I can lie in my bed but I also can choose the sheets!

I’m often quite humbled by the care and attention from other people.

Last night I was having quite a deep conversation with someone about motherhood – hers and mine – and my general malaise about life.

Two things stuck in my mind from that conversation.

The first was from that lovely person, who was commenting about the current life events I was having, or not having as the case may be. I’m not very patient, you see!

She said essentially, what is happening is happening and everything will fall into place. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle, and if you try to push a piece in too soon where it’s not supposed to go, it won’t be right.

So anybody who read my Daddy issues post from last week might remember I said those similar words – stop trying to make it all perfect. What is happening is ‘as it should be’ and nothing else needs to be done. I told you we were alike!!

The second thing was an analogy I created about the whole ‘you made your bed, now lie in it’.

Yes it’s true, sometimes we make situations and we need to deal with them.

But here’s the thing. I don’t have to make my bed and lie in it the same as everyone else. I can choose different sheets, different pillows, hell, whatever bedhead I like!

It’s true that we have responsibilities and we have to honour those. But we don’t have to honour them in the way that other people think we ‘should’. We can choose to honour them how we can best support the situation, and that could be completely different than someone else might act.

In fact, trying to ‘suck it up’ and take responsibility in the same way that other people have decided may in fact make the responsibility impossible to bear in the long term, and therefore, very counter-productive.

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring
A person

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It’s not really their fault, is it…

No, it’s not really their fault that you didn’t get that contact from the hospital.

It’s not really their fault that your parent could have died alone in another state.

It’s not really their fault that you didn’t know they were in hospital in the first place.

It isn’t appalling that they didn’t tell you.

What’s appalling is your own sense of shame, of powerlessness, or fear that something could have happened and you would not have known, because for whatever reason, the hospital didn’t get a hold of you. Whether that was because you didn’t answer your phone or they never called you back. I don’t know.

But I hope you forgive yourself for not being there for that person. I hope you find peace within yourself that for now, they are still alive and you have a chance to make it OK.

And because you are beating yourself up so much, I’m going to forgive you for being so rude, because I know it’s not about me or them. It’s about you.

  
Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring
A person

Journey to yourself

The Journey

By Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognised as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

This poem means a lot to a lot of people. Anyone who has felt like they were trapped, living a life they didn’t want to, a life they didn’t fit any more, this poem will resonate with them.

It’s about recognising that at some point, the only thing you can do is be true to yourself.

It’s tough walking away. It’s tough to walk through the wind and the wild night and the voices calling you back.

But once you do walk out of that place into the world, you can never go back.

Just as once it felt wrong to be ‘outside’, now it feels wrong to be back ‘in’.

I have observed myself struggle to be comfortable in what was previously my home. It was as if I didn’t belong there anymore. Going back was painful and sad and did not feel right.

But I don’t pretend that was anything like what other people might feel. People who have had to turn their whole lives around. Coming out as a lesbian or gay, or transgender.

Not only having to face their previous life but try and incorporate it into their new one. Relationships that were old now have to be renewed. Some of them won’t survive. Some of them can’t survive because they don’t fit the new identity.

It’s a privilege to watch someone be reborn in this situation. To crack open the egg and come out into the light a new person. To walk away from an entire life, an entire identity and begin again.

It’s a hard struggle. You need to be kind to them.

It’s never a ‘just’. You never ‘just’ walk away from your marriage. You never ‘just’ walk away from your family. You never ‘just’ change everything, tear down everything.

The people around you won’t understand at first. They will be hurt and confused. They will take it personally.

But ultimately it’s not about them. It’s about that person, wanting to be free to be themselves.

All you can do is be there for them while they work it all through. Love them. They are the same but then again, totally changed. They will love you the same, but the expression might be different.

Don’t take it personally. They’ve just woken up from a long sleep.

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring
A person

Road trip to feminism and Maseratis

In an effort to bring more inspiration, creativity and culture to myself and also my daughter, I took us both and the lovely woman to Bowral yesterday to a Southern Highlands Writers Festival event with Tara Moss.

I’d been wanting to see Tara speak for a while. I’ve followed her on Twitter and she has intelligent things to say about gender equality and domestic violence.

Firstly, let me say that it was a gorgeous winter day and the town of Bowral is lovely. We strolled around amoung the Maserati’s, BMWs and Mercedes in the very leafy streets.

The Bradman Museum was the venue, and I’ve never been there before. It was quite good as a venue and the surrounds included a park, which my daughter found very good! It even had a P.L. Travers statue!

Tara Moss was interviewed by Lisa Forest, herself a high achiever, being an Olympian swimmer. Tara noted they walked down the isle together, (I noted much like a pair of Amazonian lesbians), and Tara was also very quick to note that at the end of the talk again, once they had the flowers and the wine! Nice to see she is happy to be associated with marriage equality (and congratulations to Ireland for winning at this stuff).

The Fictional Woman is Tara’s latest book and to be honest, although I’ve tried to find it, I haven’t read it yet.

However, I’ve explored it’s themes and was familiar enough to be able to follow the discussion, which included Tara’s experiences as a young model and the death of her mother; the archetypes of virgin, femme fatal and witch in films; and gender bias, cyber bullying and feminism.

One of the very interesting and obvious things she said, but something I’d never thought about before was ‘No one comes up to young girls in the streets and says hey, you should be a writer!’ She had always wanted to be one, but on the death of her mother in her mid teens, she felt she had to go out and make something of her life, and modelling was the most obvious thing at the time.

Some of the issues she touched on included wishing for more gender equity, especially in the Australian parliament, which is 90% male. With that, there would be a further representation of women’s personal experiences, influencing policy and lawmaking.

She stressed several times that the use of the word feminist was nerve wracking for her the first time she used it and she feels the need to clarify for people it’s true meaning – gender equality. Her book, she says, helps younger people refute arguments against feminism by giving them ‘intellectual bombshells’ to throw back at attackers.

‘We need men and women’ Moss says, to be feminists, or feminist allies if you think men can’t be feminists. Her husband is one and she says she gets fathers come up and ask her how they can deal with gender bias now that they have daughters. The idea had not occurred to them before that.

We also need to listen to women talk about domestic violence, according to Moss. She doesn’t have a problem with men speaking out or events like the White Ribbon day, but can see Clementine Ford’s point about who we should be listening to. She cites Rosie Batty for example, and also the organisation that she is a patron of, Full Stop.

One of Tara’s final comments was in response to a question around social media cyber bullying. Her advice after getting some ‘unusual’ responses on social media – treat it as criminal. She’s been threatened and has reported it. Moss advises young people experiencing bullying to tell parents, and talk about it.

It was a very intelligent and fascinating interview from a warm and beautiful woman. Unfortunately my daughter did not appreciate it and was more interested in playing in the playground outside…them’s the breaks I guess!

However, I hope that one day, she might be asked on the street to become a writer, or perhaps a plumber or scientist, instead of something that sells products for someone else, and it will be people like Tara Moss who speak out for women, children and gender equity that will help make that happen.

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring
A person

It’s always a risk

I sent my Mum and Dad yesterday’s post.

It didn’t go well. 

As per this family, we will all now pretend that it didn’t happen.

It’s sad because they took it the wrong way but I can’t change that. They felt attacked and withdrew but that is so far from what I was saying. 

It’s not hard to see where I learned to defend and bury my feelings.

I can’t ask them to change that but I can disagree with it, and I can choose not to do that myself. 

  
Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring

A person 

My Daddy issues

And I don’t mean dyke Daddy issues. I will strap on my cock and fuck you hard but I am definitely nobody’s Daddy!

No, I’m talking my actual Dad.

He is hard man.

Bought up in the country by a strong mother, with a distant, often absent father, and five brothers, he started smoking when he was about ten.

All his life he wanted to be a cop and he was one for 27 years, but not before he was in retail and he has quite a creative streak in him expressed in interior furnishings and fittings.

He’s an Aquarius with Pisces in either rising or moon, I can’t remember. I’m a Scorpio with Aries rising. We’ve had some fights, I can tell you!

His love is so strong for us, my brother and I, that it seems to tear him apart. He wants to still be in control of our lives, despite us now being in our early forties. He doesn’t understand we don’t need him to fix us anymore.

We are very different, and yet very similar. His influence on my early life cannot be understated in terms of my values about work, money, loyalty.

Unfortunately some of those decisions and rules are limiting for me in my world in 2015.

I don’t want to be so strict like he was when I was a child. My brother and I make jokes about it over family dinners but the fact is, he now does it to our kids and I’m not so comfortable with that.

He believes in manners and kids speaking when they’re spoken to, and his patience for noisy child’s play is quite limited.

But he will also sit with them and help with their homework, or let them follow him around (as I did), in the garden or the shed asking ‘what are you doing Pop?’

I think he is a man that struggles with his emotions because how he was raised was to have none, as that generation of men were. And there was probably little room to express much, as he had three brothers above and two below. There was no time for weakness, despite his early health problems and time in hospital as a young boy.

He was a smart arse kid and is quite happy to tell those stories but would not tolerate such behaviour from his own children or grandchildren.

My brother and I are proud of him, his life achievements and the way he is but we do wish he would let go of needing to tell us what to do, how to be. We love him so much, we just want him to love us back without judgement.

Now he is older and has health problems that have been confronting for him and us all as a family. Confronting for him because he has never really been unhealthy as an adult. He has always been able to push through pain or tiredness and now he cannot, or has been instructed by doctors to not push through anything.

I imagine he feels extremely frustrated by the limitations his aging body puts on his ideals of what a man and husband and father should be. I imagine he fears his frailty, his physical weakness, his loss of ability.

It’s confronting for us because we watch him struggle with this and feel the effects, because as he struggles with his loss of the physical capabilities, he gets harder and more controlling in other areas. We see that he is in fact just a man, not the superman that children see their parents as. He is merely human, in a human body, struggling with his humanity.

If I could say anything to him, I would say this:

Let go and just be yourself. We love you, we accept you.

We don’t need you to fix anything. We still value your advice and help but we need you to reserve it and let us come to you.

Stop trying so hard to make it all perfect. Life is not perfect. Your wife is not perfect. Your children and grandchildren are not perfect.

You are not perfect (and there is no need to defend this position).

But we love you despite this imperfection, and we know you love us.

Let go of the need to be right, let go of the fight to make everything ‘as it should be’.

Everything is as it should be.

Don’t stop fighting to be with us here. We can’t tell how big the hole in our lives will be if you leave us.

Yes, we too don’t want you to go. But as you are now confronted by your mortality, so are we.

And for whatever time is left, and I’d say there are plenty of years left if you can swing it right, we want to watch you enjoy your life. Not fight, not judge, not struggle with your rules.

You are not wrong, but in your insistence on being right, you lose those moments with us. We want them all. We are greedy.

So please Daddy, stay. Love us and be loved by us. Relax and let go of the rules. You can’t take them with you, and I don’t want to remember that at the end, you were so hard and judgemental that I couldn’t be happy when I was with you. I know you don’t want that either.

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring,
A daughter

It’s not a roller coaster of love…and that’s a good thing

It’s wonderful to be with someone who understands that you need to write.

Who understands that there is a process to working things out.

Who gives you time to work those things out.

Who likes and expects that you will have a dark side.

Who quietly sits beside you and teaches you how not to be defensive when challenged.

I feel very lucky to be with someone who teaches me so much just by continuing her own journey.

I want so much to be the best person I can be for her, but I’m not perfect. I get angry at people, and situations.

We’ve made four months of love to date.

She makes me reconsider all the things I thought I’d decided on about relationships.

One of my challenges is my need for maintaining my independence (only newly returned) while also wanting to be with, well frankly, her. I want to be with her all the time. I never want to leave our ‘bubble’, and it’s always hard on that day when the ‘long week’ starts.

So one of the things she bought to me was a concept of differentiation and interdependence.

The idea that you can have both individuality and emotional connection (which seems simple enough, but actually tricky to achieve as humans).

Desire involves wanting your partner — not just wanting sex — and we often don’t want to want our partner because it makes us vulnerable. Dr David Schnarch

Being vulnerable is very challenging for a lot of people, myself included.

Being with someone and also maintaining your own ‘self’ is also very challenging – there is either collapse into the relationship or a struggle to keep the independence or individuality. In my previous long term relationship, I feel like I became suffocated by the role I put upon myself and the only way free was to end the relationship. In Schnarch’s world, I think we were emotionally fused – too dependent on each other so that there was little individuality left. And I don’t mean that we didn’t have our own interests, but more that we were so much together that there was, for me, a struggle to be myself any more. In losing the connection to myself, the connection to my wife was also lost.

The challenge was then unmasking that reality and moving forward. It has been a journey of discovery ever since then and I have learned a lot of lessons. Some painful, all magical.

I want to keep learning and growing and thinking about how to do relationships in a new way, so that I don’t push someone away, or collapse into them or a role that I feel I have to fight my way out of again.

I don’t think I’ve ever started a relationship with someone that is actively on their own self-discovery journey. However, my lovely woman is on such a path. It excites me to be with her as she discovers aspects of herself, and in doing so, teaches me about myself.

When I look at previous relationships since beginning to be with other people, I notice the drama. In some there was a lot of drama, others not as much.

Maybe it’s just because everything else in my life is up in the air and potentially drama filled, but my current relationship is not dramatic for me (I specifically say that, because I can’t say if there is in fact drama for her). There are not dramatic moments in it where I feel like I’m on a rollercoaster.

I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean it in a way that if things are happening, then it seems that we both stop and consider. That we wait for the other person to work it out. That we don’t judge each other for mistakes, or faults or fears.

Sometimes you need drama to progress in your life. Action moves the story along. However, this quiet way that she brings inspires me to keep the walls lowered and the drama minimal. There has been no tantrums from me about her.

This is her way. Her quiet, thoughtful, kind way.

I want more of her every day.

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring
A person

The house still has no foundations…

I’m feeling a little ‘stateless’. And I mean no disrespect to all those people who have real statelessness issues out there. But it’s the best word I can find to describe my sense of ‘not grounded’ when it comes to my housing situation.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a bit you’ll know that I’m renting a lovely house in the country, that while not perfect, is very comfortable and has the country views I enjoy.

Like this one…

home view

I also had a recent search for my own place but was thwarted by some potential damp and financial surprises from the building report. I elected not to go ahead, as I couldn’t be sure whether I could:

  • find the extra minimum $5000 to do what needed to be done and
  • not be sure if that would fix all the issues and there would be no long term costs down the end.

I then asked if the owners of my current place would look at selling. I’m still waiting to hear what their answer might be (and fair enough, they need to consult their financial advisor).

Meanwhile, a family member might be moving from their house and have offered for me to rent that at a cheaper rate than I’m currently doing (although still market rate). I am very happy to help that person and live in the house, but the reality is, I don’t want to move from where I am right now.

So, I’m waiting, once again in limbo and with no foundations.

And waiting is not my forte. I like to know what’s going on. I like to have a sense of purpose. In this way, the break-up of my marriage over a year ago has still not been bedded down. I’m still floating in terms of a permanent residence.

But what if I’m not meant to have that anymore?

What if my lesson is that I don’t have a place that is exclusively mine again?

That could go in a number of ways.

One is that I don’t own a property again – it’s very expensive to buy something that fits my criteria. Although I don’t think it’s impossible to find such a place (I’m almost living in it now), and I don’t think my criteria is too precious, it may be that I might not find the house that I ‘heart’ in the near or even middle term future.

Or what about ever?

So I only rent, and then the issue is around how I ensure that I am OK in my retirement years, because the bonus of a house is that if you own it, you have a sense of both financial and personal security. Do I just put that money in superannuation? Shares? Am I actually dedicated enough to do that?

Alternatively, I could buy something as an investment, but even then, the market in my local area is pretty pricey and after my last go at investment properties, which is still a millstone around my neck to be honest, I’m a little nervous of anything that isn’t neutral or positively geared. Tax breaks be damned, I don’t want to have to prop it up from my fortnightly pay packet!

Another option of course, is that I end up buying a house with another person. That could be a friend or love partner, could be live in or investor (them, not me).

How do I feel about being tied to another ‘relationship dependent’ house arrangement? To be honest my bank balance is still smoking from the last one. I was punished financially for leaving my marriage and the scars are going to show for a while.

(As an aside, I must be on the money with this internal discussion because my avoidance behaviour is really swinging along!)

Can I work my way around either of these scenarios?

I don’t want to live in someone else’s house and not have a stake in it – renting aside.

If I had some way of locking in a fifty-fifty split with a purchasing partner, would that settle my nerves? I really don’t want to have to go through this much financial instability again, considering my mid-forties are fast approaching and I don’t really feel like I have another chance to get it right after this next try.

If I do find ‘my’ place, could I live with someone else there, and how would they feel if they don’t have any stake in it at all, come the end? Would that be acceptable to them or me? I’m not sure I am comfortable putting them in a financial position that I myself, would not want to be in. I would want them to have some sort of financial backup plan. I certainly would not want to do to them what has been done to me.

As another aside, I do wonder if my experience had been different, would I be so sensitive to these concerns? Or would I just go ahead assuming that life is about fifty-fifty? Can’t answer that one since it isn’t my experience but it would be interesting to see what I would be doing in that parallel universe.

Meanwhile, if I do find suitable investment property, I think I’m more likely to be comfortable in either renting or buying a place with someone else because I know I have that backup plan.

It’s all about the safety net.

But what exactly is it that I’m keeping myself safe from?

Poverty? Working until I die? Neither of those things sound particularly appealing, that is for sure! I would like to spend some time of my life not working, just enjoying. I’ve been working since sixteen and no offence to Joe Hockey, who I’m sure is going to be drawing a nice income from company board positions until he is 87, but working is not really something I want to be doing past 60, let alone 70.

It does scare me that this is what I’ll be doing. Everything about this scares me.

At the very least I think, once I know if I’m still renting or buying my current abode, I need to see a financial planner and make some sort of plan.

This is the practical solution to the ‘unknown’. Avoid further fear by putting off any decisions until X or Y happens!

Sigh.

Is Mercury in retrograde again??

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring
A person

Choosing again, someone you like

‘My desires in a relationship have changed over time. I no longer want someone who promises to always love me and never leave me. I need someone that understands that life happens and sometimes things don’t work out. I don’t want someone who sugar coats things and never gets angry with me, I need someone to tell me how it really is and put me in my place. I need to be able to go five hours without talking to you and not feel lost or incomplete. I am complete without you. But with you, I want to be so much better. I want to be stronger with you. I want us to grow together and help each other grow individually. I don’t need you, but I really fucking want you. And this may not work out but the fact that you understand all of this and how our relationship works, makes me think we’ve got a pretty good shot.’ Via therestislife, Tumblr

I love this quote from someone on Tumblr. It expresses what I feel about relationships now.

I’ve previously said that I don’t think there is ‘the one’ and I’m no longer looking for that person.

However, I am lucky I have found the one for now, my lovely teacher who the Universe has sent to school me in whatever lessons I need to learn.

I sent her this today…

  
(And in case you can’t see the picture)
‘I like poems
museums
real conversation
genuine people
text messages
Friday nights
fantasies
I like stories
intimacy
I like soul’

With the addition of ‘I like you’.

I think it’s important in a relationship to ask yourself if you really like that person, or if it’s all about lust and drama because after all the lust and drama (and don’t get me wrong, lots of lust and some drama is pretty good) are done, what are you left with?

My current relationship is so far not overly drama filled. We very much enjoy hanging out together, regardless of the level of excitement. We don’t have to ‘do’ anything to enjoy each other’s company. There needs no more stimulation than a chair and a cup of tea in the back garden and we are more than happy. That said, of course we do things together like dinner, movies (there’s an in joke here!) and hanging with friends. And the sex is amazing…

She makes me laugh and think and smile and care.

I feel very fortunate to be able to have such a chance again to be with someone and be a better person because of them. I’ve said before that I didn’t expect it so soon, because my previous relationship was so long and I just wasn’t looking for anyone else.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be in a relationship. It was that I was unhappy how I was in my previous long term one. (Side note: what is the definition of long term?) And I was prepared to be single for a long time so that I could be happy.

So it’s been quite interesting to me to see what I feel when different things come up with this new relationship. Rediscovering all the negotiations that you have to do. The little and big discoveries about a person, what they do, what they like.

And it’s interesting to me the things that I consider doing that I haven’t had to consider for a while, or maybe I had a rule about that I’m reassessing. Like sleeping on a particular side of the bed, for example. I probably would not have considered swapping sides previously, for reasons that may (probably) have been stubborn.

However, as it turns out, I have a sore shoulder, the new lovely girl has a sore shoulder and if we swap sides, shoulders are not as sore! So I changed the side of the bed for her. Just like that.

I know it might seem odd that I didn’t do that before for whatever reason, but when you go back to the start of something, it frees you up to act differently. To choose again. To reassess.

The whole point it to choose again. And maybe I’ll choose the same, and maybe I’ll choose differently, it really just depends.

I’m enjoying it and looking forward to everything and anything that I have to learn about myself, and with her.

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring
A person

Recapturing New York

I was looking at my NYC subway plate today and thinking, damn, I miss NY! I really loved it!

So I decided to view my own city of Canberra as a tourist. And, as I happen to work in the centre of town, I took a stroll around Braddon.

You can shoot hipsters in a barrel in Braddon but it is full of wonderful and quirky places to eat and buy food, flowers and clothes.

I took a few photos of what was a very beautiful day.

And I felt like I was enjoying a little bit of NY again, even if it was only for half an hour at lunchtime!

New architecture.  

Funky chairs at one of the eateries.  

One of the very fun and funky finds in the flower shop Moxom and Whitney.   Hungry?

A new world after you get new hair – I love this door!

And below are pictures from a conglomeration of Lonsdale Street Traders, food, and very cool shops.
      

I can’t wait to go for a lunch date here! Any takers?

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring,
A person