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Crooked

14 Jun

It’s no surprise that I have crooked teeth. I am not happy about it. I would change it if I could. When I was in primary school, it became apparent that my teeth were very crowded. I had to wear a plate which was very uncomfortable and was told that in order to straighten my teeth now would be the perfect time to have braces.

I grew up in a single parent family without much money.  Despite this, my Mum was in a situation where she was potentially able to purchase a small holiday house, going in with a friend. This decision for her depended entirely on whether or not she had to spend money on my braces. So she asked me what I thought she should do. A 12 year old girl.

I had been convinced that a holiday house would give us a great lifestyle and holidays that all of us could enjoy. It was then implied that the braces would be a selfish and superficial choice, focussing on surface level appearance which is not important. I was told that I was beautiful the way I was and that people will love me for my personality rather than my looks anyway.

You can probably guess which choice I made. It also helped that I was very scared of getting braces. So at the time it was a fairly easy decision. But a few months later, I started getting bullied for having crooked teeth. Thankfully primary school was almost over but I was still referred to as “Rattus” by most of my classmates from that point forward. Even when I saw them again years later.

As it turned out, my Mum reassessed her finances and was not able to purchase the house she and her friend wanted without us relocating so our home could be rented out… so I didn’t get braces or a beach house. But I didn’t really care about the beach house.

You might be wondering why having crooked teeth even bothers me, I have amazing friends, a successful business and a loving partner. But I don’t feel as though I can smile or even talk confidently because of it. Every time I have my photo taken I have to try and conceal my teeth. And every time I meet someone new I am terribly nervous that they will notice how childish and ugly my smile is. It doesn’t matter how you try to convince me that this isn’t true. I still believe it.

In my early 20’s I vowed to make a change, to pay for my own braces. So I went to an orthodontist for a quote and was told that my crowding is so bad that I would need to have several teeth removed in order to even make room for the straightening to occur. On top of this I was given a price tag of around ten thousand dollars (more than double the price that my Mum was given nearly 15 years prior). So again, I was faced with the reality that this was out of reach for me and I guess I gave up. I am however determined to one day have the means to fix my teeth for good.

As my daughter’s teeth grow, I am seeing that even her baby teeth are coming through crooked and I know what the future has in store for her. Thankfully these days, there are improved approaches to straightening children’s teeth meaning that braces may not even be needed. Even though I agree with letting children make their own decisions, I will certainly be encouraging her to have the courage her teeth straightened. Although superficial, being able to smile genuinely and from the heart without worrying about your appearance is something that I would like my child to be able to experience, because up until now in my life, I still don’t know what that feels like.

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Communic-Hating

13 May

As much as I wish I wasn’t, I’m a hater at heart.

As much as I give my clients (and friends) good advice about how to cope in an imperfect world, I still struggle because I have such high expectations of people. The comments in this post illustrate this.

I desperately want people to drop the sarcasm, be nice to themselves, show an interest in others, ask questions, be compassionate and care for their children – so badly that it hurts. So much that sometimes I don’t know what to say and other times I need to take a deep breath and occasionally I have to leave the room. It’s hard. I’ve come to realise that the struggle is a valid part of my journey which has great potential for self improvement, although in many of my recent challenges I’ve failed to ‘find the gift’ and have just slipped into old habits.

I understand the solution to this problem intellectually but my deep rooted emotions are fierce and seductive. Tegan & Sara know how to explain it. It’s sort of like smoking, you wake up all haggard and croaky wishing never to smoke again but by lunchtime you’re rolling one ‘for later’, but then decide to just have it now. It pulls you in, you want it, even though you really don’t.

At first I thought continuing to do the same thing rather than making a change was simply the easy way out but it would seem that staying the same actually requires more effort, creates more discomfort and has a greater cost in the long run. Why then am I so reluctant to simply accept ‘what is’? Why can’t I just be fine when Bob’s parents talk over him, cut down his ideas and completely ignore him? And why can’t I just agree with people who never expect life to get any better or who blame others for their problems?

Why!?

I know better I guess. In fact on the outside I probably come across pretty chilled or maybe even a bit deadpan but inside often I am tense! My control freak tendencies remain over the top and shamefully hidden. Then I carry my stress around with me unable to let it go! I know that avoidance is never a great solution but for now it’s the only one I have apart from just breathing through it …. phew.

Back on board

14 Oct

You might recall that during my pregnancy I had undeniable cravings for meat. You can read more about my journey with meat eating here.

I had never really cooked much meat before this, so I was confronted with the reality of learning to cook it and, you know I love cooking right? So I’m sad to admit that I actually started to get creative with it and even enjoy it a little.

I had hoped that once giving birth that I could give up meat eating instantly but I found that early on the cravings got worse! Breastfeeding left me feeling dehydrated and hungry all the time and I was craving nutrient dense, high protein food, I was after all, making milk! I was eating around 6 meals in 24 hours and my body was going crazy for meat.

So now not only had I begun to feel used to the meat cravings I was actually enjoying cooking and eating it. It went from being a medicinal addition to my diet to a staple. So now that I’m no longer breastfeeding, my body has calmed down and as I’d hoped, my meat cravings have dissipated. The problem is now that I have an appreciation for meat in my life that I never had before. What’s a girl to do?

Thankfully after being a vego for so long it was impossible for me to eat meat unconsciously. I am very aware of what my choices support and had to make peace with that. I’ve recently been inspired by people who do the occasional-ethical-meat-eating thing and I think that for the time being, that’s what I’m going to do. In no way am I going to have it regularly but I have decided that every once in a while I might choose to have some. I am ok with this.

Still, please don’t offer me meat at your place or expect to be served any at my place. I’ll choose when and where I have it or if I have it at all. That being said, I’m SO glad to be rid of those damn cravings!

Under The Pump

8 Oct

So when Dottie was born, she needed to be taken to the special care nursery and we were separated. When we tried to breastfeed a few hours later she wouldn’t latch. Over the next few days we tried again and again without success. We took her to an osteopath and saw many midwives and lactation consultants, it just wasn’t happening and no-one was sure exactly why.

Initially I hand expressed precious droplets of colostrum around the clock. When we went home from the hospital I upgraded to a double pump and my new life as a pumper began. I pumped every 2 hours for 30mins for the first week, leaving little time for sleep or even caring for Dottie.

Once my milk supply was established we were building up quite a stockpile so I decided to drop back to 3 hourly pumping and then 4 hourly. Still it was hard work and I couldn’t have done it without Bob who became a night feeding pro! Then the pain began…

Firstly my breasts became engorged and full all the time. Although pumping is a good way to express milk it does not at all replicate a baby’s natural feeding rhythm so my body didn’t really know how to cope. Then I started getting lumps from blocked milk ducts. They were incredibly painful and could lead to mastitis. So now I had a dilemma, pumping relieves the pain of engorgement but then tells your body that it needs more milk. So if I pumped before the specified time I would get some temporary relief but would make the problem worse in the long run.

This continued for weeks. I was determined to give Dottie the best start I could but the pain and sleep deprivation was beginning to take it’s toll (not to mention the fact that I was missing out on caring for her). I ended up getting mastitis several times and the lumps continued… as soon as one cleared another would appear and I often had a few at a time.

When I was pregnant, I was excited about having a dairy free child. I never imagined that breastfeeding would be so difficult for me but when I was faced with the difficult reality, I had to consider dairy-based formula as an option.

I resisted to start with. I hated the idea of 1) feeding my daughter something inferior  and 2) supporting an industry which I am passionately opposed to. I may have eaten some meat during pregnancy but I never once consumed dairy or even wanted it. I soon realised though that hating something which could in fact be my saviour was futile, I needed to find appreciation for it and in essence love it.

It took some time but I was able to feel gratitude towards baby formulas and the cows who make them possible. And then one weekend I was pushed over the edge. I was in so much pain, pumping provided no relief. I was living on paracetamol, I couldn’t lie on my side or sleep at all. Bob had to take nearly a week off work to look after me and help care for Dottie because I couldn’t even lift her up. That was enough. We switched to formula. And thankfully I was emotionally ready.

I was planning on continuing to pump with the objective of cutting down to just a few pumps a day. The lumps and pain continued. The blockages were so bad that pumping wasn’t providing relief from the constant agony. So, I stopped cold turkey. I figured that I didn’t have much to lose. I’d have a few days of pain and it would be over rather than having to deal with the pain indefinitely. And I have NO REGRETS WHATSOEVER.

Dottie was fed breast milk exclusively for 6 weeks and although it’s not what I’d hoped for, it’s better than nothing. Once the pain was gone, I was able to sleep! Precious sleep. I felt human for the first time in what felt like forever. I was able to hold Dottie and hug people again and I could finally start being a Mother!

Nesting

11 Jul

Everyone keeps asking me, have you been busy nesting?? Um… is that just the same as being organised? If so then, yeah I guess. Obviously expectant parents need to rearrange things at home a bit, and prepare as much as possible for the arrival of a new person. Bob and I have got all the stuff we think we will need – for the first little while anyway and – apart from the gathering of stuff, I really don’t relate to this whole “nesting” thing at all.

What are you meant to do anyway? Get emotional while ironing baby clothes? Sit in your ‘nursery’ and dream about when the baby has arrived? Actually that’s the other thing we get asked alot – “do you have your nursery all set up?” umm… assume much?

The simple answer is “no”. A baby is a tiny person that needs constant care and supervision, not it’s own room decorated with trendy wall hangings and their name on the door. Nurseries like that are for parents not babies. Sure, I can understand how having all of the baby’s things contained in one area rather than stored around the house could make things more convenient but in all honesty, the baby is neither going to care about the interior design of it’s nursery nor remember it anyway. So yeah, we have baby stuff. Most of it is in a room that I will never call a nursery.

And the other side of this nesting thing is cleaning. Apparently it’s normal for women to become manic, clean freaks or crazy perfectionists in the lead up to having a baby. I must admit I have used having a baby as a good reason to get a few things done that I’ve been wanting to do for ages like washing the kitchen walls (that were covered in oil because our kitchen doesn’t have a fan) but the truth is that I probably would have done that anyway, just as I would have cleaned the bathroom, done the dishes and swept the floor. I’m in no way a cleaning maniac but I do make an effort to keep things manageable so I haven’t really noticed any increased inclination to clean.

I am not at all doubting that the nesting instinct exists and that it serves a purpose however I feel perfectly ready, organised and ‘nested’ without going to any extremes. Thank goodness.

Defeat

3 Jul

Throughout my pregnancy I have been determined not to let being pregnant become an excuse not to do normal things. I have continued my yoga and exercise despite some people suggesting that pregnant women should do nothing but rest. I have continued to do the shopping, go for walks, drive and clean the house.

I have unfortunately had moments of defeat where I’ve reached a point that I have to give up something I could have previously done easily – I had one of those moments today…. I gave up walking up my street. This might sound lame but you have to walk up my street yourself to fully appreciate just how steep and difficult it is (even for fit, non-pregnant people). On the weekend I went for a walk with Bob and I needed to stop for 3 rests before we reached the top! I was completely out of breath.

The main problem with setting out on foot from our place is that once you get to the top of our street, you turn a corner and go up another steep hill, then you have a break on a flat bit before going up a third hill! At our last attempt, I made it to the top of the third hill and I was ready to turn around. I was very disappointed in myself. And today, when I received an offer to go for a walk I knew that I shouldn’t do it, so I drove to the flat bit and set off from there. It’s embarrassing to admit! I was shocked that it came on so suddenly after coping fine with the hill for my entire pregnancy.

I obviously don’t want to ignore any crucial messages from my body about what is and isn’t cool so, I am in fact ok with my decision, even though at the time I felt like the world’s biggest copout. My body is busy making a person! My heart is pumping more blood than ever and I am carrying alot more weight so it’s understandable really.

Thankfully my other “defeats” have been easier to accept, like heavy lifting and bending down. My body was pretty clear about taking it easy with these sorts of activities involving core abdominal muscles so I’ve just had to surrender.

On the bright side, I’m 9 calendar months pregnant today and in 6 days I’ll be 40 weeks so the baby could arrive at any time!!

Cold & Dirty

2 Jul

I’m not going to lie to you, I actually hate having showers. It’s true. I’m probably the only person alive who feels this way. Whenever I mention it to people they tell me how much they love having a shower and look at me like a freak. I’m not denying it – maybe I am a freak!

What on earth is wrong with me? Long time readers will know about my dream to giving up hair washing and will remember my many experiments to see how long I could last with out washing it. I’m planning on cutting my hair really short in a few weeks – hoping to live the dream!!

So showering, in all honestly… I would avoid it if I could. Why? I hear you ask. I have given this alot of thought. From what I can figure out, it comes down to this… I get cold really easily. Most people don’t understand just how much this effects me, especially seeing as though I live in Qld! It should be hot right?

Not exactly. I live on a mountain where it’s commonly 6 degrees or cooler than the Gold Coast. So why don’t I just have a really hot shower? I do! The actual shower itself isn’t the problem I suppose, it’s the discomfort before and afterwards that causes me to suffer, particularly when I have wet hair. Most of the time, I can’t have a shower unless there’s a heater involved when I get out.

At the moment I’m 39 weeks pregnant and it’s the middle of winter and people seem to think that because pregnant women tend to “run hot” that I’m not going to feel the cold. From my perspective, I feel just as cold as any other winter although I have started to notice that Bob will turn on the heater and I’ll say “I can’t believe you’re cold? I’m fine.”. Maybe I have got some extra baby warmth happening, this has made me nervous about how cold I will potentially feel after I’ve given birth.

As it is right now, I only shower every second day (*loses twitter followers*) and I am perfectly ok with this. Earlier this year I was showering every 3 days (*friends lower their opinion of me*). Just for the record, I have no judgments of anyone else’s choice to shower frequently. We are taught that it is necessary to shower everyday but I can tell you right now that my body really does not need it. My skin dries out when I shower daily and my hair becomes increasingly oily. It’s a vicious cycle. If I get hot and sweaty (rare) then I find it easier to just have a simple wash with warm water rather than committing to a shower. In fact, I pretty much only have showers when I need to wash my hair…

and I hate that I need to wash it at all. The only reason that it becomes oily so fast is due to frequent washing with products that strip the natural oils. I once had a hairdresser who told me that once you get past the first two months without using conventional hair care products, your hair will start to regulate it’s own oil production and appear clean and normal without the need for regular washing. This is my goal. Who knows what will happen to my showering habits if I succeed!

100 Bad-ass Posts

6 Jun

So apparently this is my 100th post. I’m actually surprised that it’s taken 3 years to get this far but I suppose it’s a milestone worth celebrating, especially as it’s been 3 years almost to the day since I began the badlet blog adventure. I started this blog as a way for me to vent my “bad” side, share my journey and search for the truth. I intended it only for friends (and as a creative outlet for myself) initially but have since gained followers on Twitter, Facebook and WordPress.

Some days I feel as though I live two different lives, especially working as a counsellor, feeling the pressure to be a good role model etc. but the Badlet blog has kept the other half of me alive… the half that swears and has strong opinions, judgements, challenges and is a little bit weird.

I’ve complied a list of my favourite posts below with a little description. I enjoy looking back on where I’ve come from and how I’ve grown – I hope you do as well. Thanks to all the readers – I know you’re out there, the stats don’t lie, leave me a comment sometime! Much love, Badlet.

Adelaide July 2009 – Not funny at the time but hilarious later – If it will be funny later, it’s funny now.

Hobart Sept 2009 – Glass O Whine – Trying to understand why people ‘need’ to drink alcohol.

Hobart Sept 2009 – The world would be so much shitter without you Colin – My discovery of the life changing book “No Impact Man”

Hobart Nov 2009 – My favourite kind of people – The realisation that Tasmanians are mostly redneck bogans.

Hobart Dec 2009 – Use what you have instead of buying more crap – We survived for 2.5 months.

Hobart March 2010 – This post is for you – All of you.

Hobart August 2010 – Idiots – Talking about yourself is not the same as having a conversation.

Queensland Dec 2010 – I’ll miss you like a cold shower – The truth about living in Tasmania.

Queensland Feb 2011 – Pieces of paper – Is the receipt really necessary?

Queensland April 2011 – The smart state – First impressions of life in Qld.

Queensland May 2011 – Cast your vote – Voting with your dollars.

Queensland May 2011 – Chit chat – Confessions of an anti-socialite.

Queensland May 2011 – Zuck it up – My take on Mark Zuckerberg’s meat challenge.

Queensland Jun 2011 – I need a big loan from a girl zone – Surrounded by boys!

Queensland Aug 2011 – Love is natural – No matter who you’re attracted to.

Queensland Sep 2011 – 10 reasons why I don’t have a TV – For real!

Queensland Feb 2012 – Judge not – My struggle with eating meat while pregnant.

Queensland Mar 2012 – Bad ass for life – Despite having a baby on the way!

Queensland Apr 2012 – Ask a question – Instead of talking.

Fat Defenders

20 Apr

So the other day I went to Target to have a look at underwear and maternity clothing. My pregnant body is growing rapidly and my clothing options have become somewhat limited. In the store, next to the pitiful singular maternity rack was a huge new section for plus size women’s clothing. And I don’t mean clothes for women who are unusually tall or broad these were clothes for obese people.

What the hell is wrong with the world?

Here’s what I think… If you are obese, your body is desperately trying to tell you that you are unhealthy. Your diet is wrong, you eat too much, you don’t exercise enough and perhaps you’re also unwilling to take responsibility for yourself and lack the courage to try something different. That is the truth.

So, department stores are going to reward you for ignoring your health by providing you with reasonably priced, stylish, accessible clothing to keep you trapped exactly where you are.

Did you see this Mama Mia article about how there isn’t enough plus size clothing to go around? WTF? Firstly, I am a short, petite, healthy woman and I have the same problem – I cannot find clothes that fit me. My options are normally limited to: supre, miss shop, teen sections or buying larger clothes and having them altered (which is what I normally end up doing). But when I do go to places that specialise in small sizes like supre, do you know what I find? The small sizes are the first to sell out. Small people are desperate!!

I used to be a size 8 but now I am a size 6 (or XXS). My body hasn’t changed, the clothing sizes have! Probably in an attempt not to offend women who are becoming increasingly fatter. And now obese women are complaining that they can’t find stylish clothing!

So this article reports that trendy brands want to associate their product lines with slim people – what is wrong with that? Everyone is capable of being healthy and losing weight. In fact the desire to be able to fit into stylish clothing could be a great incentive for someone to lose weight.

They go on to list 3 points

1. The cost and fear of changing patterns to suit a curvier figure. The grading between sizes 6 and 12 is quite uniform but when you get up to sizes 16 to 24 women put on weight in vastly different ways and the pattern needs to be adjusted to make the garment work.

That cost is a real one! It would cost more to make bigger clothes and have more options. Would obese women be willing to pay the extra? It’s crazy to expect that clothing using twice or three times the fabric should cost the same as a smaller item. Maybe the additional cost would get people motivated to lose weight.

2. The stigma attached to a plus size clothing. The cooler, edgier labels have a reputation that the customer wants to buy into. Plus sizes aren’t part of that.

I recognise the danger of using unusually tall and slender models and not having realistic clothing sizes available however I do believe that part of the image that those “cool” labels promote is in fact, health! This is not a bad thing. Plus sizes are not a part of that because they are (generally) for unhealthy people.

3. They simply don’t think plus size women want fashionable clothes. There is a mentality that if you really wanted to wear fashion, you would lose weight.

And so there should be. Creating new lines of clothing for overweight people to stay as they are instead of encouraging them to lose weight to be able to fit into “normal” clothes is like taking out a loan to pay off your debt – it doesn’t make the problem go away. If overweight people needed to lose weight in order to fit into better looking clothes then they would realise that they can take responsibility for their own life! That is the biggest barrier to weight loss right there!

Another example in futility would be lap band surgery, I’ve known obese people who have seen this as their only option because they lack the self control to stick to a healthy lifestyle. I know that people can have amazing weight loss results from this surgery however it cannot be denied that the underlying issues are rarely addressed, not to mention the fact that the surgery is a huge expense and it pretty much entirely unnecessary.

I know I might be coming across a bit unsympathetic especially to those people who are naturally large or busty (as opposed to being obese) and require larger clothing. This is just the journey that some of us have to bear – I understand what it’s like! Of course I recognise that all people need clothing and I wouldn’t want to deny anyone of that right however I just think that a more realistic and sustainable approach is needed and that it would be so easy to promote normal sizes as healthy and provide overweight people with a real incentive to change and take ownership of their health.

Target on the other hand obviously caught on early and realised there was money to be made from the poor forgotten fatties.

Ask a question

12 Apr

Now that I have quite a noticeable pregnant belly, suddenly people think that it’s an invitation to have a chat!

I can understand the human tendency to be excited about a new life coming into the world but unfortunately most of the time, people take the opportunity to either judge me, be negative or tell me their life story… all uninvited!

So you know I’m a bit anti-social. It’s not that I don’t like people, I like alot of people. I just don’t have much time for whingers, egotists and those who think they have the right to randomly and publicly penetrate my personal space for the sake of their beloved ‘story’.

Since when was connecting with people about telling someone else how they should feel and talking about only yourself? I try to avoid encounters like this at all costs yet they find their way into my day again and again. So people ask me how I am feeling (a thoughtful question to ask someone who is 6 months pregnant) to which I reply “I feel amazing” (it’s the truth).

Then they either:

A) Tell me why they think I am feeling amazing or

B) Tell me that I’ll soon be feeling terrible or

C) Tell me their life story.

Obviously they had no intention of engaging with me otherwise surely it would have occurred to them to simply ask another question to find out WHY I feel amazing and hear more about my journey.

I recognise that because my work requires me to engage with people on a daily basis that I have skills in this area… so yeah, it’s possible that I have high expectations that I’ll get the same level of depth from the general population. I get it. I know that I’m just setting myself up for disappointment by wanting it to be different but I find it so hard to understand why people think that talking at someone equals caring. It doesn’t.

I have a feeling that once the baby is born it will probably get worse. Not that I’m complaining though….