All posts tagged: personal

I met one of my un-lived lives at a party last night

She was tall, nearly 6 foot, and her long strong legs ended in tartan Doc Marten boots. Her outfit was various shades and textures of black: cotton cut-off shorts, ripped lace tights, fishnet top over a lycra bikini halter neck, and finished with a belt made from an old horse bridle, including the rusty snaffle bit. Her hair was shaved at the sides, but long and part-dreaded down her back; the delicate sequinned handbag was the perfect match to multiple silver earrings and nose hoop. A friend told me her name was Lizzie, and that she played keyboards in a local punk band. *sigh That could have been me. All right, 25 years ago, yes, but still- I could have lived that life. Just a slightly shorter-statued version perhaps. I was mesmerised, watching her stomp round the art opening in those big boots; suddenly my own 60’s outfit with 70’s leather boots seemed tame. I wanted to be in a band, sneering at normal dress conventions. I had complete ‘punk lifestyle envy’, and felt the …

Osteopath: ‘You’re all locked up, & we need to shift it.’ Me: ‘OK…’ *gulps

I’ve been back from England for 10 days now (16,886 kms away from home in Australia), and my valiant struggles with the dreaded jetlag are finally paying off. Last night I did open my eyes at 1.30am as usual, but instead of lying there till 4.30, wide awake and wanting some dinner, I went back to sleep within 30 minutes, so have woken up feeling relatively normal. This is joy. And I’m not going to whinge on about the incredible privilege of international air travel, when so many millions of fellow human beings are homeless or without access to clean water… But jetlag does suck bad. Plus sleeping on a shitty pull-out bed on Mum’s floor for 3 weeks had stressed my back, therefore a visit to the Osteopath was part of my self-care strategy on returning. I was massaged, manipulated, adjusted and cracked, especially my chest/rib area, front and back. You know, around your heart. Interesting that. I went home from the appointment feeling terrible: nauseous like morning sickness, grumpy, on edge, and prickly …

When telling a lie is the best option, to clamber ancient rocks in Wales

“Come and stay in the holiday cottage with us; take a break from your Mum,” says my Aunty over the phone. I don’t need to be invited twice. Any excuse to hop on a train cross country- my favourite way to travel. My Aunt and her partner live in North Wales, but a family gathering is happening in South Wales, and it’s the perfect time to catch up with my cousin, her husband, and their 3 kids, as they celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. They’re staying near where Mum and her 3 siblings grew up, around Gowerton. I’ve never been there before: I’ll get to see the house they grew up in, the school they went to, and most importantly, the bays and beaches over which they gazed as they matured, following their dreams. But I’ll have to ignore the stab of guilt at not taking Mum with me. I know full well that she actually needs the stability of her routines in a familiar place, rather than the stress of travel and an unknown …

Nostalgia looks like a hedge, sounds like a seagull, & tastes like crumpets

Mum and our cousin met me unexpectedly at the train station, so there were hugs all round, then straight home for a cuppa. I can tell she’s very happy to see me of course, but Mum also asks several times where we’re going, as though she hasn’t just heard the answer a minute ago. Which is the world she lives in now. Dementia often takes away short-term memory first, and that was one of the initial symptoms we began to notice a few years ago. ‘Shall we have a treat with our tea? How about a crumpet?’ Nostalgia coats my taste buds like raspberry jam and warm runny butter. I’m drawn backwards through the years, remembering blustery walks on the beach with various dogs, coming home to food treats like hot crumpets. Crackers with sharp vintage cheddar. Fruit & nut chocolate. Crispy fish and chips every Friday. Rhubarb and apple crumble with clotted cream… these are a few of my favourite things. But if I want them, I’ll have to buy them and/or make them. …

Musings on Mum

I’m on the train down to the quaint English seaside town where I grew up, watching the countryside flash by. Neatly hedged fields, thick-walled farmhouses, and glimpses of bigger human settlements marked by the identical carparks and superstores. I’m trying to work out how I feel. It’s a mixture of jetlagged tiredness, slight anxiety, a little excitement, and my hopeful practice of being an open, blank slate. It suddenly occurred to me that Mum hasn’t seen me with blonde hair. Well, not since the ill-fated ‘Highlights Experiment of 1985’ anyway; maybe I should pop my blue cap on? This is a new experience: wondering how Mum is going to greet me. For as long as I can remember of course, she has hugged me hello with a squeal of excitement, and teary eyes, especially once I moved to Australia in 1987, and there were long gaps between my flights home. At my financially poorest, and most rebellious, I admit I didn’t see her for 8 years; I would HATE it if ‘18’ did that to …

‘But I don’t need a ceremony Mum’: giving the perfect 18th birthday present

Remember how I worked out what to give him in a flash of early morning inspiration, and then he guessed it HERE? Well of course I went ahead anyway, despite my disappointment delight at his intuition. It took 2 weeks to organise, during which time his actual birthday came and went, but I could rest in the quiet glory of knowing I’d nailed the present. Family and friends got together on 2 separate occasions to wish him well, and I could see he was very pleased at all the love and attention he so rightly received, bless him. As we entered the 2nd week, a little nagging began- ‘How long till my ring is here Mum?’ – ‘I can’t wait for my ring, I wish it would hurry up’ etc (spread out over 5 or 6 texts sent at random hours). Finally I cycled down to the jewellers to collect it, and even she was excited at how well it had turned out, and what an excellent idea it was. But would it fit? She urged …

When you decide on the perfect gift for your 18-year old son, but then…

What would you buy a teenager reaching such a milestone birthday? The challenge threw me for days, until inspiration suddenly struck at 3am (thanks menopause): Mum’s ring! Well, it’s my ring actually, which Mum passed on to me many years ago, that I treasure. My Dad gave it to her on their honeymoon in Mexico, and although it’s a simple design, I love it, loaded with sentiment and meaning as it is now. The stick figure is roughly carved, and apparently represents the legend of a Girl holding a Rainbow- perfect for me. My son ’17’ often picks it up when I’ve left it lying around on the shelf after washing dishes for example, and has made frequent comments about how well it fits him, and how good it looks on him (as teenagers are wont to do). But I always refuse to lend it to him, and have remained strict about that, despite his cute cajoling (as teenagers are wont to do). Imagine if he lost it? Then 3am inspiration arrived: why not get …

Teenage Tuesday: The last one ever with ’17’

This son of mine is funny, strong-minded, sensitive, and kind. He can also be messy, selfish, a bit lazy, and quite stubborn; a fairly normal teenager. We’ve had a good time with him here, haven’t we, laughing at his contributions to bone&silver? But it’s all going to change on the weekend. For this was me, a lifetime ago, standing on the edge of changes I had zero idea about, despite the weekly pregnancy group meetings, and various well-thumbed books. I went past my due date by more than two weeks, which stressed out both my midwives, but then I had my baby at home on the back verandah as planned, with no interventions or pain relief. As long as I was up and walking, labour wasn’t too painful… just long. Very long. Long as in “Started-On-Wednesday-Morning-Came-Out-Friday-Morning-Long”. Anyway, I made it. We made it. Born at 5am, on a clear frosty Winter’s morning, after his Mum had walked round and round the garden wrapped in a quilt for hours. And now this weekend, he’s passing from …

Two comets dancing

I’m sitting here smiling with the cat at that post title. The attraction dance continues, slowly turning as we tangle in each other’s tails, sparks flying off the edges. [Not me and the cat; me and her.] Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to comment with advice on my last post, it was super helpful. A couple of real life friends kinda told me off for being too personal, and asked me if I was being a self-indulgent narcissist? *gulp. I don’t think so. I was reaching out for support and wisdoms which I didn’t feel I had to give myself, and the call was answered by my awesome blogging buddies. It was a personal post, but that’s the point round here. I’m trying to respond honestly to whatever’s going on, and use it as a stimulus for writing/creativity/art/connection- sometimes it’s ’17’, sometimes it’s politics, and sometimes it’s sex/love. So be it. And as I pointed out to my [wonderfully loving] yet challenging friends: if my post helped ONE person with …

When a comet shoots by, but it’s probably just your Attachment system getting rattled

Time for a dating update folks: I met someone in real life. Well, I noticed her at a dance party about a year ago, but being a loyal partner to my ex, I just ignored her… Then 6 months ago, a very good mutual friend actually introduced us properly, and I couldn’t stop myself from thinking ‘Oh you are so cute’, but being a loyal partner to my ex, I just ignored me… Until 2 weeks ago, when on another funky dance floor in my killer blue jumpsuit over my freshly-healed heart, I found myself facing her, and just couldn’t ignore her for one more second. We danced. We smiled. We yelled in each others’ ears. We flirted, then drifted away and back together a few times (I got on that dance floor at 5pm when I arrived, and barely left till the party closed at 11.30pm) before I finally asked her if she had a girlfriend (my middle name is clearly ‘Direct’). When she said no, I may or may not have seen a small firework …