Real life vs. Screen life

I posted a photograph of my son with two of my friend’s children on Halloween. The kids were all wearing the same adorable t-shirt that said ‘Boo Crew’. The photograph is so cute, my son has his hand on one of the kid’s shoulders, they’re all happily facing a wall and a box of toys and it all looks cozy and very sweet. Here’s the thing, about thirty seconds before that photograph was taken there was quite literally chaos. One of the kids took another one’s dummy, there was eye poking and pretend crying, there were three Mums making funny noises and pointing at a blank wall saying “ooooohhhh look at what’s on the wall!”. An entire bucket of toys was spread across the floor, kids were running around (the ones that were mobile at that point) and it was like something out of a horror movie; chaos, destruction, tears and a whole load of “what the f*** just happened?”.

It got me thinking about this whole digital world and what we perceive other people’s lives to be like. Looking at that photograph I posted no one would have known that I had to pull over on the freeway a matter of hours later to console my absolutely hysterical, overtired son. No one would know that moments before the photograph the three mums were outside squealing and trying to kill a truly ‘enormous’ wolf spider (I’ve been told that’s not what it was but that sounds impressive) on the cubby (I squealed and it wasn’t that big… however at the time I was the only one attempting to kill it =P). This photograph made it look like everything that day went off without a hitch. It looked as though our day was perfect; that we weren’t tag teaming naps or picking up discarded food smooshed into the floor. That’s the thing though the day was perfect, it was so much fun my son went to bed that night absolutely exhausted but stoked. I had a fantastic day with two of my closest friends, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t challenging moments, it doesn’t mean that my son was an angel the entire day or that my friend’s daughter barely ate that day or that my other friend’s son was mauled by mosquitoes later on.

What we see on social media is only a snippet, it’s a minute moment in a whole sea of moments. It’s that one special second where everything is perfect, it’s the perfect lighting, the perfect smile, the perfect angle; it’s perfect timing. I’ve always tried to have a bit of reality in my social media feeds, not necessarily the photographs because I don’t stop to take a photo of my son crying or a flat tyre on my car or the mess on my floors. I take photographs of the good stuff, but in my writing, I always try to give a bit of reality. I try to talk about the hours I was awake the night before, of the tantrums and the tears, of the exhaustion and the buckets of coffee I need to drink in order to function. I try to make people see that with the good comes the bad, but the bad stuff is so trivial and so small that it barely holds a light to that one perfect moment. The challenging stuff is there, it’s always there but it’s not shown.

I found a post on Facebook the other night saying that there is more teenage suicides and depression now than ever before. It’s because we’re constantly being fed this perfect image. We look at other people on social media and we see them busting their balls in the gym, we see them eating healthy constantly and running and training, we see the babies with the pristine clothes and the perfect playroom. We see pretty photographs of epic scenes, we read stories about “epic days” and “relationship goals” and so we start to get this idea that our wonderful, fantastic lives are somehow mundane and need to be changed in every way. What we don’t see is that guy busting his gut in the gym weighed 200kg ten years ago and still hates the way he can’t see himself as anything other than a “fat kid”. We don’t see those people binge drinking and hiding indoors to scoff down a pizza. We don’t see those kids ten seconds later when they smeared watermelon juice and chocolate all over their perfect white top. We don’t see the mundane moments in amongst all the wonderfully amazing ones.

My husband and I traveled across America on a motorbike a few years ago, anyone looking at my Instagram or Facebook feed would have seen something truly awesome, they would have heard tall tales of Halloween outfits, boat cruises in New Orleans, of music, of history, of walks with wolves. Anyone seeing that wouldn’t know that mere months later I’d have a miscarriage, that I’d lose two people I thought were my closest friends at the time, no one would know that I looked at getting a divorce because I was terrified of not being able to give my husband his own child. No one would have known looking at my Facebook and Instagram feeds that I spent many a sleepless night desperately wanting to change everything about myself, that I left my heart in Austin, Texas and that all I wanted to do was go back to that road trip when everything was perfect lighting and perfect timing.

That’s the thing with social media. Every single photograph we see is a snapshot, it’s a mere moment in a sea of moments. It’s the creme de la creme of the day. We see edited and carefully constructed photographs. We see a window into someone’s “perfect” life and we wish that we had that, we wish that we could be there and look like that and act like that and have that life. We get so caught up in the digital world that we forget we are living this amazing real life every single second. I wake up in the morning and I can see this sprawling suburban wonderland. I wake up every morning and I see my son smiling at me, I see text messages from my friends and family. I wake up and get to drink fresh coffee and feel safe and warm and happy in my own home. In some way, I am living the ‘perfect’ ideal life that someone else could only dream of.

So stop looking at the photos on social media, stop wishing that your life could look more like that. It absolutely can look more like that, with the right lighting and angles and carefully constructed social media posts. Instead focus on the now, focus on the real life perfection going on in front of you. Instead of posting a perfect photo with a perfect caption post a photo that’s a little less than flattering, post a photo with a paragraph about how you scrolled through a hundred different shots of the exact, same, picture, to get the one that you finished on. Be real. Be real so that someone, somewhere can know that there are other people out there that don’t have the perfect body, the perfect family, the perfect car. Be real so that someone else can feel solidarity and sanctuary in a world where everyone is pretending. Be real so that you know at the end of it all what you’re seeing in your ‘newsfeed’ is what you’re seeing in everyday life.

More importantly though, more important than any of this, be present. Stop scrolling through thousands of photographs of the perfect this or the perfect that. Stop staring at your screen wishing that your life looked more like the one on the web than the one around you. Go out there, be present, be inspired, be social, be alive. We only get one chance at life, we get one shot, so stop wasting hours and hours scrolling and wishing your life was different and ‘picture perfect’ like the images on your screen, go live. Go have adventures and make memories and somewhere in amongst it all take photographs and be silly, and when you post those photos be mindful and honest.

As always, to end this rant, have this little vibe:

I always thought, you know, it’s way more important to be funny or be honest than to look a certain way.  – Emma Stone

E
x

 

Advertisements

Parenting and feeling lost seem to go hand in hand sometimes

I woke up today, gave my son his bottle, changed him, made the bed, put a load of washing on, gave my boy his breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, loaded the dishwasher, sterilised bottles and then put my son down for a nap. Somewhere in amidst loading the dishwasher and putting my son down for his nap I started to feel as though this was what was defining me at this point in my life. No longer was I the person that had a dream of publishing a book, I wasn’t the girl who wanted to live in Austin, Texas. I was no longer the person that loved photography and going for motorbike rides with her husband or the woman that felt most comfortable in the country. All of a sudden I wasn’t waking up at 3am and frantically scribbling in a notebook because this incredible idea had woken her up.

All of a sudden I’m Mum. Just, Mum. I’m the person that takes my son around, that posts photos almost exclusively of my eight month old. I’m the nap police, I watch the clock to see how long he’s been asleep for, I’m constantly and forever cleaning bottles and preparing bottles and wiping high chairs and changing nappies. I soak food stained clothes and poo stained clothes, I worry about ‘developmental milestones’ and ‘leaps’. I think about what size clothes will last longest, what food will be both nutritional and fun. I get criticised for giving my son jar foods despite the fact that they’re basically exactly the same as anything I’d cook at home. I get upset that my son won’t eat anything I make even though it is exactly the same as what’s in the jar. I read discussion sites about why my son is waking at 4am, I read ‘the baby sleep site’ to see if there’s anything I can do to help him sleep all the way through. I wash nappies, I wash clothes, I was more clothes. I administer pain relief for sore gums and I cuddle and I play and I spend every waking second with my boy making sure he is entertained and fed and happy and above all else knows exactly how much he is loved.

I’m never alone. Never. Even when my boy is having his nap I have a monitor sitting beside me reminding me he’s less than thirty feet away from me. I’ve gone from reading a book a week to reading one book every six months (if I’m lucky), I’ve gone from having written a 70,000 word novel in a week to writing a 1,000 word blog post once in a blue moon. To top off all of these things there’s the overwhelming, constant, never ending guilt. I feel guilty that my house isn’t clean, that the floor hasn’t been vacuumed in what feels like months. I feel guilty that I’m not currently standing in the kitchen cutting and cooking and preparing meals for my son and my husband. I feel guilty that our TV set is currently playing Gilmore Girls instead of The Wiggles despite the fact my son is asleep. I’m overwhelmed with guilt about things I can’t control, the fact my son hasn’t started crawling, the fact that he’s not sleeping through the night, or that his teeth hurt or that my husband has to start his day at 5am and my son sometimes wakes him up at 3:45am when he grizzles. I’m constantly feeling some form of guilt about something big, small or otherwise. But perhaps the worst kind of guilt that any parent feels is the guilt that comes when they allow themselves to think, even for a moment, about the life they had before their children. The life where it was easy to go out for dinner and a movie, where your weekends were your own, where taking an impromptu trip somewhere was easy and took next to no planning. The worst guilt for me is the desire to have even an hour to myself, without my son, without my husband, without the need to wash clothes or do housework or anything.

This doesn’t mean I wish my life was different, I love my son and my husband and I wouldn’t, under any circumstances, go back to the way my life was before. What it does mean is that I’m human. It means occasionally I think about the fact that my life was different, that the things I did with my ‘free time’ aren’t the same things I do now (not that free time exists when you’re a parent). It means that I’m learning to juggle this new and amazing and baffling stage of my life. It means that I’m learning to be selfish with the time I have during the day. It means the cleaning and the perfect house can wait, that for my mental stability and sanity I don’t need to run around cleaning and cooking and tidying the whole time my son is napping. It means I do the things that need doing, unload and load the dishwasher, fold clothes, put a load of washing on. Then for the remainder of the time he is asleep I do what I want, I read a book, I zone out to a TV show, I write a lengthy and rambling blog post. And if anyone has anything to say to make me feel guilty or as if I’m not being a good wife or mother or whatever, then they can go much, much further down the line.

I’ve been feeling a bit lost, I’ve been struggling with how I look, I’ve been missing how I used to run and dance and do yoga and I’ve been missing feeling like ‘me’. So I’ve found myself spending a bit of mental time on the things that make me feel better, the things that make me feel a little bit more like an individual and not just like a mum. I find myself planning (and booking) my next tattoos, looking at new clothing like I used to wear, scrolling through Goodreads to find my next book, watching TV shows I used to (after my son is in bed because y’know, parenting). I’ve started injecting little bits of myself into my ‘mum life’ and somehow, over time, I’m hoping that I can reach an easy medium between Mum and Me.

Being a parent is hard. It’s exhausting and it’s challenging every single day. It’s filled with highs and lows, you go one minute feeling guilty about how you ‘should’ be doing this or that to the next minute feeling this overwhelming sense of happiness when your child gives you a kiss without needing to be prompted. Being a parent is life changing, it takes over everything you know and sometimes you find yourself wondering if you’ve lost your identity entirely, sometimes you just find yourself feeling lost. In those moments, in the moments where everything seems a bit dark and a bit fuzzy and a little scary just remember this little vibe:

Being lost isn’t a bad thing, it means you get to start your own, brand new, path. – E.L Oliver

E

Tattoos: why your opinion of other people’s body art is irrelevant

In the days before I get a tattoo, I go through a number of different thought processes; from “am I making the right decision?” to “maybe I should just get a whole sleeve done!” Inevitably, every single time, I arrive at the same final thought “this is for me, no one else.” Maybe it’s because I’ve got a few tattoos now, maybe it’s because most of them are on my arms or maybe it’s because I come across as approachable but for some reason my tattoos are a source of conversation, constantly. I have been asked about the ink that covers my arms and on more than one occasion I have been given people’s unwanted and entirely unsolicited opinions on why I have ruined my body and what will become of my (apparently nonexistent) future because of them. This is the thing though, regardless of what anyone thinks or says or thinks they should say, my ink is mine and mine alone. For me, it’s more than just some pretty colours on my arms or a cool drawing, every tattoo is for something, it has a story, a meaning, and those things are what make them important to me.

I know full well there are people out there who like decorating their bodies with whatever images appeal to them, that people get tattoos purely because they like the style or the look or whatever, but that’s not me. I deliberate a fair bit before every tattoo I get and as such it’s not just an offhanded remark when someone tells me “that’s a bit masculine isn’t it?” or “ew, why’d you get that?” or my personal favourite, “that looks sort of tacky doesn’t it?”. Those things are personal to me, and when someone, anyone, makes a derogatory comment towards me about something that I place a rather hefty amount of importance on it gets to me. I remember a few people referring to my tattoos as ‘tough stickers’ and when I was younger I used to think that was sort of cool, I used to think it was entertaining to see older people get a little put off by the fact that I had tattoos on my wrists. I used to think it was sort of endearing when people would strike up a conversation and tell me I was ‘so brave’ for having tattoos on my arms especially ‘as a woman’. These days… it’s a bit different. Those looks aren’t entertaining, those comments aren’t endearing and it’s 100% not fun when someone asks how I can be a good mother, raise a respectful young man, when I look the way I do.

What these people are unaware of is the fact that my ink gives me confidence. My tattoos make me feel better about myself on the days when I can’t stand to look myself in the mirror and these days that’s more frequent than I’d like to admit. I understand that comes across as somewhat vain but more often than not I’m not proud of how I look, I’m not happy with a number of things about myself, but my tattoos are something I’ve always been proud of. They’re something I can control (to a degree), I get to pick the style I like, the artist I like, the images and references I like. I can decide what gets put on my body and where and that gives me a sense of calm. Now more than ever I feel the need to have a bit of control, especially when I’m attempting to do a good job of raising the most perfectly amazing wild card ever.

I’ve had so many conversations over the years around how my tattoos impact on my future, how because I have things on my hands and wrists and arms that I will never be a manager or a CEO or anyone of any corporate importance.  What none of these people seem to give any consideration to is the fact that maybe, just maybe, I don’t want to be any of things. That maybe my aspirations go beyond the corporate world, maybe my life goal isn’t to be a CEO but to be a painter, or a writer, or even just a good mother. None of those things are any less, or any more relevant or admirable than wanting to be a CEO or entrepreneur or whatever. I’ve spent a long time defending my choices about my body when I should’ve been enjoying being young and a just that little bit reckless. Over the years many things have changed, my friends, my address, my work, my body, my mind along with about a million others things; but the one constant thing is and always will be the tattoos I carry. I can look at the images on my arms and no matter where I am, or how scary or intense or terrifying the moment is I have a grounding point. If I forget for a moment who I am, if I get lost along the way, if I look at myself in the mirror and don’t recognise the person staring back at me, I have something that reminds me. I have these tattoos that remind me of the person who creates characters out of thin air, who loves to read and write, I have a reminder of a family that loves me and of the tough times I managed to come through.

Tattoos are a personal choice, they can have some kind of inspiring or thought provoking meaning or they can just be pretty. Tattoos are an expression of something, whatever that may be, some people regret their choices when it comes to tattoos, they get things removed or covered up, other people get tattoos on their faces so the whole world can see them no matter what. I don’t regret any of the tattoos I have, from the very first ones I ever got sitting on an old car seat in the top story of a guys house in England (it’s not nearly as bad as it sounds) to my sons name and birth date on my arm, every tattoo I have is important. So next time you go to make a comment about someone’s ink, the next time you pass judgement or think that it’s okay to say “I wouldn’t have gotten that tattooed” or “I personally don’t like them” etc, etc, just remember this… it’s not about you. If it’s not your thing, it’s not your thing. I can guarantee you you’ll never hear a tattooed person say “Oh I personally wouldn’t have not got tattoos,” or “I personally wouldn’t want clean skin.”

And, as always, have this little vibe for your troubles,

Tattoos have a power and magic all their own. They decorate the body but also enhance the soul. – Michelle Delio

E

What the hell is happening to us? Plebi-pointless. 

So I sit here in my apartment, the floors haven’t been vaccumed in something like a month (read: two months), there’s baby food smeared into everything from the table cloth to my hair and I can’t think of anything better than nutella on toast for not only my breakfast but for my lunch and dinner as well. I’ve received a message recently from a close friend telling a heartbreaking story about this baby she saw in the ER that had meningococcal, we talked about another family who’s 4 month old passed away the other day and it hits me how there’s just so much of this sort of thing happening all over the world right now. In amongst all of this there’s this envelope sitting on the table before me asking me one question, a question I would have thought the answer to was quite obvious.

In the midde of all of these important, chaotic, crazy life changing things I’m being asked to vote on whether or not people who love each other should have the right to marry. Sorry, I’m being asked to vote on whether people of the same sex who love each other should have the right to marry; and I just cannot believe that this is where we’re at as a country. I can’t believe that we are currently hearing more and more stories of babies dying from whooping cough, of more aggressive strains of cancer, of misdiagnosed conditions, of terrorism, of famine and homelessness; we’re being flooded with pleas to donate money and time and blood and clothes and whatever else we have at our disposal because so many people are in  desperate need of aid and yet our Government is dropping millions, literally millions, of dollars on something that should be a no brainer. We are being told that jobs are scarce, that homelessness is at an all time high and yet here I sit being told to make a decision and pass judgement on whether or not people who love each other enough to get married deserve that basic human right. I’m being asked to make a vote for or against something and there’s no guarantee that the winning vote will even be acted upon.

You’re kidding me right? This is some massive joke isn’t it? For those of you living in a state of bliss, or under a rock, or aren’t from here, Australia is currently in the throes of this plebiscite asking whether or not homosexuals should be able to marry. Our Government is asking us to decide whether a group in our society deserve the same basic human right that every heterosexual person living here has. For some reason I find myself being given a vote on something that has quite literally absolutely nothing to do with me. I have gay friends, I’ve worked with gay people,  I’ve studied with gay people, none of this gives me a right to vote on this though. Why should I all of a sudden have a say in something that will have zero impact on my life. The only way that this could be any more ridiculous is if the final vote is an overwhelming yes (which it will be given previous poles have shown 70 + percent of people are for it) and then the law isn’t passed. 

There’s so much going on in the world, so much,  and yet here we are squabbling over something that even Texas, possibly the most well known stereotypically religious and homophobic place on earth, has managed to accept and pass a law allowing same sex marriages. So why… Why the hell do we find ourselves watching our Government waste money that could be used to better the education sector or the health sector or hell even just used to give every Australian an extra dollar towards their daily life. I don’t think I’ve ever been quite this dumbfounded by something the Australian Government has done, and this is coming from a country whose PM made front page news for days because he was snapped wearing budgie smugglers down the beach. I know that’s not the government, that’s media but still… 

So, to anyone out there reading this that has no strong feelings either way on the same sex marriage front, to those who have decided they just won’t vote because it doesn’t concern them, please please please for the love of all that you care about, vote yes. I know there’s all those ridiculois arguments about this being a stepping stone for other outlandish laws and what not, that this will lead to “the gays” wanting to adopt and raise children and whatever craaaaazy life experiences they want to have, just like everyone else, but so what.  So what if this leads to same sex couples adopting children and living their own lives in blissful wedlock. How does that affect anyone but them? How does my marriage to my husband affect anyone else but us and now our son? There are children being raised, and I use that term loosely, by straight parents who are addicted to meth, or cocaine, or are abusive alcoholics. There are kids who fall asleep at night starving and alone, kids who pick their parents up off the floor after yet another binge, or know the police officers at their local station by name because of how often they are there with one of their straight parents. There are far worse things in this life than people in love being allowed to marry one another. So enough is enough. Vote yes, not because it’s your right to vote but because it’s their right to have the same opportunities everyone else has regardless of sexual orientation.   

And so here it is, this last little vibe. My own little vibe. 

Love is love is love is love. End of story. 

Now go, be happy and free and love and marry who ever the f*** you want (unless it’s family or something cause… y’know, boundaries). 

E

6 months

Our son is six months old today. Six months. It’s not really that long in adult time, but when it’s the entire length of your time on this planet, it’s quite a while. It’s also quite a long time when you consider that in those six months someone has gone from quite literally sleeping, eating and pooing to seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling, communicating and everything in between. The sleeping has taken a bit of a drop but the eating has increased and the other thing has stayed pretty much the same. Our little man came into this world screaming, and he didn’t stop screaming for near on three hours then he slept, and my husband and I spent the better part of our first night staring at him wondering what the heck just happened. A lot has changed in six months, we’ve learned a lot and we’ve grown a lot and everything is completely different and yet oddly familiar. So I figure there’s no better time than the present to share some of the things that I have learned over these last six months.

  • The first few moments after you’ve given birth are soooooo not what you expect.

Everyone says having a child is the most incredible thing you will ever do, they say the moment your baby is handed to you, you experience a love like you never thought possible; that it feels as though your heart will explode and you just know what to do. Sounds almost magical right? Like the most natural and instinctive thing in the whole world.
Too bad it’s utter bullshit.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m certain that there are women out there who 100% experience that and just fall so madly in love with their child and are calm and peaceful and content and everything else all in one and that’s awesome. Me? I was handed a screaming, slightly purple, child wrapped so tightly in a blanket that he looked like the smallest doll in the babushka dolls and I went completely blank. I had blood on my face from where my son had been put against me, I couldn’t feel my lower body, I was fighting the urge to vomit (turns out that’s a side effect of the drugs you’re given) and there was this… tiny… little… foghorn… screaming in my face. After about an hour my first thought was not “oh my God, this is just the most beautiful and incredible experience of my entire life.” That was jumbled in there somewhere I imagine, but I can remember very distinctly thinking… “How… exactly… do I get him to not make that noise?”
The overwhelming love and sense of completeness and calm comes later. The calm comes MUCH later (I’m still waiting for that one to kick in fully).

  • The births on TV shows and movies are all dirty, dirty lies.

The woman always looks a little bit drowsy but totally miraculously wonderful, ‘glowing’ some may say. Nine times out of ten she is sleeping whenever other people walk into the room, she’s happy and completely mobile wandering freely about the room like a small watermelon did not just exit her body. The baby is all snuggly and warm and remarkably alert for someone who has just been yanked into a bright, loud, cold world. So… Lies.
Here’s what my reality was like: Those first few days in the hospital room were a blur.  I think more people have seen my privates in those first few days than my entire lifetime and, more amazingly, I can remember not giving a damn. Sporadically nurses would come in, lift the sheets and my gown, check my bits, inject me with something or other, then ask me to make sure my next toilet trip was made into a pooper scooper that sat on the toilet seat and to call them so they could “check it out”. My dear little boy certainly wasn’t all big eyes and windy smiles. He was puffy, he resembled an angry, pink old man and he spent the entire first night looking like he was foaming at the mouth as he got the remnants of amniotic fluid from his tiny little lungs. I didn’t sleep, I spent the whole time staring at his little cot at the end of the bed watching as more fluid leaked out of his mouth. Of course, because I couldn’t move and randomly couldn’t hear him breathing I would smack my husband across the arm and force him to check that our little boy was okay. The next few days were filled with tears (mostly mine), exhausted smiles, welcome visitors, break downs (again, mostly mine) and a sense of both fear and excitement for the next stage of our lives. When it came time to be discharged I was equal parts terrified, unprepared, excited and all ‘I’m gonna be the most badass mother there ever lived!’ This is true to this very day (last part still pending of course.)

  • If one more person so much as uttered the words “sleep when the baby sleeps” I would have gone postal.

The sentiment is a good one. It’s utter bollocks, but the concept is good. Sleeping when the baby sleeps is by far and large a learned skill. The first few months when the baby slept I spent my time staring at him making sure he was still breathing. Then when I started to get comfortable with the fact he was breathing I’d close my eyes and he’d wake up. Because that’s what babies do. They wait, right until you’re about to lie down and have ten seconds to yourself and they decide sleep time is officially over.

  • Tired has a whole new level of intense… and it’s okay.

I used to think I was tired before. I hear people tell me they’re ‘tired’ now and I think, “Aw, how sweet. You only strung together a solid six hours last night instead of your normal eight and you think that makes you tired.” No discredit there, I remember what that level of tired was like, it sucked. But this sucks more. There are days where I am certain I have had at a push maybe two hours of (broken) sleep. There are nights where I am awake every. single. hour. There was a whole month where I had so little sleep that I had convinced myself that was how I was going to die. There is a reason sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. You start to go just slightly insane. Your brain plays horrible, horrible tricks on you. Don’t panic. This is entirely normal. It is entirely normal to visualise yourself tripping and dropping your precious baby onto a tiled floor head first. It’s normal to have full blown conversations with yourself, and think you’re talking to your partner. More importantly, it’s completely and utterly normal to burst into tears at any given moment over absolutely nothing. What’s not normal is pretending that everything is just fine. Sleep deprivation sucks. It’s painful and it’s upsetting and it makes you feel sick, but what got me through was the realisation that a) it wasn’t going to be forever and b) it really really wasn’t going to be forever.

  • Family and friends are worth their weight in gold.

I think that one pretty much speaks for itself. I have laughed with, cried with, cried at, leaned on, relied on, cried on more of my family and friends in the last six months than ever before. If you’re lucky enough to have good people around you that are willing to help you out or sit with you, or whatever it is you need, use them. They are irreplaceable and they make everything feel just that little bit less chaotic.

  • It’s okay to want some time out.

Being a parent is draining sometimes. It’s exhausting and sometimes it’s utterly demoralizing. When you’re into your twenty-seventh hour of unrelenting whining or crying or screaming or whatever, you do have a moment when you think, I can’t do this. I don’t know what the hell my baby needs and I’m a terrible parent. That’s okay. It’s okay to not want to sit and stare at your child every second of every day. On the flip side, it’s also completely normal to spend an hour just watching them do absolutely nothing at all.

  • Stand by your style of parenting and for the love of God do not Google

Co-sleep, don’t co-sleep. Your child should only be dressed in organic silk that’s been dipped in hummingbird saliva and woven into a beautiful ornate garment made from baby monks living at the top of Mount Everest, your baby shouldn’t wear anything that wasn’t mass produced in a sweat shop in China. Breastfeed, bottle feed, disposable nappies, cloth nappies, routines, no routines, prams, strollers, baby wearing, baby yoga, baby yogalates, baby rugby… okay maybe not that last one. Whatever the hell it is that you choose to do, if it’s working for you and your family and you’re getting some peace and some happiness and some rest by doing it… keep doing it. Also, do not judge another parent for doing something you chose not to do, or not doing something you do. If their parenting style isn’t harming or neglecting their child and doesn’t affect or interrupt your parenting style, then it’s not your place to judge… But the reality is every mother judges someone else’s style of parenting against their own, for better or worse, it’s what happens. That’s cool, but don’t ever make another mother feel bad for what they’re doing. That’s not cool.

Parenting is a whole other world. It’s full of ups and downs, good days and challenging days. For me, it’s been full of new surprises and it’s hands down the best adventure I have ever had. For one emotion or thought, there is always the opposite. I have moments where I get so utterly tired of hearing my boy whinging over nothing that I can barely stand to even look at him, I have moments where the only thing I want to do is stare at him even if it means I miss out on precious sleep. Hearing his laugh for the first time made me cry, it was the most fantastic sound I had ever heard. Seeing my husband with my son still makes me feel this insane, intense love. It makes me want to smoosh both of their faces with never ending kisses. Being a mother has turned my whole life upside down in the most wonderful way. It would be unrealistic to say it hasn’t changed me because it definitely has, but it’s made me grow. It’s made me realise things about myself that I didn’t know before. It’s solidified my values and my hopes and ambitions. Having my son has changed my marriage as well, it’s made us stronger. It was challenging at first because we both felt disconnected for a while like we were just two ships passing in the night. But having our son has made both of us value the time we get to spend together, even more, it’s made our conversations richer, our emotions stronger and our world that much brighter.

Parenting is exhausting and overwhelming and wonderful. It’s intense and beautiful and challenging and every single day is new and different. These first six months have taught me a lot, most of all it’s taught me that despite appearances, every single parent out there is 100% winging it. There is no rule book, there is no definite ‘correct’ way of parenting. There’s just you and your child and in the end, that’s what matters.

And finally because this guy seems to be popping up in my feed more and more lately I wanted to leave you with this little vibe:

I want him to grow up knowing he’s the shit. I mean, sometimes he pisses me off. He’ll throw something across the room or he’ll keep me up all night, but then he’ll wake me up and say ‘I love you like the ocean.’ And you get up and do it again. It’s the best thing ever – Norman Reedus (on son Mingus)

Being a parent is easy, being the type of parent your children hope they’ll be one day… that’s the bigger challenge.

E

All these emotions

So today, I sat in the carpark in the Baldivis shopping centre and cried whilst my son sat happily playing in his car seat. It took me a few minutes to regain my composure, wipe my eyes, turn the car on and head back home. As I drove along the freeway, wishing that my already over tired son would just fall asleep instead of playing with the teething bug he was holding, I realised something rather interesting. I have for the better part of my life (read: up to this point) always felt as though I should ‘hide’ any strong emotions that I had. Predominantly the less amiable emotions (sadness, fear, hurt, anger etc.) but all emotions in general. It struck me as strange that I felt as though I needed to hide or rein in something that every single person on this planet experiences. Isn’t that just a little bit backward? Surely I have just as much right as anyone else to feel that way and not have to hide away in my car to express whatever it was I was feeling. Of course, all of this got me thinking even more about quite a number of different things. I remembering hearing phrases like “no one wants to hang around someone who is always depressed,” and “boys don’t like overly emotional girls,” or and this one is my personal favourite “real men don’t cry.” Of course I’m not a man so the last one doesn’t exactly relate directly to me but I thought it pertinent to add it in here just for that extra bit of emphasis. I can’t recall who said these things to me but I remember thinking at the time that they were correct, that I needed to adjust my emotions in order to fall into line with whatever this little expectation was.

 

Let’s start with the first one; “no one wants to hang around someone who is always depressed.” Okay, so to a degree this one makes sense to me. It’s true being around people that are constantly negative and quite down can be very draining and make enjoying situations incredibly challenging. However, saying something like that to someone who is simply having a bad day, or week, or whatever is actually detrimental to their overall well being. Take my situation, for example, currently, I’m having a challenging few days. My boy’s teeth are on the move and he’s going through a growth spurt and as such he’s been cranky and rather difficult to look after. He hasn’t been sleeping as well as before so we’re all tired, he’s decided this week solids are absolutely the last thing on the planet he wants to try and is generally just being a bit ratty. Now, me? I get up and I look at myself in the mirror and I think “wow, you look like you could be a zombie on The Walking Dead and you wouldn’t even need makeup.” This is closely followed by “oh God, we can’t have another day like yesterday, please, please, please don’t let us have another day like yesterday.” Positive right? Cheery and happy right? Of course it’s not. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to be that negative forever. I know my son will settle, I know his teeth will calm down and he’ll be okay and we’ll go back to having the same fun we used to have. If someone were to say to me now that “no one wants to hang around with someone who is always depressed,” I may actually give them the biggest serving right then and there. This sort of thing makes people who are having a bad day feel as though they aren’t allowed to have a tough time and should hide it or lie about it and cover it up. It also makes people who are genuinely suffering for a long period of time feel even worse about themselves and could potentially lead to them clamming up entirely and not talking and letting things fester.

 

As for the other statements “boys don’t like overly emotional girls” and the ever wonderful “real men don’t cry,” they are just as ridiculous as the notion that people should hide their feelings. For starters emotions, be it over the top or as simple as a grown man crying are powerful in every form and as such should be respected. I’ve seen ‘real men’ cry, it’s heartbreaking of course, much the same as it’s heartbreaking when anyone cries but it didn’t make me see them as anything less than human. If someone even hints at the notion that being overly emotional will result in not being liked then that person deserves to be shoved into a sea container and dropped to the bottom of the ocean instantly. Emotions are a universal thing. They are one of the very few things in this world that the human race has in common regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or culture. Being emotional is a part of being a human and the reality we are faced with here is that for some reason people feel as though they need to suppress any strong emotions they may have for fear of being ‘judged’.

 

I worked with a gentleman who was always so incredibly vibrant and bubbly regardless of what was going on. He was almost always cheery and had one of the most infectious laughs I have ever heard. If he was having a bad day or something wasn’t quite working out the way he had intended it was blatantly obvious to everyone around him. He wore his heart on his sleeve and I never considered it before but I admire him for that. We had had many a conversation about different life experiences and one of the conversations we had was about being able to take some time to look after yourself. At the time I had gone through a rather rough patch in my own life and he said simply “if you don’t look after yourself then who will?” Let me reiterate that… if you don’t look after yourself then who will? If looking after yourself means that you start crying when a water bottle smashes on the floor in the middle of a food court then do that. If it means you say to your family or friends “I’m having a hard time, can we have a chat about this,” then do that. If it means you lay on the couch all day and watch reruns of Bold and the Beautiful then do that. Do whatever the heck it is that you need to, to look after you; because at the end of the day you have to live with yourself.

 

This notion that emotions need to be suppressed, reined in or expressed in the relative privacy of your car is archaic and damaging. Emotions are there to help in the handling of different experiences. The feeling of overwhelming joy can be expressed in so many different ways, tears, laughter, kisses, hugs; much like overwhelming grief can be expressed in so many different ways tears, silence, insomnia, sleep. None of these things are right or wrong, they just are. So feeling as though you shouldn’t cry when you’re happy or feeling as though you shouldn’t smile at anything when you’re sad is obscene. Whatever it is that you’re feeling should not be suppressed. It shouldn’t be held in to be experienced in private because you feel as though expressing it in public is inappropriate. Of course, there’s always a flip side to every argument, I mean, if you’re angry at a sales clerk it’s not exactly appropriate to punch them in the face, or say stab someone because they make you feel sad or self-conscious. I’m not talking extremes here, I’m just talking about the fact that everyday emotions aren’t something we should feel as though we need to hide.

 

I will leave you here (because my child has managed to go to bed and I’m going to take advantage of the sleep) with a final little vibe that was said at a convention I attended many moons ago:

I’d rather walk around feeling like complete shit for a few days, and feeling like God the rest of the time, than walk around feeling ‘just okay’ all of the time. – Norman Reedus

 

So, go, be emotional, be open and honest and hope that somewhere in amongst all of that you give other people the strength to do the same.

E

 

 

The smallest things make the biggest difference

Everyone has heard the age old saying “if you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything” right? Well, there’s some serious truth in that. Sometimes we need to learn that not saying anything is actually not a problem, that being quiet is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of thoughtfulness. There have been many an occasion in recent months that I have found myself thinking I could quite easily give someone a serving; let them know exactly what it is that I think of their lifestyle, their habits, their clothes, their attitude… but I don’t. Instead, I take a step back and I think to myself, what exactly is this going to achieve? Now it’s easy to not say anything, what’s harder to do is to find something ‘nice’ in spite of all that ‘nasty’. Not saying anything can be helpful, but saying something nice, simple and honest can be powerful. Of course, if saying something nice means lying point blank then maybe not saying anything is the better option.

I have a five-month-old son. He’s a gorgeous little boy and to date probably one of the single greatest things in my entire life. This is slightly off topic but stick with me here, I’ll get back on track. There are some aspects of my parenting style that I am certain people disagree with, some aspects people may like and there are people that see a healthy, happy, loved little boy and as such don’t care either way what I’m doing so long as that continues to be the case. I mention this because I have joined a mother’s group that is made up of some of the most diverse and fantastic women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. We are a mixed group, to say the least; there are those of us who have lived in Australia our entire lives, those that have moved here recently, there are women with older children and there are first-time mums, there is everyone from managers to teachers. The one thing we all seem to have in common though is that we all support each other, no matter what. I have zero doubt in my mind that we don’t always see eye to eye on the ways each one of us parent but it doesn’t seem to matter. On more than one occasion I have needed just a little bit of guidance or reassurance and every single time those mothers have been there with a smile and a positive word of encouragement. That tiny little bit of reassurance and support has, more than once, seen me through what would’ve otherwise been a complete meltdown.

A simple “you got this”, or “everything will be fine just keep doing what you’re doing” can make an entire world of difference. The smallest things make the biggest impact and I didn’t entirely understand the depths of this until I made a comment to a woman in a doctors surgery some months ago. I had just taken my son in to be checked and I was waiting in line to pay when this woman behind me asked how old he was. We got to talking and she mentioned she had four-year-old twins, I told her quite honestly that any parent of twins is without a doubt an absolute hero in my eyes, that the simple fact that she functioned, let alone looked as well presented as she did was nothing short of inspirational. At the time I hadn’t thought anything of it, I’d just said something that I felt was true, little did I know it made a rather big impact on that woman. After we had both finished up in the surgery she came over to me as I was about to get in the car, looked me dead in the eye and thanked me. She said I’d changed her entire day, she’d had what could only be described as an utterly crappy morning. She’d been doubting that the way she was parenting her twins was, in fact, the best thing for them; hearing that some stranger thought she was doing a wonderful job had apparently given her that little bit of reassurance she’d needed.

I guess that’s where we forget how powerful words can be. I cried the first time someone told me I was doing an amazing job with my boy, needed to take a minute to myself when someone said I was looking really good four months after giving birth. It’s those little things that make such a huge difference to someone that is having a tough time. A few months back my son went through a bit of a rough patch when it came to sleeping, we were up every hour to an hour and a half over night, some nights he decided he wanted to be wide awake and playing at 3 am. This lasted for just over three weeks and by the end of it, I was a total wreck. I couldn’t even see straight, I was exhausted and emotional and I was teetering right on the edge of breaking point. Until someone said to me, quite simply, “you’re doing an incredible job, you should be very proud.” That was all it took to turn my outlook around. Two of my very dear girlfriends took time out of their lives and away from their kids to spend a day with me for some much-needed R & R and all of a sudden I felt like I could take on anything.

Changing someone’s day is simple, it’s quick and at the end of the day, it doesn’t cost anything. That age old saying of not having anything nice to say is true, but for me, I think it goes deeper than that. I think we hold a very important and very powerful tool that can make or break someone else’s day in a split second. What we say, and how we say it really can make a world of difference; they can bring someone back from a dark and lonesome path, they can brighten a tough day or they can throw someone over that edge. So, yes, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything. But if you so much as think of the tiniest compliment, not force yourself to think of something, but genuinely think of something, say it. Okay every now and then you may get a strange look, but I can guarantee you nine times out of ten you’ll get at very least a grateful smile. And then there will be those special few people who will thank you from the very bottom of their heart and you will know in that split second, that you made the world of difference without even having to lift a finger.

And this last little vibe:

Words can inspire, and words can destroy. Choose yours well. – Robin Sharma

Now go spread the love.

E

Positive thinking, quite the resource

My mother used to tell my brother and I not to be so negative so many times when we were kids that I think it may as well be tattooed on my arm. We weren’t exactly super negative kids, and at times I felt that maybe we weren’t being given the chance to be negative even for a short period, but, the thing is; she was completely and utterly right. Granted there were times as a teenager where all you wanted to do was sit there and stew in your own blind disappointment and annoyance, thinking that everyone was out to get you and that the whole world was filled with nothing more than disappointment and despair. Whilst that does seem disgustingly self-indulgent it doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. For the most part though, positive thinking is the way to change your entire life in the most subtle, but fantastically wonderful way.

For me, in the last few weeks, this whole notion of positivity has been more important than perhaps ever before. We have a four and a half month old and he’s currently going through what the ‘experts’ call a ‘sleep regression.’ Someone asked me the other day how I was going with it, checking in that I was managing well despite only having an hour or two of solid sleep a night. My response was honest when I said that it was a serious challenge both physically and mentally but, and this is the important part, it wouldn’t last forever. This friend, jokingly, told me that ‘forever’ could potentially be years worth of bad sleeping. We had the obligatory laugh and then went on with polite conversation. I didn’t think much of it until I got into the car to go home and then it suddenly hit me. How utterly demoralising and horrible would it be if I thought about this phase in my son’s life in such a negative way? If I sat there and thought to myself, “this is never going to end, this is just the beginning of what will be sheer Hell for such a long, unknown amount of time?” I would start to dread night times and I would probably even begin to resent my son for it as well. So with one simple change in how I talk about this phase in my boy’s development, I am changing how I handle the entire situation. Instead of saying “it’s horrible I just wish it would end,” I’m saying “it’s challenging, but it won’t last forever.” I’m looking at this stage in my son’s life as a huge step in his development and if that means I miss out on some sleep then so be it. Short term pain, long term gain and for now he needs me to be positive, supportive and happy far more than I need a solid eight hours.

It’s so easy to look for the faults and the unfortunate aspects of any situation; you could almost argue that critics make a living out of doing it; what’s harder and more rewarding though, is looking for the good stuff. It’s not something that comes easy for many people, especially if you’ve spent the better part of your life looking at things in a certain way. My husband, for example, was one of those people. He wasn’t exactly a negative person but there were more times than not that he spoke of things in a less than agreeable way. I remember one conversation in particular where we spoke of his time working in Karratha in the northern part of Western Australia. The Pilbara region is notorious for its blazing heat, dusty planes and its unforgiving land. My husband had spent quite a bit of time working up there, running rods and doing an unbelievable amount of manual labour on a mining rig back before everything went to computers and machinery. He always said he enjoyed working with the guys but the work itself was horrific. As such he spoke of the land as if it were out to get him personally, referring to that aspect of his experiences in no uncertain terms as “an absolute c**t of a place.” I made the mistake of saying that I wanted to visit Karratha one day; when asked why, I explained I wanted to see it. I wanted to see the vast landscape that stretches as far as the eye can see; I wanted to experience the cold nights, the stars blazing without the interruption of city lights. I wanted to see red dirt and arid wastelands, the steadfast flora and the hardened fauna. I wanted to experience the magic that that part of our country has to offer. At the time, his reaction was to tell me I was crazy, that I didn’t ‘understand’ the lifestyle up there and that it was a romanticised view of an otherwise totally crappy place. He was right in saying that it was a romanticised view of the place, but I can’t help that my creativity takes over pretty much every aspect of my life. I’m pleased to say in the years gone by he has actually come around to a similar way of thinking. We’ve looked at photographs of the landscapes up there and the wildlife that thrives in those arid conditions and he’s gone from being Mr You’ve-Got-To-Be-Kidding-Me to being Mr What-An-Amazing-Place-To-Visit. It took time (nearly four years) but he did start to see it differently. He went from talking about it in such a negative way to sharing stories of seeing some of the most awe-inspiring country, seeing the most incredible wildlife he’s ever witnessed and getting to do things he’d never even dreamed of doing in the city. We’ve spoken about this shift in his thinking a number of times and he himself even says that it’s made a huge difference to his lifestyle and the quality of the experiences he’s had and is yet to have.

For me, hearing my mother telling me to “not be so negative” has changed my entire life. I owe her, to some degree, for the happiness I have managed to find in every situation. I’m lucky enough to have not had any really heinously terrible things happen in my short time on this planet, but it’s my outlook that has allowed me to see even the most heartbreaking of experiences in a positive way. Someone once asked me how I could possibly find the good in everything that happens and the only answer I could think to give was that it wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. It took me a while, it was a very active shift in thinking for me, it’s not as if something would happen and I’d immediately think “oh good, I’m going to learn something really valuable out of this.” Things would happen and when I thought back on them later I’d make a conscious effort to think of something good. For every negative thought, I’d try my best to come up with something positive. Sometimes it would be something so small and simple like; I got to see someone I hadn’t seen in years despite being at a funeral. Over time it became like second nature to me, every time I’d look back on the more challenging moments in my life I’d find myself thinking about the positive things that came out of it.

In the end, it’s all about perspectives. It’s always going to be easier to look at the negative side of things, to play the martyr or to be the victim. Where the real challenge and, in my eyes, the real strength comes from is seeing the good in amongst all that. Being positive when everyone around you is being negative, seeing what so many other people seem to miss because they’re too busy being self-indulgent. Seeing the positive side of things isn’t a walk in the park, but once you know how, it’ll make that walk a whole lot prettier.

And finally, this little vibe:

We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are. – J.K. Rowling

E

The beauty of hindsight, and painful partings.

It’s Friday night here and if you’re anything like me you like to just tune out and do nothing to cap off a busy week. Here’s the thing though, this lovely little brain of mine takes Friday evenings (and a glass of wine) as a sign that it’s time to reminisce. Much like anyone else, my past is filled with equal parts joy, embarrassment, questionable choices and smart decisions. Of course, every so often there’s one or two memories that stop you dead in your tracks and rekindle just the slightest twinge of hurt all over again.

I can count on one hand (just) the number of people that I have had a less than amicable parting with. Three out of those five I have reconciled with to varying degrees, one of those isn’t for lack of trying and the last I recently learned is engaged and appears to be living a happy life, so best let sleeping dogs lie as it were. Here’s the thing about difficult partings though, they stick with you in the worst possible way. On this chilly Friday evening, I have come to the rather illuminating epiphany that I found these partings so painful not because I lost touch with important people in my life, but because the situations surrounding those moments were let’s say, less than desirable.

The first two people were two of my dearest friends at University. We were practically inseparable when we were studying together; spending every waking second doing everything from not studying to jumping off small cliff faces into the river below. It was around this time that it hit me, the career path I’d chosen wasn’t actually what I wanted for my life. With twelve months left on my degree, I had enough time to transfer out of what I was studying, take a few extra units and still graduate at the same time. It was around this time that I drifted from my two friends. Lives took us in separate directions, whilst they were out doing their final practical experiences I was battling with arguments about changing my studies amidst getting engaged and wondering what I could actually do with my new credentials.

For a really long time I wouldn’t let myself think back on those uni days because so much of it had those two in them. It took years for me to realise that whilst the three of us may have parted ways (read: I stopped talking to them pretty much entirely)  it didn’t actually change the fact that we were friends. I spent so many of my days with them, they made me laugh, they made the midnight essay writing sessions bearable. They were two of my very closest and dearest companions. After a while I understood that it wasn’t them that needed to ‘move on’ and it wasn’t me that needed to ‘let go’, it was everyone just accepting that things change, we make mistakes and we move forward. I contacted the two of them some time ago, we buried the hatchet and that was the end of it. I don’t entirely know where they are these days but I do see the occasional Instagram post from one of them, we share a like, a comment and we go about our lives. I can’t say how my contacting them impacted on their lives, but I know for a fact that it made me realise that just because something didn’t end well, doesn’t mean it didn’t start well.

A few years later I was in a similar situation again. Not university related this time but I had two very close girlfriends.  Much the same as with the other two, we did a lot together. We exercised together, we had girls days, girls nights, girls weekends. Not long after we met I ended up going through what I can only explain as one of the most challenging experiences of my married life. At the time I needed to put my focus on my husband and I and it meant that there was a number of other things that had to take a backseat. My work life changed, my relationships with family and friends changed. Everything changed. Then one day I found myself arguing more and more with these two friends and having less and less in common with them. Before I knew it I was blocking out entire chunks of my life from my memory purely because they were prominent aspects of those times.

Again, the beauty of hindsight came tearing into my field of vision and made me understand that I wasn’t blocking out those memories because those girls were in them, but because those girls reminded me of something I wanted so desperately to put behind me. As with the other two friends, I reached out and sent a message, an apology and a simple ‘how are you?’. This time only one of them chose to reconnect; the other, sadly, hasn’t even acknowledged that I exist anymore. That’s the other side of the story, just because one person decides that the good moments we shared far outweigh the painful ones, doesn’t mean the other person will be at the same point.

Life is a constantly moving target. Some days we wake up and feel like we can do anything and everything. We live in the now and we only focus on the good things. Other days we want to lay in bed and dwell on all the terrible, horrible things that lurk behind closed doors in our mind. There’s got to be a balance though. For every good memory, there is a negative one and vice versa. These four people have taught me that we can blend the good with the bad and come out the other end stronger, wiser and hopefully a little more humble. I’ve learned my lessons and I will be forever grateful to each and every single one of those people; regardless of whether or not they have spoken to me, acknowledged my existence, or ignored me completely, the reality is they have changed me. Their lives impacted mine in a way that I can’t put into words. They were prevalent parts of my history, my timeline, and like with any good historical account; accuracy is absolutely paramount.

I promised I would be honest in this blog so here’s the honesty. Those four people were special to me and they will forever hold a place in my heart regardless of what the outcomes were. It’s not to say they are any more or any less important to me than the people currently in my life, but they will always be there. That’s the thing, the human condition sometimes means we end up hurting each other, whether that be intentionally or unintentionally, what matters isn’t the pain that was caused, but the lessons that were learned. We all make mistakes, we all act out of turn, driven (like I was) by strong emotions or situations. At the end of the day though, no one is immune, no one is perfect and most importantly, no one is to blame. The second we start blaming people for our downfalls that’s when we start down a dark path that can be very, very hard to come back from.

And so I’ll leave you with this little vibe for your Friday night:

I think Hell is something you carry around with you, not somewhere you go. – Neil Gaiman

Now… go make good choices.
E

 

Let’s chat

When I was growing up my parents encouraged my brother and I to be creative, to speak our minds and to, above all else, be honest. Of course as a child being honest meant telling everyone and anyone you met that you hated the colour pink or that broccoli tasted like feet. Being creative meant drawing on the walls with crayons and speaking your mind meant saying your best friend’s house smelt like old people. As an adult though, those things took on a whole other meaning.

Honesty as an adult can, at times, blur the lines between being unabashedly truthful and being a little bit elusive. It means sometimes not saying that you think your friend’s child is a massive pain in the arse, that their new hair colour makes them look like a vampire or that their roast beef tastes remarkably like charcoal; but instead saying their child is ‘energetic’, that their new hair colour is ‘unique’ and their beef is ‘different’. Honesty can mean choosing your words carefully to navigate the minefield that is human emotion, much like speaking your mind isn’t just running your mouth.

It’s remarkably easy to just blurt out whatever comes into your head before really thinking about what is actually being said; I’ve been known to do just that on more than one occassion. Like the time I told one of my very best friends that I didn’t want to drive an hour to her house with my then 4 week old until he had had his vaccine for whooping cough. Of course she, rightfully so, thought that I was saying her house and her son presented a potential risk for my newborn to get whooping cough despite both being vaccinated and her house being as clean as an operating theatre (good job brain!). Speaking your mind as an adult is about more than just running your mouth. It’s about being diplomatic with how you present your opinions and ensuring you don’t come across sounding like a total jackass. Something that can prove a bit difficult if you’re toeing that creative line.

I’m a fiction writer and I have this inherent need to speak far more than is necessary. There have been times where that creative side of my brain makes the answer to a simple question a three page epic saga that makes sense only to me. It means I have a bad habit of overthinkking simple answers that others give in response to my lengthy questions. Creativity as an adult goes from drawing on the walls to painting on a canvas, from playing ‘make believe’ in the garden to writing about and inventing new and fantastic worlds on paper. The thing is, it’s not the meanings that change in any of these circumstances; it’s us.

The basic meaning of those three things stays exactly the same, it’s just that we change our perceptions as we get older. A large part of that change comes from the experiences we have throughout our lives. These experiences impact not only on how we act and react to certain things but they alter the way in which we think about our lives as a whole. Experiences change us in the best possible way; they inspire us, they test us and above all else, they teach us.

That’s where This Little Vibe was born and where it will grow. I intend on using that creativty and that honesty to speak my mind in a way that I hope will help, inspire and encourage others to do the same. With product reviews, guest writers, shared experiences and general ramblings it is my hope that this blog sees you smiling, laughing, agreeing and even disagreeing with the vibes I’m putting out into the cyberverse. There’s so much negativity and fear in the world that it’s high time we start boosting the positivity and the creativity.

With that I will say thanks, and leave you with this little vibe:

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.  – Roald Dahl The Twits’.

E