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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.

Support

12 Jun

I am so used to being independent that I hadn’t really imagined what life could be life if I had more support. Bob and I are basically on our own here in Qld. We have a handful of friends, many of which live a long way away but our closest family is a 12 hour drive away.

When we were in Adelaide recently we had a taste of what it could be like if we lived closer to my parents and brother’s family. I was able to work – in the middle of the day. It was amazing. My Mum jumped at any opportunity to have Dottie all to herself so Bob and I were even able to have a night out. Wow.

Since having Dottie, I’ve probably been away from her for maybe about 8 or 9 hours. Seriously. I can remember every single time and can count them on one hand. Don’t get me wrong, I cherish my time with my daughter but if I had the opportunity to work for more than 20 mins at a time or to just have a little break. Having a glance at what a life with more support could be like and then coming home to this lonely place has been difficult for me.

Thankfully, we’re often so busy that I don’t have much time to notice the isolation or to think about what I’m missing out on. Our situation also has an unfortunate impact on our thoughts around having more children knowing that we’re on our own… and that probably isn’t going to change.

It’s strange for me going from being defiantly independent to craving help and support. It’s been a tough journey to even get to a point where I can admit that help would be nice. I’ve been opening up more and more about this and people tend to react by uncomfortably trying to figure out how they could babysit for us as if it’s their duty to save us. It’s not. I’m just talking about what’s going on for me. You don’t need to fix it and you couldn’t fix it even if you wanted to.

Of course I accept what cannot be changed but on occasion, I entertain a thought that maybe it could be different.

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.

Sellout

11 May

Yep. I am. Remember this post where I righteously crapped on about how good it was not having a TV? Well some of those reasons I gave you have changed and I’ve changed a little too…

Last time I owned a TV I watched it a lot. I had a hard time turning it off and was always searching for something else to watch but after 2 years without one I am glad to say that I am over this. I know what I like and what I want to watch everything else can piss off.

Having a child makes you realise how precious free time is and seriously – I have much better things to be doing than watching shit I don’t like. So yes, it’s on most days for an hour or so am I am ok with that. When I worked at Radio Adelaide, we were taught about how people listen to the radio for background noise and for a sense of company – well I could sure use some company! Even if it’s only a TV for now.

I’m somewhat of an independent hardass but once again, having a child has made me aware of my lack of local support & family. It’s just Me, Bob & Dottie on our little lonesome up here in mountain town which most of the time works famously well. But sometimes I do feel isolated and I must say it’s nice to have a little distraction to turn to.

So, yes I have arrived on the dark side, please welcome me… and expect a few more rants about TV shows.

The Truth

8 May

It’s been over 6 months since I made a post on the blog. It’s not because I haven’t had anything to say and it’s not because I’ve had a baby and now all of a sudden I’ve forgotten about my blog. Apart from the fact that I managed an exhibition in the Fringe Festival, planned and ran my first few workshops in over 2 years, went on a trip to Adelaide AND have been caring for a baby – who is now 9 MONTHS OLD! Apart from all of that…

I’ve been dealing with something that is too hard to explain. Normally all you badasses hear it straight, I tell things to you straight, even when it’s not pretty or when I’m not proud of myself. But now, what’s been going on for me is so personal… so confusing that I just can’t seem to get it straight in my own head first before explaining it out loud. Definitely not something that I’m used to struggling with.

Many times I’ve started to write, with the intention of sharing my situation but I end up just freezing and no words come. This has been blocking me for so long now that I think it’s best just to address it, share what I can and move on. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back into the swing of things and keep the momentum going (you know that comments always get me going). So let me just say this: I had a more difficult time with childbirth than I let anyone know (a true hardass). I did not recover well. Everyday I am reminded of this. And even though I am feeling much better and will continue to do so I feel that it’s important to tell you the truth. The truth is… sometimes I will tell you that I’m fine – when actually I’m not.

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.

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….

Judge Not pt 3

12 Mar

I love to tell the truth. I love to share my stories and my journeys. However confessing to having eaten meat after 6 years without it was far more difficult than I had imagined.

Some of my fellow vegetarians judged me so harshly that they were bordering on cancelling the friendship with me altogether. To them I was just another failed vegetarian. Using pregnancy as an excuse to justify my disconnection from my food. And I must admit, if I was in their situation it’s likely that I might have had a sneaky judgement too.

I remember meeting a woman years ago in one of my classes who told me her story of surrendering her vegetarian ethics during pregnancy. Although I was outwardly compassionate, since then I have always thought to myself “I will never do that. It’s easy to have a balanced diet without meat whether you’re pregnant or not!”. When I finally allowed myself to eat some meat I judged myself for being “one of those people”. For a while I labelled myself as a cop out. And it turned out that my vego friends didn’t see me as much more than a cop out either. So I confessed to some meat eaters…

Remember part 1 of this post? Yep. Most meat eaters just welcomed me back to their side, content that I had finally “seen the light” and stopped being a protein deficient whinger. Thankfully I have a good understanding of the grips of the ego and how fiercely people will defend their truth so I was able to take these reactions lightheartedly. But still, I received very little appreciation for the huge emotional transformation that had taken place within me and the amazing power of my body to accurately tell me what it needs.

I found this appreciation of course in my spiritually aware friends, those who also listen to the needs of their body and make changes accordingly. At the end of the day I realised that all that matters is that I am comfortable with my own actions. I don’t really care whether or not people accept my choices or if they use my actions as a way of justifying their own actions. All of this is beyond my control.

It is my intention to continue having small amounts of meat during my pregnancy and I hope to revert to a vegetarian diet once the baby is born however I now know that I need to listen to the needs of my body first and foremost and I remain open to any changes that my inner voice may suggest.

Read part 2 of this post.

Judge Not pt 2

10 Mar

So I may have found peace with the eating habits of others but I’ve had a recent struggle accepting my own food journey. Since being pregnant I have been craving meat…. severely. I’ve been vego for about 6 years and I had the occasional meat craving in the beginning, but for the past 3 years, I’ve not found meat appealing at all.

So as you can imagine, I was completely baffled when my body started telling me that I needed desperately to eat meat. I know that my nutrient, vitamin and mineral levels are all good but just in case, I tried eating iron rich foods and ensuring my protein intake was abundant. I did this for a month while I dealt with daily cravings and nothing changed. During that month I went on an amazing emotional journey which began with a fierce attachment to my version of “right” and “wrong”. My values were being severely challenged by these cravings and some days I shocked myself when I realised that I was actually considering eating meat. What the hell was wrong with me?

I kept thinking about all the reasons that I don’t eat meat in the first place and it felt as if I had a war going on inside my head. Listen to my body or listen to my values… that was the choice I had to make. It’s not often that we’re torn between to two.

So the question I had to ask myself was, “Will I be able to cope emotionally with the impact of my actions if I do try some meat?”. This is not an easy question to answer. I thought of all the people who mindlessly eat meat at every meal and I thought of all the ways in which I am environmentally conscious in comparison to the general population. I could sense that I was trying to justify my desire to eat meat but the inner voice telling me to eat it was becoming too much to bear.

With all of my medical struggles over the past year I have worked with some amazing professionals, all of whom have encouraged me to listen to and trust my body. As I developed this communication with my body I have become intuitively aware of what foods I need to include and what foods I need to avoid, so this whole meat thing was really testing my relationship with my body.

After weeks of emotional turmoil I finally concluded that I would not know for sure unless I allowed myself to try it and see. I knew that my body would tell me if if wasn’t right. Realising this allowed me to find peace with it all. I knew I couldn’t consume meat if I felt terrible about it so I had to reach a point of acceptance. What a transformative journey.

So, yes I tried some meat. (this is where staunch vegans unfollow me on twitter) I didn’t struggle with it. My body was fine with it. I gave thanks to the animal that had suffered and I approached the entire process with openness and peace. And the next day….. ALL OF MY RANDOM DIGESTIVE SYMPTOMS WERE GONE. Completely gone. All of the weird gas, burps, tummy aches and nausea had vanished without a trace. Until this point I was not consciously aware of how unpleasant those symptoms actually were and how much grief they had caused me.

After about a week the symptoms returned and I tried some meat again and once again, I felt instantly better. I don’t understand exactly how or why this was happening but it allowed me to see a potential weekly meat dish as something amazingly therapeutic, and I let go of any remaining concerns about whether or not I was doing the right thing. I have to trust my body on this one. It wasn’t until I started to tell people about my journey that I was struggling again, this time with the judgements and values of other people. More on this in part 3 of this post.

Read part one of this post here.

Bad-Ass For Life

6 Mar

I have been looking into social groups for parents and playgroups because I thought this could be a good way to meet a few new people who I can relate to as a mother. Unfortunately, I’ve found that the majority of these groups tend to be populated by women who’s sole interest in life in having babies and parenting. Ugh. For example, I looked at a few members on facbook and these women only follow pages about birth, pregnancy, parenting, products for children and breastfeeding activism. No interest in music, philosophy, food, travel, spirituality or anything other than child-rearing. Double Ugh.

I promise that I will NOT become anything like this.

Seriously, just because I’m having a child, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to become an elitist snob who slips off the social radar and doesn’t have time to hang with childless friends. I. HATE. THAT. SHIT. And the truth is that 90% of my friends don’t have children so I’d really be shooting myself in the foot by abandoning them.

My philosophy is to be myself AND have a child. Of course I recognise that I will need to adjust my priorities and plans in order to care and provide for my daughter first and foremost, however that doesn’t mean that I can’t have a meaningful conversation about SOMETHING ELSE. I have little tolerance for the mundane so I’m hoping that I might be able to meet some mums who are both supportive AND interesting.

I always thought that having a child would provide me with an opportunity to find some like-minded friends but I’m realising that I’m not going to just stop being a weirdo once my baby comes into the world. I’m simply going to become a weirdo with a baby – even more of a minority than I was before.

As I mentioned in my last post about my desire to avoid the rigid opinions and judgements from others, I need the freedom to be myself and to honour my journey. At this stage I’m not convinced that I’ll be able to find this level of understanding and compassion from women who have no interests other than having babies, but I remain optimistic and open as always!