Saturday, June 17, 2017

Football is football and talent is talent. But the mindset of your team makes all the difference. (R Griffin III)

I decided last year that Annie needed to learn to play a team sport. Chrissy and James did, and Reuben would of but we kinda missed the boat. But Annie, I was determined. She's the baby of the family, and really there's no competition for her at home, so I wanted her to have the experience. I played Netball and Softball at school when I was a kid and I loved it. I was a horrible player with zero skills, but I was enthusiastic if that counts. So Annie plays Football. Plus Mr W loves football so that's a bonus because at least someone knows what is going on.

Today we dragged ourselves out of bed in the FREEZING cold and went off to football as we do. I don't know why, maybe she was tired; but today was not Annie's day. At one point she got hit by the ball and she lost the plot. She was not what you might call a contributing member of the team for the rest of the game.

On the way home I had a chat with her. You know, one of those mum chats that start off with "I was very disappointed..."

I try hard not to be one of those parents who say I want you to do this because I say so. So I explained how in a team everyone has to work together for a good outcome. Even if we don't feel like it. It's kind of like our family. We all have to pull together or nobody is winning. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person on my team and the opposition are all going strong.

I never imagined myself as a Football parent standing on the sidelines in the freezing cold. It's a whole new world for me. I want her to have fun, but what I really want is for her to learn to keep going when things are hard, to look out for her teammates and to support them on the field. I want her to learn how a team mate will back you up and how there's always someone cheering on the sideline. I feel like it might take a life time of Saturdays to learn these lessons, but I'm hoping they will stand her in good stead.

Or sometimes like today, maybe we just learn that we have good days and bad days and it's ok we can try again next week.

A lot like life right now.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Learning to be in a relationship

I mentioned recently about a certain Mr W.  He's a good man with a kind heart and I feel super lucky that we have found each other. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would have the chance to get to learn to love again, to find someone else to share life with and to dream of a future with.

As far as I know there is no rule book or guidelines for this kind of journey. You just have to talk to each other (a lot) and listen to each other (a lot). I'm sure that there will be ups and downs but if we communicate with each other, we can start creating a life together.

I did not have a list of what I wanted in a guy, but one of the things that is super important to me, is that our values are similar and that my kids like him (particularly the ones who still live at home). Annie talks quite a bit about these extra people in her life that she didn't expect. I tell her that it is more people to love her. I know that Mr W and Annie do love each other which makes my heart happy. Last weekend when I was sick, they went off to Saturday football together.

However all this goes, we are hoping that we can continue to work on doing life together. The rest of your life turns out to be a long time, and it would be super cool to have someone to do it with, someone to dream of a future with and someone to grow old with. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I made a {wonky} thing

I used to make cards with rubber stamps and embossing powder and hot air guns. I taught hundreds of people to make cards. I had loads of gear and dragged it all about the place teaching people. I met loads and loads of people, some of whom I still run into on a regular basis!

Then I got pregnant with Reuben and after he was born I basically never made another card. I can't tell you why. It just happened and I could not make myself do it again. I resigned myself to the fact I was never going to make cards again and a few years later I gave away all of my gear.

I've been making quilts pretty much since I had Reuben. I began sewing once he started sleeping because I was having trouble with my hips and I couldn't walk much but I didn't want to sit around doing nothing while he was asleep. When he was awake he was 100% a full time job, but that's another story.

Sometimes I have wondered if I would get tired of making quilts, but I can honestly say that I haven't. There is always something to learn and I love love love the process of making them.

Recently I've become aware that the way I make quilts is definitely changing. Instead of sewing them all by machine, I have fallen in love with the process of English Paper Piecing. My life is pretty darn busy these days, single parenting, full time work and commuting have eaten up almost all my spare time. I'm really really loving having a super slow project (or five) just ticking a long that I can pick up and put down. I'm working towards finishing a backlog of machine sewn projects that I have promised people, and then next year I plan on mostly slow sewing. It's exciting learning new skills and finding a new love for something which has served my mental health so well for so long.

Having said all that, there is something satisfying about making a project that just comes together quickly. I've been sick with the Plague (a cold) for over a week now.  I've even had two days off work. It's driving me nuts. Being sick is such a downer. Over the weekend I just wanted to sew something and I took this lovely pile of scraps that my sister gave me and made a simple quilt. Then yesterday I stayed home and in the afternoon I basted and quilted it. Usually when I make a quilt I put lots of planning into the making of it, but every now and again I just have to throw something together fast. It felt good you know.

This thing is wonky as can be, but it is bright and snuggly. It looks ok from about 20 metres!! And Bella who commutes with us every day is thrilled to bits to have it as her car quilt on these cold wintery days. For all my love of slow, there's really something to be said for quick gratification.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to be making quilts for some time to come yet!!

Monday, June 5, 2017

But O, how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes...

I tell the children when they tidy their bedrooms that if you leave a little pile of stuff in the corner, it will become the seed of the next mess!! You know how it is, next thing before you know it the whole room is a mess. For me I have this problem with feeling spiteful. It's one of those things that every time that I think I've nailed it, that little seed grows again. 

It's 25 years today since I married David. Currently he's holidaying in Europe with his new wife. He keeps sending Annie pictures of the wonderful time they are having. (See above)

Gosh it's so hard not to be bitter as I drag the recalcitrant teen out of bed, send him to the shower and harass him off to school. It's hard to be glad for them as I try and balance the budget. It's just hard you know.

I wish I could say that I  no longer feel any resentment towards David, but that would be a lie. I mean most of the time, I'm fine. But then like today, when I realised what the date was, I just felt angry you know. There he is swanning around Europe and I'm doing all the parenting and stuff. 

I really don't want to be that person who is bitter about the past. I don't want to think badly about how things turned out. Because honestly, my life has turned out amazing. I have a fantastic job, my kids are doing great, I have a lovely house, good friends and a man who loves me. I just really want to get rid of that nagging spot of bitterness that lingers in the corner, like the dirty socks linger in my kid's bedrooms. I don't want it to grow and sour my interactions with others. 

I wish there was a magic switch because I'd be switching that stuff off. Right Now! But there isn't. I think there is just a process of letting it go, of healthy self talk and the occasional drinking episode with friends. 

Here's to the moving on! 
Here's to letting go of the past! 
Here's to the future!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

this week from the keeping it real files.....

Most of the time I hold all my roles together. I do my work properly at work and I manage my housework, looking after the children and that entails. And then sometimes it feels like I just drop a few balls and then slip on them as they roll about the floor.

We have been mad busy at work, which is good because we get paid yay! I think I've mainly managed to do my job properly without dropping the ball too much. Well apart from that one week where I could not think of what to write on home pages and even gave a designer copy for a site with literally nothing on the front page (sorry Sarah).

At home you can kind of fake it for so long and then the wheels truly fall off. In the interests of keeping it real and because it isn't always going to be like this; and I want to remember that, I thought I'd share a glimpse of what happened.

Last night I finally agreed to help Reuben who wanted to shift a desk out of his room and a sofa in. It was a much much much harder job than I imagined, and at one point i thought I might spend the rest of my life holding up one end of the sofa.! We finally managed it but then when we went to cook dinner we had run out of gas. Fail.

So our friend who has been staying while she studies went to the fish and chip shop for a scoop of chips to go with the casserole and the eftpos card declined. Fail.

And the casserole tasted awful. I told the children food is fuel and they had to eat it. Fail.

Because we had moved out some furniture, it meant the extent of the mess in the teen's room was exposed. There's probably 10 loads of laundry and a couple of large bags of rubbish. There were also seven dinner plates. Fail.

Today is not much better. We got home late because I worked late.
We finished tidying the room but the rest of the house is a disaster. 
And there is still no gas of course.
And no groceries.
So we ate fish and chips again.

But we did get some teabags and so I can have a cup of hot tea.
And I'm just going to hop into bed and get an early night.

Tomorrow should be better. Single parenting is hard people.
Parenting teens is hard. 

Tomorrow is Friday and its a three day weekend. 
It's all going to be better I promise.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

a change in relationship status

My Facebook friends noticed that I recently changed my relationship status. I figured to write about this because, well it's what I do. So first up. 

Yay for Tinder. Yes almost a year ago I swiped right or left or whatever it is, and so did he. Amazing isn't it? Such a simple thing, like two ships passing in the night and flashing their lights at each other. Since then we have been slowly getting to know each other. It takes time but slow is good.

I'll call him Mr W. He's from Liverpool.
He's been in New Zealand for a long time. He's a Carpenter/Joiner.
He cooks a mean lasagna, likes to swim and loves music.
Has two grown up boys and likes watching old UK tv comedies
(he introduced Annie to Fawlty Towers)

There's a lot of frogs before you find a prince on Tinder. Sheesh. But he had a nice photo and I'd messaged him a bit. I messaged my folks to tell them I was going to meet him because I just had a feeling that Mr W. was going to be someone important. Turns out he is, very important.

So has it all been sunshine and roses? No. Hell no. Life is messy and complicated. Life is hard and life throws challenges at you like you would not believe. 

One of the things I really struggle with, is to see myself as someone worth loving. There's voices in my head that remind me that I'm unloveable, but most of the time I tell them to shut up. It's a constant struggle you know, between believing I'm worth it and knowing I'm not. I'm working on it. We are all flawed human beings you know. None of us are perfect, we are all works in progress.

So yeah, it's been hard. I think that's the hardest thing second time round, to trust someone else enough to let them get to know you. When you open yourself to someone else it gives them the possibility to really see you as you are. Of course the more that you let someone in, the more chance there is of it ending in hurt. But you can't live like that. Well I can't.

So I choose to be vulnerable, I choose to be open, I choose to trust. What have I got to lose?

I don't know what the future holds. None of us do. But I'm really enjoying learning to share it with someone kind, dependable and stable. Someone who makes me want to do better, someone who takes the time to listen. It's a good thing. 

And through it all he offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I'm right or wrong
And down the waterfall
Wherever it may take me
I know that life won't break me...

Friday, May 5, 2017

Walking in the Light that we have {ten things about what it's like to grow up in a cult}

The other night I met with some friends and I mentioned that I grew up in a cult as part of the discussion and of course my friends wanted to know more. It was hard to find the words in the moment. But I have been thinking what it means to me to grow up like that and how it affects how I view life. I don't know if I really want to write about this, but oh well, here's a few random thoughts about growing up in a Christian cult.

  1. I often say I had a sanitised childhood. This is because we didn't have tv, go to the movies, listen to music or read books. There is a whole lot of cultural references that I don't get and I'll never catch up on that one.
  2. We didn't socialise. We went to church, we went home. We did chores, went to school etc. Sometimes I'm socially awkward, maybe it's because of my upbringing but maybe it is just who I am anyhow! 
  3. It was really really really lonely. Loneliness that felt like it would kill you. To be so alone and so isolated. To have no one to share life with, no one to discuss life with. I can't even begin to explain how awful that was. That's one of the worse things I think about my upbringing.
  4. We wore funny clothes. This is the easiest thing to talk about. We didn't wear trousers or t-shirts and we were always dressed modestly. We didn't cut our hair. 
  5. We wore dark colours. I have a memory of being in the car with my mum and looking at all the wattle trees flowering in the spring. I said to her, look God must like yellow because it is everywhere. She said, but He didn't want us to wear it. (It's ok mum I would have looked awful in yellow anyhow xox)
  6. We had a pretty shitty education. The girls were going to be wives and mothers apparently and so we did lots of clothing and textiles and home economics. The worst part about that education for me was that I was always being told that I wasn't good enough, not smart enough. We had no benchmark so I believed it. Turns out I do have brains but it took years to learn that. This is why education is such a precious gift to me.
  7. There was a lot of punishment. Because of the nature of cults, there is a strong focus on power and control. There are a lot of ridiculous rules and consequences if you break them. These days I hate being punished. I particularly can't cope if someone shuts me out, doesn't talk to me or similar. To be honest I'll do almost anything to stop that from happening. It is probably the biggest thing that I still deal with because it means I'm a complete pushover when it comes to conflict.
  8. People left without warning. They were excommunicated and we were never allowed to speak to them again. It was awful and terrifying. 
  9. I was never good enough. That's the point of a cult. To make sure that you feel that way. To this day, it is super easy for me to feel like that. Self doubt is probably the second lasting legacy that I have.
  10. When you grow up in a cult, you grow up with a definite knowledge of who is in charge (and it isn't you). Once you come out of that, it is really really hard to trust others. This is because you trusted these people and then found they were fallible. 

We used to hear the leaders talk about people who "walked in the light that they had". What they meant is that those people didn't have the knowledge that we supposedly did. But with the gift of hindsight, I can see that we also were walking in the light that we had. We were taught the rules over and over again. They became part of who we were. I don't blame my parents or my younger self. The nature of a cult is that they get you when you are young and/or vulnerable and a Christian cult has the added draw card of a charismatic ideology. My parents were both young and vulnerable with a strong desire to find faith. They were just in the right place at the right time to become part of something which appeared welcoming and inclusive.

It took me a long long time to find my way to being a whole person after I grew up. I'd like to think that my past doesn't define me anymore. It shaped me for sure. I think it made me a strong, resilient person. I learned compassion. I learned to endure the hard things and I learned to hold on in those times. Everybody has a story. It's not good or bad, it is just what it is. This is my story. It is my past but not my future. I have hope in a future for myself and for my family. It's going to be good.