Recovering

I woke up (the day after the awful day) feeling so tired. I also spent the day trying not to be sick. I spent yesterday in bed feeling sorry for myself watching various break up movies. Today I am eating (a big improvement) and watching Audrey Hepburn movies….they always cheer me up.If it would stop raining I would go for a walk and get some fresh air.

Tomorrow I must feel better. I am going to High Tea for the first time (well the first time that I haven’t made it myself for the girls!) with a new friend. We are going to the Hyatt which not only serves high tea but includes a fancy desert buffet. I was planning on wearing my retro styled shape wear but with all I can eat deserts I am thinking stretchy pants might be a better option.

In other unexciting news – he got a job yesterday. Which means money to move out as well as child support. Financially I can JUST afford to live in this house with the girls on our own. I would be without any money to have my hair cut, to go out anywhere, to buy any new clothes. I would even be struggling to buy school supplies for the girls and new socks when they need them (a pack of 10 pairs for one girl barely lasts 8 weeks before they are all holey). This has probably been the main fear behind pushing him to leave. I hate the thought of the girls going without anything. But also, to not be able to do anything for myself would make for one miserable mum. With a job he can afford his own place (instead of just renting a room) which means he can also have the kids on the weekends. Which gives me some time to have some sort of life.

project:girl

The Storm

Last night I finally managed to get a whole night sleep. The first time in over a month. One of my most prominent bipolar symptoms during a “manic” period is I don’t sleep. These periods are not really manic at all on medication, I just can’t sleep for sometimes days on end. Sometimes I manage a 5 minute nap here and there. This time it was almost a month. It didn’t matter how tired I might get, I would lie in bed, sometimes all night and day, and not sleep at all. A few days ago I crashed (common after a period of “mania” – I hate that word by the way) but I was sleeping days instead of nights. You would think after 12 hours of night time sleep I would wake up happy right?

The second I woke up I was angry. Then it didn’t matter how much we all tried I couldn’t wake him up. That just put me in an even worse mood. It was all downhill from there. My mood was as black as it was outside. Normally I love storms and feel refreshed after breathing in the rain. Today was different, the angrier I got the more it rained and then the lightning and thunder came. I spent half the day wondering if I was so angry I was making the storm happen.

Maybe the break up isn’t all good. Having my ex asleep on the couch all day isn’t good for me. Today it just felt like the straw that broke the camels back. I felt used. He clearly had little intention of looking for a job or a house, not when he had girls (one of which was suppose to be my friend) to hit on on twitter. He was just going to cruise along as long as I let him and while he is sleeping on my couch I haven’t left my bedroom in days. I felt like he was monopolising my entire house and if I had an issue I should just deal with it quietly in my room. While I didn’t yell, or even leave my room I did let him have it. Hours of nasty emails and msn messages and after all of it I just feel like a bitch.

It didn’t help at all. None of it does. He broke my heart.

project:girl

Beautiful.

I follow a lot of plus sized bloggers, especially since putting on all my weight from the medications I am on. I love clothes. I love shopping. I love dressing up. These blogs point me to beautiful clothes and quirky outfits that let me still dress like a “normal” sized person. All of them are amazingly beautiful women in all shapes and sizes and colours.

Every now and then I come across and image that really blows me away and today this was it….

(This was posted on Chubby Girl in the CIty and before that Goodbye MnemosyneI tried to find the original owner but had no luck…if you know who it is please let me know so I can give credit, where credit is due)

Isn’t she GORGEOUS?!?!?!?!

We are trained to forget that this is what real women look like. We get sucked into the magazines and television version of what they think women should look like. Maybe they think this is what will sell. If they do throw in a plus sized girl she is usually weird/quirky/side kick/gets a make over & loses weight and her life becomes wonderful ect. ect.

From a young age my Nana (a beautiful artist in her own right) took me to art galleries. I remember looking in awe at the beautiful paintings of women – lumps, bumps and all. They were curvaceous, luscious and so incredibly beautiful.

When I saw this image today I was stopped in my tracks. I had to just sit and stare. How amazing is she? There in all her glory just as she was suppose to be. Can you imagine how the world would change if young women like her all of a sudden showed themselves for who they were?

I personally have suffered from low self esteem. My mother & my grandmother (who was the opposite of my wonderful nana) both were obsessed with my weight and I can remember comments made from as young as 7 or 8….and I was a stick figure then. I practically went from being a flat chested tiny girl to getting curves everywhere and by the time I was 12 I was wearing a DD cup. I also was sexually abused repeatedly during this time. My body became something I hated. I was teased at school by boys, girls hated me because I had boobs and they didn’t and at home I was being used as a sexual object. I lived in a beach town where all the girls were slim, flatter and athletic. I had curves.

I met my husband when I was 17 and it was only when I was 6 months pregnant and started getting stomach stretch marks that I looked at my photos and thought – wow…I looked good. Then came the baby roller-coaster. Get pregnant, get more stretch marks, have baby, breastfed, loose weight, get pregnant, more stretch marks, have baby, breastfeed, loose weight, realise your boobs are fast migrating south, get pregnant, find out it’s twins, get extra stretch marks because you are now the size of a house, have babies, realise your stomach now hangs down to your knees, breastfeed, don’t loose weight, end up with a body that looks nothing like it’s “suppose to”.

I cried after I saw myself in the mirror just hours after I had the twins. my stomach was stretched beyond belief and I felt awful. It didn’t help that when my father in law showed up he asked if one got left in. Of course helpful friends brought me magazines to read complete with how yet another celebrity, had yet another baby and now look at how skinny and amazing she is. This celebrity is fast approaching a size 4…time to get back on the diet wagon. This celebrity is dangerously too thin – eat please, you’re setting a bad example. These totally mixed messages are all in one magazine leaving me confused and even more self loathing.

My twins are almost 8 now, and thankfully my skin had more elasticity than I gave it credit for and I feel slightly more confident in my body. After all it’s me. If I don’t love me, who else is going too? One day I hope to be able to stand in all my glory to have a portrait like this – even if I don’t share it with the world – to be able to look at it, like this photo, and see a beautiful woman. One who has had 4 children. One that has lost and gained weight. Someone who has finally embraced their body.

After all, if I can’t do it, how can I expect my daughters to stand a chance?

project:girl

30 by 30

Inspired by this post by the lovely Cate I decided to follow her lead with my 30th birthday rapidly approaching, and my desire to get back out there and rediscover life  (and hopefully myself!) I thought I would make my own list of 30 things to do before I turn 30 in January. So here we go!

30 by 30

1. Join a book club

I love reading. I want to make new friends. Enough said.

2. Start a Herb Garden

I love cooking with fresh herbs – but coles often don’t have what I want, and it isn’t cheap for what is quite a small bunch of herbs. I also would love to grow a vege patch and flowers…but this is a nice easy, not terribly time consuming baby step towards that goal.

3. Learn Ballroom Dancing

Well not all of it. But I want to learn how to dance. Fate stepped in and sent me an email for one of those group details (5 individual ballroom dancing lessons + 4 group lessons for $29. SCORE!) and I start next week.

4. Buy a Camera

I won’t be able to afford a new digital SLR by my birthday, but I will be able to find a new (old) film one.

5. Buy & Complete the 12 Week “Artists Way” Program

This book was talked about a lot amoung the photography community. It was used by people I knew who had gotten into a rut and wanted to break out. I haven’t picked up a camera in almost 18 months and I think this is just what I need to get back into it. Well this and the camera!

6. Attend a High Tea

I love dressing up and I love tea, cakes and finger sandwhiches! High Tea is definitely for me, but I have never been because I didn’t know anyone who wanted to go. It is time to rectify this.

7. Learn How to do an Upsweep

The Upsweep is more commonly (and apparently incorrectly) known as Victory Rolls. I have tried to figure these out with no luck. I even went to a vintage hair & makeup class to learn again with no luck. I have been told it is all about practice. So practice it is.

8. Buy a Bike

The kids have bikes but I don’t. The problem with this is I can’t take the girls out on their bikes as I can’t keep up. Also since moving we are a bit further away from the shops so biking it would be handy. I want a nice retro looking one with a basket!

9. Join the Local CWA

I have always admired these women, especially when I lived in rural NSW. I love that they manage to fundraise and support famers, can cook a mean scone and are crafty. Miss 11 is also interested in joining. There is one just near us too.

10. Decorate my Bathroom

I wanted to put my bedroom, but I don’t think I will have the funds to do that before my birthday so a more realistic goal is needed. I want to slowly decorate the whole house, and the bathroom is a nice easy place to start.

11. Attend a Speed Friending Event – UNACCOMPLISHED!

I don’t know anyone that I haven’t met through photography or homeschooling. I don’t have any really close friends and I am often lonely. I avoid going to places on my own which means I rarely go anywhere. Then I heard about “Be My Wingman” a local speed friending event for women. Just what I need.

12. Watch Every Audrey Hepburn Movie

I love this one. It was stolen from someone elses 30 by 30 list. I adore Audrey Hepburn and have seen most of her movies. I saw most of them before I was a teen. Time to see the rest!

13. Make all our Christmas Presents

This only applies to those we don’t spend Christmas with. The girls and I have been talking about making jams and relishes. I think this will be a great idea as Christmas will be a lot leaner this year being single. Now to start saving our jars.

14. Learn to Sew

Or more specifically, take a sewing class. I can use my basic sewing machine. I can put buttons back on…I can even hem a pair of pants, well sort of. But I want to be able to understand all the features on my machine and figure out how to follow a pattern. The local spotlight has term long lessons that aren’t too pricey. I just need to sign up.

15. Follow a Pattern to Make Something

A dress, a skirt…even pajamas. I just want to be able to follow a pattern and actually make an item of clothing for myself.

16. Take myself away for a weekend

I am a pretty solitary person which is amusing given that I chose to have lots of babies and my little brother and his girlfriend lives with us. That’s a lot of people in a small house. Sometimes I just need to breathe. I don’t care where it is. It could be a small cave somewhere. As long as I have a place to sleep and just be alone with my thoughts I will be happy. Anyone know of any cheap cave rentals???

17. Get Contacts

I have been wearing glasses since I was 4 years old and have always refused contacts as the thought of sticking my finger in my eye wasn’t appealing at all. However since starting project:girl and learning how to work with makeup I have had trouble applying eye makeup. You see I am almost blind in one eye and the other is almost fine. So when I remove my glasses and close one eye to put on eyeshadow/eyeliner/mascara one eye works out great and the other looks like scary clown makeup. I would love to be able to see what I am doing and hence the contacts.

18. Take a Make Up Class

There is so much I want to know. I love the vintage look and would love to learn how to put on the perfect liquid eyeliner. I want to know the secrets to wearing red lipstick. I want to know how to use/put on falsh lashes. In other words, I need professional help.

19. Cross Stitch

Apparently one of the easier embroidery/crafty techniques I would love to learn and make a cross stitch picture. Basic and granny-ish, but I want to do it.

20. Learn How to Make Macrons

I have a serious macaron addiction. The cheapest way for me to feed this addiction would be to learn how to make them. I did try once. It was an epic failure. So once again practice makes perfect and if I really struggle I can take one of the million macaron classes that seem to be popping up.

21. Try a Burlesque Class

I love burlesque. I saw “Gypsy” for the first time when I was about 10 or 11 and found her (Gypsy Rose Lee) so incredibly fascinating. I am in love with the past. I love how incredibly sexy and sensual they can be without showing everything. I love that burlesque dancers come in all shapes, sizes & colours. I love the humour. So I want to try a class of my own and see if I can shimmy with the best of them.

22. Take myself out to Brunch

Love brunch and brunchy foods (as I am not up early enough for breakfast most days) and personally love eating out alone. The stares of pity amuse me greatly. But as a mum, a wife (sort of) and a sister/sister in law my house is overflowing with people. I enjoy being able to sit by myself, quietly and eat. Two of my favourite things – quiet and food!

23. Learn Flower Arranging Basics

I love flowers so much. I wish I could afford to have new arrangements delivered each week, but I would have to go without food, electricity AND gas…and what can I say? I’m a city girl and just love my “luxuries” too much. I am also a fiend for Martha Stewart so am either hoping to find an affordable class or some tips and tricks on the internet.

24. Cook a Soufflé

Another stolen list item…but something I have always wanted to do and always put in the too hard basket. I love baking and if I can get it right awesome. If not at least I tried.

25. Replace my old Underwear

May sound silly and weird, but I have gone up 3 dress sizes and am still trying to cram myself into bras that I spill out of and tattered old undies that cut into me. Not to mention it seems like a nice post relationship cleansing of sorts.

26. Clean out my Pantry

As I said I love to bake. I love to cook…but my pantry isn’t stocked for me, it’s stocked for him as he did almost all the cooking. I also am an anal retentive and want all my containers to match and everything to be prettily and functionally stored away. I also need to replace spices that are 3-4 years old.

27. Learn to Bake 5 minute Artisan Bread

Follow the link if you want more info, but I stayed with a homeschooling family in Sydney who make this bread every morning. They mix it all up and everyday cut a chunk off an bake it. They make 5 loaves out of one mix. I tried it once, stuffed it up and decided it wasn’t for me. But I love, love, love fresh bread and can’t afford a bread maker. Once you get the hang of it, it is suppose to be super easy.

28. Go Op-Shopping by myself

I love op-shoping, but so do my daughters. They love how much crap they can buy with $5. As such I never go alone. I never get to look at things properly or try things on so I always come home with another hat or bag. There are lots of them in my local area too.

29. Try Some Sort of Sleeping Routine

At the moment I have the worst sleeping habits. I am up half the night, sleep half the day. I guess it’s the “luxury” of having him here. I need to get into a better habit. I actually love mornings…when I don’t hate mornings (when I haven’t slept well or long). Time to get into a better habit and then I will have all that free daytime!

30. Throw myself a birthday party

I am single now and I don’t have a “best” friend or even a group of friends so I am pretty sure the only way I am getting a party is to do it myself. I just need to make more friends between now and then! But even if it is just me and my little girls I will throw myself one hell of a birthday celebration that marks a milestone of not just age or a birthday…but hopefully of growing up and moving on.

so there you have it. My 30 by 30 list. Here’s hoping I get through it all in just a few months. But even if I don’t get them all, I am going to give them all a damn good try.

project:girl

Weird.

Weird. That’s how my life feels right now. I ended my marriage back in July…but he has yet to find somewhere to live. Everyday is pretty much the same as it was for the last 12 odd years, except he now sleeps on the lounge. But even that isn’t that different. One of the many., many, MANY issues we had is he would rarely come to bed with me. He would stay up all night watching movies and then eventually pass out on the lounge. He still cooks dinner. We still talk and joke. He still comes in and talks to me while I’m in the shower. I was sick so he took me to the doctor and we were told to come back in two hours so we had dinner together. It’s weird. But the weirdest part of it all is I feel nothing any more.He has been my best friend for 13 odd years and that part isn’t changing (yet)…but the romance is gone. Any feelings of attraction and romantic affection are gone. The only time I get really upset is when I realise soon I won’t have my best friend any more.

We will both move on and while I am determined never to date again as I don’t think I could ever deal with it all. I’m old. I’m lazy. I’m overweight. I’m set in my ways. I have a “mental illness” that quite frankly I don’t want to have to explain & defend and try to convince someone I am actually relatively normal. But more importantly to be honest I don’t want to have to do to the kids what my mum did to me (man after drunken/alcoholic/abusive man). But I know him too well. He will. Then it will be awkward and odd and I would be the…what? Other woman? The old woman? The ex? Urrrg! All too hard.

I have gotten into a habit of watching all these break up movies and they make me feel better. At least we aren’t screaming in the street. At least we aren’t trying to make the other suffer. Makes me feel all grown up like….until I remember the years of that. The years where I did nothing but cry. The horrible pain we caused each other. I guess that’s when most people leave (at least according to these movies).

I think it’s also weird and awkward because those that know, are all hushed and whispery when they come over (we haven’t told the children and won’t til he has somewhere to live) and ask when he is moving? How will I cope? How will the kids cope? Apart from a handful of my friends and his friends we told my brother & his girlfriend (as they live with us) we haven’t told anyone because as soon as they hear they want to know when he is leaving and how I will manage (since I’m “ill” grrr).. I told my mum too. But that was stupid and pointless. She adores him, way more than me. So not only no sympathy that my marriage of almost ten years was over, but said “Oh, I guess that means the anniversary party is off?” Well DUH!

When mum came down to Melbourne in June for my brothers birthday we went to the Burlesque Bar for something fun to do. We fell in love with the place and decided to hire it for our tenth wedding anniversary. We decided it would be cool to renew our vows as well so I contacted our wedding celebrant in Coffs to arrange for him to fly down as a surprise. I booked a fantastic cake decorator and invitation designer. I even booked in for private burlesque classes for a massive anniversary surprise. But something wasn’t right. It was there in the pit of my stomach. In the back of my mind. It wasn’t right. We could have a party and pretend once more that everything is fine. But it isn’t. It wasn’t. So not only did I end my marriage which was awful, but I then went through the humiliation of cancelling everything. Of answering the questions of “why?”.

Three months on I spend most of my time in my room. We moved into a smaller house, one I could more easily afford. But that took all our money. Now he needs to save for the same thing. But he is out of work. Not to mention Christmas is coming fast and we always spoil the kids rotten at xmas. I just don’t see him leaving any time soon. Which I understand, I am grateful for as financially and of course having two parents around is helpful for running to the shops and handling the sheer volume of work that it takes to homeschool….but I just want to close the book and move on.

project:girl

Amen Sister!

I found this “Open Letter” to men (by my girl crush Christina Hendricks) somewhere on the interwebs and just had to pop it up on here. I can’t speak for other women (apart from Hendricks I guess) but for me, it all rings true.

We love your body. If we’re in love with you, we love your body. Your potbelly, everything. Even if you’re insecure about something, we love your body. You feel like you’re not this or that? We love your body. We embrace everything. Because it’s you.

Speaking of your body, you don’t understand the power of your own smell. Any woman who is currently with a man is with him partly because she loves the way he smells. And if we haven’t smelled you for a day or two and then we suddenly are within inches of you, we swoon. We get light-headed. It’s intoxicating. It’s heady.

We remember forever what you say about the bodies of other women. When you mention in passing that a certain woman is attractive — could be someone in the office, a woman on the street, a celebrity, any woman in the world, really — your comment goes into a steel box and it stays there forever. We will file the comment under “Women He Finds Attractive.” It’s not about whether or not we approve of the comment. It’s about learning what you think is sexy and how we might be able to convey it. It’s about keeping our man by knowing what he likes.

We also remember everything you say about our bodies, be it good or bad. Doesn’t matter if it’s a compliment. Could be just a comment. Those things you say are stored away in the steel box, and we remember these things verbatim. We remember what you were wearing and the street corner you were standing on when you said it.

Never complain about our friends — even if we do. No matter how many times we say a friend of ours is driving us crazy, you are not to pile on. Not because it offends us. But because it adds to the weight that we carry around about her.

Remember what we like. When I first started dating my husband, I had this weird fascination with the circus and clowns and old carnival things and sideshow freaks and all that. About a month after we started dating, he bought me this amazing black-and-white photo book on the circus in the 1930s, and I started sobbing. Which freaked him out. I thought, Oh, my God, I mentioned this three or four weeks ago and talked about it briefly, but he was really listening to me. And he actually went out and researched and found this thing for me. It was amazing.

We want you to order Scotch. It’s the most impressive drink order. It’s classic. It’s sexy. Such a rich color. The glass, the smell. It’s not watered down with fruit juice. It’s Scotch. And you ordered it.

Stand up, open a door, offer a jacket. We talk about it with our friends after you do it. We say, “Can you believe he stood up when I approached the table?” It makes us feel important. And it makes you important because we talk about it.

No shorts that go below the knee. The ones almost like capri pants, the ones that hover somewhere between the kneecap and the calf? Enough with those shorts. They are the most embarrassing pants in the world. They should never be worn. No woman likes those.

Also, no tank tops. In public at least. A tank top is underwear. You’re walking around in your underwear. Too much.

No man should be on Facebook. It’s an invasion of everyone’s privacy. I really cannot stand it.

You don’t know this, but when we come back from a date, we feel awkward about that transition from our cute outfit into sexy lingerie. We don’t know how to do this gracefully. It’s embarrassing. We have to find a way to slip into another room, put on the outfit as if it all happened very easily, and then come out and it’s: Look at me! Look at the sexy thing I’ve done! For you, it’s the blink of an eye. It’s all very embarrassing. Just so you know.

Panties is a wonderful word. When did you stop saying “panties”? It’s sexy. It’s girlie. It’s naughty. Say it more.

About ogling: The men who look, they really look. It doesn’t insult us. It doesn’t faze us, really. It’s just — well, it’s a little infantile. Which is ironic, isn’t it? The men who constantly stare at our breasts are never the men we’re attracted to.

There are better words than beautiful. Radiant, for instance. It’s an underused word. It’s a very special word. “You are radiant.” Also, enchanting, smoldering, intoxicating, charming, fetching.

Marriage changes very little. The only things that will get a married man laid that won’t get a single man laid are adultery and whores. Intelligence and humor (and your smell) are what get you laid. That’s what got you laid when you were single. That’s what gets you laid when you’re married. Everything still works in marriage: especially intelligence and humor. Because the sexiest thing is to know you.

 

project:girl
edited to add pictures of Miss Hendricks

What’s in a name?

I have had been with the mr. since I was just seventeen years old. Married at nineteen. Four babies by the time I was twenty-one. All of my adult life was defined by those two roles. Mother and wife. We would have been married ten years in Novemeber. Now at almost 30 I find myself lost. I made the decision to end the marriage for alot of reasons, which I may go into one day.

In the process of moving on I have been trying to start fresh. New blog, email, twitter ect. and I have a bit of a problem. While I am not divorced I will be. Then I have to decide what to do about my last name.

When I was young I was a staunch feminist. My parents had encouraged me to be an individual and I spent alot of time with my dad helping him with car repairs, concreting, building a tree house and even going to work with him on a building site (before worksafe laws LOL). I was determined back then to never change my name, even IF I got married. Surprisingly I mellowed a bit when I got older. I mellowed even more when I met him. I gladly took his name and for ten years we were the ***** family.

But now what? Do I give up the name of my daughters. Do I suddenly become less of their mother because I don’t have the same last name? On the flip side, do I keep a name that I took because I was in love? Do I go back to my maiden name? My fathers name? He hasn’t spoken to me in eight years. Why would I want that name again? Should I take my mothers name? She is (for want of a better term) batshit crazy and there are more issues there than a therapist with a hundred years could unravel.

It is all just too complicated. Maybe I should just drop the last name entirely and be like prince or madonna. One name could work right?

project:girl