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

Naked Epihany

I find Im an all or nothing person. I’m either on the sofa, slothing as one with the remote or in a frenzy of activity. I had a wee frenzy this arvo.

After doggy escapades series 1&2 I decided this afternoon with an oven full of toxic oven cleaner (hence the decision already made for me) I had to leap into cleaning frenzy mode if we had any plans to eat.

Does anyone but me ever do things that make you laugh like hell and yet you do them again and again and still laugh out loud every single time? For me its opening the dishwasher with glasses on and every time the stream rises up into my face fogging my glasses completely so I cant see, I just laugh and laugh…

So after cleaning the oven to within and inch of its life (man I am good) I decided as I was on a roll I may as well dot the bathroom too… I WAS expecting the lodger to do it but thus far the bathroom has stayed mysteriously off the radar so with momentum I decided clearly it was to be moi.

Since my early dog ownership years, I adopted the naked dog wash technique. This entails nuding up to wash the canine as they shake soap and water everywhere or  invariably try to escape. The nude technique ensures you lock yourself into a tardis like shower recess or chain said canine to a tap to ensure containment and minimal clothing contaminants. Over the years with the dogs sadly moved on Ive continued this theme but for washing the bathroom from within the shower and naked. For all the same and practical reasons. I dont spill chemicals and cleaning agents on my self or clothing and end up a sodden drowned rat. Naked means it doesn’t matter where all the shit goes, the bathroom gets clean then and I step out sparkling like a Bam add with a bathroom to match.

I had this epiphany tonight as I scrubbed my second project, naked on my hands and knees, that perhaps Im not like others.. perhaps Im a bit odd and how bloody funny it would  probably look if someone opened the door at that moment and saw me upside down in the shower recess scrubbing the grouting… bare arsed ……. AND with the water on in my glasses. I did laugh again - AND they were all fogged up -  the dishwasher effect. So I lamented the challenges of ageing where Im a seriously good cleaner but if I can see shit who knows what I’ve left behind! My mother in law was an immaculate woman but in her 80s always wore dirty clothes and i realised it was not that she was a grub, she just could see last weeks egg on her shirt! Poor old Granno.

Then realised how many significant issues I manage to sort while doing such menial tasks - gardening is similar - its like getting zen with the domestics. 

Does anyone else have a brain exploding thoughts or a head filled with words or is that just me too? Recently I went West for a weeks holiday with #2 and after far too many wines one night, had a teary blow up with a very dear friend, after trying to express something important which I was failing to do so as well as I would have sober. She accused me of “thinking too much” and suggested I should stop. Jesus….. thinking is up there with breathing so Im not altogether sure how one is meant to achieve that feat while alive.

Solution for me is to write. Spew it out there… This is how I work stuff, out, occasionally entertain myself and if that should suit any poor unsuspecting reader along the way - well good Oh!

Oh and did I mention I cant bear Tony Abbot?