Manchester


My daughter has been my companion to many concerts. Some operatic, some classical, some pop and some rock. The squeals of joy echo through my home when I inform her that we have tickets to a visiting performer. She carefully selects what she is going to wear, and we make plans to have dinner somewhere nice beforehand. Watching her dance and gaze at the performer in awe is all the reward I need. We went to Sport for Jove’s rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, shortly after I heard the dreadful, unfathomable news about the terrorist attack at Manchester Stadium. I looked around at all the young people laughing and delighting in the performance, and was struck cold by the thought that it could have been us. It could have been us at any performance we had attended. Afterward, my daughter chatted excitedly about the play, and how much she had enjoyed it, and we stopped at a shopping centre in the heart of Sydney for lunch. A policeman with an Irish brogue came up to us, and started chatting. It felt as though three humans were connecting, trying to make sense of the evil which had just occurred. He smiled at my daughter, and I knew that he was thanking his stars that it hadn’t been a Sydney concert. It could have been.

A friend posted a warning last night that a van had been spotted next to our local park, with a fellow lingering long enough to cause suspicion. I almost despaired. Should we now add concerts to the long list of things we need to be wary of? Are backpacks set to become suspicious, not just when left alone on public transport, but also when securely strapped to someone’s back? Parents could be rendered nervous wrecks, incapable of venturing out with their offspring, let alone allowing them to venture out by themselves. I must admit, my immediate desire was to bustle my daughter home, where she is safe. However, this is no way to live. Once upon a time, I was a hermit, a bad man stalking me. I barely left my room in three years as a teen. I remember feeling angry that my life had been reduced to an isolation cell, whilst he was roaming free.

I eventually stepped out by myself, and what a revelation it was! I determined never to close the door and put myself into solitary confinement again. I won’t do that to my daughter either. Did you know that amongst all the horror, several homeless men (who were sleeping rough near the arena), ran to help? They comforted children, stemmed blood loss and helped get people to safety. What I will say to my child, is always look for the helpers… There is always helpers. We will still attend concerts, but sadly our innocence has gone.

I would rather walk…


She is the type of woman who sweeps over you from the feet up, criticising everything from your shoes to your handbag. She makes your daughter uncomfortable with her relentless grilling, and you feel exhausted by her relentless whining. You are never asked about yourself; how you are and what is happening in your world. You aren’t asked because it doesn’t matter to her. On a gorgeous morning, there you are, minding your business at the bus stop, when she comes along, insisting on sitting near you the whole journey. By the end, you have lost all your energy, and feel discombobulated. Its probably not a good portent, when you spot a person and inwardly groan.

The other day, I was waiting for a bus home after seeing my doctor. My spine was excruciating; lifting my arm had encouraged metal shards in my spinal canal  to give a sensation like being stabbed between my shoulder blades. It had taken five different medications to get a few hours sleep the night before. I just wanted to sit in silence, and get home.

Suddenly, she appeared, like a vulture. She immediately noticed that I had cut my hair. “What happened to you!” she demanded, pointing at my head. “I felt like a change,” I replied sharply. “Why would you do that? Why?” she hollered. And in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 the critique was coming. Bugger this! In desperation, I hopped on a bus that would take me several blocks from my place, rather than right outside my home. It was worth the extra walk, to get away from her. I am starting to understand that I have rights too. A right to peace of mind, quiet, and to be respected. I dont have to be polite and sit there and take such nonsense. All my energy has to be shared with my daughter and I will be damned if I will allow the likes of her to syphon it away with dribble. Not anymore. The look on her face when I suddenly hopped away and onto the bus was priceless.

When you wake up from a fitful sleep, you tend to have around half of the vigour needed to get through a busy day. If you subject yourself to miserable people, the tank gets drained further. Dont do it! Move or walk away from anyone who pulls this toxic stunt!

 

Fair go, Fairfax! 


Fairfax’s decision to cull a quarter of its workforce is unjust, both for the journalists trying to eke out a living, but also in regards to quality control.

The typo happened on the first day of a week-long strike.

What becomes of the artists, actors, musicians, small theatre companies and writers, whom the newspaper’s championed? Australian media would be reduced to salacious copy. We would have more advertisements and endorsements than we have ever seen before, and less quality writing. Andrew Stafford explains it well in his blog piece. To support the workers whose livelihoods are under threat, please shoot an email to the powers that be at Fairfax to express your displeasure.

Rental Crisis


I recently helped a friend move from her lovely townhouse, a task that broke my heart. You see, this single mum and her little girl adored the space in which they lived, and this wasn’t their choice. Despite working hard, this mum simply couldnt afford to keep paying the ambitious rent on the property. To put this into perspective, I am fortunate to rent a spacious four bedroom house with a large front yard and beautiful backyard. It costs the same price as my friend’s small townhouse in the same area. The real estate has had people through the property, and nobody is willing to pay such rent, so the landowner has offered to reduce it. Too late for my friend and her child, who have had to move in with another family, whom they didn’t know prior.

I was privy to the exhaustion, the tears and frustration that came with this move, and it hurt my very soul. Everybody deserves a home; a sanctuary with privacy for their family. Particularly a houseproud single mum and her little girl. This is why I have signed this petition. I am fortunate to have a lovely house, and decent real estate and landowner. Repairs are swiftly taken out, and the rent is reasonable. Many of my friends dont share this experience, and are left wondering whether they will be living in the same place every six months. It is particularly stressful when you have children, who thrive on a sense of stability. Five million Australians rent, and deserve a better deal.

I have always wanted to own my own home, and came close a few times. Infertility treatments and spinal surgeries (and the monumental recoveries), saw to it that the deposit was spent elsewhere. I know many home schooling families who have sacrificed owning a home in order to school their kids. Some are University Professors and others are medical professionals. All deserve to have a decent standard of living. It is time for the government to act to have the rights displayed in the petition rolled out across the board.

Bill’s Meeting with the Dalai Lama


Bill Crews wrote about his profound connection and recent meeting with the Dalai Lama. It is simply one of the most exquisite, transformative pieces of writing I have ever encountered. Grab a cup of tea, sit quietly, and be prepared to be elevated by this blog piece.

Shining Stars


Shining Stars was set up by some local friends, and is living up to its name! For many years, these wonderful people (including nurses), traveled in their spare time to Kings Cross in order to help the homeless, before moving the service locally. The founder of Shining Stars regularly receives donations at her home, and sorting through the clothes and toys, food and other goods is a job in itself! The other day, they posted a heart-rending description of a homeless elderly lady on their Facebook page. The end result was that this dear soul ended up with comforts such as a dressing gown and slippers, toiletries and a walking frame. Somebody even donated a suitcase so she could pack all her treasures to take to the home found for her. Finding household goods for a family fleeing violence, providing meals and outreach services and much more. These Shining Stars do it all. For further information, Shining Stars can be contacted here.

March


We need our unions, now more than ever! They have slowly been stripped of their rights, and it is time to ensure that this ceases. The construction union, the CFMEU, has been denied entry to work sites to ensure that they are safe, and in one instance, a tragedy occurred, when a young father was killed. People’s safety shouldn’t be determined by the edicts of big business.

A handy list of things to do to shake up your world!

Love your scars!

I am guilty of having gone crazy with a pair of scissors, giving my daughter a haircut!

Live like Spongebob!

 

Holding Space


It always means a lot. As humans, we can find it hard to hold space for someone and just listen. We feel uncomfortable with the depth of emotion being displayed. We may be triggered by our own stuff, or excited as we think of something in reply to the subject matter. We may be socially awkward, and jump in mid-sentence. To acknowledge the other person is a gift we give not only to them, but ourselves. We learn more, we feel more and we open ourselves to learning more about that precious person. We are in the moment, not projecting to what we are going to say in reply. Time stops, and if you are lucky, the birds may sing and the sun may break through the clouds. If you see someone looking lost or at a loose end, invite them to walk with you or sit at your table. Some of my dearest friendships have been founded by doing just that. Zip it and listen. You will gain so much!

Be Vulnerable


I learnt an important lesson this past week. Life had become extraordinarily busy; happily due to wondrous events, and I was delighted to share photos and details with my friends. I was less enthusiastic to share information about my foot. How I would be curled up in a ball due to the pain, both before and after surgery. I wouldn’t let my daughter see the wound, nor anyone else. It was a large crater. It was all well and good to pronounce that I was in the city, going about business, and share pictures of places and smiles and happiness. I found it hard to articulate how my foot felt at the end of the day, and the challenge of getting bandages off which were fused to the wound. How every step was excruciating.

On Sunday, I took a picture of the site, to see how it was healing. Despite all internal objections, I shared the pic. A friend and her husband have a podiatry practice, and she made contact. They organized for me to go to the local high-risk foot clinic, and an appointment was made for that very day! Everything from my circulation to neuropathy was tested. The podiatrist made me a cushioned insole to place in my shoe, did some work on my foot, dressed it appropriately and gave me supplies to ensure it healed well. With glucose intolerance and a nerve deficit, I was at greater risk for infections, etc.

I went from a stoic woman who felt she had to do everything alone, to allowing a group of people to help me, and it was humbling. It was hard to share the photo of my foot, as it felt I was making myself vulnerable. I felt silly; people didn’t want nor need to see a gruesome image! However, friends assume you are doing well, when all they see are happy snaps. By allowing them to see another side to my life, I was able to receive the help  I desperately needed. A big lesson was learned! Being vulnerable is a risky business, but so is stubbornly trying to do it all on your own. There are wonderful people in this world, willing to help. All you need do is ask.

Have a Haircut!


I was identified with having long blonde hair. It was white when I was little, and always showed the state of my health. Anaesthetics, IVF, pregnancy and menopause had seen it become lacklustre, brittle and unhealthy. It had become cumbersome; a cloak in which I hid. Laying in bed, recovering from my foot surgery, I had an epiphany. Why not have it all cut off? I hobbled into my friend’s salon, and asked her to remove the tendrils. As I watched the thick golden locks drop to the floor, I felt nothing but relief. I believe that hair contains memories, which cling to our shoulders like a polluted waterfall, if given enough trauma. I felt light, as though the weight of a boulder had been released from my head, once it was snipped off. It was quite extraordinary, how free I felt. The pixie cut I was gifted brought back a positivity and impishness I had been missing. If you have been thinking of getting your hair cut, my advice is to go ahead and do it! It is too easy to go hide behind your hair, covering your face and concealing your visage. Show the world who you are!

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