Self Hatred and Blinding Love

I wake up just after 1am to the sound of you snoring gently, sleeping peacefully beside me. 

As I watch you, your chest rising and falling, your stubbled cheek, the crook of your neck – my favourite place to be – my body instinctively arches toward yours and I realise another evening has passed without your touch.

It’s only been two days and it feels like two years.

Not his fault

My insides ache to feel our connection again. A thoroughly familiar sensation after all these years;

My safe place.

God how I love you.

My heart is heavy, my chest is leaden; it’s a physical pain that feels like it might actually break me open. Crack my ribs apart and have my heart fall onto the floor.

This is one of those eerily quiet knowing times; when I look at you in the moonlight and know with absolute certainty, no doubt whatsoever, that I love you more than life. More than anything. More than you do I. 

More than I do myself 

My heart skips a broken beat and feels like it’s shattering. I think it might actually be bursting.

I wish, just for a split second, that you had not stopped the brewing row, maybe followed me when I left the room. Perhaps ‘love me enough’ – my self loathing tells me- to come find me in the dark.

But I don’t quite finish the thought because I already know logically that we don’t work that way; none of my brief immature wishing would change that; and nor would I want it to. Not at all. I recognise my churlish craving for what it is…a lack of self love and respect.

I know you to the very core of your being. So, I know you retreat for both my protection as well as the precise fact that you do love me enough. And then, also for your own need to remain calm, strong, solid. 

You; my eternal solid stoic oak tree.

My safe place;

And anyway; I don’t want anything other than the real you. I love the authentic, honest and raw you. Not some other falsified flimsy Disney version of you.

Then I remember why I miss you so;  I tried, far too early, to obliterate last nights searing internal pain with a handful of sleeping pills. It worked briefly I suppose, but why the hell am I awake at 1am after a bottle (or so) of wine and an excessive amount of pills?  

I can’t even succeed in escaping the pain for one full night. 

My left arm tingles to remind me of what I did to myself before downing the pills. A burning reminder;

Shit; I failed you again

I punished myself for feeling like a failure. For letting you down once more. 

Ironic. I can punish myself for feeling like a failure; and then feel like more of a failure.

Serves you right – my self loathing rears again

New wounds atop old scars; some far too old to be a consideration anymore. Some not old enough. Some not quite healed from last time. The ongoing struggle of my self loathing written, as always, on my inner left arm.

My heartache stabs me again and my breath is jagged with the internal pain.

I know well enough by now that harming my own flesh is the same as harming yours. We are, after all, One. One flesh; one in body and soul: and have been so for more than two decades now.

As I watch you sleeping peacefully the picture of your knowing blue eyes flashes in my mind; you looking at me with hurt and disappointment when you find out tomorrow.

My head suddenly feels too heavy to support and it drops. I blink and lose big tears over each cheek. They drop onto our bed just like fat rain.

How can I disappoint you again?

My failing is so big right now that I’m not sure if I’ll ever forgive myself enough to function properly ever again.  

This intense self hatred and endless soaring absolute love for you is a dichotomy that I still don’t understand, or know how to manage.

Right now; at this moment, I know I will not actively try like last time; but if death came looking for me, I wouldn’t fight The Reaper . 

I’d gladly fall asleep and never have to wake up to this soul destroying self hatred; despite the chest crushing, heart wrenching and blinding love that I know I am so very exceedingly and abundantly fortunate to experience.

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Monet, Mental Health and Light.

I’ve been grappling with whether to write a post about this or not.

Facebook helpfully reminded me today that my blog readers have been neglected recently; akin to the rest of my life really; so, I thought I might try to string a few words together. A string of pearls that hopefully don’t fail to make some impression, even if minimal.
Forgive me if they are not up to par.

I recently spent three weeks in a Mental Health hospital and have been home for 2 weeks now.

It all feels very much like a Monet.
If you stand too close; it’s just a blur. Nothing to make any sense of at all.
But if you stand back just enough; you can see the scene –
it reveals an overarching truth.
Waterlilies or Rouen Cathedral.
Even to the irrational mind, there is an order, a stance, a ‘something’ that touches on the rational thought enough to break through with some meaning.

I suppose I am doing this in warning, partially, for all the women out there who are trying desperately, and ever-so quietly, to keep too many balls in the air.
There are responsibilities that must be met and all the while you might be breaking and not even know it.

I was breaking and did not know it.
I had been working 80+ hours a week for 6 months.
Eventually I holed myself in a hotel for two weeks in order ‘to work around the clock’ because, I told myself, “it’s more efficient.”
I could rationalise getting out of bed, walking to the laptop, working a 20 hour day in pyjamas, going to bed, and then repeat. Repeat.
Repeat.
Repeat.
and Repeat. One step too close to the Monet.

My husband came to talk me out of the nonsense.
I was standing too close and could only see the blur

My CFO came to talk me out of the nonsense.
I could only see the blur.

My CEO came to talk me out of the nonsense.
I could only see the blur.

I Face Timed my kids. I knew I loved and missed them, but alas
I could only see the blur.

I did not realise yet, and it seems absurd now in retrospect, that I was neglecting my family; but most importantly, I was losing myself.
At first I did not exist outside of Employee; Mother, Wife.
And no-one could convince me that I was not failing every single one of those roles; because the truth is, I was.
I knew in my bones that I was failing.
Falling.

Failing
every.single.thing.
As an employee I was not doing enough. As a Mother I was failing my children so SO very terribly. As a wife – well that was non-existent, and I just knew I was failing my husband in every way possible.

The Directors eventually put rules around my work hours – no work after 8pm – and still I defied them and was in the office until 3am every night.

I rationalised that I was ‘just delivering by deadline’
And then, or perhaps sometime before; in the blur; I began to exist as a shadow.
I lost Employee, I lost Mother, I lost Wife, I lost Self.
A black abyss.

Every second of being alive hurt me to the core. Because this thing, this abyss, had wasted every part of me; I had begun to think that the inability to see beyond the blur, was the worst possible feeling that could exist.
But the truth is that the very worst feeling is in the total violation of feeling altogether.
A nothingness.
A total void of soul.

I still did not see the vicious consequences to come.
I could only see the blur of the Monet.

And then one day, when I least expected it…
One person said one little thing…
And I finally came apart. Separated from myself;  from reason. Isolated and lost in the deep.

As Emily Dickinson wrote “I felt a funeral in my brain”
And in that deep is where I understood, finally, the meaning of her words

“And I, and Silence, some strange Race,
Wrecked, solitary, here – “

And it confirmed for me all the things I already knew of myself. How much I was failing. How much of a terrible Mother and Wife I really was. How much I was failing every single thing.
How much I had lost myself.
How hollow I had become.

I and Silence, Wrecked and Solitary here…

I had received, like a gift thrown in exasperation, an external opinion that confirmed for me all of my deepest internal doubts and fears.
I crashed and fell.
I broke.
I lost myself beyond all recognition.

“…I dropped down and down –
And hit a world at every plunge –
And finished knowing – then – “

Thankfully my husband recognised that I needed more than just a ‘sleep in’
If I’m honest, I wanted nothing more than to lessen the burden of myself from the most important people in my life.
I could not reconcile loving them and hurting them at the same time.
My solution?
Leave them to it. They will be better for it.
And I begged my husband to let me go. Forever. I fought him for it.

But of course he would not allow me. He watched and protected my shattered soul and did not rest for four days until he ensured I was admitted to a Mental Health facility.
The truth is he still, almost 6 weeks on, has still not rested.
And I know he will not rest yet.
He saved me, when all I could see was the senseless blur of a perspective that makes no sense at all.

If you stand too close; it’s too blurred to give any significance.
But if you stand back just enough; you can see the truth; Rouen Cathedral of North-Western France.

It took 3 weeks in hospital for me to begin to focus myself enough to grasp any concept other than the messy, distorted, and painfully blurry perspective of the previous 6 months.
It has been another 2 weeks at home and I’m still standing a little too close to see much more than a grey blur.

I take comfort in knowing that one day I will take one more step back and be able to see the Cathedral in the way Monet truly intended.
In every light spectrum; cloudy grey, light morning, midday, dusk, and more.
The result of Monet’s deep fascination with the effects of light. He understood the overarching truth of life…

Without darkness there can be no true appreciation for light.

And I, am ever so grateful.

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Go Out and Tell Someone

I’ve had a terrible fucking long weekend.

O took the kids (except one who didn’t want to go) away for 3 days to spend time with family; for fishing, boating, picnics and four-wheel driving.

I was supposed to work all weekend but I didn’t.

Sounds good in theory right?

Not always.

I had a kid go AWOL for 6 hours in the middle of the night. Made 64 phone calls, uncountable texts and voicemails to friends and family at 1am, and considered callings the cops.

Thankfully some amazing friends helped me. They went looking for my son at 3am while I was loosing my mind. (You know who you are, I love you 😘)

O cut his trip short, came home to help me deal with the chaos and we spent most of today fighting.

I fought with the love of my life pretty much all day long because, LIFE.

And now despite the undeniable love that holds us together through all this LIFE, I am falling apart.

Still, amongst the awful pain of all this, I had to squeeze in a few quick work emails, send apologetic texts to the colleagues I’ve let down; do the bare minimum to not be hated/perceived as incompetent at work.

Tomorrow I must go to work, there’s really no choice, and I will be expected to pretend everything is ok. I will paste on a smile, attend a management meeting and do 5 days worth of work in 2.

Question- why do we hide all this shit from each other? Why do show up to our workplace/sales meeting/anything social and pretend that all is well; pretend that shit is not falling apart?

Is it competence or is it stigma?

Is it professionalism or is it shame?

I don’t understand why we do this to ourselves.

While I am known for my brutal honesty, I haven’t always been honest about my leave days, especially when they are the result of mental health.

It used to be “gastro” of “flu” but I’ve changed that recently. I’ve started telling my management team that shit is going down. “I’m not ok”, or “my unstable teen needs me”

There should be no shame or stigma in either of those things.

But sadly, there still is, even now in 2018, in the workplace there is still the undercurrent of incompetence in the face of mental health.

As Harvey Milk once said when asked by a young gay man how he could help the cause, “Go out and tell someone”

Go out and tell someone.

I think that’s a good enough answer for me.

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17 Years Ago Today.

One day, at the age of 21, almost 18 years ago I woke up knowing something was different about me. I felt it in my body; I felt it in my psyche.

I’d had an oddly vivid dream.

My dream was running, searching, frantic; helpless. I felt an ache in my heart that I didn’t recognise then; but now I know it well.
In my dream my Mother appeared and held both my hands in hers. I recognised that she felt the same ache within her. Her presence calmed me. She looked deep into my soul with her love and wisdom and said “You must do anything to protect your children”

That ache is what I now understand as a Mothers love.

I woke up and immediately knew you were there.
My very first wakened thought, “I must be pregnant”.

I knew you were there without any of the usual signs of pregnancy. It was far too early to have any signs. Still, I knew with the same certainty that I had at 16 years old, I would marry your Father one day. I knew with the same certainty that the sun will rise in the East and set in the West. I knew with such certainty, that I could not be swayed. Now, years later, I understand that to be Mothers intuition. (True story – it happened again with each of your siblings – I knew before I medically should have known – the dreams were different, but I awoke knowing I was pregnant)

You were a secret for a little while. Only a little while because we were just so excited.
We waited merely long enough to produce a positive test and then we told everyone you were there.
We told everyone you were there before I had a legitimate medical blood test. We told everyone you were there before the ‘official waiting period’ was up. We told everyone you were there the same day that we confirmed it with a home pregnancy test.

Some people were sceptical “A bit early to know – you should wait a bit before you tell people”

Nah, I knew. I had my dream, by psyche, my body telling me something was different and my wee stick.
I KNEW.

You were there, growing in my belly.
It didn’t take long for the morning sickness to kick in, and then there was no doubt.

It seemed to take forever to get through your pregnancy.
We had already been engaged for 3 years, wedding plans were finalised, and I was 4½ months pregnant on our wedding day.

You made me have my wedding dress taken out, rather than ‘the usual’ taken in (as the dressmaker helpfully declared)
You made me vomit on my wedding day (but I forgive you)
I was sick for most of our honey moon (but I forgive you)
I gained 30kg’s and looked like a baby elephant (but I forgive you)

I cried alot while I was pregnant with you. At commercials on TV. At strangers. At nothing in particular. I ate alot of ice-cream too. Mostly I worried if you would be healthy. I worried if you would be born with all the right stuff, in all the right places, and all the right functions. I wondered curiously about whom you would look like and who you would become. I wondered apprehensively what your future might hold. I feared for the world you would be born into. I wondered how I would protect and guide and teach you.

The day you arrived wasn’t a surprise for any of us.
You were induced two weeks late.

I.was.ready.

You were suctioned out after an induced crazy 18 hours of active labour. SIX hours of second stage (I’m not kidding) and in all seriousness, you have been just as stubborn ever since.
Toward the end, my doctor asked for my permission – mid contraction- if some students could come to watch you be born. I distinctly remember saying ‘I don’t care just help me get him out!”
That’s how we ended up with a team of more than a dozen people in the room. My doctor, my two midwives, at least 9 student doctors watching and learning as you were suctioned out.
Even though I thought I was dying, I remember laughing at the sound of the suction cup as it stuck to your head. It was a blinding pain and yet, it was a sweet little ‘sucup’ sound, and the most alive, liberating and blissful feeling I have ever felt.
But in my own pain, I felt for you; I wondered ‘Did that hurt him?’

Your Dad and Grandma were there.
Dad, because he knows me, knows my cues, understands who I am.
Grandma, because she knows her child in a way only a Mother can, she knows Mothers, she knows birth, she knew what I needed without the need for words. (They became the most amazing birthing duo of all time)

You came out with a little muffin suction cup bruise on the top of your adorable (fat) head.
Birthing you was my very first lesson in what it means to be human.
I was just 22 years old, you were my first lesson in adulthood.
You were my first lesson in what it means to make choices, not just for myself but for the little life that relied on me now too.
You were my first realisation that I actually was responsible for something bigger than myself.

Grandma said my first words after your birth were “Is he really mine?”

I actually could not believe they were going to let me leave the hospital with you. How could such a beautiful, perfect being be the result of anything I did?

I half expected someone to tap me on the shoulder as Dad and I left the hospital with you…’Err sorry this was just a loan, you’re not ready for this yet, hah. Soz”

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You were the reason I learned many of my early parenting skills.
You taught me that 3 day baby blues is a very real thing.
You taught me that women don’t automatically know how to breastfeed, and neither do their babies.
You taught me co-sleeping was ok.
You taught me demand feeding was ok.
You taught me that 2am feeds are actually the most peaceful beautiful blissful thing in the world.
You taught me that formula was acceptable too.
You taught me that cloth nappies (at that time) were a huge waste of time.
You taught me that I would sometimes fail.
You taught me that not only would I make a mistake, but that mistakes are not just ok, they’re actually imperative to parenting and life.
You taught me, and I learned that we fumble, we fail, we make mistakes; we learn, we love and we do it again.
That’s what parenting is.
The day you came into the world was the day that changed my life forever.

You made me a Mother.

Before then, I was many things. A wife, a Sister, a Daughter, a Granddaughter, a Cousin, a Friend.

YOU, made me a Mother.

I have loved every moment with you. I have loved every single stage of childhood, every early morning feed, every cute stage of your young toddlerhood, every childhood scrap (the two broken arms?), every testosterone fueled teenage angst diatribe, every stage of your life journey; and even every single stubborn argument. (OK, ‘love’ might not be the right word for the arguments….try ‘appreciate?’)
It has been 17 years of love and excitement and also pain.
Love because you are mine, and no matter what, you always will be. I made you, I love you unconditionally.
Excitement in your first steps; in your first words; in your fist day of school; in your first real girlfriend, in your first job, in your everyday life.
Excitement for your unmistakable grasp on your sense of self; for your ability to be exactly and unapologetically your authentic self; and excitement also because I see a bright future for you. A future that you don’t quite grasp yet.
Painful because as time passes and I see you grow into the most amazing young man, the man you are destined to become, I realise that I want to freeze time and memorise your life moments. I want to go back to your toddler days and remember your mispronunciations, your favourite toys, your fat little baby hands, and your classic authentic innocent self.
Painful because I want to protect you from the world, shelter you from harm and heartbreak, but I can’t.
Painful because I know that, even though independence is my intention, one day soon, you actually will be exactly that, and you won’t need me anymore.

Being your Mother has been, and always will be, the greatest joy of my life.
Know that I will always be here, in any and every capacity, because that is what Mothers do. They can even visit you in your dreams when they feel your need for them.

No matter how our world changes, no matter what life has in store for either of us, you will always be my first.
You’ll be an adult too soon. You will flee the nest and I will proudly stand aside as you spread your wings and fly out into the world; hoping against all hope that I have prepared you well.
Until then, I hope the days slow down just a little bit, because I am, after all, still your Mum.
You made me a Mother, and even though I have 3 other amazingly different and beautiful, equally cherished children, I have not forgotten that day 17 years ago. The day that I could first call myself Mum.

Happy Birthday Firstborn, I love you with all my heart and soul.

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You are not failing.

Parenting is fucking hard.

I was one of those Mums that knew what to do with little kids.
The timeouts, boundaries, strict routines, bedtimes, in their own beds – definitely not mine,- Super Nanny, reward charts, structured meal times, all that jazz.
My Mum said I was hard on them.
Maybe I was.
I had good toddlers, great little kids. Well mannered and well behaved. We used to take them to wineries and 5 star restaurants when they were 6, 4, 3, 1 year old, and they would, all four, sit nicely and behave themselves.
Why? Because if they blew bubbles in the lemonade they’d lose it. If their bum left the seat to run around the restaurant they missed out on play time in the park later.

( I won’t tell you that park time was “Mum and Dad need to sober up to drive” time :-D)

They knew the “mum look” and they were amazingly well behaved for their age. We didn’t ‘do’ play centre restaurants because we refused. We wanted to teach them how to sit their asses in a chair and behave respectably for a reasonable time frame (To be fair those play centres were few and far between back then)
We had strangers come to our table more times than I can count to tell us that “we should be so proud of our children; they are so well behaved, a credit to you both”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that..”

Now I know the truth.
No such thing as perfect children;

never ever.

ever.

Teenagers are a different beast entirely (for me)
Perhaps some parents find their fortè in teenagers.

Not me.

I can set boundaries and issue consequences, I can stop a toddler tantrum in its tracks, and I can sleep train a 3 year old.
I can talk and be open and initiate conversation regarding alcohol and drugs a sex with a teenager; nothing is off limits and I’m all about non judgement, safety, realism and acceptance.
What I cant do, is learn how to release all of those boundaries, consequences, and structures that I’ve worked so hard for.
Why, when its worked would I let it go now?…..because they’re almost adults, independent, and I have to let it go.

But in all seriousness, this shit is hard.
Harder than the naughty step (for me) harder than enforcing bedtime (for me), harder than toilet training (for me), harder than not blowing bubbles in lemonade (for me)

Let me assure you. We all have our parenting forte’; some early on, some in later years.

My forte’ has been and gone.

One of my kids is ADHD and ODD. I should have know earlier but I thought I was doing OK. This wont happen to me because ‘I’m in control’

False.

Dont Google ODD, it’s scary, and the reality is… it is damn scary. A teenager in the grips of testosterone while grappling these other mental health issues is hard.

A couple of days ago he told (screamed at) me “I fucking hate you and you should kill yourself!”
My baby. The one who giggled when I let him eat peaches from the can. The one who drank tomato sauce from the bottle. The one who was always reckless and cute. The one who is more intelligent than he understands yet. The one who is so loving and warm with such a big heart, said those awful words, to me. The one whom I love with my whole being,  nurtured, protected with my life, set boundaries, consequences and had a naughty step for. The one I did “everything right” for.
His psychological requirement now is that I learn to let go of that strict control. Not the boundaries, but the control,
He is teaching me (again) that parenting is a lifelong lesson. You will never be finished parenting.

never ever,

Regardless of his outburst,  I love him with only a Mothers intensity (of course), and my only desire as a parent is to ease his suffering. No matter what he says to me, my only pursuit is his lifelong happiness. (I still took a bottle of wine to the beach that day anyway)

My point is this… we have smiling selfies and awesome family holidays, great restaurant check ins, accompanied by awesome family snaps. Life is grand.
Nothing on social media is as perfect as it seems.
Everyone is suffering in their own way.

Kids say “I hate you”

Parents struggle daily with how to manage their babies sleep routines, the threenager tantrum;  just a cry-free, snot-free, lets-try-to-not-lose-a-sock-today, damn grocery shop; all this teenage angst;  a kid with a mental illness or a judgemental prick who doesn’t understand the ‘working mum’ struggle.

Marriages fail.

Parenting makes life hard. Absolutely no bones about it.

It’s not all all dinners and check ins and fucking awesome holidays, that’s for damn sure.
But viewing through the scope of social media can so easily make you believe you are failing.

You are not failing.

You’re doing the best you can with what you have. And your kids fucking love you for it (even the ones who tell you to fuck off will admit they actually do love you)

As one of my favourite people said

“When you know Better, you do better”
– Maya Angelou

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Your kids abide this rule too; they will do better when they know better.

You are just waiting for your parenting forte’. It will happen, early or late is irrelevant to your kids.
In my case, my forte has been and gone, but so what, I am still rocking this shit; and so are you.

 

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#whipit

 

I have been labelled aggressive before. This week is not the first time, nor will it be the last.
That’s ok. I can tough it out.
The truth is though, I am genuinely not an aggressive person. I am not soft and meek or passive either.
But aggressive? Nah.
I am firm, and passionate and protective. I am strong and resilient and outspoken. I am an advocate for my family, I don’t back down from confrontation and I am unafraid.
That does not an aggressive Rachael make.
I had spent the day at my Mum and Dads place. I had spent the day watching my Mother running around doing things for her mother; things that she could/should be doing for herself.
She looks tired, my poor tired Mum. She’s running herself ragged; so, before I leave, I hug her and take both my hands on her arms and tell her in no uncertain terms that she needs to stop. Stop the endless doing and bringing and go getting and running around after my Grandmother. My Grandmother who is more than capable but willingly allowing my mother to do everything because she can get away with it.
I was firm. And I was outspoken as I told her not to do the things for her that she can and should be doing for herself.
I was not afraid to say the things that polite people don’t say. I told her that my Grandmother is capable but lazy. She’s 80. I might be lazy at 80 too. But I can see the tired in my mother and she needs to know that I care; and I can see; and I will be the advocate she needs.
So, with a barrage of instructions about the rehab and the ‘district nursing’ I left her.

I was firm, forthright, protective of my mother and an advocate for her when I can see that she feels like she’s just doing what she must.
My husband says to me later…. “That was aggressive; you were aggressive”
And I must wonder…
If it were he, or any man, standing in advocacy and protecting his mother’s interests so strongly, in the same way I did, would he be called aggressive?
No. He wouldn’t.
He’d be a ‘Good son, looking after his Mum like that…What a good boy he is’

Aggression is Deflector, my now 16-year-old son when testosterone washes over him and he reaches for an outlet; any brother will do; to lash out in a masculine show of strength or play violence.
It is my CC, now 14; when he follows Princess around mercilessly annoying and taunting and attacking her until she submits to powerlessness.
It is my husband, on the rare occasion that he becomes angry enough to release a violent yell at me; or when he simply says something so quietly cutting, it almost feels like it was a physical pain (he’s a Scorpio)
Aggression is an attack, it carries hostility and the intention to cause hurt, it overpowers with force.

What I do with my family, my husband, my children, with the people I care about, is stand up for them, sometimes stand up against them, but always stand for them. I advocate for them, I protect them, I do for them what is right when they either can’t or won’t do it for themselves.

I’ll advocate for my children to both teachers and family if I need to. I’ll have a difficult conversation and I won’t shy away from a confrontation.
I do it fiercely and with passion.
Sometimes I do it like I’m giving orders.
Sometimes I do it loud.
I always do it with love and my intention is always good.
It is the only time I am strong. And I am not afraid to be confrontational.
But
I am not aggressive.

I am a woman.
And because I am a strong, forthright, loud and frequently ‘too’ direct, women I am labelled negatively.
This week my forward, passionate, unafraidness has awarded me the label ‘Aggressive’
I wouldn’t be the first woman to experience this gender bias.

I am aware that this happens more frequently in the workplace, I’ve lived it. But I’m betting that it happens in homes all over the country as well.

Where a man is confident, his female counterpart is aggressive
Where a man is dominant, his female counterpart is bossy
Where a man is self-assured, his female counterpart is self-absorbed
Where a man is persuasive, his female counterpart is pushy
Where a man is dedicated, his female counterpart is obsessive
Where a man is committed, his female counterpart is selfish

So how do I/we/all of us, fight against eons of gender bias?

the way I see it we can do two things

  1. Be you anyway.
    I can be who I am and accept my strength and my passion and willingness to protect the people I love as a good part of myself. I could be brave enough to see it as something to be proud of. Loud, mouthy confrontationist and all. Because I will always advocate strongly and clearly and with passion for the people I love. Turning it down is asking me to turn down the love I have for these people; won’t happen.
    And
  2. Be you anyway and don’t let labels hold you back. Do like Pantene and #whipit (watch the vid)

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Looking for an Anchor

A post that I made direct to the FB page a couple months ago…it’s finally a real blog post today 😉

I went home today, or I tried to. I’ve been sad and searching for an anchor. Something to bring me back to myself.
Back home.
I decided to go to the only real home I’ve ever known. One small problem; the home I was looking for isn’t home anymore.
I alread knew that while driving there, taking the familiar turns, passing the same streets of my youth. Naming them one by one in my head as I approached. I already knew home wouldn’t be there.
I cried as soon as I turned into the ‘not my street’.
Still, something in me was hoping that rather than travelling to my old house, I’d be travelling back in time, to my old life. Mum in the kitchen, or chatting on the phone, or tending her fern garden. Dad painting or fixing or growling because I parked on his nice lawn. Bec with her 13 year old secrets and Bro with his 8 year old annoying boyness.
Back when at 16 I thought life was hard.
what the hell did I know about hard.
What the hell did I know about life.

Now I sit outside my house that’s not my house and wonder if the new family inside will think I’m crazy if I knock on the door, ask to go and smoke a cigarette in my old bedroom.
I don’t smoke anymore, but I would if it could take me back.
I considered it.
But I’m far too adult (ppffft) for that nonsense so instead of sitting in my car crying like an idiot I decide to leave. I end up at the beach instead.
My beach.
The one at the end of the ‘not my street’ that has known me since I was born.
The track is so familiar. So much the same that I almost smell sunscreen and aeroguard and red cordial.
This is the beach where my parents paddled with me at 12 months old.
Where I collected shells every single summer of my life and built sand castles with the best moats.
Where I collected crabs with my brother and held them in a hole so large they couldn’t escape. Captives.
Where we ate vegemite sandwiches and bbq shapes that always had a little bit of a sandy crunch.
Where I was afraid of the seaweed and knew every route to make it out to the deep whilst successfully avoiding standing on even a teeny piece of it.
Where i was once bitten by some big ugly sea monster.
Where my sister and I walked on “the wall” and tried to hold hands even though it made the task of balancing ever much more difficult.
Where My friends and I at 15,16,17 ‘borrowed’ other peoples boat sheds; we came to talk and smoke and listen to music.
Oasis and Faith No More.
In the days when we had to carry the heavy ghetto blaster, with its cassettes and spare D batteries- that would inevitably go flat. Every.single.time.
Where I went when I ‘ran away from home’
Where my best friend always knew she could find me and where my then brandnew boyfriend and I wagged school just to walk hand in hand, barefoot in the ocean.
Where we shared our first kiss and where he eventually proposed.
I have a jar of sand and a jar of sea water from this beach that I collected 20 something years ago, knowing that wherever my life would take me, I would always have a piece of it with me, in a treasure box in a closet in whatever house was my new home.
I must find those jars, I think.

And then I realise the truth. I don’t need those jars. I never needed those jars. This beach is always with me, has never left me and never will.
This is the true home of my heart, the church of my soul, and it will always exist, if sometimes only in my memory.
So I did travel back in time today, and I did find my anchor, and I did go home after all.

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