Say what you mean.

As we charge head first, at high-speed towards the silliest of seasons, I plead with you all to please read between the lines a little bit this Christmas.

Families, old wounds, alcohol and food comas can be a disastrous mix, resulting in severely crossed lines. Add to that, families that don’t see each other very often and a rug that is filled to overflowing, with the remnants of Christmas past, that have been swept underneath, and you have got the perfect storm.

What I’m asking (begging) you to do this year is to stop and think “What do they really mean?” before you respond in a less than positive way.

For example, you turn up at your mum’s place and you are 20 minutes late. You cop the “Why are you late, everyone’s here, we are waiting on you”. You instantly get your back up, have 3 quick drinks (10.30am) and spend the rest of the day being just a little bit pissed off.

But what if……

When you got the door 20 mins late and your mum had a go at you, you stopped and you thought, “What does she really mean?”

Of course you are actually 20 mins late so she means that. But why is she reacting so badly to something that happens all the time?

What she really means is “I miss you, I’m so happy you’re here and when you are late I worry that you are not as looking forward to seeing me as I am to seeing you”.

If we stop and think before we react our reactions would be very different. You would probably have given your mum a hug, apologised for being late and had a really good day.

Or there is the grandmother who wants to cook her desert that no-one really likes. Let her cook the dessert. What it really means is-

“My mum used to make this for me at Christmas. My childhood memories are fading and this is my way of connecting with her and them.”

Have a spoonful of the desert!

It’s the present your Aunt buys you that would suit a 15 year old. You cringe every year and then throw it away when you get home. What it really means is-

“This present represents the last time I got you something that made you smile and I felt like we really connected.”

Say a gracious thank you and then donate the gift to charity, so your Aunt can make someone smile again.

I have learnt over the years that when people react negatively at first it’s usually fear based. I’ve had to stop myself from doing it with my own kids as they have grown up.

The first time my daughter came home and told me she was travelling overseas on her own, my first reaction was to try to talk her out of it, until she could find someone to travel with. But that was my own fear coming to the surface. I was proud of myself for sharing in her excitement instead and letting her know how brave I thought she was.

As a parent it is sometimes a hard thing to do, to catch yourself before you give a reaction that may bring conversation to a standstill. You want so badly to protect and yet you have to let go.

It’s bloody tough.

My eldest daughter recently moved out of home for the first time. I’ve struggled with gaining a balance between not letting her know how much I will miss her because I don’t want to dampen her experience or expressing all of the emotions at once.

I’m torn between attaching myself to her leg to stop her from walking out the door and packing up her stuff with joy as I envisage my new meditation space.

Being so conflicted made it hard to approach things in a calm and non emotional way so I went with –

“Come over and clean out your old room, it’s a pig stye and I’m sick of this stuff lying around.”

Of course what I really meant was –

“I really need to move forward and embrace the new situation. But when your room looks like you are coming home at any minute it makes me feel like I’m in limbo. Let’s clean out the space together so we can process the changes that are happening.”

She will wake up this Christmas morning in her new place, without us. We are happy for her, but still a bit sad for ourselves.

I will however not be having a go at her for not being at home on Christmas morning. Instead I am taking my own advice (for once) and letting her know that I am proud of her for being independent, I will miss her bed hair and sleepy eyes around the Christmas tree in the morning and she is always welcome to watch Love Actually and drink Bailey’s on Christmas eve.

I’m not perfect and I certainly don’t get it right all of the time but I am gaining a better understanding of the feelings you get when you are no longer the most important part of someone’s life. There is a delicate balancing act going on at all times between your logic and your emotions.

I will be a more understanding towards other people in my life, who may not have the words or be comfortable enough to say them.

Let’s make the effort at this crazy time of the year to say what we mean, in a thoughtful and sensitive way. Easy!!

Lisa XX

 

 

 

Summer is coming!

Summer is on the way people.

It’s happening, the countdown is on, there is no more avoiding it;

YOU ARE GOING TO BE WEARING BATHERS SOON!

Worse than that, or better, I am heading to Hawaii at the end of the week and need to expose myself.

If like me you are completely freaked out at the thought of uncovering more flesh than a maxi skirt, skivvy combo reveals, then reading on is not going to make you feel much better. But keep reading.

As I sit here writing I am contemplating applying for some long service leave. It is going to take pretty much my full time, undivided attention to get my body ready for Summer.

I have been doing well over Winter with my exercise routine, I know I feel much stronger and a few kilos/inches have moved on. A mixture of Pilates and getting sweaty with Sam* have done their job.

*you may also know this as 28 by Sam Wood. I like to call say “I did Sam this morning” just to see who really listens to me at home. The answer is no-one.

Since I have sorted the exercise component what could possibly be bothering me I hear you ask.

Well, I’m going to throw this at you and I want you to google it.

Side Vag.

Yep, you read it correctly.

Side Vag.

Last Summer was apparently all about the side boob. You know that side view of the breast, visible with some tops with big arm holes. I’m sure they have technical names but you get the picture.

My girls could wear this big arm hole singlets and the side boob looks perky and a little bit sexy. My side boob happens when I lay down and the boob falls of the side of my chest and lands under my arm.

Same, same but different.

It is apparently also a great way to show off any side boob tattoos that you might have. Celebrities were also loving the side boob in evening gowns.

Can you do side boob and cleavage? Or is that just being pretty much topless?

Sorry, got sidetracked, back to side vag.

If anyone remembers the Olivia Newton-John, let’s get physical film clip (a personal favorite, god I loved O.N.J.) you would remember the outfits that were worn for aerobics. Those rally high cut leotards with the shiny lycra tights on underneath in a multitude of neon and pastel colors. Awesome right?

Well, brace yourselves, you know those leotards? They are now bathers and they’re skimpier than anything we thought was high cut in the 80’s and they are not wearing the tights underneath.

Oh no, because that would cover the side vag.

It’s that section of skin between the crease in the groin and where the bathers start.

So basically if you imagine a really skinny piece of material that covers the “business” and then makes its way straight up towards your belly button but then flares out at the last minute to head over your hips.

My poor husband will be having kittens when this trend hits our family camping holiday!

What happened to the bloody boy leg short?

The low cut, hipster, bikini, with a ruffle to cover any mishaps?

My question to the people who make the fashion rules is-

Is it ok for your side vag to have a fringe or a comb over?

Because even with my long service leave used up, a personal laser machine pointed at me while I sleep and a daily bath in hair removal cream, I fear I may still never be ready to reveal my side vag to the world.

The trends that are being invented by the young and hairless are discriminatory to those of us that have the pubic hair situation of an 80-year-old European man!

It is going to be ok.

I have the CFA out supervising the back burn, but now I need to start thinking about tanning.

I’m exhausted before my holiday even begins.

Get to work, Summer is coming for you.

Lisa X

 

The value of not being busy.

I was lucky enough last week to travel overseas with my husband while he worked.

My daily routine played out like that of a biggest loser contestant.

I woke, ate breakfast, worked out, showered, rested, ate, swam, had a nap then let the afternoon stretch out to dinner.

Of course the contestants on the show probably don’t pepper their day with G&T’s or restaurant food, but you get the idea.

My routine was deliciously devoid of responsibility, thinking about others and being haunted from day break by that question……”What’s for dinner?”

I don’t know about you but that question has me close to losing mind every time it’s asked. How the hell do I know? It’s 7am, eat your frigging toast and be quiet. OK…. and breathe.

I must admit that it took me the first 2 days to lose the guilt.

The guilt of the busy.

The guilt of not filling every moment of the day doing things predominately for other people.

The guilt of associating relaxing and re-energising with being lazy.

Reminding myself that it was ok to sit and breath. Letting the thoughts just pass on by and not having to focus on one in particular.

To blink and realise that you just spent 10 minutes staring at a flower and you have no recollection of the time or thoughts that passed through your mind.

Have you ever had to ask yourself the question, “What do I like to do?”

It was equal parts liberating and terrifying. I caught myself narrating my actions and  judging myself on the usefulness and productivity level of what I was choosing to do.

The key to me relaxing I have discovered is to shut sown the negative mental voice. That voice that judges, makes you doubt and tells you that what you’re doing isn’t good enough.

Take that voice and tell it to shut the f*&k up!

Once that voice was drowned out with positive affirmations, mediation chants and gratitude my holiday improved dramatically.

By positive affirmations I mean-

“Yes Lisa have that beer while you sit near the pool. It’s really hot and you will sweat it out anyway.”

“You deserve another massage”.

“You will never see these people again so don’t worry about the strays on your bikini line.”

My mediation chant ran along the lines of-

“I am a calm and spiritual being. I am relaxed and content.”

This chant was closely followed by,

“A mango daiquiri is 80% fruit, fruit is good for you, you are healthy.”

Gratitude became easier as I sat near the pool, sipping my beverage of choice-

“I am grateful that those noisy kids are not mine.”

“I am grateful for the time I have alone to order my thoughts, breath deeply and reflect.”

“I am grateful for the secret lining in my bathers that keeps all my lady business in position and looking sleek.”

By about 3pm in the afternoon a gorgeous man would join me at the pool and buy me a drink. He was lovely. We would talk, laugh and share details of our day. He asked me every night to have dinner with him. I accepted of course.

How lucky was I? Time to ponder life, a daily workout and the attention of a gorgeous man. Life is good.

 

I am back at work now, back to reality but my holiday has done me wonders. I am more aware of where I am spending my energy. Choices will be made that won’t make everyone happy but they will be right for me.

The negative internal dialogue is still being shut down and over ridden with kind, positive and encouraging thoughts.

The one thing that still manages to make me flip my shit is the dinner question at breakfast! But I’m working on it.

Lisa X

New traditions

Today is my wonderful husbands birthday. We have now celebrated 24 of his birthdays together. The morning was a little different to the 23 preceding it and we have both avoided talking about why.

Presents were bought and wrapped, cards written on, a special one from the dog because they are obsessed with each other. The clever dog signed it lots of licks and fights, which sounds kind of kinky. It was written in hand writing very similar to my own. I have to say this card got the most attention. Must have been the cute picture on the front that the narcissistic dog chose.

Coffee in bed was delivered while presents were unwrapped. All standard birthday practices. The watch he had hinted for was of course in the box, purchased at 4.45pm on the afternoon before. Eighteen reminders had been ignored as they beeped from my phone over the 2 weeks leading up to the day.

So far all is going along as it should on the birthday morning.

This is where things change.

Eldest child was home and had a window of about 10 mins to wish her Dad a happy birthday before rushing to get ready and leaving for work.

Youngest child was not home. Stayed over at her boyfriends place because it was the last chance they had to see each other before the exams kick in. Ah, young love. I had sent a reminder text about Dad’s birthday and she assured me she was onto it.

Now don’t get me wrong here, neither of the girl’s has done anything wrong, all they are doing is becoming the independent young women we have been raising for the last few years. They are making a life for themselves and we couldn’t be prouder.

I think the topic we have avoided talking about is, what is going to happen in a few more years when it is just us on the morning of these celebrations?

We have developed these family traditions, the singing loudly, everyone in our bed for presents and telling their favourite memory of the special person. It’s actually one of my favourite parts of the day. Forcing your children to tell nice stories about you and selling it as a memory and communication exercise. Gold!

We now need to develop traditions for just the two of us.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 10.01.51 pm
(Photo credit: Expose Photography)

This was something I had never even thought about and I’ve thought about a lot of things. Well maybe thought isn’t the right word, I have over analysed, under the guise of being pro active about the changes that would be happening in our relationship as the kids became more independent. But these simple yet important traditions we have as a family escaped my attention. I never pictured a birthday, Mother’s day or Christmas where we would wake up to it being the two of us and no extras in the house.

So now the rebuilding phase starts. We will start to consider options for things we would like to keep the same or might like to change for these occasions. I personally will keep singing loudly, expecting coffee in bed and Scott will be forced to keep delivering his favourite “Lisa moments”.

I’m also looking forward to the new traditions we will develop as a couple and the new experiences we can have with our grown up children. I have some very clear mind pictures of beautiful lunches in amazing locations, all of us chatting and heads thrown back with laughter as we hold our champagne glasses. We are all wearing white and it looks like we are at a Summer house in the Hamptons. I may have watched one too many Diane Keaton movies. Day dreams do not have to be realistic.

So as we roll into Christmas I make a pledge to move forward, embrace the new and to honour each new tradition as it develops.

Lisa xx