Strep throat

I’m sorry for the lack of posts over the past few days, but I’m in bed and have been since Monday with an unbelievable sore throat. I’ve really got no other cold symptoms to speak of, the runny nose seemed to stop at the back end of last week, when I’ve been lying down for a while, my chest feels a bit tight, but every time I swallow, it brings tears to my eyes.
I wake up with the pain of it, have a croaky voice and fall asleep at the drop of a hat. I slept most of yesterday and last night, and while I’ve been awake more today, if I venture too far from my bed, I feel woozy. I’ve spent most of this afternoon knitting and listening to podcasts on my phone.
I’ve also done some more thinking and planning for Out On A Limb. I’m finding when I switch off and don’t try too hard – the ideas come much more easily. But I need space built in, and time, for me to do the preparatory reading and work, to allow the ideas to flow.
So despite feeling as weak as a kitten, and yawning a lot, it hasn’t been too bad being laid low with this.
But now I need to go back to sleep, I’ve had all my meals in bed today, really must change the bedding tomorrow!

The trials of a bad haircut

Choosing a hairdresser is like choosing a lover. It takes time, trust and patience. They need to learn about you and your routine, and your hair, you need to learn to trust them when they say ‘What about this?’

I adore my hairdresser, the lovely A. She and her husband S run a salon in the CBD. They had three salons a few years ago, but decided to concentrate their efforts into one shop, but also sell trade equipment on the side, like high-end scissors. I was lucky, it took me only two bad haircuts to find her after my arrival in Australia. I cancelled my most recent appointment for a couple of reasons, one being financial, because I would rather have spent the money here in QLD than on a haircut.

Now before we left Victoria, I had a haircut, in a shopping mall, I just walked into a shop and said cut it. I wish I’d saved up for A to cut it for me after all, as I got what I paid for, which was shorter so with the beach, sand and sun it would be easier to manage. The only problem, excuse my language. I fucking hate it. I can’t do anything with it as the sides and top are too short, so I am looking a right mess in all the photos.

I have enough body image problems as it is, the one thing I knew looked ok now doesn’t. I spent most of yesterday in tears off and on what with one thing and another, it was a truly crappy day. Combine that with a slide show of pictures of the holiday so far in the evening, I felt fat and ugly. I didn’t go to bed in the best of moods. Thankfully today was a lovely, relaxing day, although with Hurricane Peanut, we’re exhausted. He went to bed before 7pm, I’m finishing this and a cup of tea and following him. I still feel fat and ugly though.

My lovely husband constantly tells me that I look fine, beautiful, skinny and so on. But I look at pictures of me, and cannot convince myself otherwise, and people wonder why I’m always the one to be behind the camera.

I’ve come to a conclusion though, after nearly 38 years of self-loathing (no, that’s not too strong), enough is enough. I’m going to seek help about this in the new year, through counselling or something else. I’m sick of feeling I’m ugly, like I look like a boy, that I’m clumsy and uncoordinated too doesn’t help. I don’t feel girly, I never have, but looking at pictures of myself, my self-esteem is unbelievably low, and as I’m at a really low weight, not what I was when I was breast-feeding, but only a couple of kilos heavier, this frame of mind is a worry to me.

I seem to have dragged my blue funk, (which I thought was just work related) up on holiday with me, yesterday was very difficult. I need to do something about it, and me, before I slide down. My mood and general disposition I thought weren’t so closely linked to my appearance, but it appears otherwise.

On that cheery note, Merry Christmas. I’m also going to get counselling on my pathological loathing of this holiday too. I hate the consumerism, the lights, the children screaming ‘I need this!’ in shops.

Not very cheerful this time round, and I’m sorry. But I needed to get it out of me before I burst into body dysmorphic overload.

Writers block

Sorry folks, I have been lax of late on here.  I’ve been holding space in the Owning Pink community, so have been writing and responding to articles, encouraging members and generally writing off and on nearly every evening this week.  Consequently, finding something to witter to you about has been elusive.

I could write about some of the topics I’ve covered as a Pinkie.  Taking the Pink Pussy Tour?  Yes, that is what you think it is.  Cheering on a Transgender male to female who is in awe that people all over the world are encouraging her transition, when all around her until now has been fear, stigmatism, prejudice and hatred.  Or Owning Sexy.  We’ve been celebrating our bodies and relishing our stretch marks today.  It’s a funny forum.  Men and women are on it.  Men read it, I know I am getting funny texts, emails and tweets from people who’ve found it through my Twitter feed.  The only thing you have to remember is that some of the people on there are hurting.  Hurting bad.  Some have been through hell, and have come out the other side smiling.

One thing we all have in common is selflessness.  Now I can tell there will be a few of you that snort when you read that.  But loving and treating others as you want to be treated is how I was brought up.  It is just a shame that when I tried to exercise that, it was not remembered by those who taught it to me.

Owning Pink is about getting your mojo back.  For a long time it felt like mine had upped, left and slammed the door behind it.  What I LOVE about the community is the absolute unconditional love that pours out of the posts.  You are there to encourage and be encouraged.  That is all.  I recommend it heartily.  Both inside and outside the walls of the t’internet.  Love and treat others as you want to be treated.  You’ll be amazed at what happens in your life because of it.

My induction at work is well underway, I’ve covered off most of the day-to-day tasks with the temp that was in the role before me.  Now I am being talked at for an hour by various people in the organisation to get an overview of how everyone slots together and all works as a team.  Taking copious notes in my scrawl.  Big looping ‘gs’, ‘js’, ‘ys’.  I noticed that despite whatever anyone was talking to me about, I could write down everything they said.  Knowing how to spell the words, knowing that my mind was linked to my eyes, ears and hand.  It was a bit of an ‘a-ha!’ today, I must admit.  I’ve been reading and writing for nearly 30 years, so it should be no surprise that I have a good vocabulary, but today I was reminded that even typing this to you, I shouldn’t take it for granted.  I need to make more of an effort.  I am getting more and more readers, so need to have things for them to read.  Not have them popping back to the same post day after day.

Goodness me – the perils of daytime television

I couldn’t help it your honour, I got sucked in.  I only sat down to catch up on Gavin & Stacey (he’s just found out she’s been engaged 5 times before him) I watched one Oprah, then another and before I knew it… I found myself watching Channel 7, which unless the football is on, is normally NEVER on in this house as it is so shite, I was watching Extreme Skinny Celebrity Mums from the Living Channel in the UK.  Which as you can see by my recent tweets, was heavily ‘researched’ by using the Daily Mail, the absolute pinnacle of journalism (read BS) over there.

Apparently, like, ‘slebs in Hollywood have hired wet nurses, but it’s like, really top secret.  They don’t want to eat the calories they need to like, feed their children, because they need to be really, really skinny, so there’s this like, super-secret agency.  And apparently, Liz Hurley gives diet advice, and like, Cate Blanchette is choosing between, like, clothes and her children.  Then Vanessa Feltz got in on the action, telling us that when you have a caeserian section, everyone famous is, like, having tummy tucks AT THE SAME TIME!  Then they started in on Anna Friel apparently using the suction diving suit and Heidi Klum being on the catwalk in seven weeks in a bikini.  Then my brain, like, atrophied and slid out my ear.

It is all our fault apparently, because it’s, like, the public, right?  As we buy the magazines, so we are, like, directly responsible for Victoria Beckham being skinny.  Sorry VB, I didn’t realise.  In fact, I realised years ago if you buy them, you only fan the flames, so I refuse to buy magazines that have pap shots in them.  I don’t even flick through them while waiting at the supermarket, or at the hairdressers.  The last time I looked at one, was over a year ago.  I was working at Hoban and read an ancient Grazia on my lunchbreak.  I’d finished my book, it was piddling it down with rain and I only had 5 minutes left, so flicked through it.  It was full of complete and utter BS.  Sources telling us, an insider says.  The only problem was, the six month time lapse showed that the majority of stories were completely fabricated, just made up around photos that had landed on someones desk, and they needed something to go with them.  But people believe them, people (girls mainly) sit on public transport over here discussing Now and OK and other glossy shite, like it is the National Geographic. 

Solange Knowles, Beyonce’s sister, cut all her hair off, when the pap photo was published, she was the 3rd trending topic on Twitter, so she hopped on and told everyone off, berating the USA for putting her haircut, yes a haircut, over the Iran Elections.  Then she told them all to find Iran on a map for good measure.  You go girl!  Admittedly I found this out when I watched Oprah, but Solange has a point.  One of things I love doing is reading the FAQs on IMDB.  Talk about dumb people.  Take this shining example on ‘The Shawshank Redemption’: Why did the warden kill…?  Or this one from ‘Hot Fuzz’: On whose grave did they put flowers at the end of the movie?  Sometimes I wonder if they watch the same film, or do they need a set of Cliffs Notes to get them through, because God help them that they follow a plot for a whole 2 hours!  I am sick and tired of shitty programmes being constantly interrupted by adverts, documentaries that tell you to stay tuned because this is coming up, cutting to a break, then recapping what’s just happened, because moronic people can’t retain a thought in their heads while McDonalds advertise salads and The Biggest Loser is trailed.

Anyway, I am supposed to be working from home today.  So I am showered, but not powdered and made up, I’ve brushed my hair, but I am in schlumpadinka trousers and a comfy t-shirt.  I am supposed to be tidying up loose ends before I leave.  But you know what, I will tidy them up tomorrow.  When I am going to get paid for tidying them up, as oppose to me doing them now, when I won’t.  Did I tell you they short-changed me by $900 for when I was out ill, by the eejit in bullying question starting my part-time hours at the beginning of the month, instead of when they actually started on the 15th March?  And that although they were quick enough to take it away, I will have to wait until the 21st April before it will be rectified?  Did I tell you that they left me with less than $600 for the month, because I had used up all my accrued holiday and personal leave?  So I had to take unpaid leave, with no discussion on how it will impact me?

And they wonder why I went looking for another job?  Take out the bullying and harassment, take out the piss-poor management of this situation, you do not mess around with people’s wages.  Period.  It is a shame I won’t be there when WorkSafe visit.  It is a shame I am leaving some good people behind me, I had a brief interview with one guy yesterday, seriously one of the nicest, funniest and cleverest people I’ve worked with.  He’s going to ask me back for a formal exit interview in a couple of weeks.  He told me to be clear on everything, as it is important they hear exactly why I am leaving.  Damn right.  It won’t save my job.  But it might save someone elses.

Well, I wasn’t expecting that

I woke up, curled myself around my husband and settled in for our morning cuddle listening to the radio.  I rolled over, he followed to spoon me, and as I moved my head, I had the unmistakable flashing lights and swirling that comes from a migraine being on its way.  I’ve had them for half my life, probably longer, so I know if I catch them early enough, I can head them off at the pass.  I took some pills and tried to get back off to sleep. 

When I woke up at noon to the sound of grass being mown outside the house, (funny how the smell is lovely, the sound jars you), my head was clear.  I was also hungry, so staggered downstairs with hair all over the place and nuked some of the left over stew from last night.  Followed by hot cross bunnage and a couple of cups of tea, I watched Oprah interview Jay Leno, wondering what all the fuss was about.  But then, having never watched The Late Show or whatever the brouhaha was all about, I will never get it.  I had plans for this morning, but life got in the way, so I carried on with the ‘listening to my body’ thing and just let myself come to on the couch, not beating myself up about it.

When the mail man puttered past on his motorbike, I collected the post in my dressing gown and brown knee high biker boots, (hoping no-one saw me), and was overjoyed to see a card from Wiz.  She sent me some forget-me-nots, which will come into work to sit on my desk on Monday morning.

Yup, you read that right.  I am back at work on Monday.  Still don’t know what hours I will be working, still don’t know what I will say to people if they ask what I’ve been out for a month with.  Still don’t know what will happen when I get there.  But I can’t stay at home forever, I have a life to get on with.  I will spend this afternoon thinking about what I want from next week, I will also think about what to say for the inevitable ‘Where have you been?’ I don’t want to lie.  But I can’t tell the truth either; I am likely to be hung, drawn and quartered if I do.  Answers/suggestions on a postcard please. 

Should also say on here, that yesterday’s meeting went well, thank you to everyone who sent good luck messages and lurve over the interweb.  It will also have a ripple effect across my colleagues.  Which can only be a good thing.  It is reassuring (again) that a government agency doesn’t think I am mad, doesn’t think that I have a problem, doesn’t think it is me.  This meeting was followed by an uplifting and enlightening session with my counsellor.  It is reassuring that while this has knocked me sideways, I can, at last, sleep easy knowing I have done everything, everything, in my power to try and resolve it. 

So, I am in the position of power when I walk back into the office on Monday, I can hold my head high.  I am not absolving myself of all blame, I am not portraying myself as a patron saint or martyr.  I am saying: I tried, I did my best.  Which is all I or anyone can ever do, and as something that has haunted me for a long time is being penalised for not doing ‘enough’.  Boo sucks, because everyone who has been consulted outside the office has reassured me that I did.  Including WorkSafe, who have seen a huge amount of information from both sides of the table, not just mine.

I am off for a shower and to feed the ducks.  I will take a pad and pen with me, and think about next week and what I can do when I walk back in there.  I don’t want to be a contaminator, I want to be a contributor to the relationship.  I’ve drawn a line, both for behaviour that I don’t want to see again, but also for my sanity.  Enough is (and was) enough.

Roar.

Getting ready for Bikram Yoga

As I keep writing about it, and it is giving me strength, I thought this morning I ought to devote a post to Bikram Yoga.

It was one of those God-winks, where you keep seeing references to the same thing over and over.  Like suddenly seeing pregnant women when one of your circle tells you they are pregnant.  It was in 2 magazines in a week, it popped up on an Internet search, then was on TV for good measure.  Imagine my surprise, and joy, when I found there was a studio 5 minutes from home?

After doing some reading, I realised I would have to buy some new kit, I needed something small, as you get hot and the people that tend to struggle are those who come to class in long leggings and t-shirts.  So I brought myself a triathlon cossie from speedo, wearing swimming costumes for most of my life it doesn’t bother me, but I know most women would gulp at the thought.  You also need a yoga mat, a thin one as you stand on it class and need to balance safely.  You also need towels.  Plural.  One to lie on, one for the shower.  I actually use 2 in class, as I sweat like, um, someone who sweats a lot.  By the time we’ve finished the first breathing exercise, I am dribbling, by the time we have our only official water break 3 poses in, I am soaked.

You also need to ensure your body is prepared too, there is a fine line of being hydrated and not needing a wee half way through, you need to make sure you have eaten, but your are not full so you don’t feel queasy with your head on your knees. 

There are 26 poses in total, and every day I get better and some and have to practice harder at others.  My balancing and general posture are improving, but some days I can do balancing stick, other days I can’t, I struggle with camel at the moment, because when I fell over, putting pressure on that part of the knee hurts, so I do the set up to the posture, but not all of it.  My standing head to knee pose is getting better, my spine strengthening series is getting easier and I am noticing the results all over my body.  I come out the class feeling lifted, awakened, clean on the inside and stronger through all my muscles.

Although I was looking for yoga, Bikram Yoga found me, it is at once the hardest thing I do daily, but also the best thing I do daily.  You can’t be vain in the hot room – I see myself in the mirror getting pinker, my hair being pushed into all angles around my head, dripping with sweat, but the relief and joy at the end when you finish the final breathing, and I sink gratefully into Child’s Pose to say thank you for getting me through the class, it makes all the hardship at the moment worthwhile.

It gives me 90 minutes of me time; 90 minutes where I have to concentrate on my breathing, every single breath, otherwise I could keel over; 90 minutes where my mind is free, only counting seconds as I hold the postures, or screaming in intensity as I push myself a bit further than I did yesterday.  I love that my body is getting stronger, I feel calmer, my bum is lifting, I am losing weight gently and slowly and I love comparing notes with the other ladies in the class on how we were doing, how we are doing and so on.

It isn’t easy finding 2 hours out of a day to go to class, but when you are in class you make a commitment to yourself, the other students and the teacher that you will stay in the room for the full 90 minutes, you show up with nothing to declare but your ‘self’, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde.  No one can do this for you, the teacher talks you through the poses, occasionally will demonstrate them, will help correct a hand hold, but ultimately you are teaching your body by listening and following instructions.  You have to concentrate, bringing your own strength, balance, flexibility, mind and how hard you *want* to work to class.  By pushing myself this hard for 90 minutes daily, it reminds me that I can do anything.

I love it.

I was having a good day…

…and then I got the post.

I am not going into the inns and outs of it on here, I am not going to waste my time and effort on it any more.  Needless to say, what I received was the last thing I needed at the moment.  I am going to enumerate some things in my life that I am just damn tired of, and I warned people they wouldn’t like it.  But apparently I am the bad guy because of not wanting to accept shitty behaviour towards me and people I care about any more.

Well, build a bridge and get over it.

So here I sit in front of the IPL, (I know I like cricket but this week I seem to have watched an awful lot of it and it is only Wednesday), I am on my third glass of red wine, holding my own personal wake for the death of a relationship.  This morning I talked myself out of bed, pulled on my exercise kit, crammed a cap on my bed head and walked in figure 8s around two football ovals, listening to an audio book with Dr Wayne Dyer in conversation with a radio station.  I then went to yoga and subjected 20 odd people to bed head/hat hair as I puffed and pulled myself around.  I couldn’t do Camel today, where I fell over my knee couldn’t take the pressure on it, but other than that I worked solidly throughout the class.  I am still learning to balance, never my strong point anyway, but more than that I am learning that when I am open and present, I flow much better through the class. 

I know I need to switch my brain off, I know I need to relax, but when you mind is going 19 to the dozen, it is easier said than done.  Work in progress folks, work in progress.  Tomorrow I will do it all over again.  But now it is back to my vino.  Cheers.

Shaun the Sheep

When I finally got to the hairdresser, it was worth it.  I had a couple of glasses of wine, :) a treatment in a massaging chair, and when Ange was massaging the treatment into my scalp, I felt tension just drain away.  I felt my eyes get hot, but didn’t wibble my lip too much.  I wish I could say how much better it felt to have someone concentrate on me, making me feel better.

I have had a lot cut off, I am back to short, messy and funky – and I am red.  Very red.  It is a big change, and not a colour I’ve had on for over 10 years.  Ange was amazed at her handiwork too, she was very pleased with all she did, and said that it makes my eyes look huge. 

I listened to my iPod on the way in and out, read my book, had a coffee and mooched around a bookshop.  All in all, a 100% successful trip!

TFI Friday

There aren’t many things in the week I actively look forward to.  But today, I am so pleased it is Friday.  I am so pleased this week is over and done with.  I am so pleased I have a weekend to look forward to, with my hair finally getting cut tomorrow, the prospect of the afternoon on my own in the glorious city of Melbourne, and then catching up with a good friend on Sunday, again in the city.

I have promised myself to live this year listening to my body.  Last night after a mare at work, and trying in vain to get to see Angela to wave her magic wand over my hair, and getting stuck on a train platform, then in traffic – I just cried.  Cried and said to Dan, ‘I am fed up of struggling’ as soon as I said it, I felt better.  As soon as I gave in and just wept the frustration, anger, annoyance and general niggles away I felt better.

I am not going to pretend that my life was all roses straight away, because it won’t be.  I will always be working on me, I cried again when I got a text from a friend in the UK, I cried again this morning emailing my sister in law and no doubt there will be more tears in the future.  I am fully aware that when I am this frustrated, my emotions are RIGHT THERE ready to go pop at a moments notice.  I am doing my best to swallow them, I am doing my best to build myself up ready for the next week – as next week will be hard.  Very hard, I could be out of a job on Monday.  Always easier to get rid of the victim, than the bully.  A nice prospect to have in the back of your mind, or in the front of it as may be.  So that is why getting my hair cut, mooching about in the city, going for a coffee and some lunch, wandering around the National Gallery of Victoria and catching up on my people watching is so important.  Which is why when I asked to put Amelie on DVD, Dan sat down next to we both gloried in the warm, rich tones, sumptuous writing, filming and editing and just the general silliness of the film.   I also demolished the best part of a bottle of wine, but that is by the by.

I need time with myself to remind me of who I am.  At my core, what no-one can take away from me, and where the root of me and the strength that gets me through life comes from.  When you are continually bashed and battered, that is the bit that retreats the furthest, to protect you.  However, I know that when she comes out, she is invincible. 

Strength and Joy, will get me through.

Have a little respect, at least for other people!

I read on The Times website that Tesco has banned people from wearing pajamas while visiting their stores. Couple that with the people of Walmart website, where Americans submit photos of the truly horrendous outfits that people wear to go shopping, admittedly this is Walmart, but still.

How people can be happy leaving the house, unwashed, undressed, with bed head by saying they are too busy, ran out of time etc is beyond me. Even if my hair has behaved overnight, I will still have a wash and brush it before I go out anywhere, in clean clothes.

My grandmother would wear a hat whenever she went anywhere special, she also had white gloves that came out on occasion. How did we get from people wearing hats every time they went outside, to people wearing pajamas and complaining they can’t go shopping in about 60 years? I am all for times moving on, I am all for tolerance and accepting others, but there are limits. People constantly complain that they are busy, that they don’t have time to do anything, but will quite happily park themselves in front of the TV for hours in the evening. Change your habits, it will amaze you what you can get done.

I write this from the couch, feet up, aching all over with a head cold. It started on Friday, I had a shower went to work thinking it was yoga ache; woke up on Saturday brushed my hair and had a wash before I went to buy the papers and retreated back to bed realising it was a flu-ey ache; today I would still be in bed, but it is 37c here, so the bedroom is like an oven. Before Dan comes home from playing cricket tonight, I will have a shower, because although I am poorly, I still am aware that I need a wash! There is no way I would go to the shops like this, even though I need more lemsips, FFS.