Always look on the bright side

I’m sitting up in bed, listening both to the rain and the birds singing in the gum tree and acacias outside our house. The magpies visit daily, singing and chattering to us, the cat chatters back. (I put the link in for the UK / USA peeps as the birds are called the same, but are so different. The warble is lovely, and our pair come when they’re called to hang out).

I’m making a concerted effort to sit upright as much as I can today. I’m also revving up for a long hot shower, but I’m waiting till the boys get back from hockey before I have it. I’m not as unsteady on my feet as I was, but I’m still a bit worried I’ll fall over.

I’m trying to find the positives in this.

I spend my life propping others up, checking in, cheering on. I’m not and don’t think I am all ‘woe is me’ – I’m just trying to show what’s going on in my life. The only way we are going to get through life is to walk beside each other. If you feel I overshare, or whinge or complain. That’s fine, tell me.

We’re all adults FFS, we’re not in the school yard anymore.

Hubs has asked I don’t share as much on Facebook. I told him, ok, but I’m not going to dial back on the mental health stuff though. That shit is important.

So I’ve “gone fishing”. I’ll push photos through to FB from Instagram. I’ve also ticked a box that means you can’t see when I’m online, so I can wander around in my groups and reply to messages on my time.

I’ve also had a big cull and blocked others, because I am done.

I wear my heart on my sleeve; always have, always will. If you don’t like it, that’s fine; I don’t have to like the stuff you do either. That’s the joy of being an adult.

But like I said, I’m looking out for the positives. I’ve only had the flu, imagine if it was anything serious? Broken hearts take a long time to heal, but you come out stronger.

what a week

Back to Basics

I have issues with Facebook, I need it in my life (apparently), but I hate it. I am out of alignment with it. I find myself comparing myself to others, wondering why when I am doing the exact same things, I am not getting the same results.

I am out of alignment with it because, I would rather sit with others and talk with them. Hold their hands when they’re struggling, laugh till tears stream down our faces, hug hello and goodbye. I love that I can see pictures of people I care about from here when they’re there. But I hate that I have to plonk myself down in front of a computer to do it. Most often, I use my phone. Which means, it is with me all. the. time.

I listen to audiobooks, podcasts and music on my phone. Check emails. The bluddy thing is ruling my life and I am all out of whack. I’m out of flow. I need it, but it’s running me. Not the other way around.

I took Facebook off my phone. I’m about to take other things off too. Go back to using my laptop, so I have set times and boundaries on the phone. Get my chi back.

Stream of consciousness I know, one thing I’m going to do is blog more often. Get the words out my head :D see what happens.

What’s happening next??

surrender2.jpg

Picture credit

On social media

This morning, I deactivated my Facebook account. Again.

I really struggle with the blasted thing, about a week ago I updated my status to say I was having a hiatus, if you needed me, wanted to talk, here is my mobile and email details again. Since then, I’ve had one text and one email.

I’ve popped onto the site a couple of times since then. Once to post in a book club group and once to post my contribution to the crowd fund raising campaign for survivors of Catholic church abuse to go to Rome to hear Cardinal George Bell give evidence. The support this group of people have received is heart-warming. Also Tim Minchin, yes him, wrote and recorded this song, which is simply brilliant. People are complaining that is isn’t an easy listen; totally missing the point that children were abused and the Catholic church covered up the abuse.

They have a right to know what you knew

Anyhoo, this isn’t about that subject, this is about Social Media and how, as always, two dots collided over the past few days.

Stephen Fry has come off Twitter, after Jenny Beavan arrived at the BAFTA ceremony in black, but not in black tie, and he made a joke about his friend saying How like a costume designer to come to an event dressed as a bag lady – or words to that effect.

Jenny Beavan is an extraordinary costume designer, working on films as diverse as Mad Max: Fury Road (which she won the BAFTA for), Gosford Park, The Remains of the Day, Sherlock Holmes and Sense and Sensibility. To be fair, she looked fabulous in a black leather jacket, white shirt, with a grey scarf. She could have come from work, as has been speculated about – but who cares, she looked great.

Then Lindy West tweeted a picture of a comment received on her YouTube channel, where she talked about Candy Corn Oreos, telling her she was an ‘f-ing disgusting pig. KILL YOURSELF’

Nice.

This woman has been on the end of some truly incredible vitriol. One troll made a twitter account, pretending to be her deceased father, coz that’s sensible. Everyday Sexism gets trolled regularly, people campaigning to get women featured on bank notes in the UK get death threats – what is wrong with people?

I’ve been participating in a study this past few weeks, reducing my online time. Trying to get back in tune with me. Hence me taking a Facebook break, which jumped to deactivating my account as I did not miss it. I’m looking at twitter less, although I am following the Cardinal Pell story. I’ve reduced the people I follow too both on Twitter and Instagram. I’ve barely had my hands on my iPad in weeks, when I looked at Tumblr, I thought ‘meh’.

I’m playing with my son, reading more, running more. I’m still exhausted, still trying to work out what is happening with me health wise. Symptom checker tells me I’m either having cardiac issues or endocrinal issues, at one point listing them all up it told me I was potentially in cardiac failure, um?

Anyway, I like blogging. I like venting to you all. This is more for my benefit than yours, it’s great that you’re along for the ride, but I waffle on for me and clearing my head.

So I guess the study has worked? Mainly because I don’t want to spend my time staring at a screen, it appears I’m done. My friends and family have my details, come and find me. I’ll be in the real world.

Ten on Tuesday – things I didn’t use to worry about edition

Carole has a wonderful topic for me this week. Ten things you didn’t used to worry about ten, fifteen or twenty years ago. Corrie ten Boom’s quote is sitting on my phone, on my desk looking at me.

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength

Since I saw that in someone’s kitchen not long after my first marriage failed, it resonated loud and clear. Some days are easier to not worry than others, and I am so much better than I was before, but goodness me, I can become a worry-wart. So here goes:

  1. Peanut – I never had a child to be concerned over before June 2011. He’s a boy, he’s going to be covered in bruises, but I still feel my heart leap into my throat when he does rambunctious boy stuff. His spoonerisms and malaprops  are a never ending source of joy at the moment; yesterday he had a trumpet instead of a crumpet as part of his breakfast, he wears a dragon gown over his PJs and after watching Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, requested burger-cheese. There are too many to list, but every day he makes me laugh much more than I worry, so that’s a good thing.
  2. My family – as in, my little family. Hubs, Peanut and I. We’re on the verge of getting a new car through a novated lease at work. I’m trying to get Out On A Limb up and running, I’m trying to make changes in my life to take us through to the next stage, which is Peanut heading to school. There is a lot for me to think about and not a lot of time left for me to be working from home.
  3. Living in Australia – this is something I didn’t have to worry about at all before 2008. It wasn’t even on my horizon, as the thought of emigrating was not something I’d considered until I married Hubs. If I have to get back to the UK in a hurry, I know I’ll be stressed and upset, but as my brother reminded me, ‘We’ll sort that out when we need to, not before.’
  4. Gluten – while I’ve been (mostly) gluten free for fifteen (?) years, it wasn’t until a few years ago I was officially diagnosed as being coeliac. Since then, since I don’t have any gluten in my diet, the merest trace of it can set off an auto-immune reaction leaving me vomiting, running to the bathroom and aching all over for days afterwards. Separate toasters, separate butter, reading labels all the way to the bottom on food packaging and phoning ahead to restaurants are now normal. But still a pain in the butt (pun intended). It’s not just for the inconvenience, the diagnosis increases my chances of bowel cancer, so I need to be vigilant.
  5. Sleeping – My mum had to wake me up to feed me as a baby, I used to be able to sleep on a clothes line. Since my first marriage broke-up, one of the fall outs that I’ve learned to live with is not being able to get to sleep very easily. I listen to audiobooks still to drop off to. This is something that only doesn’t happen when I’m bone tired and fall into bed, hence the exercising I do to assist that.
  6. Running – A recent convert, I love it. I love the feel of my body afterwards, I love that it is something I can do just by pulling on a pair of shoes, and I’m off. I love that I can take Peanut with me in the running buggy, but most weekends I whizz off and head out on my own. I’m slowly getting faster, slowly increasing my distance. I worry that I won’t be able to fit it into my diary. Funnily enough, I do not worry about what I look like after hearing that most people driving past never look at runners, unless they run themselves – because they want to be out there.
  7. Politics – I’ve been a staunch labour supporter since I can remember. Growing up in the Margaret Thatcher era of rape and pillage, shutting industry down, privatising everything, reducing resource and welfare programs, while taking employment opportunities away – I find it difficult to get on board conservative policies. Particularly since a large majority of conservative politicians in the UK government are privately wealthy and have no concept of do I heat my house, or feed my children? Then we get to the misogyny and sexism that appears to be rife, let alone the homophobia, racism and elitism, I could go on for hours. But lately, the head-stuck-in-the-sand attitude about climate change this Australian Government holds is really pissing me off. Antarctica may have lost so much ice, gravity could be affected. The world is literally tilting and they’re still approving mines.
  8. Facebook – I’m so over this sodding website, I can’t tell you. Yet people berate and moan at me for not being on there and ‘liking’ and commenting on people’s statuses. I miss picking up the phone and calling people. So I brought myself a new phone, it’s clearer to speak on and hear than the one we had, it doesn’t have an answer phone, I’m retrofitting myself and calling soon.
  9. Sitting down all day – this is giving me cause to creak and groan when I get out of bed each morning, it’s shortening my hip-flexors and making me fat. Being younger and running around all day is much better for you than sitting at a desk all day long, let alone sitting at a desk all day long, then sitting in front of the TV all night.
  10. My hair – this is a surprising entry right? Well, not for me it isn’t. I struggle with my hair a lot, when I find a good hairdresser, I hang on to them. My hair has lots of cowlicks, kinks and needs a damn good cut to control it. My beloved Ange has closed her salon and now is working with Sam on their wholesale scissor business. While I’m pleased for them, I have now to find another hairdresser. Talk about first world problems. On Sunday when Hubs and I went to the MCG for their Open Day, we took a couple of pictures of me. Yes, I was ‘on’, yes I was feeling puffy from water retention, tired and worn out from my cycle which is getting harder again. But looking at my hair depressed me. How sad is that? That my hair was annoying me, was frustrating me, so I shaved it off.

I shaved it off or the first time earlier this year, I used to joke about being braver and shaving it off. When you’ve done anything once, that thing holds no fear, has no worry. I’m now putting up with the double-takes and funny looks again as I walk out and about, my colleagues rubbing my head like I’m a good luck charm or a Buddha. I’m also loving the 30 second showers. It will grow back, hair does that. I’ll work out what to do with it then.

At my Bikram class on Monday, Sarah the studio owner did a double take and said ‘I knew it was you Maddie by your big, beautiful smile’. That made my day.

shaun the sheep

Socialising

In the past 18 hours I’ve deleted Facebook and Twitter off my phone.

Reading about the Boston Marathon on the train in tears, with no tissues (natch), pushed me into a decision I’ve been hovering around for weeks.

I’m done.

I’m done attempting to socialise with people by sharing memes, funny pictures, and my random thoughts, which leads me to be constantly checking my phone for a response, (anyone? anywhere?) after I’ve posted something.

I’m done with making this gadget my primary focus, when life is slipping by me each week. This isn’t about will power, studies have shown smartphones change your brain so that you do get addicted to them.

I love being able to have my emails, podcasts and music in one place, but that’s where it ends.

People can keep in contact with me the old fashioned way, via phone, emails, texts. I’ve already set up a blog to share photos of Peanut with my parents, I’ll send more people the link and password. You know where I am, I know where you are, let’s meet. Let’s talk. Let’s communicate, just not by using social media, which was fine for the majority of our lives until now!

I’m going to sit here on the remainder of my journey in to work and look long and hard at this screen, delete the apps I don’t use and wrestle control back from Mr Jobs.

I’m done.

A breach of trust

A couple of you have been in touch since I posted that they’re had been a breach of trust on Facebook. Without going into too many specifics, I think I owe you an explanation, so here goes.

I met a group of lovely women in a BellyBelly forum, grouped together by two-week dates, you joined the group your due date fell into. Luckily, us 13 women dotted about Australia, from Perth to the Gold Coast, from Torquay to Tasmania bonded quickly. I was the only woman expecting her first child, so I used their experience to answer the multitude of silly questions you have. Three years in, this group forms most of my closest friends.

We had created a secret group on Facebook and discussed everything from breastfeeding to meal planning. It was just us, and totally secure, so soon became a place to share our private thoughts and feelings. Thoughts on family members with cancer, questions about having more children, money worries, mental health, lumps in breasts, you get the picture.

One of the ladies hopped on today to say that she was going to have to deactivate her account, she was having problems at home. Then her husband popped up. In our group. With her log on. And blithely told us that he’d read through the entire group and that we’d encouraged her in the problems they were having.

I feel violated in a way I don’t know how to explain. My utmost fears have been read by someone I’ve met once, have no other connection with, yet saw fit to read EVERYTHING in a group that his wife was involved with, because they’re having problems. I’ve left the group, blocked her and her prick of a husband, and am shaken about what to do. Do I stay on Facebook, or not? I honestly don’t know. I was on there primarily because of them and my Mother’s Group, I’d only opened up my account to my other friends recently. I’m hidden, only friends of friends can find me, no-one can see my pictures unless they’re friends or I tag someone in them, I’ve done everything I can to make my cyber-life on Facebook as confidential as possible. Not just for me, but for Peanut too.

So I’m going to have some time out to assess the situation. Until I’ve made my mind up what to do, please feel free to message me, or text, or email, or call. Those of you in real life have all my details.