk into the kitchen when this song came on the radio. As soon as the first note of that song hit my ears, I burst into tears and had to very carefully lower myself on the chair at the end of our dining table. I was carrying 5 day old son, who had not slept in 4 days and so I had not slept, he wasn’t feeding, nothing I did made him happy or settled. I was a 23 year old who had no idea, how to be a mother, I had no idea what I was doing and felt like such a failure, cause I didn’t even have the ability to settle my kid so that I could have a shower. I sat there holding my boy who was screaming, I was sobbing uncontrollably with milk pouring out of my boobs because I was holding my boy and he was crying. In that moment, all I could think of was our wedding and dancing with my husband who made me feel so special on that dance floor, and now look at me balling my eyes and not able to even settle my boy, let alone make him feel special while I held him.

Needless to say that this song was a definite sign this afternoon, that shut down any romantic notions of me mothering another child.

 

End of day 12.

I worked a day shift today (the feature photo is me leaving for work at 5.45am) it was actually a nice change to work during the day.

I took a chance yesterday and contacted Daphne Kapsali, the author of 100 days of Solitude. The book I am reading at the moment. AND holy shit she replied and very generously offered to feature on my blog. (I may have danced in my kitchen this morning at 5.00am)

 

Day 11

Day 11.

I took up the womankind nature challenge last week, in the hope that my writing would be accepted for publication in their next edition. So, I did my three days of spending time in nature, observing and writing my diary of how what I experienced.  My bestie offered to proof read it for me and made some great suggestions.  I took her up on all of them and it looked beautifully polished.  Logged on this morning to submit my application and was reading the terms of the challenge.

Submission

Once you have completed your five days, send your response to us at award ‘@’ womankindmag.com

The most suitable responses will be published in the next issue of Womankind magazine.

Dates

Starts: Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Ends: Sunday, 28 August 2016.

Yes read this again, and oh what a moron, it says FIVE days. THANK GOD I re-read this before my keen little self, sent off my THREE days of writing. Also very lucky that we are an outdoorsy family and could easily, write about time spent in nature over the weekend.  Great start to Monday.

This little hiccup lead to a really great day. There was an impromptu lunch thrown in with my bestie, where we sat crossed legged on her lawn, and ate salad wraps with red wine, and chatted in the way that we do. I spent time in the backyard with the family this afternoon, my two little cricket fanatics start training on Wednesday, so thought they would get a head start and practice today as well. We planted a mandarin tree, while sipping red wine and collecting eggs from my crazy chickens.  While standing under the mulberry tree, we debated the ripeness of the berries and laughed our heads off at my husband’s extremely poor attempt at lighting a bon fire. (I am the arsonist in this family).

 

End of day 11

Went for a drive to Maccas in our pj’s and splurged on $2, choc top cones after dinner.

Debating if we should replace our hot water system or buy rain water tanks.

Day 10

This morning I smothered my ash blonde hair in purple shampoo and went about my morning, cooking muffins, hanging washing, vacuuming the car, ironed work clothes. I was also watching the most important boy’s in my life. They were mowing the yard and fixing our 1975 Valiant, they were at the work bench playing with tools.  My two are growing up so fast and are maturing into real men’s men.  They love to fish, and surf and build things, work on cars, camp, play sport. And I love this side of them but I also want them to have a soft, kind and gentle side.

I never let them go anywhere unless they kiss and cuddle me goodbye, I love to curl up with them at night on the lounge and hang out. When my husband was still working away, I loved when they would sneak into my bed and sleep with me (well not the snoring or the kicking and stealing the blankets- but I did love that they still wanted to.)  I let them see me cry and get emotional and explain that it’s ok to be vulnerable. They see me walking around the house in knickers and bra and know what a women’s body looks like. They see me make an effort whenever I go out or to work with hair, clothes, and make up.  They also see me hustle, and witness the juggle of me working and also being a wife and mumma and the stress that goes with that. When we are grocery shopping they have been taught to help. They know that they are now my muscle. They know that I can carry and lift and use my own strength, but I have explained to them, that they are growing up into men and they use their muscle’s when a woman they love needs a hand.  They have lots of wonderful women that they love in their life Grandmother’s, aunties, teacher’s, friends, I have always taught them to use manners and respect.

Do not get me wrong these boys are not perfect,  and there is arguments and whinging, eye rolling and “it’s not fair”, when they have to do something they don’t want to do, but  they are children who are learning like all of us. But this morning when I went to open the back door,  and had my hands full, one of them ran over and opened the door and then took my load upstairs for me, I was so proud of him.  “love you my beautiful gentleman” I yelled up the stairs at him.

 

End of day 10.

Need to leave for work in 40 min and not at all ready.

Had a really great productive Sunday so far. Happy Sunday everyone. x

Day 9

 

Day 9

 

Today is Saturday. I worked last night until midnight and woke at 5.56am this morning to the ringing of my bloody phone. Boy 1 was calling me continually,
you know to remind me that I needed to pick him and his brother up from my Mum’s house.  (yes because of course I would forget). 

 

After a lot of – “have you got a towel?” “have you got shoes?” “put your board in the car!” “where is your towel?” “don’t forget to get your own
undies, if you don’t get your own you will be free ballin”, “hop in the car”, “where is your towel?”. We eventually got to the beach.  There was a slight westerly blowing (for our part of the world that is good for surf), the sun was shining, the water looked
as though it was a glass table with diamonds thrown across it.  I sprawled out on the beach towel, while my family went too play in the water. The waves today were perfect for body boarders and long board riders. My lot were the body boarders but I also enjoyed
watching the mal riders. It is so cruisy to watch the mal riders walk up and down the long board, hang their toes over the edge, squat on the board, one guy was trying to stand on his head. It was a great change to watching the short board riders, whip around
on the waves, snapping the board in sharp turns/ moves that can look kind of aggressive.

 

At one point I was sick of being a spectator, stripped down to my bikini’s and walked into the water where my family were playing in the water
on their board’s in full wet suit’s.  I only lasted about 10 minutes but it felt unbelievably invigorating to say the least. It was a bit of a rushed visit to the beach today, as we both had to work this afternoon.  We dropped off the boy’s to Mum and continued
on to work. Again we carpooled. I am a shocking passenger when my husband is driving, I always fall asleep. I could feel myself getting cranky this afternoon, after our rushed but lovely morning.
I  sank into the chair, put on my big sunglasses and laid my head on the headrest with closed eyes.  ANNND then hubby changes the channel on the radio, and oh he can’t hear it so turns
up the volume. I am trying to deep breathe. “did you see the price of fuel? good hey!” “mmmmm” (actually it was more of a grunt from me).
He changes the channel again, turns down the volume.  I give up sleeping and try and enjoy being chauffeured.

 

 

End of day 9.

 

I need to go to bed, because turning into a judgy cow. (especially when it involves childrens names – Jedi, Yoda and Fire I mean are you kidding me!!!)

 

It’s 8.58pm, I am going to make a coffee and have an Arnott’s biscuit.

 

Day 8

Welcome.

Less than glamorous feature photo today. One busy lady. Crazy day today, I am working this afternoon and had kids and husband to sort, house work to do and groceries to get done, 3 blog posts to write, and the third day of my Womankind nature challenge to complete.

So grateful Mum is having my two boys for me, so don’t need to worry about them after school, I know they are in good hands for the night.

I published my next #mesistertribe interview today on photographer Marina Meier. Again that evil bitch insecurity is sitting on my shoulder and same as when I posted about my Mum, I am questioning the whole post.

I was going through the post and thinking about the interview/chat I had with my creative, photographer friend Marina and the morning coffee meeting we shared. The creative energy, ideas and excitement flowed beautifully around the table where we sat. I had messaged Marina about a project I wanted to start, this was after she posted on Instagram an image of me and the words “Your story makes you special”. This was the sign I had been asking for, to let me know that my thought to interview women and nurture them into sharing a story with me was a good idea. I was enlightening her on how I love stories, that the way we were laughing, chatting, connecting, sharing ideas and encouraging each other fills my cup. And how I want other women to share with me, and like a domino effect other women then feel inspired, motivated, connected. As a photographer of women’s boudoir, Marina has the same aim.   Marina has amazing passion and a gift for capturing moments with a camera that can change how women view their bodies.

A volunteer project with Karuna hospice that Marina is working on, was a subject of our conversation as well and lead to the memories of her Grandmother. There was so many topics that I could have connected with and shared from our coffee morning, but the story of her Grandmother moved me the most. Marina’s whole demeanour changed when recalling her Grandmother.

End of day 8.

Well not really the end seen at it is 11.49am.

Carpooling with husband to work

He cooked me dinner to take to work with me.

 

Marina Meier

Lounging in the sun at a coffee shop enjoying a heavenly caramel latte, with my photographer friend Marina and her pot of tea. We were discussing her love of photography, the sentimental importance of photographs, and the memories they can induce. Marina reminisced about her grandmother when speaking about photos that are most valuable to her.

“I look at the photos that I have of her, I remember the times that I spent with her”.

“The best gifts I received as a child were from my Grandmother, birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, she would find beautiful presents, sometime months in advance and buy them for me and put them away.  I remember as a little girl – I don’t know how hold, but small enough that, one time I saw package/ box on top of the cupboard and dragged a chair over, stood on tip toes and peaked in the box at a lovely new dress.”

“I spent most summer holidays with her; I loved spending my time with her. We didn’t have a car so was difficult to get to her home, but my father passed her village on his way to work and would drop me off on the way and pick me up after work, or leave me for the weekend or a fortnight. Her kindness, her cooking and her hands are clearest in my mind.  She had rough hands, scratchy hands from working and cooking. I would pull up a little stool and sit between her legs pull up my top and she would run rough, scratchy hands over my little back.”

Marina stops and laughs and scratches her back “my back is itchy know as I tell you this”.

“We moved house at one point, I didn’t see her for a while until she moved 500 metres down the road from us with my uncle.  I spent time with her every day.  I am the oldest grandchild so got to spend a lot of time with her.”

“Once we moved from Kazakhstan to Germany, I only saw her twice in 9 years.  I knew she was sick, but didn’t think that she would pass. We didn’t talk on the phone much, but I always knew how she was doing from my Mum, who spoke to my aunt.  I was in Australia when she passed. I found out a week after she was gone.  My poor Mum couldn’t cope, and my dad was looking after my Mum. I think they were stressed and that is why it took a week.”

 

photographer-marina-nan1  phtographer-marina-nan2

Day 7

Boy 1: “Mum what is for breakfast” (every single morning, he asks this question.)

Me: “toast, muesli, weetbix”

Boy 1: “mmm can you please cook me poached eggs on toast?”

Me: “Of course”.

Boy 2: “Can I please play the PlayStation?”

Me: (laughing) “No.”

Boy 1: “are my eggs ready?”

Me: “No”

Boy 2: “Why can’t I play, the PlayStation?”

Me: “Have you finished your book review?”

Boy 2: “No”

Boy 1: “What happened to the eggs?

Me: “Nothing. They are poached like you asked.”

Boy 2: “I hate reading and book reviews”

Me: “That’s ok, you still need to do it. So start.”

Boy 1: “I hate poached eggs”

Me: “That’s ok, I just cooked them for you and you will eat them. So start”.

This was the 6.30am start of day 7. Grateful, this frustrating start didn’t set the tone for the day.

I spent time again in the garden, for the Womankind nature challenge, wrote my diary entry for that. (the feature photo, me and the big guy hanging out in nature on a tree stump.)

This afternoon just before school pick-up, I had another interview at Double Brass my local coffee shop. I honestly cannot wait to sit down and write about it.  I am loving this new little project that I have going on. I am getting positive feedback, and it is not only inspiring me but my boy’s as well. I was telling boy 1 about the interview during our after school chat in the car, sitting in school traffic.  He was so intrigued, impressed and interested in everything that I was telling him about the lady that I interviewed. (the interview is with the first lady to fire a missile in the Royal Australian Navy and will be published on the 9th September).

End of day 7

Looking forward to putting my little darlings to bed, and then pigging out on the mars bar pods that my husband left for me in the fridge.

Found a pile of wood that my husband cut for me to burn, while he is at work.

Day 6

Day 6.

 

It’s Wednesday. Wednesday means morning coffee at the local coffee shop with my bestie and some of the other mums from school.  Each Wednesday it is pot luck as to who may show and for how long, some days we linger and have multiple coffees and chat. Other days it is a short and sweet catch up. Today we had one coffee, catch-up about kids, work, holidays and new opportunities.  When I drove away from our meet up today I was so glad I didn’t have to work this morning. I have been absent the last few weeks because I have had to work during the day, my bestie has also not been at Wednesday coffee  as she too has a full-time job in the city. Today with me being off and her working until 4.00am on annual reports for work, we were able to meet for a coffee after school drop off (I was secretly and very selfishly glad that she worked until an ungodly hour, giving her the opportunity to have Wednesday coffee). Double Brass our local, must love Wednesday mornings.  On some occasions I am sure that most of the mothers from our school have shown up for a coffee and a chat. This morning I think there was 8 Mummas and 1 dad from the school.

After enjoying my chai latte and a chat, I came home and strolled around my garden. I would love to tell you about it, but it is for a piece I am writing for the nature challenge that Womankind magazine has set. Their challenge is to spend 5 minutes in nature each day from today until Friday and write diary entries about your experience, submit it by 30th August and those picked will be published in the next edition.  I ended up spending about 30 minutes in the garden and wrote about it.

I started writing this piece just before school pickup, when we got home this afternoon I was chained to the kitchen feeding my two who carried on like their throats had been cut. So I am just getting back to it now that they have full bellies, and are fast asleep. I work in my little office that is at the back of our Queenslander style home. Queenslander homes were designed from about the 1840’s for sub-tropical summers. The house is two story home on stumps, this allows the air to circulate, it is built from timber, has high ceilings, lots of windows and doors that align also helping the circulation of air and we have beautiful wide timber floorboards.  Great house for summer.  Except that today is the 24th of bloody August and my house is freezing – because of all the air that is circulating. Cold air, cause it is winter and overcast and raining.  I have the fire roaring but with 13 foot ceilings, massive rooms, lots of windows, it is cold. And I am rushing through this post, so that I can have my nice cup of camomile tea in front of my roaring fire. I find I get frustrated when trying to type quickly on a lap top and that is why I am typing this on the desk top in the cold office. Cold by Queensland standards, cloudy and 14 degrees Celsius.

 

End of day 6

Feeling slightly anxious that I have just used the last piece of firewood.

Still sniffling because Radar went home tonight on MASH (my favourite all time show)

Day 5

Day 5.

 

Day five has been a fantastic day. I woke this morning to a message on my phone asking if I was available to work this afternoon. I had in my thoughts last night put this request out there, that I needed one more shift for the week and Tuesday would be a great day, because the father to my kids is home and I wouldn’t have to find a babysitter.

An interview was on my agenda this morning with a kind, generous and hilarious lady. I bought a maxi dress a couple of weeks ago as a treat when my tax return was deposited in my account, this was the dress I was wearing for the interview. It is gorgeous, long and flowy with flowers all over it very feminine. Except you need the patients of a saint to put the bloody thing on, I spent about 20 minutes ironing the vast amount of material, I then spent another ridiculous amount of time putting the minuscule buttons in tiny button holes, and this is on a school morning when I have no time for fiddly dresses.

In my pretty dress after school drop off, the father of my kids chauffeured me to where I was conducting the interview. I have always thought that I enjoyed my job as a secretary, you know it pays the bills and I am good at it so I thought that was enough. However the two interviews that I have done and the interview this morning, the writing that goes with it, is what fills my cup. Actually feels more than filling my cup, unless the cup was full of some really good French champers, sounds weird but I kind of felt high and energetic after. Not sure if I am good or bad at interviews, I ask way too many questions, and I am way too emotional. But if the feelings that I get when I talk to these amazing women and the high that I get from writing about them is how you are supposed to feel when you are living your calling, then I am so excited that I have found mine. The interview from today will be published on the blog next Friday the 2nd September.  This week the interview from Marina will be published as part of the #mesistertribe.

If you or anyone you know would like to chat to a chick that gets high off talking to other women and then writing about them contact me on:

meled79@gmail.com

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End of day 5

Day 4

Day 4.

 

Good afternoon.

 

Getting my blog post done a bit earlier than midnight today.

Three quotes have stood out for me today, and prompted my writing. Also the card that I drew before I started writing was another prod and I wanted to shove that bloody thing back in the box and pick something else. But here we are.

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The first one is : and it was different. Yes fly in fly (fifo) out was different for the guy in the photo and I. We have been married for 15 years this year, and for two and a bit of those we were a (fifo) family.  Meaning for 21 days a month he worked 700km’s away.  Before he started fifo we had never been apart for more than a couple of days.  Fly out day I would cry and I would lay low and take a day to be sad and then pull up my lace knickers and get on with the rest of the month until I could go and pick him up from the airport again.  Fly in day’s were my absolute favourite day of the month, it was like Christmas day when I was a kid, butterflies in my belly and nothing could upset me on fly in day (Well a late plane would). It would always work out that I could take the kids to school and then head straight to the airport, pick him up and we would have a lunch date and do school pick up together.  Every fly in day was like a first date, lots of talking and excitement at having him home again. I didn’t ever really get used to fifo, it was an acceptance that at the time it was what suited us and paid the bills.

The 11th December 2015, was the last day of fifo for us, we were fine with that. Eight months on and the next quote that stood out for me today: “anger is the bodyguard of sadness” is what we are working through.  FIFO changed both of us immensely when he was home it was great, romantic, perfectly happy family. When he was at work I just got on with life at home on my own, it made me incredibly independent and resourceful. He also changed in a lot of ways and over the two and a bit years he saw me grow and change into a woman that was embracing interests that I had a passion for but had never pursued (writing and studying). So where does the quote come in? cause all of this growth and pursing passions sounds so exciting. Well the hang over from being apart for so long, the massive changes that we went through has finally caught up with us.  It was fabulous to all be together again and know that there would be no more fly out days that we would all be in the one house again.  But the reality, is well reality. There are no more fly in day lunch dates, there are no more heightened romantic – distance makes the heart grow fonder moments.  No, there is what to cook for dinner, school drop off, juggling of shift work and trying to find a common ground for each of us. There is the awareness I need to have of, actually discussing all of the above and a million other decisions, instead of me just going ahead and making decisions on my own, because I am not here on my own anymore.  There is the acceptance for him that I have changed and have new interests and passions and with these new interests I also have changed and or broader opinions. And with all of this change comes the pain of change. Change that has caused anger because change, for people that are stuck in their ways and have a certain way of thinking how a relationship should be causes sadness that can’t be expressed and then comes out in anger.

The last quote for today is “live to the point of tears”. Last Monday he asked on a date. Initially I felt uncomfortable and wanted to say no. There have been many angry words and tears over the last few months. My sadness was coming out as a raging bitch of hell, who would have been comfortable as the wife of Satan.  It was a text message he sent me saying: “Hi Melinda, it’s Scott remember me? Well there’s a nice restaurant that I found and was wondering if you would check it out with me?” That had me crying happy and angry tears at the same time.   It’s a very mindful situation to be in when you are literally having a first date with your husband. Well this is how I approached it, the last few months have been horrendous and in my heart and mind we needed to start again. This quote is what I am vaguely following at the moment, and its has been refreshing and effing hard to show so much emotion about issues that we need to work out, instead of bottling everything up and then letting it explode all over the place.

 

End of day 4.

Well its only 1.44pm so not really end of day.

We had lunch together outside in the sun.

He has offered to do school pick up in the horrendous traffic.

Day 3

Day 3.

This post will be short and sweet as it is 11.41pm. I have just walked in the door from work. I am physically and mentally exhausted, I am freezing cold and my nose will not stop running. I want to go to bed.

I was driving home rocking out to AC/DC Who made who, trying to think about what I would write for this blog post. I mean I could obviously talk about the lack of discipline that I am showing already in the writing of the blog posts for my 100 day challenge. Cause well its day 3 and I am frantically writing at now 11.44pm, so that I will have a post for today.

I thought about writing about how I mentioned to my husband that I needed more lemons (cause of my head cold that is blocking up my whole head and even making my teeth sore). He went to the markets at the end of the main road this morning and came home with a lemon tree.

I also thought about discussing and doing some research on parenting siblings and how to help them deal with conflict. This morning I stood in the sun, with a cuppa of herbal tea and a box of tissues, watching them set up milk bottles and boxes as targets for their sling shots. Arguing and name calling, pushing and shoving arose and I was determined not to go and interfere so they could resolve their own conflict.  I walked away to get more tissues and they were absolute best mates again.

I could have written a whole blog post on the design of ballet flat shoes and how although pretty with a skirt and black tights, should definitely not be worn when you are working on triage and end up doing 10,000 steps for the shift.

 

End of day 3

Had a nice morning in our back yard with the family

Worked with some great people – who made me not think of sore feet.

Day 2

I woke up feeling hung over, I did not sleep at all last night.  I jad just published a blog post featuring my mum she was the first woman of #mesistertribe blog posts, I felt
happy with and proud of the writing (at the time).  From the minute I hit the blue publish button, I was thinking that I needed to change it again for the 450
th time. I had a thesaurus running around in my brain swapping words around in the post,
then I started restructuring sentences,  I was at one point going to get my butt out of bed and delete the whole post.
 I tossed and turned, curled myself up in a ball, laid flat on my back, flipped on to my stomach.  My husband approached me this
morning, while I was chugging coffee and said “your thinking kept me awake all bloody night, get ready we will go to the beach, before we go to work.”

So we went to the beach so they all could surf and I could be the sunbaking groupie on the beach. I sprawled on the beach enjoying the winter sun beating down on my pasty white legs.
I cheered my boy’s on with their surfing, I watched another father try and teach his extremely unenthusiastic boy to surf.  I sent out “back off” vibes to the wet and sandy long haired dog running and jumping on unsuspecting victims sunbaking on the beach. At
one point I closed my eyes, concentrated on my breathing and listened to the pulsing sound of the waves.
 

” I will not check my phone to look at the reaction to the blog post”

” I should check my phone to look at the reaction to the blog post”.

” Relax. Concentrate on breathing and the waves”

” Have the boys got sunscreen on”

” Should of worn my bikinis instead of shorts and shirt”.

I eventually gave up on my poor attempt at meditating to the sound of the ocean. I couldn’t help myself, I looked at my phone, checked the blog post and had a couple of supportive
comments saying I written beautiful words about my Mum.
I don’t have a huge number of followers, but I have an awesome following of engaged readers that take the time to read my writing, like and comment. This means a lot
to me and their comments this morning went a long way to shutting up the evil little devil – insecurity, that tap dances through my heart, belly and mind whenever I hit publish.

End of day 2:

Mum liked the blog post.

I worked in my usual department, so totally in my comfort zone. (unlike day 1)

My husband gifted me with a chocolate bar filled with jelly and popping candy.

My Mum

I interviewed my Mum.

“As a child we moved to Redcliffe when there was still dirt roads, we had to clear our own piece of land so that the house could be built.  When Grandma was pregnant with your Aunty Kelli, I would take our dog for a walk in the pram practicing for when we had a new baby.  When all the kids were born (mums 3 siblings) I would ride kilometres and kilometres to the Catholic girl’s school where you also went to primary school. I would have to ride past your fathers, Grandparents house and Grandfather would come out every afternoon on my way home, and give me a bunch of flowers for your Grandma”.

“Once we got married we never went on many holidays, only a couple of times beach camping.  Then you girls came along and your father worked all the time.”

From my point of view as the eldest daughter, Mum has handled being a wife and mother with grace, dignity and elegance. She always had the whole family’s happiness as her focus, even Dad after he had torn her heart out.

“I think that I did ok raising you girls, I mean you’re good girls who have lovely families.”

I find perception amazing.  Yes it was sad and devastating and it took a long time to adjust to the fact that we became a single parent family, and the way that happened. But it was almost a relief to just have the four of us girls at home. A decision had been made and it felt much more stress-free.

“I felt like such a failure, he left me for a women that was at one time a friend and had three daughters the same age as you three girls.”

Mum continued with routine and family traditions – like always eating our meals together, where we shared our day and what was happening, there was always something baked for afternoon tea (Mum makes the best caramel tart with whipped cream). Even through her pain, “There was some days that I didn’t have the strength to get out of bed.”  I never felt as though she let us witness those painful days, after the initial heartache had worn off. Mum always got up and presented herself in gorgeous clothes, shoes and had her hair styled.

Mum is a wonderful role model for me, she has taught us work ethic, through having her two jobs, always having an impeccable house and yard. She is also a stickler for routine, which made me feel safe as I always knew what was going on. She showed us how to be kind and generous and supportive by looking after Dad’s sisters in the palliative stages of their breast cancer journeys. She taught us to always be respectful and use manners and morals as a guide.  Mum showed grace, courage and strength by never arguing with Dad in front of us, she always remained polite and accommodating, towards him.

“I always preferred when your father came to our place, to see you girls and having you girls with me than your father taking you away. Even though every time I saw the tail lights head down the drive way, I felt like I had taken 10 steps back”.

Mum always made sure that we had everything that we could need and never felt like we went without.

“I was left with $50″.

The school swimming carnival of that year, I needed new togs Mum took me to the surf shop and brought me a pair of pink Roxy one piece togs with little flowers on them, I LOVED them. But felt bad as I knew she couldn’t afford it.

As a mother myself of two boys and fumbling my way through as a wife and mother, I can only hope that I will be half the mother and granny that Mum is.  I lean on Mum for support and guidance in the way that I mother my boys and live my wife life. Mum always offers sage advice, sometimes I don’t want it and sometimes it’s not just words that I need from my Mum. Mum has always made us kiss and cuddle each other goodbye, and sometimes even after a long chat I just need to feel like a child again and be held in Mums arms and feel her heart beating. At times just having mum cuddle me brings me to tears, knowing her support and love is always there.

 

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Why back me financially, by having to pay to read the interviews? Because I am creating a platform for me to showcase my best work, build a community and get paid to keep on creating. The more patrons in our community means more interviews, and more stories. A portion of this money will be used to pay it forward, sharing the love with other women and girls and raising their voice.

Day 1

Day 1

 

I am reading 100 days of Solitude by Daphne Kapsali, she spent 100 days on a Greek Island on her own, writing.  After reading a couple of chapters, of Daphne’s book and loving it to the point that I had to limit my time reading about Daphne’s personality traits, fears and hilarious experiences that sounded much like something that would happen to me.  I was caught up in her experience and her writing and decided to give my writing a shove and write every day, for 100 days. This is on top of the #mesistertribe project that I am doing on my blog – interviewing and writing about women and their stories – I am going to contact Daphne and see if she will chat to me. However my writing experience will be far different to her time on a Greek Island. I am not staying at a home in Sifnos, a Greek Island – I am living in our 100 year old Queenslander home in Australia. Nor am I on my own, with the neighbour’s donkey to talk to – I have a husband, 1 teenage boy and 1 pre-teen boy, 1 dog and 5 chooks. I am coming out of winter where I have had the warmth of a fire, a lovely winter wardrobe and long socks, and into spring – Daphne was going into a winter with ankle socks, an electric blanket and an endless supply of eggplant. My 100 days of writing will be funded by me working shift work 4 days a week – not Kickstarter.

So what does my first day look like?

I woke at 3.27am, I always wake early when I am working an early shift, too highly strung and can’t sleep. I tossed and turned and couldn’t go back to sleep, for the hour and a half before I had to get up and get ready for the day.

I am a routine type of girl I like the comfort of knowing what is happening when and where, I don’t cope with drastic change. I am working today in an area I don’t usually work in. There’s renovations happening so where I am working is not where it usually is either. No one knows what is going on, it is chaos. My boss overbooked the shift, so I am an extra. I pretty much begged to go home. The anarchy is stressing me out.  I can’t do my job properly, on top of the job that I can’t do, I also have the added job of sitting at a card table with a laptop, 2 phones that I have to answer, confidential documents and lists in the middle of a fucking waiting room, surrounded by about 100 people (public people – not even staff).  I know that I am stressed and annoyed with the work conditions today, but people are rude, rude and being assholes, about the changes and renovations happening like it is my fault that they have to walk an alternative route. I need a coffee, a bought coffee, a big one, and I have sworn off buying coffee this week.

End of day 1:

I paid the $4.35 for the coffee, my teen boy got B+ on algebra and my Mum cooked me dinner.

Vows

Vow | a solemn or earnest pledge or promise binding the person making it to perform a specified act or behave in a certain way (Collins dictionary).

A guy  I work with recently got married, and of course posted the wedding YouTube video to Facebook. I cried into my porridge and wrecked my work makeup.  It wasn’t the Bali garden setting, with the view of the ocean over a stone wall, or the flowers that adorned everything or the trendy macramé curtain that framed the couple beautifully under a wooden arbour, that had me weeping. It was their vows. Vows that were their own words written with thought, truth, humour and love.

When I was a bride to be, all I wanted was to marry Scott and have his babies. With everything in me down to my soul I wanted to be the wife to my first love.  I wanted the traditional Catholic Church wedding, with the white dress, standing before God, family and friends being tied to Scott forever. The Catholics have their own script and order of service for the wedding ceremony and at the time I was okay with that. The only thought I put into my vows was that I would not vow to “obey”.

The day of our wedding, I couldn’t wait to get to the church, (I was 20min early). Walking with my Mum on my left and my Dad on my right, and my sisters walking in front of me. I smiled and waved and said hello to family and friends, as I walked towards my guy in the black suit looking like he wanted to vomit or curse me for taking so long to get to him. When I finally did reach him I couldn’t take my eyes off him, all we had to do was say “I do” after the Priest recited the words and vows that bound us.

Priest: Scott, do you take Melinda for your lawful wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?

Scott: I do.

Priest: Melinda do you take Scott for your lawful husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?

Melinda: I do.

After 15 years of marriage, the words that I vowed to live my married life by seem shallow, weak and immature. (That opinion is coming from a place of experience, time, hindsight, trials and love).

I wish I would have had a heart-to-heart to the women in my family, extended family and friends about being a wife and the relationship of marriage. I was so young the concept was of marriage was romantic and exciting. I wish I had my Grandmother, mother, and aunties share their wisdom and insights into being a wife.  What is the joy in their marriage and the difficulties in their marriage?  In hindsight I would of crafted deeper, authentic words and my own personal promises instead of; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.

Girls night in

Honestly look at this photo……..I love it.  This photo could be the poster for one of those heart-warming, tear jerking, comedy chick flicks about girls from high school and where they ended up as women in their thirties.

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I was nervous, insecure and had an emotional week. I didn’t have the strength to put on my everything is great / confident face. All day Saturday I completely melted my brain trying to think of an excuse to bail out of dinner.

I was having dinner with women that I have been friends with since year 8 of high school. So we were about 13 or 14 and are now 37.  Some I have been closer with than others, (Renee and I watched 500000000 hours of Tom Cruise in Top Gun and we still joke about me cheating on our Japanese exam and me getting a better mark).  But all of us are connected over those awkward and ugly years of teenage hood, (I was definitely the ugliest with silver braces, glasses and short hair and the nick name penguin- oh the horror). Obviously I didn’t chicken out of dinner with a pathetic excuse.  No, I pulled up my big girl knickers, actually they were a lacy number that matched my bra – nice knickers are my thing. Threw over the top of them my favourite jeans, white button up top with my favourite flats, and dressed it up with some jewellery, total mum uniform and I wanted to wear something funkier but I felt like I needed a shield.

Before the woman on my Google maps took me the scenic way to dinner, I called in at the local bottlo and choose a bottle of red with the coolest label I could find (also one of my things- to find the coolest/ prettiest/ most appealing label on the bottle and that’s what I buy).

By the time seven of us arrived, all the hugs, kisses and greetings were done and sitting at a perfectly set table, dining on amazing food, sipping French champagne. I couldn’t remember what I had been worried about.  There is such comfort and ease in being with people that you have known for such a long period of time and have history with.  We don’t see or talk to each other every day, week or month. But chatting, laughing and catching up was seamless and felt as though we do speak every day (well we kind of did on FB messenger trying to organize dinner and when everyone was available).  Then, (I am not sure who, by then a couple of flutes had been sunk) someone said we should go around the table saying one nice thing that we think about ourselves.  I will not reveal what was said at that sacred women’s table. But let’s just say there was uncertainty, uncomfortable truths, support for each other, calling bullshit, love, laughter, tears, snot, toilet paper (ran out of tissues), lots of hand holding and hugging, and a pact was made. Bottles of champagne and chocolate truffles smoothed over the emotions. We are all of the same age, but all at such different stages in our life. And all of the stunning women around that table had trouble sharing something awesome about themselves, despite the love that was flowing.  I feel incredibly blessed to have had a cherished, cleansing and connected experience with some special women in my life.

Mumma at the beach

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Dressed in cut off shorts, t-shirt and jumper, big sunglasses and blonde pixie hair that I ran my fingers through before leaving home. I Embrace my inner lizard and climb the wooden rail and take up a spot on a sandstone rock to soak up and enjoy the little bit of warmth the winter sun provides, while my family surfsin the ocean below. All the surfers and body boarders look the same in with their black wetsuits and white boards.  I am nervous with my boy’s out there in the expanse of ocean, but they love it. They don’t care about the size, temperature or being the small, amateurs amongst the adult locals.
A woman in her late teens dressed in cut off shorts exposing a leg tattoo that skims her knee, long hair piled on top of her head in a messy bun, a jumper with bikini straps hanging out the top,  her little boy on her right hip and her left arm full of towels and bags followed her partner carrying a surf board down the wooden steps to the sand. She sets her load down on the sand, strips off her jumper, and starts unloading a bag with a hat  and board shorts for her little one. Her little guy starts walking in the car tracks lining the beach.
Looking at the ocean I am silently cheering on one of my boys as he catches a beautiful wave all the way to the beach. (Lucky I didn’t loudly cheer like I wanted to. It was not one of my boys.)
A few minutes later in between a stream of surfers and body boarders, another family walked past me baking on my piece of sandstone rock. 
A woman in her late twenties dressed in jeans, shoes and socks, jumper, scarf and a backpack. Her partner behind her with a little boy and surf board in one arm and towels and a bag in the other. The lady shakes out a towel and has a seat.  The partner sets down the little boy, towels and bag. Arranges a towel for the little boy, grabs his surfboard and runs into the surf.  The Mumma pulls out a phone and an Ipad, she hands the Ipad to the little boy and starts tapping on her phone.
As I watch the ocean and try to identify my family, little boy one runs to the edge of the water and plays tag with the waves, I can hear his belly laughs as the waves almost touch his bare feet. Next to him his Mum writes with a stick in the wet sand.
My husband catches a great little wave and flings himself into the water as the wave ends.  I know that it’s him from the colour of his wetsuit and the way that his foot sticks up as he duck dives. 
Little boy two runs to copy little boy one, his mum puts down her phone, picks up little boy two places him back on the towel with the Ipad and dusts off his shoes.
My littlest boy comes out of the ocean, with a slight purple hue about him.  I peel myself off my rock and meet him at the stairs. He is frozen and can barely speak, but tells me he had heaps of fun and runs to the car to get changed. 
As I try and find my other boy in the crowd of surfers,  little boy one races away up the beach with his mumma pretending to chase him.  Little boy two hasn’t lifted his head from the Ipad screen.   My littlest one comes up behind me and puts his freezing cold hands over my face and laughs his little head off.

Hands

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I notice people’s hands, I have a weird little quirk about hands, I find them interesting and I think you can tell a lot about someone from looking at their hands.

It has been a running joke with my husband for the 19 years that we have been together – I always tell him he is lucky he has rough manly hands or he wouldn’t be touching me.  He was a tradie for most of the time that I have been with him, I like that his hands look like they have worked, with callouses, skin off and stains on his strong hands. I also work in a hospital, and find Doctors hands fascinating. I look at some hands and they are more feminine than mine but am blown away with the knowledge that those hands save lives every day.

At work last week it was my job to admit to the hospital a patient that was having a right pneumonectomy (removal of right lung). I called the ticket number corresponding with the patient and prepared the paperwork for the admission. There was three forms to be signed and total of 4 signatures needed.

The two chairs in front of me promptly filled I looked up and said “Good morning, I am just going to complete your admission paperwork and get you up to the ward. Ok?” The man spoke softly in Burmese to the 39.3kg woman that is the same age as my Mum and wouldn’t even reach my shoulders. She smiled a beautiful smile that made the skin around her eyes wrinkle and nodded her head. I explained all the paperwork to her, letting my gaze bounce between her and her interpreter, ( I always feel awkward in these situations, because I don’t want to be rude to either person, so end up looking like one of those clowns in side show ally at the show, with my head going side to side).

I handed the petite lady then pen and pointed to where she needed to sign and what the signatures were for. Obviously, me with my weird hand preoccupation noticed this ladies hands.  Her tiny hands, looked as if they had been made of beautiful tan leather, with deep wrinkles, scars, callouses and dark spots on the back of her hands. Her fingers were short, nails trimmed and clean but were thick and  muscled up. These hands had worked hard all of their life. She gave me another beaming smile as she held the pen at a clumsy angle in her masculine hands.  I smiled back as her interpreter instructed her to sign the paper. I continued with my job of admitting her and entering information into her file on the hospital data base, while talking to the ward to secure her bed. The interpreter pushed the paper across the desk to me as I continued to process this ladies details. I looked down to start the paper trail, sending the documents to where they needed to go and noticed that my sweet, happy, hardworking Burmese lady had signed all the paperwork with a circle.

I tried not to let the moisture clouding my vision fall.

I finished her admission, secured her bed on the ward and instructed the interpreter on where to take, this gorgeous soul. The interpreter spoke to her and she stood from her chair, placed praying hands at her solar plexus and bowed to me. I of course had tears, blew her a kiss and bowed my head.

Rhonda Ryde – Stella’s Awakening

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I have a fear of writing. A deep seated anxiety that I am not good enough, that my grammar is appalling, that I cannot express adequately in words the beauty that I experience. That I cannot express emotions effectively and make them beautiful or haunting in text. I fear that what I write no one will be interested in. I fear that I have no qualifications to write, I am not an expert, and don’t have a degree.

None of these same fears plagued Rhonda, a successful, new author that kindly let me interview her.

“I had never written anything before, but I had a story inside me and I just wanted to write it, I held zero expectation, I started writing for fun”.

Researching, attending workshops, and pod casts steered Rhonda down the self-publishing path.

“I discovered Kindle; I was so excited that I could publish my book, myself on Kindle. I just wanted to get it out there.”

She sourced and engaged several booklovers to beta- read her work, a story that was her life. A story about making a choice to fly and fall into the arms of her supportive husband. To abandon the life that she was raised in.  

The editing of Stella’s Awakening proved to be a learning experience, she dismissed several editors who thought they knew what she was trying to portray in her writing. Following her intuition and her own vision for the book, she unearthed the perfect editor with experience and knowledge of the erotic romance genre.

The Skype screen finally comes to life after several attempts to connect with Rhonda Ryde, self-published author of a new erotic romance Stella’s Awakening. Regardless of being separated by a computer screen, Rhonda’s enthusiasm and joy is palpable.

I am so glad she can’t see my knee bouncing erratically or the sheet of paper in my hands shaking like a leaf.

Rhonda is seated comfortably in her lounge room in her home in New South Wales. Head held high, arms relaxed and open on the sides of her chair, an excited sparkle in her eye and a gorgeous toothy smile on her face.  Her daughter can be spotted in the background enjoying the school holidays. Rhonda is taking time off to spend with her daughter away from her part-time job as an interpreter for the deaf. Rhonda tells me that she is currently finishing the first draft of the second book. She explains that it has taken so long to come to life because she is all about balance.

“I was so emotionally drained from writing and publishing the first book that the second book has taken much longer to write.”

She loves spending as much time with her husband and daughter as she can, she loves her job and would not sacrifice that for fulltime writing. Rhonda has a passion for surfing and motorbike riding that she enjoys with her cherished husband. She tells me that writing is another hobby that she adores and has the encouragement, and undying support of her love. She immerses herself in the erotic romance writing at a time that has been allocated to after 8.30pm, after she has spent half an hour tucking her daughter in to bed and de-briefing on the day. She spends time on her days off writing when she is home alone.   

Rhonda expresses how she loves the magic of writing, she loves that as a first time, inexperienced writer she has been able to successfully tell her story. My heart is so full for this woman. When I read her book and studied it again in preparation for the interview, I did have a feeling that the story held an element of truth. There was a bravery and elegance in which Rhonda expressed her story and life experience. The strong conviction with which the words were penned, and the stylish presentation of the book. Add in spicy pieces of writing that were inspired by reading extensively in the erotic romance genre. Reading this love story, was a joy. It is overflowing with secrets, shame, commitment, devotion, passion, mind blowing sex and forbidden love. The other elements of the story had me at times crying into my Kindle. I wanted to tell her that the writing of the words showed fearlessness, but also the publishing of the book.

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“How did you celebrate the publishing of Stella’s awakening?”

Laughing, Rhonda tells me; “I hit publish, said yay it’s published, we had dinner, and that was it”.

When asked about the plot of the book and some of the controversial topics, Rhonda is open, honest and raw in her answer. My skin was prickling and my heart was racing on her behalf, fear of confrontation or rejection would cripple me. Because this book isn’t just about her, it is about her family and a religious lifestyle that has millions of followers. One question was; what she thought her family, friends and her old congregation would say and her answer was given to me with steel in her voice and a straight backbone.

“It is a bridge that has still not been mended with my family, they know that I have written the book, but no one has mentioned it”.

Rhonda says that she wasn’t particularly worried about what her biological family would say about the book. She tells me that the emotional heartache and life changing choices she has had, in her life have made her the thick-skinned woman that she is.

“I have had a few people that I know, but didn’t know my story tell me how brave I am to write this book. I feel proud that I was brave enough to do it”.

Rhonda embraces life fully, and doesn’t second guess trying new and at times confronting experiences. She feels that as long as she has her husband and her daughter by her side she can accomplish anything.

“I tell people to live their own life, if you don’t like how you were raised don’t live it, who cares if you cause waves. Live your life”.

This interview experience has motivated me. As I replay the recorded interview, and listen again to this woman’s words. My fingers itch to tap away on a keyboard, my heart and mind are not caring about grammar or if people will like my writing. I have a need to get stories and experiences on paper in a raw and emotional way. The mechanics can be fixed later and if there is no applause that is ok as well.  

 

 

Becareful what you wish for.

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A couple of weeks ago I commented on a post I read on the Barefoot Five Facebook or Instagram account ( I can’t remember which one). The post was about women in the western world not allowing themselves to wail in the face of grief. My comment was something like: Wish I had the courage to wail, or maybe I need to wail or some such nonsense.  You have to be careful what you wish for (or comment on), because the universe will deliver. You ask for it. You get it, good or bad.

I don’t remember much of my wailing, I remember stumbling to the sanctuary of my bed and wrapping myself up in thick woollen blankets, as I curled myself into the fetal position on my right side, the white pillow case instantly wet with the flow of tears, it was 2.09pm.

 

During meditation sessions that I have tried, the instructor, speaks of breathing in and drawing up all of the negative energy from the very tips of your toes and working your way up your body until you can blow out the damaging feelings. Curled in on myself I didn’t consciously have to do this, my body, mind, soul seemed to go into auto pilot and no that I had darkness and pain to purge, I felt energy/pain from the tips of my toes to the crown of my head. The ripping, followed by hollowness in my chest, seemed to be where the beastly sounding howling was coming from. I only heard it once and then my conscious mind, plunged me back into nothingness. How do I know this? When I felt a somewhat return to mindfulness I rolled on to my left side in a hot mess of snot, tears and saliva, the red digital numbers told me it was 4.00pm. Of course Mother guilt the evil bitch was the first one to slap me in the face.  “Shit, what if my boys saw me like this”.  I tried to launch myself off the bed and be done with the wailing. It didn’t feel good or cleansing. I couldn’t get up anyway my muscles felt like jelly, my throat was raw, my mouth was dry, my eyes were swollen shut, I was surprised to look at my chest and not see a great big hole, my head felt foggy and heavy. Much easier to curl up for another half an hour.

My wailing and purging of grief lead to a series of bodily changes over the next couple of days ranging from headaches, running to the toilet every single time I ate or drank. My chest hurt and my muscles felt weak. I did however feel slightly stronger in my mind, wailing seemed to open up my throat chakra/energy and I was able to put a voice to issues and feelings that I had not ever been able to.

 

So I got my wish, I had the courage to wail and I did need it. I do feel lighter for it, it did cleanse and maybe in time I will be grateful for the experience.

 

#showtherealyou

I was motivated last night to get back into writing while watching the state of origin (Queensland WON).  I was on Instgram, I found a post from the mummysomniac.  She had been featured by @aliceinhealthyland for a Q and A #showtherealyou.  Long story short, I commented that I was motivated by her answers to get back into writing.  Well shit I thought, when she commented back that if I write something so will she.  SO here I am.  I thought I would borrow the questions from the Q and A she did and answer them myself.  Here we go. (I was going to change the questions slightly, because I wasn’t interviewed but decided to leave them).

 

I love your Instagram name!I think it is so clever! Can you tell me how you came up with it?

@medwardsblog, is an extension of my blog name.  ME blog. ME blog came about in November 2015.  I participated in 30 day blogging challenge, and LOVED it. I sat for ages trying to think of a cool, quirky, memorable name for the blog that I had no intention of telling anyone about. Every name I came up with sounded ridiculous and a bit tri-hardy.  My initials are ME, I thought that ME would be a good name because; they are my initials, the blog is about me, and it’s simple.

 

Can you tell myself and my followers a little about why you created @medwardsblog?

Well once I started writing in the 30 day blog challenge and was loving it so much, I wanted to share my writing. Instagram seemed a good place to promote my blog. After stalking around on there and finding thousands of people promoting everything from their boobs, to their business, their babies, I thought I could get some readers to my blog. I don’t only put up blog posts, I also post images or quotes that I find motivational, inspirational or funny. The quotes don’t always apply to how I am feeling at the time, but I figure that they may mean something to someone.

 

As a busy mumma what is your go to workout?

This is hilarious. I don’t have a go to workout. You can read all about my fitness struggles here and here and here and here.

HOWEVER, when I am motivated, feel unsettled or my body feels tight.  I do love to press play on the ipod and lose myself in a yoga session, or go for a walk.

 

How often do you find the time to move your body? 

Lately not much at all. Cooler weather, makes me want to hibernate like a mumma bear, mix that with night duty and moving is the last thing I want to do.  I do know that I need to kick my own butt and get moving, because moving is good for my mental health, and my body does cope with stress much better after a good power yoga session, or a brisk, sweaty walk.

 

Favourite activewear?

Mmmmm, I have been known to have a burnt toosh, from doing downward dog on the beach in bikini bottoms. I do have a pair of Lorna Jane shorts that are extremely comfortable. Otherwise it is shorts, tights, bikinis, yoga pants, for yoga and walking. But I mean always up for an active wear company to throw me some products to try out.

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When you are having a rough day, what do you believe helps you to pull through?

Wine… No if I am having a rough day at home, I just need to be left alone. I need to be able to be sad, or cranky or depressed all on my own. I don’t want someone to fix me, don’t want to talk about whatever is bothering me until I am ready. If it’s a work, same, just let me work I don’t need to chat about my rough day.

For me early dinner, long, steaming hot shower where my skin just about peels off, and an early night is what helps to pull me through.

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Favourite quote or mantra?

This one keeps popping up for me;

“What if I fall? Oh but my darling what if you fly?” I keep seeing this everywhere over the last few months.wp-1464840221846.jpg

And absolutely without a doubt one of my faves is: Your vibe attracts your tribe”

 

 

 

 

 

Proud mumma moment?

The tears and sobs were flowing last year at Jazz night at the high school my boy goes to. He decided he wanted to learn the clarinet. Now this boy is a sports kid head to toe. But he wanted to have a go and I encouraged him to go for lessons at the school. Jazz night is a showcase of all the children at the school who have been learning an instrument, and by learning I mean some of these kids play for the QLD youth orchestra.  BUT my boy wanted to have a go.  He was so nervous, I was so nervous, he got up on stage in front of the musical elite at the school and played his clarinet. He stopped a couple of times, he made that clarinet squeak like a parrot and he got a standing ovation.  He put his head down and almost ran off the stage, he hid out in the back room until the night was over, snuck out a back door and tried to get to the car before anyone could see him. My heart was so full for that brave boy, who got up and had the guts to have a go. That experience for my boy is one of the proudest moments I have experienced as a mumma.

 

Something you do for yourself?

My house is all boys, husband, kids, and dog. I mean we do have 5 chickens that I have an absolute love/hate relationship with. (I love their eggs, but hate the freaky bitches that peck my feet when I try and feed them). So sometimes I really need to get away from the testosterone, the endless competitiveness, the constant sport talk and do something girly just for me. Sometimes that is getting my hair done, or my nails, often it is a coffee with my mum or a friend.

  

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Who inspires you?

I feel as though I should say my husband is the pinnacle of my inspiration or rant on about my awesome tribe, or how my kids are my inspiration, or how my mum or dad have inspired me to great heights. But in reality it is the people that have broken my heart just a little.  I don’t mean the people that have hurt my feelings and I think “oh you bitch”.  No, you know when someone says or does something that hurts your heart, even just for a second and leaves a blemish right there on your heart, and then the people that have hurt you so bad they don’t leave a blemish, they leave a scar. They are the ones that inspire me to be a good person, to be the best Mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunty, friend that I can be. To stick with my morals and beliefs, to not be a bitch. To not repeat the hurt that has been done to me.

Dream job?

To be paid to write. Like my blog description says: to write beautiful conversations, about stories, people and places I want to share.

There is so much beauty, pain, love, so many experiences and millions of stories in this world. I would love to be able to write just some of them and be able to earn my living from doing something that I am passionate about.

 Best advice you have been given?

Just keep finding you, keep doing things that help you find you. Love this I was told this in a tarot card reading.  It is another form of motivation for me. It makes me always want to find out what I may like, or be good at or find what I don’t like.  Kinda like a treasure hunt.

 Favourite beauty product?

Well at the moment it is the De Lorenzo Novo Silver shampoo. I decided a couple of weeks ago that blondes have more fun, went to the hairdresser and went a silvery, pearly, platinum blonde.  I am usually dark, dark brown.  The silver shampoo is my absolute favorite and necessary beauty product at the moment, so that I don’t look like a yellow headed, $2 hooker that needs her re-growth done.

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