Finding Friends…in the computer age

I feel like I have come along way from the girl who would never go anywhere I didn’t know someone. I have tried flower arranging and forum meet ups and was even registered for speed friending (still peeved the company has yet to respond to any of my phone calls, tweets or emails grrr) but wasn’t able to go last minute. Tomorrow I am off to the races with a girl I met on the forums and am really excited about it (speaking of which I need to paint my nails before I forget…).

BUT I still haven’t met as many people as I would like. So last night I decided to post a personals ad for friendships (female – while I have always had male friends, I really just want some girl friends). It was surprisingly easy to do, was free and plenty of other people were doing the same thing.

I decided not to hold back and went on about how much I love everything 40’s and 50’s, my obsession with Audrey Hepburn and my fondness for musicals, jazz clubs and burlesque. Why not? I want friends who like the same things as me. I want a friend I can go to a jazz club with, who I can see a burlesque show with, who will not just understand, but love me when I show up in victory rolls. People who don’t like it can just ignore the ad – right?

Oh how wrong I was. It has been up 24 hours now in two places. The first place I have received  13 14 male responses all wanting…well, sex. The other place I have received 2…the same thing. I also received two lovely female responses and am meeting someone for coffee on the weekend.

But what truly blew me away was some dude – in his 60’s (he said he was born in the 50’s) taking the time out of his day to tell me the reason I am lonely is I clearly have no identity of my own (because I love Audrey Hepburn & Joan Holloway Harris) and that if I started living in the present, and not in costume (not once did I say I wear 50’s attire – and even if I did, I am not quite sure why it’s his business) and that if I wanted to talk with him and find out whats really wrong with me I should just email him.

I guess I have never really gotten it. I don’t understand why someone would take time out of their day to send off stuff like that. Does he surf the net all day looking for people to “save”? Am I missing something? Part of me would like to respond – just out of morbid curiosity, but then I would be revealing my email address (they contact me through the site – but it goes to my email and from then on I can only email back) and I am most definitely NOT doing that.

On the flip side – the people who did contact me have the same interests I do – which is exciting. And by going out there and stating what I love I stand a better chance at meeting people who do get it.

Enough ranting for now – I must put the finishing touches on and get some beauty sleep for the Cup tomorrow…..please don’t let it rain!

project:girl

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The Clean Out

It’s time. Time to let go of something I might never be again. I am currently a size 22. In my wardrobe I had clothes as small as a size 12. Sitting there taunting me. Every day I have to dig through masses of clothes that don’t fit me just to find something that will. Today I had enough.

First I went to the garage and bought in all the clothes that I had been “saving” in storage. Our of two giant “stripey bags” (you know the ones) just ten special items we put back in storage. I can’t bear to part with them yet….but the rest is gone. After that was the items in the wardrobe. Anything that didn’t fit was either put in the ebay pile or salvos. There is still a handful of items I have to try on, and a few things that need repairing…but now every single piece in my cupboard fits me and looks good.

I also pulled out all the shoes I am never going to wear. The fluro yellow converse I bought online thinking they were more mustard coloured through to the beautiful satin covered peep toe heels – both completely unworn, the latter five years old! I can’t wear heels and while I love converse (and own 5 pairs) the fluro yellow will never be worn. I have at least 13 pairs to put on ebay and another few pairs are making their way to the salvos.

Now that it’s done – there are some glaring holes in my wardrobe. I no longer have a single pair of jeans that fit me, no pants and no shorts. I still need more underwear. I need a white blouse. A new winter coat. A black pencil skirt. I am even lacking in pj’s!

It will be easier to buy a new pair of jeans now, without feeling guilty about the ten pairs I already had (even though none of them fit).

Now to find the energy to list around 100 pieces on ebay!!!

project:girl

Shaken

It’s weird how unexpected, random things can leave you shaken, hurt and angry.

Last night I received an email from a friend in regards to my separation. The tone of the email was almost “my husband and I have decided you guys will be our pet project and we will fix your marriage”. Maybe it wasn’t like that at all – but that’s how it felt.

They took things I had said completely out of context and even completely reversed the meaning of something I had said. They then quoted this random relationship book repeatedly and tried to diagnose us both and if we just used this book all our problems would be fixed.

Part of it, I guess,  is my fault. I have gotten to the point where, apart from this blog – which is as close to anonymous as I can get, I try very hard not to bad mouth him too much. When they asked why I gave a basic, toned down version of what happened and why I left him. I also said that if things changed – if he really decided to make an effort- I would consider a reconciliation. At the end of the day I don’t want my marriage to end. I would love to be able to pick up again and really make a go of it. But honestly, that’s me dreaming. I can tell you from first hand experience – a relationship won’t work if it is just one half trying to make it work. It takes two people.

I was already having a crappy night. I was mopey and headachy and just feeling generally crap. Sitting in bed watching pixar movies and this email appears. It was all downhill from there. I stewed on it for a bit before returning a pretty blunt email. I don’t resent the wanting to help, I don’t resent them wanting us to make it work, but I do resent them thinking they have all the answers to a problem they don’t fully understand. I would never presume to know why someones relationship ended. Even if they had told me why – you never really know what went on behind closed doors.

My marriage didn’t end on a whim. We didn’t go out with a bang. I wasn’t just bored and looking for something or someone better. It was a thought out decision that I tried to make several times over the the years – I even physically left a few times….but fear, doubt and loneliness saw me come back every time. I once even threw myself head first into a new relationship just to not end up back with him…totally backfired. I got pregnant to this new douchebag, he offered me large sums of money in exchange for an abortion and dumped me via sms the day I miscarried and I ended up with an infection and was nursed back to health by my husband…at that point I was greatful for a) someone seeming to care for me and b) clearly the rest of the men in the world were more fucked so this was as good as it gets. Not really the basis for a healthy relationship.

Back to my email response. I was probably a lot more blunt than I needed to be, and I didn’t want to come across as rude, but I figured I needed to be more clear. I married a compulsive liar. A cheater. A lazy, lazy man who couldn’t be bothered to work, shower or make any sort of effort in our relationship. A man who constantly put his old school mates before our marriage. Someone who blew off work to go play lego with a friend (when he was almost 30 and married with 4 kids…and yes, he got fired). Someone who would not share even the tinest part of himself with me. We saw a few couples therapists over the years…each one told me to my face there was NOTHING they could do to help unless he underwent some serious and intense therapy of his own. I went for almost ten years feeling disgusting because he not once instigated sex with me (but the night I was admitted to intensive care for attempted suicide – he slept with someone else…after he had been told I was in hospital). A man who walks around pretending to be this uber feminist type guy (his blog is filled with feminist issues) – and yet on more than one occasion when sex physically hurt and I wanted it to stop…didn’t.

I asked for less and less from him as the years went on. Every time he had a complaint about the way I was acting or who I was as a person I did everything in my power to change for him – to the point where I don’t even recognise the person I am any more. In the last six months of our relationship I asked for two things. 1. To come to bed with me 2-3 nights a week (instead of staying up and sleeping on the lounge). This was not sex related…I just want to fall asleep next to the man I loved. and 2. A date night once a month. Nothing fancy. It could have been sandwhiches on the school oval at the end of the block for all I cared. I just needed for “us” to be important just 1-2 hours a month. Not only did none of these happen – he actively refused to do it. He went along to the first date night (as I organised it and took him to see a movie he wanted to see) but next month he didn’t want to do anything. I thought they were pretty reasonable requests and he turned me down flat.

Most people see him as this awesome guy. He seems to love his family, he hangs out a lot with his kids. He does almost all the cooking in this house and the laundry. But that’s kind of it. He won’t even help with the rest of the cleaning of the house. He takes very little interest in homeschooling (and yet tells everyone he is). But because he is a man who cooks and can be left alone with his children for more than five minutes I am suppose to be grateful??? Are there no qualities of mine that made him lucky to have me?

To make things even clearer – I do not regret having children with him. He is a great dad and genuinely loves his girls. He would probably do just about anything for them. He can nurture and give discipline. He can play tea party and burping games. My only real criticism is that sometimes he forgets our daughters are not his little brothers…but even then I think thats my issue, they don’t seem to have a problem with it.Our relationship failed because our relationship failed. It had nothing to do with parenting which I am pleased to say we still agree on almost every parenting decision. United front!

I just feel defeated, you know? I am trying to be the nice guy. He is still living on my lounge and is still unemployed. But I let him because I don’t want the father of my kids homeless. I try not to bad mouth him. I try really hard to be nice and polite and civil even when I want to slap him for humiliating me yet again. I just don’t know how long I can keep this up without going insane.

project:girl

A little break.

Recently friends of ours (another homeschooling family) moved out of the city and out to the country. A little property near Bendigo. After they moved and settled in they invited us out to visit for a mini break. So off on a vline we went on Tuesday. The trip there was pretty easy (apart from being asked every five minutes if we were almost there) and we just had to sms them when we got in to come and get us. Of course when we arrived we had absolutely no phone reception at all. Thankfully there was a pay phone and after a few tries (and 35 minutes) we were on our way again.

The house was pretty much everything I would want in a place. I would love to move out of the city (but still close enough that I could be in the city by vline in an hour…I could never be too far away from all those shops) onto a small property where I could finally own a horse and have a vege patch (even if I am delusional about the fact that I hate spiders and snakes and would probably kill everything I tried to plant). It was a really lovely place to stay.

The kids all had a great time playing outside and we even gave them permission to take a walk before we woke up in the morning. Miss 10 was all over that with her binoculars and her field guide to Australian Birds. They even saw kangaroos each morning and evening (though where do they go through the day???). They also went a bit over board on the “unlimited electronics time” because we were on holiday, and they don’t have any electronic restrictions on their boys. At home they each only get 2 hours a week…yup we are that strict! With exceptions made if it is educational.

On the very last day of our stay I was taken to a falling down relic of a house. The very first building in their small town. The mum wanted to take some photos of it before it was restored (awesome news that they are restoring it rather than tearing it down). I told many a tale of me breaking into run down venues with clients (those who trusted me enough with their photos, and their lives!) and helped her out with some photography advice. I took my iphone in case I got the urge to take some pictures too. Last April was the last time I picked up a camera. As I was giving advice I found myself getting caught up and started actually trying to take some decent photos – even if I just had my iphone. I took over 150 images. As soon as we got home I reinstalled photoshop (which hasn’t even been used on this computer). I was desperate to look at them and then I had to edit them. I needed to reinstall my favourite actions and play.

Photography was my life. I always had my camera with me. It was so much apart of me it felt like the end of my arm. Until that moment I had no desire to use a camera. I felt like, in that moment, I had found a part of myself I lost last year. And if I could find that…could I find the rest of me? Is it just there waiting to be found?

While they are not the most amazing images I have ever taken, they represent something so important to me.

so now I am on the hunt for a “real” camera. One I can be confident of the results. I knew my camera inside and out. I knew exactly what would happen in any given situation. So I need to find that again. A partner in crime. Something to help me discover where the rest of me went.

project:girl

#23 and #11

I feel like I am slowly making my way through my 30 by 30 list.

Last weekend was #11 – Attend a Speed Friending Event. Which I was very, very, very excited (and nervous) about. Of course the night before I didn’t sleep at all, I had gastro and felt like I had a migraine coming on. So this is the first one on the list I officially failed. There are no more events this year (according to the website) and the business is not returning my phone calls, emails or tweets…so my guess is I won’t actually get to do this at all. Bear in mind I have not asked for a refund or even a transfer of my ticket – I have just been trying to find out when the next event was. I really hate not getting a response from a business 😦

#23 on the list is Learn Flower Arranging Basics. I got really lucky on this one as it popped up at a significant discount on one of the (way too many) group deal sites I am a member of. So Today I headed off to “A Floral Experience” workshop on how to tie a bunch. The lady who runs the workshops is so lovely (even picking me up from the closest station after public transport was an issue with the venue). She really loved flowers and I loved the ice breaker – which was to tell everyone your earliest floral memory. Mine is walking up the steps to my Great Nan & Pop’s house with a gardenia bush on either side. The second I smell gardenias I am right back there walking up those steps. She then explained a bit about what different flowers symbolise, how to choose colours and flowers that will look good together, how to easily clean the flower stems and then demonstrated how to actually start to create your bunch.

Everyone except me seemed to get it right first time. I tried and then pulled it apart and started again…and it had to be pulled apart yet again as I still hadn’t done it right! So basically I suck. Once we finished out bunches she showed us how to wrap them nicely. While mine was no where near as nice as others, I really enjoyed the day. I went for two reasons: 1. To try something new and 2. To meet new people. It was definitely a new experience and I actually met new people. I am planning on meeting up with the person who runs it as well as exchanging emails and phone numbers with another girl at the workshop – so YAY.

Unfortunately using some floppy flowers, arranging in the heat and spending an hour and a half on public transport they became less and less happy. They have revived a little in water, but some of the flowers had been squished (trying to juggle bags and flowers and I may have shoved the flowers under my arm without thinking!). But hey, I tried something new. I actually would like to go to the next course – Arranging a Vase.

project:girl

Being a Girl…

You know how some girls just get it? They know how to apply makeup, how to shop for their body, how to wear perfume without suffocating everyone. Well I am not one of those girls.

My mum was never very girly. She was a tom boy and spent all her days in pants and oversized tshirts. I always thought she was huge…but she wasn’t, she just wore so much baggy. She didn’t own any make up at all, no hair dryer, no bath products other than soap and no facial products at all (apart from the samples her mum would send her).

My grandmama on the other hand considered being made up part of her job. As my mum had no make up, I had to learn how to apply it from my gran. This was a bit of a disaster as my gran wore stage makeup – orange pancake, heavy eyeshadow and bright coral lips and nails. She never even considered that I was as white as a ghost and my first foundation ended up being a dark orange based pancake makeup. I looked ridiculous….but I wasn’t sure what else to do. So I just stopped wearing make up.

My gran was also a chronic over wearer of perfume. I have always been really sensitive to smells and I felt constantly ill around her and her perfume. She also would reapply perfume before she got out of the car. A cloud of perfume in such a small space…urrggg.

side note: After she passed away my mum gave me all her nice sheets and towels as we had just moved into our first flat. It took almost two years of washing before I could no longer smell the perfume.

Next up on my girl role models was my step mum. She was more girly than my mum, and while looking back she wasn’t very good at applying make up, she was into facials and hair treatments and all the things I had longed to do with my own mum. The only problem was she hated me. I so desperately wanted a parent to love me, that unlike others who initially hate their step parent and then come around – I adored her and slowly learnt to hate her. She just couldn’t stand me. It was a lost cause.

So here I am at almost thirty and I can’t figure out pantyhose/tights (seriously how the hell do they stay up???). I can barely apply make up that doesn’t make me look like a hooker or a clown. Perfume baffles me – I own two bottles and never wear it. I am slowly figuring out how to dress … but thats it. Handbags? I don’t know how to match a handbag to my outfit/shoes. I don’t understand $1500 bags. I struggle to apply nail polish. I have no idea what to do with my frizzy mop of hair. But whats worse than not knowing all of that…is I have to teach my daughters how to dress for their bodies and age (not what the skanky kids at school are wearing), how to apply make up to suit them, how to figure out tights and everything else. (another note – I have never had any desire to make my girls into perfect little princesses who dress perfectly and act extremely feminine – I just want to be able to guide them when it is time and they decide they want to go in that direction. I fully accept that my beautiful ten year old may never want to stop wearing pants or start wearing make up I love her just as she is)

This is the main purpose of project:girl. To get answers. To get help. To finally learn how to be a girl.

project:girl

 

Boobs

I got breasts almost overnight. I was in year six and eleven years old and I had big boobs. While other girls were stuffing their training bras I was trying to figure out a way to keep my boobs contained. My mum wasn’t helpful at all. She didn’t even take me shopping to try to find a bra. I relied on her boyfriends sisters hand-me-down crop tops that did nothing to control them. One of the few things I have to thank my Grandmama for was taking me shopping for a bra upon discovering I was trying to use the second hand crop top to support my new boobs. After discovering target and kmart didn’t seem to stock anything in my size she took me to a proper lingerie store where it was discovered I had a 10D/DD. Back then stores like target only had those sorts of sizes in maternity bras. She forked over almost $70 for one bra and I could have kissed her feet for it. I loved it so much.

Back home I realised my growing breasts had attracted all sorts of disturbing attention from grown men. My mothers boyfriend at the time became too interested. At a time when a girl is already awkward enough about her body I went to great pains to hide mine away from a man obsessed with it. I wore baggy and bulky clothes all the time but nothing I knew how to do would deter him. I hated my body so much during that time. I also tried every option I knew to try to get it to stop – I told my mum (who ignored it, then told me I had nightmares and it must be a dream), I told my friends parents, who in turn got DOCS involved – who left me there after my mother convinced them I was a compulsive liar and I even told school counsellors, year advisers and the girls adviser. For reasons I will never understand no one did a damn thing. I ended up moving in with my dad (even though my step mum hated me and my step brother physically beat the living crap out of me) as it was the better option.

I was now thirteen and a 12D. Thankfully my grandmama stepped in again when she realised I still only had the one bra and the lovely lingerie people introduced me to the world of the sports bra! Years of avoiding all sports as everything seemed to cause “bouncing” issues that hurt like hell! I joined the girls soccer team not long after that and actually had fun participating in sports and stopped telling my PE teacher I had my period each week in an effort to avoid pain.

Not long after that I started purchasing my own underwear. I would save up my pocket money to buy extra bras so I had variety. I treated them so well. I would hand wash them and hang them up in my room.

When I fell pregnant I had no idea my boobs were going to get even bigger. To be honest I didn’t think that was possible. I was trying to cram them into the bras I had. Again another woman had to step in – this time it was my Mother In Law. She decided the four boob look wasn’t very attractive and bought me my first maternity bra. For a girl who worshipped the underwire, I never thought I would be a fan of the soft cupped maternity bras – but it was wonderfully comfortable. While I had usually not word a bra at home or to bed before, leaking breasts made that a pain. So I started living in my maternity bras. I was barely out off it before I was pregnant again.

I kept buying the same sized bras – even when they were tight – because I didn’t know any better. When I had the twins that all changed. There was no way in hell I could fit a size 12 band and each cup (of the maternity bra that fitted properly) was the size of my head. I breastfed the twins for a year and spent the whole time dreaming about being able to afford a breast reduction.

Until I had the twins I was extremely judgemental about plastic surgery. I thought the women who got it done were self obsessed idiots. Why would anyone undergo ELECTIVE surgery??? The day I had my twins I got my answer – my stomach had been stretched so badly that it hung down to my knees. My boobs were as big as my head. Once again I hated my body. Thankfully my skin had more stretch than I ever thought possible and I now have just the small pouch that quite a few other mothers have. But I became obsessed with getting a reduction. I couldn’t wait to be able to afford to have it done.

As I became more interested in fashion, the more I decided I “needed” a breast reduction. After all the clothes looked best on those waifs that were flat chested. Not only did I have to be skinny, but I had to loose my boobs. By now at least I was buying bras that fitted me properly and the larger cupped bras started looking prettier. I could even buy bras at big w & Target.

Then I started putting on weight. In the last 12-15 months I have gone from a size 14 (14E) to a size 22 (22D). I was back at the start. Unless I wanted maternity bras or bras my gran would wear I had to buy from overseas. Almost nowhere stocks above a size 18 band. I also had started getting right into vintage clothing (well reproductions as its nearly impossible to find vintage in my size)…and vintage clothing looks best with vintage shapewear. I adored the reproduction girdles and longline bras…but none of it was made in my size. Which is when I happened upon a link to Rago Shapewear – which makes its shapewear the same way it did fifty odd years ago – which in most pieces goes up to a 48DD (a 22D is a 46D in the states). My favourite piece is now this one

While I love being able to buy these things from overseas – I hate not being able to try things on. And sizes change by brand. I purchased a longline bra from another brand in a 46D after very carefully following their measuring instructions and it is HUGE! It would easily fit another dress size or two up and god knows on the cups – they would hold a basketball each! So when I walked into target the other day I didn’t have high hopes. I was actually just hoping to find a pair of jeans that fit….but instead found myself in the lingerie section. As fate would have it they had just launched their “Fuller Figure Co-ordinates” range which went up to a 22DD. Not only did they have this range – but it was substantial. Not just one or two styles but I must have tried on at least six different styles. In the end I lay-buyed a few sets – pink & frills, black lace and a black slip with a wonderful size 22D cup! If I thought that was wonderful I stumbled across the sale rack and was surprised to see some of it on sale. I walked out of their with two sets of bras and matching knickers for $21!!! While I couldn’t find any images online of the ones I snagged on sale – I did find one of the sets I lay-buyed for sale on targets online store.

Finding pretty underwear helps. I am finally starting to accept my boobs at 29. I can also say Miss Joan Holloway (Christian Hendricks) smokin’ hot body – who has single handedly brough curves back – has helped so much. While I no longer think I need a breast reduction, I would love a lift….after all I breastfed four children things are not nearly as perky as they once were. But with baby steps (and more pretty underwear) maybe I can finally accept my giant saggy boobs as they are.

project:girl