Being Single isn’t Shameful, it’s Empowering!

When I look back at my choices in guys when I was younger, I think OMG what on earth was I thinking. I used to find it much easier to find a boyfriend. These days its not so easy and that is not because I have less options or because women are no longer attractive as they get older. It is because I am clearer on what I want and have higher standards. When I was younger I put up with so much shit that there is no way I would put up with now.  I didn’t know what I wanted. I liked the idea of finding some one and being in love, especially since I was insecure. Therefore I had this habit of jumping into relationships too quickly. I didn’t even think of the possibility of looking around because there were  other options and other guys out there that were more compatible. I created these fantasy versions of the guy I was with and fantasy version of how it was supposed to be, when in fact they didn’t represent reality or who the guy really was. Now that I’ve said good by to fantasy world, I don’t so easily fall for guys. I know exactly what I’m looking for, not that I’m looking but I know what I want for when I do meet some one.

When I first signed up to do online dating, I was asked by a few guys ‘what are looking for in a guy’ and ‘what do you want in life’.  I would think to myself ‘oh shit, I don’t actually know’. There’s all these things I had to think about, for example what are my values and beliefs? I had to ask myself what do I actually want out of life and a relationship? What things won’t I compromise on in a relationship. What traits do I want in a guy? Some of the things I came up with were he must accept my kids and preferably have kids of his own. He must  be honest, treat me with respect, be intelligent, emotionally mature, have a sense of humour, be supportive of things that are important to me, be attentive but not over bearing. He wants to improve so he can be a better version of himself. Being compassionate and wanting to make a difference in the world is an admirable quality. This is just a short list of answers I came up with but being clear about these things meant the majority of guys on these dating sites were not people I would actually be interested in.  It’s amazing how the tables completely turned. Now it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. There are so many options with online dating yet I can barely find any one that sparks my interest. Then even if I do come across some one I usually decide they aren’t right after chatting with them for a bit. It is so easy to waste your time dating heaps of people and the wrong when you are not clear about what you want.

I’m not in any hurry to find some one, I am happy with my life as it is. The biggest thing I have learned from it all this is that we can make bad decisions and have poor judgement when our actions are driven by loneliness and insecurity. Once I found my own self worth with in, then I would only find a man who’s worthy of me. I am a complete person on my own, I don’t need any one to make me whole. No one can complete me, although one day some one may compliment me.  Most of all, I can live a happy and fulfilled life being single. I have had things said to me like ‘why are you single, some one like you shouldn’t be single’ but I ask ‘why do I have to be with some one’? Why one earth would I want to waste my time being with some one for the sake of being with some one. I prefer to use my time and energy on some one who is worth it. Being single is empowering, it is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about myself and focus on the things that I am passionate about. Then when some one comes a long, it is an added bonus.

 

 

We choose how we want to be

I often hear and read about parents who spend too much time on their phone and who are emotionally unavailable. I am actually one of them and I won’t write a blog to defend myself. I will explain my awareness of this and how I’m trying to improve. I’ve always been a person that holds back a lot and found it difficult to show emotion. I definitely feel emotion, I’m a pretty emotional person but it just doesn’t show on the outside. I am naturally a bit introverted by nature and my whole life have struggled with social anxiety. Both things would contribute to the way I am. Growing up my Mum was similar when it came to showing emotion and affection. I always felt she wasn’t available emotionally or really understood me. I guess the way I am has been learned and is something that is quite deeply ingrained. I’m not going to blame my mother either. I know people often like to use their past or up bringing as an excuse for the way they are. I acknowledge it can greatly impact us but we have to want to change.

I’m aware of where I need improving and awareness is the first step towards change. I’m not as emotionally available for my kids as I’d like to be. I’d like to connect with them more and I’d like to be less awkward in general. Every day I am aware of this but despite the awareness, change is not happening naturally. I am continually reminding myself to be aware and bringing myself back to the present. I have this tendency to escape off into my own world. My phone, social media and Netflix series are great escapes for me. I find my phone can be a bit of crutch in social situations. I’m definitely not awkward around my kids though but I still have this continual urge to escape? I know I have a default tendency to disassociate and become numb. Maybe it is my temperament, maybe it is learned, maybe it is part of anxiety and maybe it is also due to some of the trauma I’ve experienced in life.

The reasons aren’t important, working towards change is most important. It’s about taking baby steps over and over until they become habit. One thing I have come up with is hug time. I have talked to my kids about hug time and hug time is regularly at the end of the day having a five-minute hug with each child. During that time we can talk about their day or what ever is on their mind. It doesn’t happen all the time but the kids love hug time. They even ask for it. I have noticed since introducing hug time they have also become more affectionate towards me in daily life. Change is hard but its worth it. Sometimes change doesn’t have to be a big thing, it can be as simple as being more aware and introducing something like hug time. Over time I may be able to add more things and then the little changes over time will result in big change. I have along way to go but I’ve made progress. These days I’m a bit better socially because I kept bringing myself back to the present, I pushed myself to attend things and make some effort to interact with people. Sometimes I felt like an outsider, stumbled on my words and just wanted to escape but over time I managed to get to know some people and make friends.

If you are reading this and also trying to make some sort of change, I urge you not to give up.  Don’t worry about any one else, it’s hard enough to change ourselves let alone changing any one else. Keep taking baby steps, don’t be too hard one yourself and be proud of the progress you have made. We don’t just have to stay the way we are, we can change if we that is what we choose. We can choose how we want to be.

Stop the victim shaming!

I find the outcome of the Mullins case infuriating. She was raped at just 18, a virgin at the time and to this day is suffering. Saxon will never be the same again and it is something she will never forget. This is everything that is wrong with out society. He at least spent some time in jail, nowhere near enough time but it’s more than the majority of perpetrators.  Statistics say that only 3% of rapist are jailed, whilst only 2% made up their sexual assault. Yet people constantly question and doubt the victims. People may want to think about that next time some one decides to open up and to talk about their assault. It’s not something victims open up about often and they chose carefully who they open up to.  I find it very  disheartening knowing the majority of women are going to get no where when they report sexual assault. It has taken this publicly known case for people to be out raged and a discussion to begin.

The law taking the perpetrators side and society victim shaming is deeply ingrained in our society. In Saxon Mullin’s case she has been doubted, questioned ‘why did she get down on all fours’, ‘why didn’t she just say no’. She did repeatedly ask to go back inside. Why is she being the one being victim shamed? Why aren’t people asking ‘why did he act in such a disgusting and unacceptable manner’? After all he is in the wrong. It is an all too common scenario where the victim has suffered enough but society and even often those closest to them add even more suffering. I am absolutely gob smacked at the level of ignorance and victim shaming that I have witnessed in my life. I have experienced it to a bit myself. Often the first reaction to sexual assault is all about what the victim was doing, not doing. Where she was and what she was wearing. I’ve heard and witnessed things like ‘why is she bringing it up now’, ‘why did she give in’, ‘why didn’t she do more’, ‘why did she freeze’,  ‘she shouldn’t have been wearing what she wore’, ‘why was she at his house’. Based on this theory nearly every one would be raped at some point in their life  What the person is wearing and where they are is irrelevant. Clothes and locations don’t rape. It is the perpetrator who chooses to abuse.

People are becoming more aware about domestic violence, sexual assault and mental health. However it is too common for people to not even know what sexual assault or domestic violence really is or how trauma and mental health impacts people. There are a lot of common misconceptions and I wonder why every school and every work place doesn’t have mandatory training on these things? We need to move beyond awareness to education. No wonder victims suffer in silence. Why would people want to talk about their experience, why would they want to report it when it is likely they are going to be victim shamed and then 97% chance that nothing is going to come of it? Victims struggle enough with their own trauma and  beat themselves up enough with guilt, shame and wishing they had done something different. They don’t need any one else beating up on them. They are fighting to live like a normal person, feel a spark of happiness and regain a sense of self-worth. The trauma can take weeks, months or years and the struggle is real. Yet people try to constantly diminish their experience, diminish their trauma and how they are feeling. It is a very isolating experience. I have witnessed victim shaming of  women I know. Women I  who are seeing psychologists, counsellors and struggle to put on a happy face. It just makes me want to say a big FU to any one who has tried to minimise mine or any other person’s experience.  It is most likely you who lacks understanding and who is in need of being better educated about these things.  I’m passionate about this sort of stuff because I know what it’s like to suffer and I too often see this type of ignorance. I find the statics of sexual assault and domestic violence alarming and I have so much empathy for the people who have endured violent and traumatic experiences.  I feel for any one who has experienced any type of sexual assault or violence. Everyone’s experience may not be in a dark alley with a stranger like Saxon Mullin’s but it doesn’t mean it is not valid. Their experiences are still real, their feelings are valid and the perpetrators are the ones who are in the wrong. This is an opportunity to have a discussion about consent and why aren’t people (especially boys) better educated? Why is victim shaming and rape culture so acceptable? At the end of the day, every one has a right to say no. It doesn’t matter whether they know the person or not, it is still every single persons human right to say no.

Our Best is Good Enough

IMG_20180225_102114_HDR.jpgI quite often give my kids food like this. It is great for morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. If it is for a snack then they may also have a muesli bar or a mini muffin. Small BBQ chicken pieces or ham if it’s lunch. Fish, sausage or chicken and small amount of rice, pasta of mash potato if it’s dinner. They seem to eat more when they have some choices and are able to serve themselves. This is a photo from morning tea from a few weeks ago. tonight’s dinner platter had cucumber, tomato, apple, carrot, strawberry, raspberry and tasty cheese cubes.

For the last couple of days I’ve had stomach pains and have been going to the toilet a lot. I’ve been quite cranky and tired. Today it occurred to me that I’m not well and probably have some sort of gastric bug. Sorry for too much information. I just had to have a nap today while my younger too climbed all over me and made a mess of the house. After picking my elder two girls up from school, I just didn’t feel like cooking, so I came home via Maccas. I feel my eating standards have really gone down since having kids. I bought a double fillet o fish meal and a 24 nugget special. Take away is ok once in a while but I feel I probably choose unhealthy options more than I would like to. I have this inner conflict between the really healthy me who has studied nutrition and the exhausted me that doesn’t have the energy and motivation. I think it is a probably a common thing for  busy Mum’s to feel this way but I think as long as we are doing our best and generally eat well then there’s nothing to worry about. I made a compromise with myself, the exhausted, unwell me bought McDonalds and the healthy me made up the little platter with some fresh fruit, veggies and cheese cubes. They had water as their drink. The kids had to eat all their healthy food before they were allowed any chips. Then the large chips is usually divided up between everyone including myself. That way we all get some chips but not too many. Today my eldest gave out the chips and she very carefully made sure each child had exactly 10 chips. She put 1 on each plate, then 2, 3 right up until she reached 10. For me I got my gluten-free wraps out of the fridge, put some mayonnaise on it and some shredded beetroot, kale and carrot. Yes I know gluten free wraps with filet o fish defeats the purpose because it has crumbs made from wheat. I’m not coeliac but I am intolerant and at times bloat, get cramps and constipation. No wheat is probably better for me but I can be ok sometimes with little amounts. I’m sure my tummy bug combined with what I ate will be great for my stomach (not) 🙂

My six-year-old asked ‘Mummy why can’t we drink coke’ and I said ‘because it’s unhealthy and full of sugar, but my drink is diet coke, which doesn’t have sugar. She then said ‘so does that mean we can drink it if it doesn’t have sugar’? I explained ‘no it’s still bad for you because it’s has really bad chemicals in it.’ That was when she asked me ‘why can you drink it if it’s bad for you’? Good question! I told her I should be drinking it either and I don’t drink it much any more, but when your a big person sometimes is ok. Since I went on my detox I mainly drink water, coconut water and herbal tea, so I don’t need to be too hard on myself and even if I was drinking a lot of diet coke, then it’s still not good to be hard on yourself.

I should be happy because it was a win, win. Every one ate which is most important that we are all fed and  I didn’t have to cook. The kids were stoked because they got some Maccas and I was felt good because they ate some healthy food. Sometimes foods such as takeaway are perfectly fine to have as sometimes foods. Our eating habits are just one of the millions of things that I can over think and  be too hard on myself about As Mums. I think we can be way too critical and judgemental of ourselves. It often feels like we’re expected to be super Mum. Maybe we also put that pressure on ourselves but we’re not superhuman and that’s ok. It doesn’t matter what any one else thinks. We get tired, sick, stressed and cranky at times. We’re only human just like every body else. I think this quote is great for this situation and any one else in a similar situation ‘In this moment, I am doing the best I can with what I have. I would never expect anything more from any one else who is doing their best. Then why do I expect more from myself’?

doing best meme.jpg

 

Experimenting with photography

Ever since I was a young girl I can recall my Mum taking photos. She has always had a passion for it, although can be a bit of a perfectionist. In her early late teens/early twenties she went to college and studied art, photography and graphic design. That was before graphic designers used computers. She has also has done photoshop courses at our local community college.  When taking photos, I don’t know how many times I can recall her saying things like ‘move a bit this way, look that way, smile, don’t look so stiff’. She would keep taking photos until she was satisfied, some times it would annoy people at family events because we had to smile for so long and get so many photos. I always found it a good thing because I like to take photos too and she takes good photos. She could easily have been a professional photographer.

I think I have learned a lot from my Mum when it comes to taking photos and editing them. I have a decent cannon camera which I have used for special occasions like Christmas and birthdays. In my computer I have  folders of photos and they are all sorted in to years, months and days. I enjoy putting together photobooks and photo videos but I have never really learned how to use all the functions of my camera. There is so much more I could do with my camera. I’m sure I will learn more and do more one day. Over the Easter weekend, I was excited for the first time to use my camera creatively. I did experiment a bit with my distance lense although it was a bit hard to get a decent photo with the kids and I hadn’t gone out specifically to take photos. It was still good to try the lense for the first time.  I look forward to going out kid free and taking some photos of nice scenery. However I did take some photos of other things which have turned out ok. I would really like to get a macro lense. In my next life I may be a professional photographer but in this life I enjoy it as a hobby.

Here are some of the photos that I have taken.

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Antibullying Week 2018

#antibullyingweek

This morning I went to my daughters school for an anti-bullying fundraiser which was hosted by one of our local radio stations Star FM 104.5. The theme for the fundraiser was big bows and crazy socks. It was a great morning with a sausage sizzle, face painting, plaster painting, games and the school choir. I think it is a fantastic thing how schools these days are really making an effort to say no to bullying.

I have been inspired to put together a video for anti bullying week. This is important to me because I was bullied at school and it did have a big impact on my. I do not want my kids to ever be bullied and I do not want them to be the bully either.

This is a snippet of what I have said in the video;

“It is so important to be kind
Because we are all human beings
No one is better or worse
We are just different
And different is what makes the world interesting
Being unique is not a hinderance
It is our strength
Whilst it is normal to not always get along with everyone
It is never ever ok to bully any one
Making people feel uncomfortable and excluding them
Hurting them by kicking, hitting, pushing, tripping, etc.
Name-calling and spreading nasty rumours
None of these things are ok
Whether it is ok or on the internet
Treat others as you want to be treated”

Please watch the whole video to hear the whole story.

International Women’s Day 2018

What is international women’s day all about? Officially it is a celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and a call-to-action to progress gender parity. In my own words it is a celebration of women, a celebration of our achievements, progress, journey and individuality. We are beautifully unique and have something unique to offer this world. Women’s day is about being confident in our own bodies. It is about with out hesitation, being able to do the things that make our hearts sing and be our true authentic selves. So many of us struggle with in ourselves, to and be these things. We are held back and society holds us back. We try to be what we think we should be but are we truly courageous enough to be who really want to be? Are we able to let go of our conditioning about what we think it means to be a woman, the unrealistic ideals and pressures of  the past, the media and even social media.

In many ways we are blessed because we have achieved so much, we have so many rights and freedoms compared to many women in other parts of the world, however we still are not equal.  Women pay more for household items, make 16% less than their male counterparts and are under represented in government. We still shoulder most of the household burden regardless of whether both partners are working or not. Sadly women are more likely to be the victims of stalking, sexual assault, domestic violence and live in poverty. Sexism is still very much alive. From a small child up until now I have experienced sexist comments, derogatory name calling, bulling, stalking, sexual abuse and domestic violence. I am one of the 1 in 3 who has experienced domestic violence and 1 in 4 who has experienced sexual abuse. There are many people out there who have had much more horrific experiences than me but it is still not ok in any form. It was only a couple of days ago, I can’t remember where I read a post by a man and it said:

I said to my “worst scenario with online dating is you have a bad date”
My date replied ‘worst scenario I am raped or killed”
That’s when I finally got it…..

#IWD2018 #Internationalwomensday #PressforProgress