Musings

10 Things I’m Afraid to Tell You

A couple of weeks ago, Lisa from The Art of Joy wrote a post titled ‘Keeping it Real- 10 Things I’m Afraid to Tell You’ I thought it was really brave of Lisa to share these things; she says she did it ‘in the spirit of vulnerability, connection and opening up the tough conversations’ and I love that. I found myself nodding along to a few of Lisa’s confessions and so I thought today I would share my own 10 things, and I love you to share some of yours, even just one thing, in the comments below. What real things are you afraid to tell other people about yourself?

  • I’m a fussy eater. I wish I wasn’t. I wish I liked a wider variety of food and was more adventurous with my cooking but I’m just not. I’m slowly getting better as I get older. Becoming a mum has made me want to be a better role model for my son.
  • I’m a bit of a home body and travelling makes me anxious, being far from home makes me anxious. But it’s something that I push myself to do because despite my fears I don’t actually want to spend my entire life at home.
  • I’m a bit OCD when it comes to having a tidy house. Everything needs to be straight, I don’t do clutter and the beds are always made.
  • I’m not sure I believe in God, I believe in something, I’m just not sure what. I do believe in ghosts, I’ve seen them.
  • I’ve started two university degress and finished neither…and I don’t regret it. The only brought me closer to what I actually wanted to be doing.
  • Ive never watched Game of Thrones or Orange Is The New Black and don’t really have any desire to. Are we still friends?
  • I’m claustrophobic. I will only get in an elevator if it’s totally necessary and even then, never alone. I will only stay in hotel rooms that have balaconies, it’s a non negotiable.
  • I’ve spent way too much of my time as a parent worrying about what other people think and questioning myself. I’m slowly getting better with this but still often feel the need to justify and explain myself when I really shouldn’t.
  • I carry a bottle of water and a pack of lifesavers in my handbag with me wherever I go. It’s my first line defence and safe guard against panic attacks.
  • I don’t enjoy pedicures. There I said it

 

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Reading, Watching, Listening.

Watching:

13 Reasons: I’ve debated for a while about watching this but intrigue finally got the better me. There’s been much conversation and debate about this show that’s based on the story of a teenager who commits suicide. I’ve decided to watch it so that I can make up my own mind. I’m five episodes into the thirteen episodes so I’ll let you know what I think when I get to the end…I hear that the final episode is especially confronting. Have you watched?

This is us: Who’s hooked? I am. This show had me right from that brilliant twist in the very first episode. I feel like it’s all building to something, and of course we all want to know how Jack died (I still can’t believe he’s going to die). Any theories?

Reading:

Small Great Things: Last month I finally found the time to sit down and read ‘Small Great Things’ by Jodi Picoult. Jodi is one of my all time favourite authors so I always have high hopes whenever she releases a new book. Jodi is renowed for always have some kind of big twist towards the ending and I have to say that was probably my only real disappointment in this book. For me, the ‘big twist’ lacked the usual punch and shock factor, maybe even seemed a little too neat, with everything tied up in a neat little bow at the end. But, having said that, I still thoroughly enjoyed the book and it held me captive right the way through.

Work Strife Balance: I’m going to be brutally honest and say I’ve never been a big fan of Mia Freedman (she seems to be the woman that other woman love to hate) but I didn’t really know why exactly. I don’t think I’ve ever actually even read anything on Mamamia before (not that I can remember anyway) but I do love her podcast No Filter; though I think that’s more about the subjects she interviews than Mia herself. Anyway, I decided I didn’t really know enough about Mia to judge so I picked up this book, a little intrigued to find out more. And you know what? I actually really, really enjoyed the book. There were funny bits and touching bits and even some uncomfortable bits. There were bits I couldn’t relate to and bits I couldn’t. But overall, I enjoyed it and I definitely feel like I know Mia a lot better now (as much as a total stranger can!) At the end of the day, she just another woman, another mum, trying to do the best she can, stuffing up a lot along the way; something which she openly admits. Have you read Mia’s book?

Listening:

The Well: One of my favourite podcasts is finally back after a long break! I’ve talked about The Well here before; Rebecca Sparrow and Robin Bailey talk all things motherhood, friendship and life. And they’re back with a bang with the “when life pulls the rug out from under you” episode. Get on it people.

S- Town: Oh man, I could devote an entire blog post to this podcast (and I might just do that one day). Just seven episodes long I binged listened to the whole thing in a week. And then I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So I recommended it to a friend who I knew would enjoy it as much as I did so I had someone to talk to about it. If you haven’t listened to S-Town it’s hard to explain in too much detail without giving anything away. I can say this; it is quite unlike anything I’ve ever come across before. As my friend so perfectly put it in a late night text message after he’d finished listening “clocks, mercury and gold. A story about nothing and everything”. The story begins with a man contacting a journalist, Brian Reed (the creator and narrator of the podcast) informing him there had been a murder in his small town that had been covered up and asked him to investigate. In the end, that’s not really story at all….and that’s all I’m going to say. A little like Sarah Koenig’s commentary in Serial, you find yourself mesmerised by Brian’s voice and left wanting to hear more. Lucky for me I will be as my friend and I scored tickets to this event in Melbourne next month where we’ll get to hear Brian talk.

So, what have you been reading, watching and listening to lately?

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Memory and Smell

 

They say that smell is one of the strongest links our brain has to memory and I totally agree. Ever noticed how sometimes, certain smells, are enough to transport you back in time, to a place or a person or an event. I can rattle off a whole bunch of different smells and what they mean to me like:

The smell of incense burning takes me to Bali, on holiday with my new husband, my sister, brother in law and niece who was one at the time (she’s now seven). It’s navigating the tiny, hectic laneways of Kuta on a hot, muggy day bartering for cheap shoes.

The smell of vinegar and hot water reminds me of my childhood, when my Mum would make my sister and I wash our long, blonde hair in vinegar once a week.

The smell of eucalyptus trees, a campfire burning or canvas takes me back to camping along the Murray when I was younger. It’s one of my all time favourite smells. My sister will tell you the same.

The smell of steaming plum pudding reminds me of my Grandma. She used to make it for dessert every Christmas. My sister and I hated it but would always ask for piece because she would hide one and two cent coins in it (they still existed back in those days). We would shuffle it around in our bowls with our spoons until we found the coins then promptly declare we were full.

The smell of coconut is summer.

Cuddly softener smells like my Mum and her house. Whenever my son comes home from a sleepover at Grandmas house I love to inhale the smell of his clothes. Even he will sniff it and say “this smells like Grandma”. I love that.

What smells transport you to a different place? What’s your favourite smell?

 

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So yes, I’m writing a book…

Have you ever heard the one that goes a little something like this:

There once was a man who used to pray to God every night that he would win tattslotto. He would get down on his knees, look up at the sky and beg God, please God please, let me win tattslotto. And then one night God answered. His big voice boomed down a reply from the heavens above and do you know what he said? Help me out here man, buy a ticket. Ha!

I’ve realised recently that I’ve had exactly the same attitude towards becoming writing a book. For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to write a book and have that book published. But you see, to make that happen, I would first actually have to write a book. Seems obvious right? Well yes, it is, yet it’s something that I have yet to do, or even give a go really. I mean there was that one (rather feeble) attempt last year for NaNoWriMo but apart from that, my book has been nothing more than an idea, a dream, for many, many years.

So last week, I decided I’ve had enough of waiting, enough of the excuses (enough of praying to God if you will) it was finally time to take action and write the damn book. I announced it on social media; not because I wanted people to pat me on the back, say well done or offer any type of congratulations (though I did get that, which was lovely). No, I actually posted it for accountability. Because I know now that I’ve put it out there people might just ask me from time to time ‘hey, how’s that book of yours going?’ and I want to be able to give an answer that doesn’t entail me looking down at my feet, shrugging and offering some lame excuse as to why I have done anything about it.

Anyone who has read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert would know of her theory about creative ideas having a life of their own. The concept being that ideas find their way and attach themselves to people and if you don’t do anything with those ideas they will move on to someone else. She provides a (quite amazing) story about this great idea for a book she once had that she began to research but then gave up on and never wrote. Years later, another author wrote that book. The exact same story she had planned to write. The concept of the book was very specific, very unique and Liz had never shared the idea; there was no way this other writer could’ve have ‘stolen’ or copied the idea. The thought of that happening to me and my book idea actually scares the crap out of me (wouldn’t I just kick myself if that happened) and has been the final motivation I needed to get started.

So yes, I’m writing a book and it turns out it’s nothing like the book I have always thought I might write. It’s a young adult (YA) fantasy/sci fi…I don’t even really read sci fi, it’s never particularly been my thing, yet there it is. I think I’ve tried for many ideas to ‘come up’ with an idea for a great book and it’s always felt a bit forced. But this one? Well it’s just like Elizabeth Gilbert says; it seems to have a life of its own and has just come to me, out of nowhere and it just keeps coming, shifting and shaping…and I’m excited to see where it takes me.

So yes, I’m writing a book.

What have you been up to lately? Ever attempted to write a book? Ever wanted to?

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Embrace

To celebrate International Women’s Day this year my work held a free screening of the documentary ‘Embrace‘ at our local cinemas. I had heard great things about it so decided to invite my sister and Mum along for a girls night out.  The film is brilliantly done with a good balance of seriousness and humour. If you haven’t yet seen it, I highly recommend you do. I was a bit worried that the film might be a bit preachy, and to be honest, I was also a bit worried that I might not relate to it. Because here’s the thing, I’ve never had to battle with my weight in the traditional sense. I’ve never struggled with weight gain or trying to lose weight. But yes, I did still relate to the film, because even if I’ve never worried about being ‘too big’ I’ve certainly still had my fair share of body issues.

Case in point; I have a big nose. There’s no denying it, there’s no missing it, I have a big nose and I also have crooked teeth with pointy little fangs that a boy in high school once told me looked like I’d stuck two tic tacs to the top of my gums. I spent many years trying to perfect my smile without showing my teeth. It always looked awkward. And I’m naturally thin…oh yeah, I see you rolling your eyes sarcastically thinking ‘gee you poor thing’ but I can tell you that it was well into my mid twenties before I began to wear skirts or shorts due to being so self-conscious about my so called ‘chicken legs’. I was thirteen when a girl in my class began tormenting over those chicken legs, screaming out ‘anorexic’ across the courtyard every time she saw me. I quickly took to wearing pants, even on thirty plus degree days. That became a bit of a problem when I switched to a private catholic school a few years later and school dresses were mandatory for girls during summer. I wore them long, under sufferance and great awkwardness. Skinny shaming is totally a thing; I cannot begin to tell you the amount of strangers that have told me I need to ‘eat more’ or ‘put some meat on my bones’ like they actually know how much I eat! Pretty sure they would never dare tell a larger person to eat less so I wonder why they think it’s ok to comment on my weight?

I know someone who commented that the Embrace movie was sending the message to people that it’s ok to be ‘fat and unhealthy’. Umm, no, that person totally missed the whole point! The point is ,health and weight are not synonymous. You can be considered a ‘bigger’ person and still be really healthy. You can also be thin and be unhealthy. It’s not about weight, it’s simply not. It’s about learning to love our bodies and being kind to ourselves. It’s about the things we say to ourselves and the messages we send to our kids. As Nora Tschirner (German actress) says in the film “My body is my home. It’s my soul’s mate”. So take care of it, love it, embrace it. I’m learning to.

Have you seen Embrace? What did you think?

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First, we make the beast beautiful

Wednesday is usually my day for getting stuff done; it’s the one day of the week that I don’t have to go into the office and I’m kid free. Wednesdays for me usually involve working from home, doing the housework and washing, paying bills, going to the bank and the post office…you know all that boring grown up stuff that you don’t really want to do but needs to be done. But today? Well today I was totally self indulgent and I spent the whole day in bed reading. Hubby was home from work so he took the little man to and from school. It was cold and miserable outside so I cuddled up in bed with my heat bag and my latest read ‘first, we make the beast beautiful’ by Sarah Wilson. Hour later, I have emerged and I just need to share….

I’ve read many books on the subject of anxiety over the years but this one was different. The title and the cover grabbed me from the start, it promised to be ‘a new story about anxiety’ it really was.

As I was reading, there were parts of the book that I couldn’t relate to; Sarah’s life is (of course) quiet different to my own and she has done things I would never even dream of doing; from bungee jumping to taking off on week long hikes alone and living in a deserted shed in the woods for six months. Just reading about that stuff made me feel anxious. Nope, that’s not for me, because of course the control freak in me would never allow anything like that to happen! But there was so much in this book, and in Sarah, that I could relate to. I found myself nodding along furiously to parts wanting to yell “oh my god yes, this!”

By the time that hubby got home from running some errands I had flagged a whole bunch of pages that I wanted to read to him, which he lovingly let me do over lunch (bless him). There’s a part in the book where Sarah talks about how our loved ones can help us when we are feeling anxious or mid panic attack…

“Just be there when we wobble. Just stay. and be entirely certain and solid about doing so, even in the very convincing face of pushback and the frantic wobbliness from us. Your patience and calmness will exist in such stark contrast to our funk that we’ll start to feel silly and return to Earth. Our anxiety does pass.”  Umm yes! I’m lucky that my hubby is actually pretty good at doing this. It’s why he’s the one I always want nearby when I’m feeling anxious. He’s great at staying solid and bring me back down to earth.

And this; “don’t confuse our need to control our environment with our need to control you”. Yep, we anxious folks are control freaks but it’s not that we want to control other people, we’re just doing our best to try and control everything else to prevent (gasp) the worst from ever happening. (Of course deep down we know that’s actually impossible, because if we could control that we’d be God!)

And I giggled out loud at the trueness of this one; “Never in the history of calming down has anyone calmed down from someone telling them to calm down”. In fact, it does the exact opposite…thankfully my husband learned this a long time ago!

There were so many other random and weird things that popped up throughout the book that I have always thought to be a ‘Sarah thing’ (me that is, not Sarah Wilson) but now wonder if it’s actually an anxious person thing. Like the fact that I just cannot relax at a day spa but I totally love those cheap and nasty, walk in and walk out, Thai massage places. The best! And why I sometimes like to sleep upside down in bed; putting my head where my feet usually are and vice versa (a trick I introduced to hubby years ago and he now also loves to try when either of us are having trouble sleeping). Or why I’m so bad at making decisions; Sarah explains this so perfectly in her book but I won’t delve into that here, it’s a little complex and I don’t want to give o away.

If you suffer from anxiety I highly recommend you grab yourself a copy of this book. Allow yourself to get swept away into the amazing, raw, yet ever  wonderful world of Sarah Wilsons mind. You might just find some comfort in it.

 

 

 

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Less than perfect

So, as most of you would know, our little man started school this year and with that, I’ve been thrown into a whole new world (of course he has too, but let’s focus on me for a minute, it is my blog after all ha!) I’ve had to learn all about readers and golden words and assemblies and canteen ordering….and the list goes on. It appears school has changed a lot since I was there!

Anyway, I digress, what I really wanted to talk about today was a certain certificate that the lil man was recently awarded at school. ‘Perfect attendance for Term 1’ it read. He was also given a little badge to wear on his chest along with all the other kids in school that managed to show up to school each and every day of term one. Normally I’d be super proud of any award my son wins, but this one just doesn’t quite sit right with me. I get it’s intention, I get that many schools are struggling with poor attendance and some children have parents that just don’t seem to understand the importance of regular school attendance. But what about all those other kids? Those kids that maybe had a day or two off because they were genuinely sick? I feel as though they’re kinda being punished for that; they’re being told they’re less than perfect. Sure, they’re not coping the strap or anything drastic like that but I’ll bet they felt left out when the other kids their class got an award and they didn’t. It’s like saying they did something wrong just by being sick.

I don’t think my son really got it; he was rapt he got an award sure, but I’m not sure he fully understood what it was for. But he’ll eventually get to the age that he will and I hope that he doesn’t feel any pressure to go to school when he’s not feeling well just because he’ll miss out on a certificate (because I’m pretty sure there will be some kids out there who would do just that). And it’s not even just about sickness; what about holidays? Yes, kids get school holidays but not all parents do (case in point- my hubby and I). The reality is, we probably will choose to take our son on a holiday away from school holiday times because it’s ridiculously more expensive! Yep, I totally get school is important but I also think life experience and travel is just as important.

So, an award for perfect attendance…hmm, I’m just not sure about this one. I don’t know what the answer is and how we can encourage those families whose lack of school attendance is negatively effecting their kids, I just think it’s a more complex issue….or maybe I’m just over thinking the whole damn thing, who knows! I would really love to hear your thoughts on this one.

 

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Reading, Watching, Listening.

When it comes to finding new books to read, shows to watch and podcasts to listen t,o I often base my choices on recommendations from others. So this week I thought I’d share with you what I’ve been reading, watching and listening to lately…check it out, you might just find something you like.

Reading: Over our summer break down the beach I finally got to read Me Before You by Jo Jo moyes. I devoured it over a few days and really enjoyed it. There is a sequel book, After You, but I’m yet to decide if I want to read it. I feel like the story finished as it should and wonder what more there is to say. I’m not sure if the sequel will be too depressing? If you’ve read it I’d love to hear your thoughts! I’ve also got the movie sitting at home ready to watch, I’ve been told to have the tissues ready.

I also recently finished reading Motherhood and Creativity: The Divided Heart by Rachel Power. I won a copy from the beautiful Lauren (aka- Me and My Girl.) She told me I’d love it and I certainly did! In the book, Rachel interviews a number of well known professional creatives (from actors and writers to painters and musicians) about how they juggle motherhood and their creative pursuits and how one affects the other. Whilst I am by no means a ‘professional’ creative I could certainly still relate to much of what was said. It was a really interesting read and I discovered so many common themes threaded throughout. If you are a mother and a creative soul you, this book is a must read.

Watching: Last week hubby was away overnight for work and so with the little man sleeping soundly next to me I finally got to sit down and watch The Minimalism Documentary on Netflix. I’ll be completely honest and say that whilst I’ve heard a lot about The Minimalists I’ve never actually read or listened to any of their stuff, so I thought I’d start here. I loved it and fell in love with Josh and Ryan (how could you not love them?) And I’ve since starting listening to their podcast. Whilst I don’t think I could ever be as hardcore minimalist as these guys I can certainly relate and agree with a lot of what they have to say.

Listening: To podcasts, all the podcasts! Here are some of my favourite episodes that I’ve listened to lately:

No Filter- Mia Freedman interviews Jodi Picoult: Rather than listen to the No Filter podcast in order, I just pick out the episodes that I’m interested in. So of course when I saw that Mia had interviewed my all time favourite author, Jodi Picoult, it was at the top of my list and it didn’t disappoint. I also loved her interview with Kasey Chambers and Rebecca Sparrow.

Conversations with Richard Fuller: with Jon Ronson, author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. I’ve had Jon’s book on my ‘must read’ list for quite a while now (I really must get to it) and after listening to this podcast episode I want to read it even more! In this interview, Jon talks about some of the most famous cases from his book and gives a really interesting insight into not only the real stories behind them but also what happened to those people after they were so publicly shamed on social media. It’s quite sad how one small moment or action can literally ruin people’s lives. It’s certainly mad me rethink what I choose to share my social media pages.

The Well: The Grief Episode. I listened to every episode of The Well last year, except this one. I wasn’t sure if I could listen to it, I knew it would be a tough one but eventually, alone in the car one day not long after Christmas, I finally did. Listening to Robin and Rebecca talk is like listening in on a conversation with friends and this episode was both touching and insightful.

What have you been reading, watching and listening to lately? Got any good recommendations for me?

 

 

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One Word

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and hopefully managed some time with your family and friends, away from the daily grind. I’m currently down the beach with my boys, enjoying a nice two week holiday.

It’s tradition at the start of a new year to make resolutions; promises to ourselves that we either will or won’t do something in the coming year. I’ve never been one for new years resolutions, it’s just not really my thing. But I know hat many other people choose a word, just one word, that they want to represent that coming year for them. I think this sounds kinda nice so I thought that this year, I would do that instead.

My word for 2017? Be.

Last year, I discovered I find it really hard to ‘just be’. I’m forever thinking ahead, planning, worrying, preparing for the next thing. That’s not always a bad thing of course; it’s good to have goals and things to look forward to but not when it’s to the detriment of enjoying the present moment. As my son starts school this year I have this overwhelming desire to just press pause on life. I just want to be.

Be still. Be present. Be in the moment.

Be happy. Be sad. Be excited.

Be curious. Be kind. Be myself.

Let it be.

Just be….

And so that is my word for 2017, just two little letters. BE.

Have you made any new years resolutions? If you had to choose one word for 2017 what would it be?

 

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That’s a Wrap!

fast five friday, www.sarahdipity.com.au

It seems we say it every year but man, this year has gone so fast! Christmas is over for another year and next week it will be 2017. This is a time when we often sit back and reflect on the year that was and so today, I wanted to look back on this blog and share with you my top five posts for the year (based on views, readership and comments). I’ve also provided a little update on where I’m at today with the things I spoke about in these posts. So here we go, my top five posts for 2016:

The hardest decisions are sometimes the right ones: In this post I talked about my decision to give up working from home. At the time I was working two social media management jobs, plus freelance writing. I took a couple of months off but there was one job in particular that I really, really missed and so I ended up going back to it but with a promise; that I would not work when my son was home. I’ve kept that promise, managing to do the bulk of the work when he is at kinder. Sure, there’s an odd phone call or text message sent here and there but on those days when he isn’t at kinder or it’s the weekend it’s family first all the way! I’m just doing a small amount of hours each week and that’s working well. I’ve been tempted to take on more but I know it’s just not the right time and that’s ok.

Habit, Addiction and the Challenge: It’s no surprise that this post seemed to resonate with so many people. I think we’re probably all a little guilty of using our phones and social media too much. I’m ashamed to say that I have definitely fallen back into some old, bad habits. I pick up my phone way too much. I scroll mindlessly way too much. It’s purely habit….and bad habits can be heard to break! This might be something to work on in the new year.

I will be ok: The response I received to this post was overwhelming. I received tons of comments, messages, emails and phone calls from both friends, family and strangers. I had people confide in me that they too suffer from anxiety. I had people tell me that they appreciated me telling my story because it helped them to better understand someone in their life that has anxiety. I’m happy to say that I’m doing much better. I am now on some new medication, which seems to be working really well and I am visiting my counsellor regularly. More than that, I’m learning it’s ok to ask for help and sometimes rely on other people without feeling guilty (something I will probably always struggle with).

Creativity and Career: This is also one of my favourite posts. It’s the moment I realised that I don’t need to make a career out of my creativity in order for it to be valuable. Since this post I’ve continued to enjoy creating for enjoyment; I write, draw, take photos and paint…sometimes I share these things, sometimes I don’t. And I love it, I enjoy it, I need it. Creating things will always be good for my soul.

One Step at a Time: Following this post I received the results from the skin specialist. Whilst it came back that the lesion wasn’t skin cancer he still wanted to remove it. But I was hesitant. I’ve had bad experiences in the past of doctors being  little too knife happy and I really don’t want to go cutting into my face unless it was necessary; especially when he said he wouldn’t refer me to a plastic surgeon but rather do it himself under local anathestic in the chair. So I sought a second opinion. My GP also looked over the results and agreed that unless I wanted it removed for cosmetic purposes the spot was fine to stay. So stay it has. I will continue to keep and eye on it and monitor any changes.

So that’s it, a round up of my most popular posts for 2016. I will be taking a week or two off blogging to enjoy some time with my family but I’ll be back in 2017, that’s for sure. But for now, that’s a wrap!

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