No Plan B

Some of our children don’t see themselves as taking a trip of a lifetime when they leave Australia to travel the first, second or even the third time. We are wild and brave humans, fearless and bold when it comes to getting out of here and staying away for long periods. At some juncture, without even noticing it, overnight, some may become a fully paid up citizen of the universe, believing in this awakening,  their interests and aspirations are better served on the global stage,  deciding these are unlikely to be met in the land of their birth.

I’ve watched many of my friends become these people and simultaneously witnessed the incredible sadness in their parents, as the reality of this permanent  loss dawns on them fully and finally.  

Yes, I know we must be happy and supportive of our children’s vision, delight in their courage and strength of character to feel capable of leaving, as many do not have that self-determination or resilience to do so. But in truth, selfishly, we must show this feigned delight for them and benevolence towards them like all stoic impossibly generous selfless parents do, in the face of excruciating pain. We paste on smiling facades  in order to conceal our tremendous grief and intractable sense of loss.

For those parents in this predicament, it is very likely that when these children leave,  which is entirely their choice to do so, Australia and hence we, become where they were born or who bore them,  no longer where they live or refer to as home. Letting go of our babies to see them flourish as fully fledged independent humans is hard enough at times but to come to terms with the reality they may NEVER return, never live near us as we and they age, have their own families and live out our parallel adult lives which we may be so lucky to share, preferring only to visit when the old farts get a bit old and might cark it at any moment is desperately sad.

When we will always love them so much, regardless of their age or ours and can barely manage the thought of going a week or two without seeing them, appearing all needy and desperate if we ever make the stupid mistake to ask when we might, knowing we may simply become the mandatory parental unit fly by once or twice a year, is a very bitter pill to swallow indeed.

Alive but choosing not to live long term near you is possibly the greatest loss of them all.

At least in death there is no Plan B. 

Non humans who make up the BK menagerie

I found my self chortling heartily yesterday discovering my dear friends new kitty is to be called Chanel. All I could see was Chenille of the House de Beautay from the old Aussie comedy Fast Forward. Chenille was the seriously unattractive Magda Szubanski character who looks like she’s had her lips sutured into a dogs freckle. That …..or she had a turd scraped under her nose. Both work for me. But the new kitty to replace the old kitty who ended her life floating in the family pool is adorable and a much welcomed new addition to the recently retrenched house husband in he home.
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Pet names in general but in families especially say so much about the way those odd persons, we bore or cobbled together to share a dwelling with think across so many levels. Hearing of the recent acquisition of a new furry bambino, I started recalling all the weird and wonderful pet names I have had and more recently, conversations giving rise to these names with my family.

As a kid I had a Siamese cat called ‘Tweeny’ named after the maid from the play the Admirable Crichton, a Black cat whose name escapes me, 4 boxers called ‘Liza’, ‘Issy’, ‘Ziggy’ and the last our fist male called ‘Denzel Washington’. Before Denzel was ‘Nicki’, after Denzel was ‘Milo’,  ‘Arnold Schwarzenegger’ and ‘Daisy May’. I had a baby Roo, with no name 2 Rainbow Lorikeets,  ‘Bruce’ the Pink and Grey Galah who we later discovered was female. 2 sheep called ‘Lambington’ and ‘Zoe’, 2 horses called ‘Ginge’ and ‘Fagin’, assorted Guinea Pigs and mice thank god no reptiles.

After we sadly had to re-home ‘Denzel Washington’, at the sad realization he was altogether too aggressive and dominant to be around frail old granno or 2 babies, we decided to rescue the next one. So with a reasonable gap between for mourning, we finally did the rounds of various animal rescue services hoping to find ‘the one’

One such day, after touring and patting assorted loveable woofers, as we drove home discussing the one we liked, we tossed around possible suitably Bucklified goggie names. The suggestions swirled around for some time but the two winners were contributions by 2 boys. Elder says “I think we should name him Jesus”. “Because I would love to call it at the oval and watch the faces of the others at the park as I do”.  A tiny voice pipes up from the very back suggesting he’d like to call it cheese as that was his favorite food. We laughed for many minutes but the last laugh was on us, few days later we picked the adoptee and named him Milo.

Stress is a perplexing evil beast.

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There are times when it is simply overwhelming, debilitating and paralysing in every way, leaving one bewildered, a directionless statue, or a jiggling puddle of jelly, unable to progress in any direction toward a resolution or knowing how to back away from the stressor.

At other times we can observe the issue as if it were a slowly rotating mirrored disco orb suspended in front of us, allowing a view from all angles, allowing data collection to understand its quantum, towards determining a way to its solution. Sometimes the answer comes but at others we can only watch and come to understand its origins. 

In my case, as a solution seeker, as soon as I have decided the best way out or over it and get busy towards fixing it, I immediately feel my spirits lift and an inner calm envelopes me, as in the doing I feel I’m back in charge. 

I’ve just had a fairly shocking week with stressors coming at me like huge rolling sets of waves envied by surfers during or right after an enormous storm. For me however, just as I bobbed up after the first monster crashed overhead still gasping for air, I was horrified to see another massive beast approaching, only allowing a few quick breaths in between. By weeks end I was totally finished. I’d had 3 solid dumping shockers but I was actually feeling ok. A sort of calm had descended on me, I was quite astonished by this. Two issues I responded to in writing and I was very happy with how I cobbled my thoughts together in into an orderly coherent unemotional response. I tried very hard to respond to the last appropriately and on balance I guess I may have done all right there too. But emotionally it took its toll so by late last night, man, I was tired boss, dog-tired as John Coffey would say. Running away for a hide out to get a big sleep would have soothed my exhausted brain. I didn’t actually fix any of them, however my increasingly developed coping arsenal allowed me to invoke various strategies, to if nothing else, offer me some peace.

I sat with 3 wonderful women today and we all gave each other turns to debrief and unpack our respective shit as only women can do. I feel for men as they don’t allow or seek this from each other, which is why some become so needy of their women, as that may truly be the only place they can get that deep conversational intimacy. Women enjoy this most of their lives, its part of our DNA. And If we are really lucky we have several teams of these women to lean on. 

All of us had a wheel barrow load of shit to share: for some it was fresh, some is was old and some was perfectly ripe and ready to toss out to become a fertile pasture into which we could let a new positive something else grow. Until the bastard barrow filled up again with a new fresh steaming hot turd. 

I watched and listened to us all, with different backgrounds, different relationships, different lives, work histories and coping skills and found myself considering how remarkable it is we all manage the hands we are dealt at all. Some people crumble under he slightest blip on their radar. While others get so much more hardship than one could ever say they reasonably deserve, subjected to overwhelming adversity, all the while maintaining the most enviable and remarkable attitudes. I’m not one of those sadly. I sometimes loose it and can be heard whinging or seen howling at the moon, snarling and bellowing ferociously at my long-suffering friends and family, then retreating into my cave a while, to lick my metaphorical wounds while I plan my next move. This week I coped better than usual under more stress than I can remember and I wondered why?

The conclusion I reached was that over time, I’ve developed some calluses and skills in this area and my Geiger counter for various problems has become far more sensitive to the importance of each stressor than I could have hoped even 10 years ago. I’ve realised I can’t fix them or manage them or give them away, I can only rate them, respond where I can, mitigate the fall out if at all possible and if they are not literally going to unleash hell, put them to the side in a dark corner to smoulder till the fire leaves them. I guess it’s what maturity offers, progressive pragmatic problem placation of the highest order. 

My mother was an extraordinarily gifted and funny woman, loved by many, practical honest and wise beyond belief and one of the most perpetually useful wisdoms she ever bestowed on me regarding this problem, before she died was as follows:

“If everyone wrote their problem on a small piece of paper, folded it up tossed it into a huge pile and took someone else’s in its place, most of us would be scrambling to get ours back.”

For in as much as ours may indeed be seemingly insurmountable to us, it is the devil we know and we may have learned to walk with it. Other people may in fact be carrying a far more heinous burden. So regardless of how desperate we think ours is, we have a familiarity with this and we can manage it for better or worse.

I guess the lesson learned was that there are many stressors that in a week or a month may not even be a memory, so it pays to remember they really don’t always all warrant all of our undivided attentions while we have other much more rewarding pressing matters to attend to and focus on. Perhaps I’m finally learning how to do this….. just a bit more letting go.

Dental Diaries & Melting Moments

Driving home from the dentist, I’ve been flipping between complete hilarity at my current anaesthetised plight while wrestling with my own political correctness at the root of some of my amusement. Not that I’ve ever let ‘that’ get in the way of a bloody good laugh thus far it must be said!!

I have a few random jobs to do this arvo but am loathe to leave the house just yet to attempt any of them, as not only do I fear I look like a recent stroke victim but my tongue doesn’t seem to work at all. Laughing, completely busting for a cuppa, I’m remembering a hilarious  scene from the movie ‘10’ when Dudley Moore’s character, so intent on locating this magnificent woman, subjects himself to all manner of pain, going to see the woman’s father, a dentist who performs a raft of questionable procedures on him. Afterwards, he heads to a coffee shop and makes an absolute arse of himself, flirting, trying to look cool and drooling his coffee like a discombobulated toddler, with a totally anaesthetised face and mouth.

I laughed and laughed remembering this image deciding it wont be me, then had a moment of feeling awful for some, for whom this is a reality and wondered why it is we laugh so much at others misfortune, failures foibles, inadequacies or injury from slapstick like fall down stupidity. Language and speech seems to be a hot topic as I recalled in ‘Bruce Almighty’ when Bruce puts a whammy on a colleague he’s competing with, who then cannot string a coherent sentence together, recalling just how funny this is to watch. And still, most of us show tremendous empathy towards those afflicted with a working brain and a totally non compliant mouth trying valiantly to communicate regardless of how this affliction began.

Is it that we feel better delighting in the failures of others, are we comforted, encouraged and relieved seeing others stumble because it means when we fall down we are not alone? Does it take the sting out of dire and terrible situations softening them with humour? is it all of them at times?

So having reverted to uncontrollable giggles again, I found myself compiling a list of must dos after the dentist, detailing all the brilliant things one could achieve with their face in this disembodied state:

▲ Brilliant day for a lip tattoo I thought, you could lie back and not feel a bloody thing for the whole session.

▲ My facial sensation is so dramatically geographically compromised I can’t feel a damn thing… down my neck, up to my temple and all the way back into my scalp past my left ear…. hell I could have my ear and eyebrow pierced, and a hair transplant too and would know the difference! What an opportunity.

▲ Women of a certain age, with increasing testosterone levels, after the oestrogen starts to fall, can experience changes they may not have expected. One may enjoy the delights of an increased desire for sex but also the disaster of the appearance dark facial hair. Unquestionably we should double book electrolysis or laser treatment immediately after the dentist….. what a brilliant plan!

She said it would wear off in an hour…. Im up to 2 plus and still feel one could Hannibal Lecter my face straight off without issue.

Bit peckish and very thirsty but until I can poke out my tongue and it does not look like a “magic round the corner periscope” toy with me involuntarily licking my right cheek and ear, I think I can hold out a little longer. Dont fancy a change of clothes much this afternoon.

Enough ~ The best version of self?

It’s and interesting conundrum being a woman….

Its more often not about how much you love me but how much I may love myself. What successes and free passes will I give me, not what you say you think of me but what I truly believe and  feel I am or can be.

Herein lies the problem, as so many women, judged on so many levels simply struggle to find the me that they are happy with. Often they question, is this their own me or your version of me? And which can I accept?

Its always about being right, ok, competent - I’m too loud, too meek, too sexy, too tame, too outspoken, too much of a doormat, too fat - rarely if ever too thin and millions of dollars are made every year propagating some of these theories as entire industries now depend on these manufactured insecurities which have made us literally so fucked up about ‘being enough’.

Even in these enlightened times, its still so much about taking what is rightfully ours by merit and experience vs what we are offered and even more pathetically, will often simply take without argument or fanfare.

It the enough quotient …. is this really mine, did I earn it, am I ok?

And sadly because of the power we often have in so many respects, which we dont see or feel but others do, many endeavour to keep us in check under the thumb, under control, as if we really unleashed all the potential most of us have, who knows what we could do or achieve? And how much of a threat is that?

Massive, sadly its often not about what we can do for the good of all but the loss others may experience if we rose up to take ownership of all that we could.

Im left wondering when we as a gender, for the most part constrained by this self and externally imposed sufficiency plague will ever get over ourselves! 

   

Corn Pads

In recent weeks I used 3 of these for the very first time and was delighted to discover how completely brilliant they are. Who knew you could live this long before something so ordinary was tried for the first time with such a great result.                                  image

Admittedly, the first few days after they were removed my toes did look like they’d been burned by a malevolent giant playing in the sun with a magnifying glass, however now they have settled, those nasty painful calloused pads of skin are gone and my quite attractive feet again look like those of a foot model.

Well …..you cant see them and beauty is all in the eye of the beholder, so that would be me! 

But the result has been a little more of a loss than a gain as they are tender and sore and need TLC to recover from the denuding of this protective layer they had developed after many years of serious and committed ill  fitting shoe shopping of some stealth and application.

As I was contemplating my tender tootsies, now covered with paw paw ointment and bandaids to protect them, I realised not only did they look awful in their recovery but we too build up life callouses from the battles we fight and the resulting wins or loses over some years living this life. In most cases, these callouses are in fact a protective shield developed to prevent further injury as we confront challenging life issues, some brand new cause blisters and pain while we make new callouses and those we’ve traversed many times before lean on those big thick old ones. The callouses become our coping skills, drawn upon to provide us what we need in difficult or challenging times. That is why one past a certain age is wise, they have done more than many and they have many more experiential callouses to lean on.

But there are sadly times when all the experience and all the hard fought callouses or shields we think we have in place are just not enough to resist some onslaughts which confront us. These callouses simply melt away in an instant and all that protection vanishes as if they were nothing but a spoon full of icing sugar with a drop of water added, in an instant….. there is nothing.

Then, even age and experience and wisdom and great big elephant foot sized callouses is not enough. Its in those moments I lament my lack of faith. At those times people with strong faith can have a great big whine without becoming a serial complainer, alienating close friends or unburdening their lot to well wishers who may get compassion fatigue.

They simply give it all away to someone else, like a counselling session only free. You may not immediately get the answer if ever but you may just arrive at your own solutions in the whinging.

Do I have the answer yet? Not a bloody chance but Im working on it! And no doubt the corn pads will return at some point, not far down the road. Perhaps Ill just start buying comfy shoes? Nah probably not. image