Friday, 16 December 2016

I now have another box.

Traditionally, I am ever the optimist. I am easily led from sadness or melancholy and straight back into, if not happiness, then comfort, certainly.

I have finally built a life around me that means I can be this way. I can be happy. I am happy.

I have found a system that works for me when it comes to Bad Things in my life. When they arise, as they always will; it's Life, after all - I simply deal with the emotions and thoughts straight away then move on. I do not have enough time on this earth to be dealing with negative thoughts or emotions any longer than absolutely necessary. I have too much good I want to do. There is too much fun to be had.

But, as with everyone, there are things in my past, things in my history which are not happy. Memories, thoughts, feelings, events, circumstances that I cannot move past.

I put these things into Boxes. Boxes in my mind that store the things with which I don't want to deal, the things with which I am, to varying degrees, frightened would break me.

Some of the boxes are doodle-covered cardboard, covered in dust, simply taped shut. Eventually, I think, I might open them and see what comes out. Thankfully, I don't have many of these boxes.

Some of the boxes are solid metal chests with locks of the kind Houdini couldn't even open. I have two of these boxes and I hope I've lost the keys.

Sadly, a new box was installed yesterday.

I don't yet know what it looks like as I keep wilfully ignoring its presence, hoping it will go away.

I know what the box contains, I can hear it whisper to me in the quiet moments, taunting me - the Thing inside still so new that it hasn't yet learned its place, its fate inside that box.

But I don't want to know. Not now. I might not ever.

There's a Thing inside a new Box and it's calling to me and I refuse to look for the key.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Break the cycle

I vividly remember lessons taught by my mother when I was small... "Look both ways"... "Don't be a nuisance"... "Don't bump into people... "Don't eat yellow snow"... "Orange juice before you brush your teeth"... "She deserved it"...

Learning these early lessons, I was a very careful child.

I made sure I took up as little space as possible. I always moved out of the way when someone entered my space so as not to bump into or hinder them in any way.

I never ate yellow snow. (Though, lemon ices/slushies still confuse me!)

Other lessons that my mother taught me, not through vocalisation, but through actions, were that women are competition; women are moody; women are unacceptable, you can't be friends with a woman; women should be avoided, be friends with men - or women who act like men - it's so much easier.

Throughout adolescence and early adulthood, I believed this. This was my truth as demonstrated by the friendships I spurned, the women I insulted, spread rumours about, took delight in talking about behind their backs... Women I didn't even know. Gossip-fuelled bitch-fests being like a mainstay in my life.

I was headed down the same path of my mother, virtually friend-less because I doubted anyone could ever be friends with a woman. How horrid the thought; they're crazy!

I still remember my father and his wife sitting me down when I was about 13 (ish?) and asking me about the notes in my junior high school yearbook. I had defiled it. There were angry notes and scribbles all over the inside of it, denoting some fellow students as "bitch"es, "slut"s and worse. A friend and I had sat and determined the personality of every single female student one day and she suggested we spend the day graffitiing my yearbook. We wrote nasty words, blacked out faces in indelible ink and did so with utter conviction that not only were our actions justified but that they were necessary! (I never even questioned why we used my yearbook but that's a post for a self-esteem/self-awareness session, I guess.) My father found my yearbook and was horrified that I had done such a thing, that I had such thoughts.

I remember distinctly dismissing his concern as nothing. What could possibly be wrong with my behaviour, these women were bitches and sluts! Obviously! Look at how they had treated me!


They never had treated me. I now cannot recall a single moment when any of those women had anything negative to say to me, hurt me in any way emotionally or physically - I can't even remember a single dirty look.

Now that I am older, I wish - oh, how I wish - someone had sat me down and told me that it didn't have to be that way - that women aren't inherently bitches - or sluts - or anything of the sort... They're not competition...

I understand the insecurities that lead my mother to feel the way she does, to believe the vitriol that she's been fed for decades by the misogynists in her life.

I understand it.

I do not accept it.

I refuse to follow in the footsteps of my misogynist mother. My mother who is bitter and alone and who firmly believes that she's friendless at this stage in her life simply because of the attitudes of others - unable to even contemplate that she, herself, has pushed them all away over the years, made them feel unwanted, insulted them and gossiped about them behind their backs and, sometimes, even insulted them directly to their faces.

My daughter is learning the value of female friendship and I am trying my hardest to lead by example.

It's not going to cure the world overnight of sexism but if I can help women learn to love and support one another, it has to help, right?

I will break the cycle.

Thursday, 10 November 2016


If you have used the term "not all white women", please, for the love of all that is feminist, don't you dare EVER slam a man for saying "not all men"! 

Because the thing is, some white women DID. Many white women did. TOO MANY WOMEN DID. 

The MAJORITY of white women who voted chose racial familiarity over feminism, let that be crystal clear. 

When you attempt to make yourself feel better by saying "not all white women" you demean the very things that WoC have been rallying for, been fighting for, been dying for. And, let me tell you something, JUST LIKE the "not all men" BS, TOO FUCKING MANY DID. And, like it or not, those white women are our sisters, mothers, aunts, cousins. 

We, us white women, are responsible for this. ALL OF US. We need to do better. We failed. We didn't do enough

We had a responsibility to speak with our white sisters, to help them understand the ramifications of their opinions, of their apathy, of their actions, of their prejudices, of their racism, of their privilege. We are to blame. All of us. 

When you "not all white women" you create even more "otherness" and that's the opposite of what we need right now. We need to rally. 

We need to rally and we need to apologise to every single marginalised society today, because we have hurt them and we have failed them.

Now, all of you; please be safe, please be love.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Living in simpler times.

From time to time, I used to lament that I wished we could go back. I wished we could go back in time to when things were simpler, “easier” and I’ve just realised how rude and offensive that that sentiment actually is.

From now on, please let it be known:

I, for one, do not long for simpler times.

They were horridly racist and misogynist… Full of damaging “otherness”.

I embrace our current, complicated lives where the Powers That Be are challenged.

I embrace the hard work it will take to remove the centuries of oppression that people have faced.

I embrace the hard work it will take to remove the centuries of oppression that people are facing. Today. Every day.

I don’t want an easy life if it means that my children and their children will face the same challenges that we face.

I don’t want an easy life if it means that any child will face the same challenges.

That’s the cowards’ way out.

I am scared, but I am not a coward.

I do not long for simpler times. I won’t have it. I will not go quietly into the night.

I will fight. I will rage. I will persevere because people deserve better.

People deserve better and I know we can make it happen. 

I was going to do these as a series of tweets but, it’s too big for that. I had too much to say. I didn’t want to be hemmed by character limits.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

It's OK.

I have needed to write this for myself for some time now.

I hereby give myself permission not to write.

Yes. I am allowed to not write.

How scary is that?!

Since this time last year, I have taken an unintentional hiatus from my writing - and felt wretchedly guilty about it the entire time.

I stopped taking a specific medicine I was on for reasons in October of 2015 and have struggled since then to get my head back into the process of writing. It's like that part of my brain has been temporarily suspended. (I say "temporarily" because I do plan on resuming the medication in the medium-distant future.)

I am tired of feeling guilty for not putting words down, creating those magical sentences that seem to come from thin air... I'm tired of wondering if I'm good enough, if I'm actually a writer if I'm not actually writing. Well, I am and I'm not. I am a writer. I am a writer who is currently not writing.

And I am OK with that.

Or, I am trying to be OK with that.

Because it's a choice. I have chosen to take this particular path at this particular time in my life and, if a temporary side effect is that I don't write for a relatively short while in the grand scheme of things while I take this journey, then that's OK. It will be worth it. Hopefully.

But most importantly, in the mean time, I won't feel guilty about not writing. It's OK that I am not currently writing. I am doing something else. Something important. And the writing will be there when I am ready and able to get back to it.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Buffalo Popcorn

This is not, in any way, an advertisement or affiliated post. The views expressed herein are my own and I have not been paid or remunerated in any fashion for what is to follow.

I am a huge fan of flavoured popcorn.


If, like me, you have ever tried to make flavoured popcorn then it's likely that you've learned the pitfalls of adding a water-based flavour to popcorn and the resulting disaster.

This was something I learned when I tried to follow a simple recipe I'd found online for popcorn made with Frank's Hot Sauce

I'm a huge fan of Frank's and thought it would be an amazing addition to popcorn. I followed the recipe to the letter and, as my soggy, deflated kernels baked in the oven, I knew something wasn't right. 

The recipe I had found instructed that the popcorn be made, tossed in Frank's sauce and then baked to sort of set the flavouring on the kernels. 

What I had created, however, was spicy, wet popcorn. It was disappointingly soggy and gross. 

Further research indicated that adding water-based liquid to popcorn will cause it to deflate (duh!) but that oil-based liquids add flavour without causing the sogginess. It's because of this that butter-flavoured popcorn is so popular: kernels are flavoured but remain light and fluffy.

Still wanting Frank's popcorn, I was left with a dilemma: how to get the flavour of the sauce without the accompanying wetness/water.

I've had a popcorn epiphany!

I warmed my oven to "barely warm" (125C/250F), spread some Frank's onto some baking paper and placed it into the oven. Once the Frank's had completely dried out, I removed it and placed it into a resealable plastic food bag. I repeated this step once more to ensure I had enough flavour.

Using a pestle and mortar, I ground up the "sauce" to pulverise it a bit as the pieces were too large for adding to my popcorn.

I then added some garlic granules and a dash of table salt.

And ground that all together.

Popped my popcorn as usual...

Then tossed the popcorn in some of the flavour mix to coat... (the rest of the mix is waiting for my next batch of popcorn! If you'd like some more detailed measurements of ingredients, please shout. I certainly will be making this again so wouldn't mind writing things down this time.)

 I have to say, it was delicious!

Now, I wonder what other flavours I could be adding to my popcorn!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Good enough...

Feeling "good enough" is something with which I have struggled my entire life.

I wasn't good enough for my parents to treat me well.

I wasn't good enough for the boys I liked to like me back.

I wasn't good enough to be "rescued" from various difficult stages in my life.

Several years ago, I even went through some CBT in relation to my self-worth issues. I "graduated".

So, I wonder... how is it that a chance encounter with a complete stranger can send me instantly down that spiral of self-loathing and create within me a feeling I have fought so long and hard to be rid of...

"I'm not good enough."

According to Random Stranger, I wasn't thin enough. They called me an elephant and said that I bumped into their cohort simply because I was so fat that I required the entire pavement to myself. I should have been smaller. I should lose weight. I should know my place, take up less space and not be so damned self-righteous in my assertion that I am a deserving human.

According to my lame-ass retorts, I wasn't clever enough to throw anything more back at them than trying to yell my excuse that it was *they* who bumped into *me*. I should have called Random Stranger a "clever little boy" and asked him, if it took me X amount of time to lose weight, how long would it take him to not be such an utter prig.

According to my rampant self-loathing immediately following the exchange, I wasn't feminist enough. I didn't stick up for myself against this person of the opposite gender who decided to be offended and rude on the behalf of the person with whom he walked. A woman. I should have asked *her* if she was offended or hurt. I should have ignored the man completely and, instead, asked the woman with whom he had been walking if *she* realised that *she* had walked into *me* - Or, better still, asked her if it was a requirement that he fight all of her battles for her, if he ever let her stand up for herself.

According to how this is still affecting me, more than 24 hours later, I wasn't strong enough to let this go. I haven't allowed it to wash over me. I am still damaged, hurt, seething, embarrassed. I could have realised that there is nothing wrong with my size. Yes, I am large, but I am not "obese" and, even if I were, I have nothing to prove to Random Stranger. I could insist that the problem is with him. The problem was with him presuming that he and his friend may walk two-wide down the pavement and spare no thought for anyone who might be passing in the opposite direction; They Will Wait. We Are More Important.

But I didn't do any of those things.

Because I'm not good enough.

And so here I am. Feeling like I'm back to Square One.

I will pull back up out of this. I always do. And I have been trough far worse.

My personal theme song isn't ACDC's Back in Black for nothing.

I do still wonder, though, if I have been through all that I have and come out on the other side cheery, smiling, bright-eyed and full of promise - why has this affected me so deeply?

Friday, 22 January 2016

Writing Prompt - The One That Got Away

As soon as I entered the ticket hall at the station, I knew something was up... I have no idea why, but I could sense something wasn't quite... I don't know. I can't describe it so I don't know why I would even try but let's just leave it at "I knew".

What I didn't know, couldn't possibly have known, was that I would run into my ex. The one known as "The One Who Got Away".

It was my fault, of course, it always is. And how she used to tell me off for not watching where I was going... it's one of the reasons we split up.

And I wasn't.

Watching where I was going, that is. So, I literally ran straight into her. She wasn't watching where she was going either, obviously, but her reason wasn't terminal shyness, it was because she was walking with one of the most gorgeous little children I'd ever seen and they were having a lively debate over which was a better colour: red or green. I had heard some of their conversation as it drifted into my consciousness. I may not have seen them, but I heard them. I listen to people. That's what I do.

When I looked up from the collision with her, my heart at once sank into my feet and began pounding so loudly it drowned out any coherent thought I had hoped to have.

She looked dishevelled, which I immediately found disconcerting as she was ever serene when we were together. Our mutual friends, the ones she "won" in the split up, always quipped that we were like chalk and cheese. I was hurried, frazzled, excitable versus her utter calmness in any situation... even when I inevitably broke something on our way out the door to one of her important work functions and we then had to stop and clean up the mess.

Her clear brown eyes met mine and the half-mumbled apology on her lips fell away. Her hand flew to her hair, smoothing imaginary strays, and she muttered my name before collecting herself so quickly that I worried of an impending sonic boom.

I mumbled her name in return and tried to smile but it was stolen, along with my breath as she breezily announced, "I thought you were... gone". She squeezed the hand of the adorable child beside her and smiled bigger, her voice softening before she continued, "I didn't expect to run into you".

My heart broke at seeing her with a child... I had always wanted children; she didn't.

Or, at least she didn't with me, I thought unfairly.

I cleared my throat and ran my fingers through my manic hair in an effort to collect my thoughts before I responded. "My research took an unexpected turn. It turns out that the story is right here and I'm about to send my second edition to my editor. Listen..." I took a deep breath. This was going to be hard. Painful, most likely, but she'd always tried pushing me to be more assertive. "Could we maybe get together some time to, you know... talk?"

I suddenly couldn't bear to look her in the eye so glanced down at the child, desperate to avoid her gaze but also to see if the young boy looked like her. Are you hers? Is that your mother? I hoped to bore the question into his head, unsure which answer I wanted more.

She straightened and I caught the movement from the corner of her eye. I attempted to mimic her posture but I've always been a sloucher. Another thing that annoyed her to no end. Her eyes bore into mine as she quietly said, "It's been ten years. You need to move on. Please. Let it go. Let me go."

Her voiced raised a little and she lifted her chin before announcing, "Right, Emmett. Come along or we'll be late for the zoo!" She tugged the little boy's hand and off they went.

I couldn't bear to turn and watch them walk away. I couldn't bear to let them see the tears that had suddenly sprung to my eyes.


The name I had wanted to name our unborn son all those years ago.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Writing prompt - A Letter To Writer's Block

In an effort to #justwrite, I have found a list of writing prompts from Writer's Digest which is a fortnight-long sample of their Writer's Digest Presents a Year of Writing Prompts and will be giving them a bash over the next while so please bear with me (Arrrgh! Did you bear? I beared. I bet you didn't bear. Oh well.)

Here's the first of the prompts:

Dear Writer's Block,

It's not you, it's me...

... I'm just finding that I am feeling unfulfilled when you're around. It's like there's something... missing. Something I long for, a yearning I have that is always present when you're here.

When you're not present, that empty feeling is lifted. I'm much happier, upbeat... less tetchy and whingey. I don't like myself that way. It irritates me that I'm irritated and it makes me irritable. Are you seeing the pattern here?

In light of this, I've decided you simply must go. I'm sorry to do this to you. I know we've spent a lot of time together but I've changed and made some difficult decisions that I know are for the best for both of us.

I think, if I can be brutally honest here, that you're better off alone. You're quite selfish and needy... and demanding! Boy, are you demanding!

If you do find someone, though, I wish you both the very best and hey! Perhaps that new person won't mind your "issues" so much.

Because I really do.

And for my own emotional well-being I need to leave you behind and get on with my life, get on with the process of "finding myself" and all that that entails.

I hope this doesn't leave you too bereft, but I'm sure if you're honest with yourself... you kind of had to have seen this coming. No?

Take care, and try to keep in mind what I said about considering being alone.

Please don't call me

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Create the magic...

A mind-numbing fear of failure mixed with a deafening need for perfectionism means I often start projects that, despite the best of intentions, I never actually get around to finishing.

I am my own worst nightmare.

I love the creative projects I start. I nurture them, I coddle them, I feed my self into them...

Until I feel I have learned a lesson or have successfully demonstrated a new skill...

Then, I stop.

I loathe this about myself and am ever frustrated that this trait not only exists but that there seems to be no rhyme or reason to where the limit/tipping point is!

I once challenged myself to learn to knit a sock.

I knit a sock.

A. Single. Sock. And then I stopped.

Why?! Because that was the challenge I had set myself. Learn to knit a sock.

Finally, over a year later, I had to challenge myself to see if I could knit a *pair* of socks, just so I didn't feel so horrid that I'd learned a skill it seemed I was never going to use. (I still have the socks and while I love them, I don't wear them as often as I should.)

Perhaps another personality trait/flaw is that I am just too damned literal. Perhaps I need to be less precise, more open-ended in my language. Perhaps, I need to realise I am so literal and work *with* it and expand my challenges before they are set rather than accidentally allowing them to limit me.

Who knows.

No, seriously, who knows?! Do you!? I'd love an answer.

In any event, the above parts of who I am have accumulated to mean that I haven't written in, I'm embarrassed to say, over five months.

I'm actually cringing as I write this, I feel that ashamed.

Note to self:

"Writer"?! Not if you don't effing *write*, lady!

You "lost" someone very special the other day. The Goblin King. A man you've never met but one you'd hoped one day would cross your path.

That opportunity will now never come to pass and you mourn the loss of something you never had, but also the loss of the magic he helped bring into your life.

You're clever, though, and know that the magic doesn't have to leave just because the man has had to go. You can...


Write. Read. Make. Knit. Crochet. CREATE!

Now, consider this the proverbial kick in the backside and DO something about it other than just lamenting the fact that you haven't done it!

And, just to remind you...