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

 

 

 

What is the dress code? (For an over 40, mother of 2 adult children, who doesn’t want to look like a cat loving spinster or a 17 year old pop singer?)

Cameron Diaz and I are the same age!

Random I know but it will make sense soon.

I want you to picture her and what she wears as a 43 year old woman.

I would describe her style as casual chic.

Jeans, a white shirt or a cute dress. Some nice ballet flats or a heeled boot.

Easy right?

Disclaimer – I am not delusional; although we are the same age we look absolutely nothing alike, except maybe the blonde hair.

**Cameron on the left (just in case!)

Here is my dilemma.

As the mother of 2 daughters in their late teens/early twenties,

“What do I wear?”

I don’t want to look like mutton dressed as lamb but I don’t want to look like I’m ready for the bowls club either.

Apart from being too young for this look, I can never keep white clothes clean.

When the girls and I go shopping we sometimes find that we  like the same clothes.

But who gets precedence?

Who gets to keep the item we both like?

I’ve figured out the way it works in our house.  

They tell me it looks good on me so I buy it and then I never see it because they “borrow” it for 3 years.

They’ve been bloody playing me!

I was so happy for them to tell me I looked fashionable that I didn’t even care.

I was so desperate for compliments from the young and trendy (does anyone say trendy anymore) that I let them convince me  I looked good in clothes just so they could steal them.

To their credit they will also let me know when I look completely hideous and shouldn’t be allowed out of the house.

I recently tried on a top which I thought looked O.K. Didn’t love it but thought I’d see how it looked on.

The top sat a little weird around the bust area but put it down to the old bra I was wearing.

You know the one.  

It’s the bra you can wear when you really want to be in your pyjamas but visitors pop in at the last minute so you feel the need to have a bra and lipstick on.

It doesn’t do any heavy lifting, it just meets a social rule.

As I emerged from the change room my suspicions were confirmed with comments like,

“Oh hey,  great art smock Lisa.”

“Nice mono-boob Lisa.”

Luckily these comments were from the girls and not random strangers.

Top was taken off  and never spoken of again.

I still have the bra though! It’s just too comfortable to get rid of.

I often pray to Cameron (she has become my spiritual guide even though she is still very much alive and has no idea) for advice on choosing clothes.

Can I still show cleavage? And if so how much?

I figure a glimpse of belly button makes it too much.

My legs are good so can I just wear short skirts all the time?  How short is too short?

I do know that if hair removal is required then the skirt is too short.  Der!

Is it still ok to wear my top off the shoulder with my bra strap (good bra) showing? Or will I look like a flashdance tragic?

I can remove my bra without taking my top off. Thanks lady from Flashdance. #lifeskills

Off the shoulder is so in right now, but am I too old?

Or is the fact that I have shoulders like a male triathlete a turn off?

As seen in photo above, I’ve given it a whirl and I bloody love it. I have had pyjamas made “off the shoulder” to maximise on this flattering style.

I tried on a pair of jeans recently and I thought to myself;

“These jeans are so comfortable, I could sit for hours in them without them cutting into my waist”.

What the actual fuck!

Am I 70?

When was the last time I sat for hours?

As I looked at myself in the changeroom mirror I was equal parts shocked and surprised.

These jeans had magical powers but it was an evil form of black magic.

They had taken my arse and magically repositioned it behind my knees.

I am fully aware that I am not blessed with a Kimmy K style backside but I have enough roundness to distinguish my arse from my hamstrings and lower back.

Not in these jeans.

Comfortable denim is a trap to be avoided at all costs.

It will lull you into a false sense of security. You will imagine that this comfort makes you look relaxed and easygoing.

It doesn’t.

It makes you look arse-less and frumpy.

The stretch in the denim will change the shape of the garment within the first ten minutes of wearing it and your body shape will disappear along with it.

I once, unknowingly, made the massive error of wearing junners (jeans & runners).

When the girls saw me, thankfully according to them, before I left the house, they said “No Deal”.

Hanging a boob out and leaving the house would’ve received less of a reaction than wearing Junners.

Why are a pair of straight leg, dark denim jeans paired with some Asics not the same as a pair of 3/4 skinny jeans with a 1950’s inspired white sneaker?

Is this not technically junners?

Who makes the rules and how do I find out about them?

For now I will trust my own instincts and wear what I feel reasonably attractive in and I will be on the lookout for a sign from Cameron.

But trust me if I could, I would still be rocking the shit out of a mid drift top and a pencil skirt.

Lisa XX

For those playing along at home-

Skunners – skirt and runners   Lunners – leggings and runners

Drunners – dress and runners  Shunners – shorts and runners

 

My first bird is leaving the nest

I was reading back through my journal that I have been keeping since I had my children and it is entries like the one below that make me glad I have written consistently over the years.

Today has been a day for reflection.

My first born is moving out. I know as parents we joke about this day and the party we will have when it happens but in reality that’s not quite how it has felt today.

I am beyond proud and excited for her and I know she will be more than ok, but she will be more than ok without me.

I find in our busy lives we have little time for reflection.  With my journal I can reflect at any time and have a fantastic reference book of my own life’s experiences.

I look forward to being able to share these stories with my girls and then with their children. I know I would’ve loved a book filled with stories about me as I was growing up.

I fear that had I not kept this journal my memory would not have served me as well as I would have liked.  This is highlighted for me each week when I forget half of what I need at the supermarket.

09.11.2000

Today Morgan lost her first tooth.

It has been loose for about a week and I can’t believe it lasted as long as it did. 

The tooth fairy has just taken it from the fairy box she had placed it in and replaced it with two dollars. 

Two dollars seems so trivial an amount to place in the box for her tooth.

How can you put a price on the love and growing up and joy we have given and received from her since that tooth first came at the age of 3 months.

The sleepless nights as it formed in her gums, the red cheeks and constant drooling as it decided when to appear and the gorgeous grin with the dot of white when it finally came through.

How has one small piece enamel really made me think about my time mothering and about how fast this precious time is going?

It has been such a big month for Morgan (Not to mention the emotional turmoil for me).

She is into the 3rd week of her orientation program for primary school and she absolutely loves it.  Just to see my first-born going off to school like a little girl ready to face the world makes me want to wrap her in cotton wool like her tooth and put her away for safe keeping.

She is a full head taller than the other kids and she is just so smart that I am proud and sad at the same time.

I am so proud of how she handles situations and how she reacts with the other kids.  I wonder some days if I was that sure of myself at that age, then I remember how painfully shy I was and I am glad of her confidence.

 I try to be supportive of her and yet I just want to protect her forever from the world and anyone who would dare do the wrong thing by her.  If she is at all as worried as me about going she hides it well. 

She is excited by all she is learning as she should be, yet she asked me why the other kids didn’t all talk to her.  I asked her had she made the effort to talk to them and she just looked at me and said no but they should talk to me.

Paige is really going to miss her big sister when she is at school and I think Morgan will miss her too.  She feels so grown up being able to tell Paige all about school. 

I am looking forward though to having some one on one time with Paige and giving her a chance to develop her own personality with out her big sister monitoring her every move.  She is so funny at the moment and we are having some interesting outfit choices as she wants to dress herself more often.

Nana is convinced she has no nice clothes and that everything in her wardrobe is mismatched, but that is just the way she likes it.  She told her kinder teacher she likes to dress like the rainbow.  Who wouldn’t?

I never for one minute thought that being a mother could fill me with so many conflicting emotions, I am so joyously proud and in love with my girls but, like a mother in the jungle should any predator try to get near my young and hurt them, I will tear them limb from limb.

Everything I wrote in 2000 still resonates with me today.

Do yourself a massive favor and keep a journal or just note things down over the years. You will never regret having these memories to look back on.

Go and take on the world my gorgeous girl.

Lisa XX

 

Endings and beginnings

Today feels like the end something and it’s not the weekend.

It feels like the end of a passage of time or the end of a process.

This ending had brought with it a blue kind of day that just felt a little flat and lacking in energy.

I’m not sad, merely tuning into the ebb and flow that I am feeling around me.

What I am focussing on, is that after each ending comes a new beginning.

I am excited to see what this new beginning brings with it.

I will be aware of any changes and on the lookout for any new opportunities.

As I end this day with sleep I am grateful for the chance to reflect, the chance to be present and the opportunity to see what the future brings.

Lisa X

 

 

 

Strap yourself in…….

Shopping a couple of weeks ago I came across a dress I loved instantly.

It was midnight blue (fitting in perfectly with my grey, black, blue palette).

It had a V-ish neck line (a must for the bigger busted women amongst us, according to my daughter).

It had beautiful lace sleeves. Slightly see through but enough to disguise any bingo wing action.

And best of all it had some delicate sparkles. Gorgeous little beads hand sewn onto the dress.

LOVE.

The only feature of the dress that gave me reason for concern was the low back. It didn’t look too low and I convinced myself I could wear a low backed bra with it.

Why is this a worry you ask?

If, like me, you have been blessed (cursed) with big (sagging over time) boobs then you will know that the thought of going braless is enough to cause severe hives and heart palpitations.

There are so few options for the bigger busted, apart from always choose an outfit you can wear a bra with. See, I know this and yet I still allowed myself to part with my hard earned cash (actually won on the pokies, at the casino during a girl’s weekend away) and leave the store with the dress.

Now, I am a believer in patterns and lessons.

Life throws experiences and challenges at us until we learn the lesson that was intended for this particular situation. If there is a pattern of behavior (usually negative) that emerges, it is a great opportunity to sit back and reflect on what might need addressing in your life. Some people see these patterns after a couple of failed relationships,  choosing toxic friends or through addiction.

Not me. My lesson is all around the fact that my boobs need to be secured by something other than tape!

Allow me to talk you through it.

It was 1996. My husband and I had a formal event to attend and I needed an outfit. My lovely sister in law offered to lend me a top that I had admired on her many times. I was about 8 months post baby and I was so happy that it actually fit, I was wearing it no matter what. I decided to team this top with a full length ball skirt (now known as a maxi skirt).

90s-dress
The above picture shows the cut of the top I was to borrow.

During my days of being at home with a young baby I had started watching a lady called Oprah. You may have heard of her. Inspirational!

For all the hundreds of segments Oprah had on her show over many, many years, I remembered the segment on how to strap your boobs down using tape if it was required. The stylist was demonstrating how to get that “I’m wearing a bra” look, if you couldn’t actually wear a bra. It was imprinted on my memory. I didn’t actually remember what tape she had used but……….all tape’s the same right?

Wrong!

Can I just mention here that I get a rash from leaving a band aid on too long.

On the day of the event I was getting ready to strap my boobs down and look glamorous. I couldn’t find any tape in the house. None. No strapping tape from my footballer husband, no masking tape, only a thin sticky tape left over from present wrapping at Christmas. Hollywood tape wasn’t even a thing in 1996.

I headed to the laundry because everything ends up in the laundry. I was in luck, silver duct tape. I knew it was strong because I had seen people fix things with it, perfect for holding my boobs in place all night.

duct-tape

Let me just say that I taped the absolute shit out of my boobs. Those suckers were not moving. I would even be able to dance with abandon.

I was dressed, made-up and ready to leave the house, taking all the compliments being showered upon me by my gorgeous husband. On the way to the function I ask “Is it hot in here?” Husband says it’s not but turns the aircon on for me anyway.

Feeling warmer still as we arrive at the venue.

Seated, chatting, entrée served, drinking water like I’ve just made it out of the desert. Temperature rising, sweat forming, starting to feel a slight itch on my chest. Ignoring all signs, I keep chatting. It gets too much and I head for the bathroom. Oh god!

The rash has come out of my top and is making its way up my neck. I lift my arm and it’s under there too. I head into a cubicle to get a better look. Taking off the top I see that the rash is now heading down my stomach. I panic. I start to remove the tape, but it is really strong and is taking skin along with it. It’s burning.

I head out of the cubicle and I am in a full panic now. I have my top off, I am bent over the basin and have the cold water running while I splash it over my chest. Women are walking in to use the bathroom and they look scared. One woman bravely approaches me and asks if she can help.

I pant, “Table 31, get Scott, NOW!” I am deranged.

Skipping a few (many) humiliating details, I can tell you we ended up in emergency with me being given an antihistamine injection and some help removing the tape. Who knew olive oil would come in so handy? I had a rash for about a week and the skin was sensitive for months.

So where is the pattern?

Fast forward to 2016, yep, that’s this year. Remember the low backed, blue number from earlier?

Well I decided to tape my boobs down because a low backed bra was not an option. Had I learnt anything from my previous taping experience? Of course. I used a hypo-allergenic tape that I had leftover from strapping my ankles for a walk I did.

tapebra
This is what it should’ve looked like….

So different to duct tape right? Well, yes it is different in that it’s not as strong. I used approximately 6.5 meters of tape to create a mono-boob. There was no breast definition at all and my boobs looked like badly made pork buns.

pork-buns
Boobs that look like this!

There was no dancing and the tape started to peel throughout the night. Pleased to report that I did make it through the entire function. I had some mild itching towards the end but no injections needed.

Lessons learnt……

  • your boobs are not perky enough to go braless or to tape them down
  • you are allergic to most tapes and using them will lead to pain
  • cover your nipples, that skin is delicate and hurts like a MOFO when being ripped off
  • choose outfits/dresses that allow for a bra to be worn
  • JUST WEAR A BLOODY BRA!

 

big-bra
Will this fit under a dress??

 

 

So life will send you lessons you just need to be willing to see the pattern and address the behavior. I am confident (today) that I will never tape my boobs again but if they invent a really strong, hypo-allergenic tape, I can’t be responsible for my behavior.

Lisa X

 

Images courtesy of –

http://www.affairlingerie.com/

http://www.palacechinese.com.au/?action=YumChaGallery

http://alldaychic.com/ways-to-tape-your-breasts-for-a-strapless-look/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-stengel/criminal

https://www.buzzfeed.com/leonoraepstein/things-90s-girls-wore-to-prom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mirror, Mirror on the wall…..

I’ve recently starting doing Pilates.

It’s in a cute little boutique studio with a lovely vibe and really encouraging instructors.

My relaxation and switching off from the world starts as soon as I walk in the door. I love the smell, the lighting and the whole vibe the place puts out. The green colour scheme is so calming and god know we all need a bit of calm in our busy lives.

I have splurged and invested in a new sports bra. One that doesn’t feel like I’m wearing a 1920’s corset. I’ve done a bit of running in the past and these boobs of mine needed to be strapped down!  It’s also a bit different getting used to wearing no shoes. I love having bare feet so I think we will get along well.

The class starts with stretching and get this, while laying down.

Any activity that allows me to lay down, encourages deep breathing and helps me stretch away the day is for me.

After 4 or 5 sessions I felt less sore and more strong. I’m not in the class to get skinny, although if it happens by accident I will be ok with it, I am in the class to feel strong. I need to build some muscle to stop my bingo wings and bum both reaching much lower levels on my body than they should.

I’m learning to find my spine’s neutral position, how to isolate my upper and lower abs. This requires me actually finding my abs. Luckily for me you don’t need to be able to see the abs to isolate them.

So as you can probably tell I’m really enjoying Pilates and feel stronger for it.

Here is my one issue.

Mirrors.

The whole wall of the studio is covered in mirrors. As someone who avoids mirrors unless absolutely necessary, it’s like torture for me.

I have this thing in my head where I can see myself doing the moves and I look bloody good. I’m graceful, fluid and elegant.

pilates-reformer-classes
This is how I look in my head!

The mirrors ruin this picture for me and I become sweaty, clunky and a bit uncoordinated.

cfe7352a7d8cbc0d9f901c370d928551.jpg
Reality….

I have the same issue with mirrors in nightclubs or anywhere I like to dance. Again my mind’s picture is much more flattering to me than that mirrored reality and quite frankly I like my delusional head space.

So I will keep going to Pilates despite the mirrors and I will need to muster a new level of self acceptance –

  • My boobs get in the way of some of the arm exercises
  • I have some back fat
  • My stomach is flat when I lie down or stand up really straight and no where in between
  • My legs are skinny and I sometimes look like a lolly pop

The positives, (there are always positives)-

  • I’m still smiling at the end of class
  • I haven’t fallen down the stairs when my legs are shaking after class
  • I’ve met some lovely people
  • My daughter is doing this with me (I’m also competing with her in my head and I sometimes do heavier springs just to have a little victory)

See you when I have Michelle Obama arms!

Lisa X

 

 

 

 

The hidden stories

Last night I took my Mum out for her delayed Mother’s day gift.

We went and saw a show by an Australian performer named Todd McKenny (google him, he is fantastic). He was performing the songs of the legendary Peter Allen.

Peter Allen had always been a favourite of my mum’s. We grew up listening to his albums. We knew on cleaning day that we would put it on, loud, while we cleaned the entire house. Mum would dance with the vacuum cleaner and sing at the top of her lungs.

As the cleaning came to an end we would all meet in the lounge room to belt out, “I still call Australia home”, as the house sparkled around us.

Mum had met Peter Allen when he was touring Australia and he stayed in a motel that she and dad were managing in Tasmania. She saw his concert numerous times and says he was a lovely man. It’s her dinner party story.

I decided to get tickets for mum because I knew she would love it and I though it would be  a bit of fun.

What I didn’t know at the time of purchase was that this night out would prove to be an enlightening evening for me.

I had a profound moment of seeing my mother as a woman, a young mother and someone who, just maybe had things in her life that still haunted her.

I picked mum up early in the afternoon and we made our way into the city. We walked the alley ways and window shopped around the city. No time limits or deadlines. Just walking and chatting. Luxury in our busy lives.

We had an early dinner at the casino where the show was being held. Mum felt a bit naughty having a drink in the bar and then having a flutter of the pokie machines. All before 6pm!

The show began and Todd was really entertaining. At times I forgot that he was not in fact Peter Allen. We were having a wonderful time and mum was singing up a storm.

The first half was coming to a close, when the house lights dropped and a slow song started. I didn’t know what the song was at first, but mum did.

I heard a sound that I’ve never heard before. It was low pitched . It seemed to escape her without her even noticing.

It sounded a little like pain.

As I watched out the corner of my eye I saw her wipe away a tear.

She looked far away and not aware of me beside her.

Although I was sitting next to my sixty something mother, I saw a young women who was remembering experiences that made her sad and had caused her pain at some stage in her life.

The song was released in 1976.

My mum would’ve been a young mother, with a three and four year old. Living the nomadic life of a navy wife, with a husband who was absent for long periods of time.

I connect with her fear, her uncertainty, her struggle to be strong when, maybe she didn’t want to. I connect because I have experienced this too.

I imagine the hopes and dreams she may have had for herself but had never seen them come to fruition.

What did she want to be when she grew up?

How did she imagine her life being when she got older?

I don’t know because I’ve never asked. I’ve spoken about it with my girlfriends, co-workers and strangers. But I’ve never asked my mum.

I realised in that moment that I, like my children, had assumed that my mum’s life began with motherhood.

She became a mum and all that had happened before no longer existed.

Her heartbreaks no longer hurt, her dreams no longer mattered and her image of herself needed to change. How self centred we children are.

My mum is not one to dwell on regrets and her glass is always half full, but don’t we all have those moments? Those sliding door situations, that make us wonder, what if?

I have always respected my mum, the wonderful job she did raising us and the adoring Nana she is. Now I truly connect with her woman to woman.

We have outgrown the parent/child relationship and we are now two women who have similar life experiences and we say connected because we want to.

I never asked her what was it about the song that hit a nerve, because that’s her story. If she wants to share I’m ready to listen. I took her hand and squeezed it. I’m here.

The song ended, she took a deep breath, turned to me and smiled.

I felt honoured to receive that smile, because on some level it was like she was putting her memories away and focussing on her reality. She didn’t look disappointed that her reality was me.

See below if you would like to have a listen to a beautiful song.

Lisa X