What I thought about today – Day 1

Most days are just a mundane flow of thoughts and routine blips on the radar and then you get days where you think, a lot. So I saw a video clip on social media the other day of a young woman, in her 20’s I would guess, taking part in some sort of parade. She had on a t shirt and shorts so perfectly adequately clad. I still fail to see how your choice of clothing apparently gives other people any rights over you but just in case you were wondering. Anyhow there she was, bouncing along and seemingly enjoying the experience when some disgrace of a man comes up behind her and starts putting his hands all over her. As it would he certainly got his arse handed to him as she physically beat him off and was then aided by another young woman who chased him away.

What really pissed me off and got me to thinking was that it’s the 21st century and yet there still isn’t anywhere that’s completely safe as a woman where you can go and enjoy yourself without some fool getting in your face. For clarity, because I know there’s going to be some “gift to the world” out there who’s going to want to justify something, I’m straight and married to a good man. With that said, even if I was as alternative as ….”…….. (insert your own example here because what is alternative to some is everyday living to others) what gives any person the right to assault (because that’s what it is) another person because apparently just because defies explanation.

As much as I’m sure there are incidents of women sexually and mentally abusing men, my train today is men abusing women. So yes the #metoo and every other inspirational campaign that involves women taking back their power is relevant here. Wait, did I hear somebody roll their eyes, you better damn well believe it – the time is now. So here’s my thing – speak up, every time – support each other, every time – believe what she says, every time.

“A woman is unstoppable after she realises she deserves better”.

About me, today

Do you think a lot, or maybe it’s just me? I like to think and ponder and ruminate about this and that and everything in between. My favourite place is usually the shower (must be the whole calming effect of the water thing blah, blah, blah) but otherwise anywhere really that is removed from the constant noise of living. Anyway I was thinking today …

What do you think you see when you look at me?
Tough and mouthy,
Oozing confidence with a clearly defined life path.
Wrong, wrong, wrong
It’s all for show
I don’t really know and I’m not really sure but I’m learning every day
I’m finding my way
Setting my boundaries
Pushing my limits
Finding my joy
Realising that taking care of me first is the only way to be the best me I can be.

I am a woman

Because I am a woman
I choose to have a voice,
I choose the right to express my opinion and to be heard.

Because I am a woman
I reserve the right not to agree with you,
I choose not be your chattel.

Because I am a woman
I choose the right to be treated as a human being
I choose the right to be treated as an equal.

Because I am a woman
I reserve the right to decide whether or not I have children
I choose to ignore what my cultural heritage and religious beliefs dictate.

Because I am a woman,
I choose to love and be loved
I reserve the right to be courageous and feisty and tough.

Because I am a woman
I choose to be in control of my destiny,
I reserve the right to choose who walks beside me.

What do you do when the night is dark

Its such a calm night I’m sitting outside under the stars. The house is in darkness except for a light in the study -DH is at work on some intricate proposal. He’ll call my name shortly, wanting to talk over and debate what he’s done. My usual pen and pad has been cast aside, the yen to be part of the darkness far outweighing the need for light and the feel of the instrument in my hand. I’m going electronic to muse and schmooze ……………

“I am in my head

I am seeking quiet respite from the noise that is the world

A place of peaceful introspection

A place to think

A place to rebuild the barriers that waiver and buckle

I close my eyes

Perhaps they think I’m asleep

I’m breathing

I hear the sound, regular and even

I’m focused on the rhythm

It is the perfect antidote to my turbulent soul

Thrown out of balance by living and life

The path is crooked, jagging from one side to the other

Yet the thread that is me remains intact

I pull on it, unsure of my footing

It holds firm guiding me forward

The way is open

Time to start again.

From me to her

So my 80 something year old mother (a lady never reveals her true age apparently) had a cataract removed yesterday. A lifetime of rude health and then a hip replacement last year and now the eyes. At our bi-weekly dinner on saturday night she announced to us that she was going to die yesterday (note: this isn’t a sign of mental disease more just a flair for the dramatic and an overactive imgination).While my father and DH sat with mouths agape I retorted with an “ok then – burial, cremation or compost for the roses?” We laughed and drank a glass of peach champagne. I phoned her on Monday to say all the best and she said “I’m scared” and it broke my heart just a little bit – this bright, competent, wickedly funny woman who knows half the planet was suddenly very vulnerable. To cut a long story short, she’s much better and the op seems to have been a success but I was thinking maybe I might write a letter (she likes “old fashioned communication”) …………………….

Dear Mom

I love you – you know that right? We tell each other every time we’re on the phone (funny that we don’t say it when we’re together for dinner, maybe the hugging and kissing make up for it). I’m so very grateful to have you as my mother and my friend – we’ve always had a different relationship I guess, even when I was a teenager we were friends.

I’m so very proud of how you came through a dire first marriage and had the courage to leave the ratbag with nothing but the clothes on your back and my brother by your side. Then you met Daddy and despite your misgivings about getting married again you took the plunge and the rest, as they say, is history. I’m a lot like you in as much we’re careful with whom we allow to get close to us whereas Daddy has room in his heart for the entire world and their dog. I know the last 18 months have been scary for you – you’ve always been the strong and fit one while himself has been full of aches and pains and hospital visits.

It’s going to be ok, the upside down world will soon get back on an even keel and we’ll be drinking champagne and doing crosswords without a magnifying glass before you know it.

Stay strong, forever your partner in crime.

Me

The final countdown

In seven words: your dream holiday?

– Istanbul to Venice on the Orient Express.

In six words: your favourite thing to do on a sunday afternoon?

– Lie on the couch and read.

In five words: if you won $100 000.00, what would you spend it on?

– A self-sustaining mountain retreat.

In four words: if you could choose the epitaph on your gravestone, what would it read?

– Unafraid to speak up.

In three words: complete the sentence “My relationship with my in-laws could best be described as …”

– Duty driven diatribe.

In two words: if you could pursue another career, what would it be?

– Wildlife photographer.

In one word: what is the most important trait that you look for in a relationship?

– Kindness.

7 Life Lessons

  1. My mantra is *be upfront, honest and true to yourself* – there are, sadly, circumstances which hinder the process. For financial and employment reasons, there are occasions where one has to zip it and shut it.
  2. Pick a queue in the supermarket and stick to it! The “10 items only “will get a trolley with discount coupons.
  3. If an item says “dry clean” only, believe it. This came courtesy of, I think, of a Fair Lady magazine advert some years ago and has saved me numerous washing woes.
  4. Trust your instincts, if it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t.
  5. Relationships require work – anybody who tells you any different is either single or divorced.
  6. “I’ll never do it again – give me a second chance” – he will, run! This lesson thankfully not through personal experience but as a witness to other devastating relationships, both physically and mentally.
  7. Be the number one priority in your life, take care of your soul and you will be a better spouse and parent.

The quest for equality

Not a political rallying cry, not a question of colour or religion – it’s all about sex.

Why does your physical make-up still have such a huge impact on your existence? From Florence Nightingale to Emmeline Pankhurst – From Marie Curie to Germaine Greer – each of these unique women and so many others like them have opened doors for our generation, raised that ubiquitous glass ceiling and obliterated the gender-based barriers of old. Yet despite this “progress” the slightly sour taste of an old boys club is still redolent in the modern age.

Physical strength comparisons are a moot point – there are simply and without discussion certain activities where a man’s brute strength is greater than that of a woman’s – it is as it is!

What I’m referring to is that faintly condescending manner, surprised and patronising revolving around things business related, mechanical, sporting and financial. I’m just blown away that because you’re a girl apparently makes you somehow slightly less important, less worthy and less capable than a boy.

Postscript: This is not meant as an anti-men diatribe in the slightest – however, these are two examples (Honor Killings and Womens Rights) of why the road to equality is still a long, bumpy and steep climb.

 

 

Of clouded observations and in your face opinion

I am not, by nature, one to ponder the passing of time. Yet of late I find myself a little more reflective, perhaps even ponderous in my musings. The cliched “watershed moment”, “midlife crisis” etc are not pertinent  – it is instead merely a cold, hard realisation of being in my 40’s. Physically sound, well perhaps other than a distince lack of extendable arms which seems to point towards a quirky pair of specs before 2012 (something purple and fabulous – the specs that is).

The maelstrom of my daily existence is ever more often regulated by a moment of blinding clarity. This morning, in the midst of a vexing “numbers” problem it was – I am at peace with myself, truly! The more youthful angst of trying to impress, of being your outer shell and not your inner soul, of being the bouquet garni and not the stock have been relegated to a dusty corner (yes dusty – would you ever!)

For now – self-belief, serenity and harmony are the building blocks of the future and I honestly don’t give a rodents nether regions about the rest.

“I am what I am and what I am needs no excuses” – Gloria Gaynor

 

The best advice I ever had

from Bob Thaves, the creator of  http://frankandernest.com/ – “Remember Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels”.Loubbotin’s – I can dream

It has “inspired” me in a funny old way to believe that women are capable of greatness in any sphere, no matter the odds and obstacle course crafted by old school business thinking.

Perambulating to the office this morning, it led me to ponder other bits of sage advice and “life lessons” that I have garnered over the years. Mum said – if the label says dry-clean only, believe it (she was right, it took me a while to get it). My dad taught me to dance/love music and that knowing and loving sport if you’re a girl is quite acceptable and will probably help with boys (right again) 😉 . As a couple they taught me that I deserve the very best that life has to offer and that settling for less is really a waste of time.  Heartbreak taught me to trust my inner voice. Relationships taught me that even “nice” people can be really mean at times – it’s up to you how you deal with the problem and how much you’re prepared to put up with. I’ve learned to lock away the sadness and not let it rule my existence. 

Age taught me that being comfortable with yourself is paramount –

“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect . It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” – Anon

That said, age has also slapped me around the head with the fact that I can still be afraid (even at my 40plus years) and there will be times when being alone in the dark is quite a scary thing. I’ve learnt that having a backbone and an opinion is a good thing and that glass ceilings are there to be broken through. I’ve learnt the fabulosness of true friendship and how rare it is.

Perhaps the most useful nugget that I’ve gleaned is not 18 carat in nature but the fact that just because I do things differently doesn’t make my way better or worse, it just makes me who I am.