Ageing Disgracefully

Hair

Remember these?

troll
Felicity having a good hair day

Well, this was me as I hit my 21st year (times two) of life. 

When the grey’s popped up in my mouse brown hair, I thought blond highlights would be a good idea to blend them seamlessly away.  Beginning with just a little blond, I found myself a year later unsuspectingly sporting Marilyn Monroe bleached everything. Consequently, this turned what was supposed to be a low maintenance do, into hair of Kim Kardashian-mega-maintenance proportions, as I tried to keep on top of dark roots rearing their ugly heads every 0.00003 seconds. And, because hair goes limp along with everything else as you age, I had also been blow drying my golden locks – to near extinction. 

A kind hairdressery friend told me I was no longer allowed to blow dry and that dark was less damaging than Marilyn-blond. So, dark I go.  But now I have the old grey’s back partying front and centre forehead. So I decided to whack in a quick home box dye to touch them up between hair dresser visits. There is a problem in the translation though: Box-speak for dark brown is black. Coupled with my dead straight (and no-blow-dry-limp) hair, someone asked me which part of Asia I was from the other day.

Skin

In my 20’s I was a beauty editor. This meant CUPBOARDS and GARAGES and PUBLIC HALLS full of all the world’s most expensive creams, hair stuff, make ups, fragrances – Chanel, Dior, La Prairie, Guerlain, Yves Saint Laurent, MAC and so on were coming out of my earholes. Now that I have skin those anti-aging creams would love to get their free radical fighting mitts on, I can afford Olay from Coles.

One day I was bemoaning this situation with a friend who’d experienced the same beauty industry gluttony and had gone back to work as a beauty therapist just to keep her supplies going. She recommended Vitamin C powder – once a day, slap it on and voila, 21 again. Then we got interrupted, but that was fine, I had all the essential information.  So home I go via the health food shop to pick up some Vitamin C powder. 

Day 1 I rub the gritty stuff all over my mug. I feel it tingling (ok, well, maybe stinging) and think yippee, it’s working!  Luckily that day I did not need to alight the car to collect my kids so no one else saw me except for them and their thousand questions about the white crumbs falling off my face.

Day 2 and I decide to dissolve the powder in a little water after looking up a recipe online. I smother my face in the syrup and enjoy more tingling of skin. A while later once it’s dried, I put my moisturiser over the top then foundation and go off out into the world. A while later than that, standing amidst about 5000 people, I rub my jawline, and see a shower of what looks like sand. But is in fact vitamin c granules mixed with foundation. 

sandface
“Ah! I look like a sand sculpture!”

Day 3 and I manage to dissolve the powder to nothing, slather it on my skin, do cream, do foundation and check for sandpaper-like appearance of face. There is none.  Pop out into the world amidst about 7000 people, and someone asks: “Why do you look orange?”     

Weightwatchers

What kind of mathematical person thought this idea up? I mean – 4 points for a glass of wine?  It certainly wasn’t a mother.

Yes, I have joined up to shed the kilo’s that hung around after the baby no longer did.  I am absolutely certain now that the weight intends to stay forever like a bad tenant and without some concerted effort in years to come it’s going to be much more and nigh impossible to be rid of. 

So on day two of Watching my Weighters, I went to the gym and proudly (perhaps smugly) added into my WW app the hour of high intensity interval training (yes, it hurts as much as it sounds), setting the intensity level at “High, cannot talk or sing” (because I often sing when I’m in a gym class). I earned 10 points – woohoo!  But wait – I don’t get to eat those 10 points – those 10 points go yippee and bye bye suckeeerrrr disappearing off into the ether with an evil laugh. Now I have to eat no-point-air for the rest of the day.

But there’s more.  Did you know, when you’re doing Weight Watchers and watching those points like you used to watch the sausages cook, that everywhere you go – shops, kindy drop off, afterschool sport, library, public toilets – everywhere, it’s everywhere I’m telling you, someone is cooking bacon?

How’s your ageing disgracefully faring?     

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Staging a #Fexit

I’ve staged a #Fexit.

That’s a Facebook exit.  Unlike the #Brexit I did not consult a whole country. I did however let my ‘friends’ know I was outta there, lest I miss something vital, like a baby, engagement, or self-tan gone hilariously wrong.  I asked them to pick up the good old dog and bone.

And I had several calls from my beautiful friends, God bless ‘em. All to see if I was alright. Staging a #Fexit has become a major concern, you see.

But there was no need for worry.  It was just time to be gone from the old FaceAche (wish I could claim this one but put your hands together for the ultimate wordsburger Ms Mari Budgewoi), for a little hiatus, a wee holiday.

Probably like everyone, there is a lot of my life that is mundane and boring. It is in those moments, whilst cutting the 65000th apple into a creative dodecahedron for lunchboxes, that I’d drop into FaceAche to look at other people’s non-boringness. But after a while I’d stopped seeing what I was scrolling through and was whizzing past a whole load of who knows what.

And it was making me feel far busier than I in fact was.  FaceAche sucks up nearly an hour of the average person’s day according to a recent New York Times article. “That’s more than any other leisure activity surveyed by the Bureau of Labour Statistics, with the exception of watching television programs and movies (an average per day of 2.8 hours). It’s more time than people spend reading (19 minutes); participating in sports or exercise (17 minutes); or social events (four minutes). It’s almost as much time as people spend eating and drinking (1.07 hours).”

More time than reading or exercising?  Well that’s not good.

If it adds up to that much time, don’t I have a better way to spend it?

But, like a smoker, I needed something to fill the space and occupy my hands where my habit once was.

So I looked up: “Is crochet or knitting easier for beginner?” Google told me crochet.

Google was wrong. crochet

Avoiding the temptation to inform the world of this momentous new knowledge on the FaceAche, I decided to defy the internet and try knitting. This is how that one ended up: 

knitting
Guess what you’re getting for Christmas

Much better.

Not only did I learn to knit, but I learnt that it’s reeeeally relaxing. Meditative, creative, and something you can do together – which face in phone is most definitely not. Yes, even the 11 and 9 year old boys wanted to do it and enjoyed it.

On my ##Fexit I found my brain space was a little clearer – which is fantastic for when you’re trying to be a creative type. It’s also fantastic when you have a lot of stuff in your head which needs to be organised or achieved – you do all this organising while you’re knitting and the achieving while you’re on your #Fexit, rather than when your head hits the pillow and should NOT be organising and achieving and keeping you awake.

On my #Fexit I feel like I’m on a holiday, not being connected all the time – you can put your feet up and stare at the view. I look at my children and husband rather than my phone – they look pretty good in fact. I now need to actually speak to my friends to find out exactly how closely their fake tan resembles Dictator Trump’s, or that their child got the Superstar Award this week. And I can hug someone in genuine congratulations in person, instead of clicking a Like button. I can choose what I want to investigate on the internet, not what’s fed to me.

Admittedly I’ve only been on my #Fexit for a couple of weeks. And in all honesty I haven’t staged a full #Fexit, I just took it off my phone. Because I still have a host of lovelies who live in other time zones that I need to check in on, and it would also mean having to ditch my blog page which I can never do!  However, just that little measure has given me back a real life, rather than the FaceAche one I seemed to be living.  I can highly recommend staging a #Fexit.

 

 

 

You’re so lucky

“You’re so lucky”.

Nothing gets up my nose and tweaks on my most sensitive nose hairs more than these words.

What I hear is: “You’re so lucky not to have to work hard; to have always had everything fall in your lap; to have been born with “PERFECT” stamped on the birth certificate.  And, you get to watch Netflix all day – what’s happening in Orange is the New Black by the way?”

To begin with I wouldn’t know, because orange will never be the new black says this former fashion editor (now you’re going to tell me that’s the whole point of the show…)

These are the two jobs I’m holding down at the moment, which I do work hard in: 

sahmwage  will write for food copy

Yes, I can see why you think I’m lucky – the pay is amazing, and the hours, so user friendly… And to top it all off, my work colleague (Master Fourth and Final – sent to this earth to make sure I never feel the sudden urge to fall pregnant again) is compliant and self-servicing at age Terrible Two.  

But I jest. Of course I’m lucky – I see it as blessed. Aren’t you?

We are not a girl I once met, who happened to be born in Kenya and was off to get circumcised at 14 years old.

And you are not Malala Yousafzai; who got the left side of her face blown off by the Taliban at age 14 because she wanted her neighbours and girlfriends to go to school.

We are not expectant parents living in the Golden Triangle, where we know for certain our child will be forced to hold a gun and shoot people by the age of 7 years-old.

We are not living in poverty and forced to sell a child to save her sister.

We are living free of heinous fatal disease, and, hopefully we are not the one left after it’s path of destruction.

We have food to eat. 

We can marry who we want.

We have the ability to keep our kids, and ourselves, safe. 

We have a medical system. Full stop.

The weird thing is, I’m sure if we sat down and talked with these people whom have all the reason not to feel lucky, they would be able to count out their blessings to us.

We live in a society where we can ask questions, get answers and make a change if needs be. 

Quite simply, we have a future with things in it to look forward to. If we choose.

We began lucky. 

The rest we could see as choice.   

My heart, newly born

You put your head on my chest: First your ear, then your squashy little cheek, then your perfect, faintly-haired crown nuzzles down with a sigh, above my heart.  Your head and my chest become one, together, there is no difference between us anymore.

www.henphotography.com.au
http://www.henphotography.com.au

Just like when you were growing inside of me, only better.  Better, because now I can touch you.

You need to know I’m there for you. You need protection because a noise scared you; you need comfort because you’re tired; you need to hear my heart underneath your body which constantly says:  Love.  You.  Love.  You.  Love.  You. 

I need you too, my soft little miracle.  It’s a need that should be called an urge, so strong is my desire to envelope you, consume you, smother you in my love and protect you fiercely and forever. “Eat you up!” as I often whisper in your embrace.

Then you place your little pudgy arm on my chest alongside of your head.  Your fingers look like they’re squeezing out from underneath the pink mound of your hand. A fat hand – til I was blessed with a baby, I never would have thought there was such a thing. I press my finger into it’s velvety beanbag, full with the effort of my whole being that I’ve put into you – all the love, all the carefully chosen food, the age-old marvel of breastmilk, my upmost protection, the lessons of living, the settling into slumber, the softest of soft touch, the tears we’ve cried together, the cuddles and rocking in the dark hours of night, the song “Daisy” which I sang as “Henry” over and over, all the love… Definitely all the love. It’s all in that fat little hand, resting upon my chest.

I feel pulses of your love come out of your palm.  It travels through my densest bones, across my muscles taught to rigidity from carrying you around; through lungs busy with important work – but nothing as important as you.  I can only feel these tiny soft pulses if I am very, very still: but once I do, they come, and come, and grow, and swell, flowing through my body, over my heart, riding the flow of my blood, buzzing from my heart out to my arms up to my scalp and down to the balls of my feet on the ground. I can no longer ignore it; it is suddenly like electricity, pulsing my whole being with a love that at first I cannot believe. It is all consuming, defies my understanding, just a physically overwhelming pulsating inside me. It makes me grit my teeth, my muscles strengthen upon themselves so as not to crush you, but so great is my physical need to give my love a purpose, and outlet, that I just might. 

www.henphotography.com.au
http://www.henphotography.com.au

I look back at your fat little hand, laying there on my chest, your eyes now closed, your heart listening to mine:  Love.  You.  Love.  you.  Love.  You.  Love.  You. 

I never want it to end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Main character: Glorious in leopardprint

I found myself buying all sorts of patterned clothes with the gift vouchers I received for my 41st birthday the other day. And I thought, Is a shell suit coming next?

SONY DSC

“Stand back and look at your characters.” This advice, received in a writing course in the lead up to this birthday, rang in my head.  So, what is my character now that I am well-entrenched in the fabulous forties? I asked my patterned self.

Looking down at my leopard print pants this morning, accompanied by sneakers and a different shade of leopard print top, my friend would call my character “Housos”.

Ready to go shopping
Ready to go shopping

She’s from Melbourne, and I don’t know the exact Sydney translation, but I’m guessing she’s not telling me I’m overcome with all kinds of Megan Gale style.

I think about the day to come… Housework, gym (yes that leopard print is in a shiny Lycra finish – no g-string leotard as yet), and hit the shops to find one of those headbands with a polyester printed big bow, tilted becomingly to the side. Perhaps, in leopard.  My friend says leopard print is a colour on it’s own, so it would all match.

Today, despite looking it, I am not actually feeling so much Megan Gale.  I am feeling like Life Be In It-Norm.  My two-year-old Hurricane makes me tired. My make up is… actually, well, it’s bugger the makeup. I did comb my hair though. A ponytail – I once read a scathing report on the ponytail being the lazy mummy hair do.  It was written from a non-mother I think.  I like to think the swish swoosh of the ponytail is the perfect accompaniment to all my leopard.

But what of my inner character?

I was doing really well with learning how to meditate. But that seems to have been put back on the To Do list, as opposed to the Do list, so, although it is only 6am, my mind is bubbling over with a thousand crazy things (I’m thinking my outfit does not have much of a calming effect either). But I’m avoiding doing them.  The TV is on before school and I know this will cause major M2 Motorway kind of delays in getting out the door, but it’s bringing peace to the house.  Ahh, sweet peace.

I’m feeling really proud of my kids this morning.  Yesterday was the athletics carnival and they shone.  Albeit it in shotput, but we can work on the glamour of that.  They amaze me with their ‘give it a go’ attitude.  I’ll be inspired today by it, and will have a go at…. I’ll have to work out later what it is that I’ll give a go.

So I am at once feeling crazy mindedness and slothful. I’m not sure where this combination will get me.  Hopefully at least up to school to drop the kids off. Perhaps then after that I will truly step into all my Lycra leopard glory and whizz around Warriewood Square to find my jaunty hair bow. Whilst there perhaps I will make a difference to people’s lives – questioning Kmart’s manufacturing ethics, helping the old lady cleaner with her mop and bucket, volunteer at the World Vision pop up shop.  Then I will be completely organised with the grocery shopping, not forgetting one thing, and buying everything organic, gluten free, superfooded-up, and ethically packed. Little Hurricane will be quiet, sit nicely in the trolley without dropping the bacon bits from the Bakers Delight cheese and bacon roll all over the shopping centre, or throwing it like his brother’s shotput at the poor old cleaning lady.  I will feel like I am truly a yummy mummy, gliding through the place, stylish to an L (for Leopard), with a perfect child in tow, due to my perfect mummying. I will buy more fashionable leopard print (Warriewood Square is full of it) that I can wear to my first book signing – it will be still trendy by this stage, because, as we said, leopard print is a colour. I’ll also probably be 102 and you can wear whatever you like at that age. At some point I will bust it out at the gym, and everyone will tell me how fabulous I look for 41 years old.

Sounds… tiring.  Maybe I’ll just come home, slop on the lounge (trying not to slide off – slippery stuff that shiny Lycra) and demolish a coffee and Danish pastry.

#ProjectChristmasFair

I chatted with the Asian owner of our corner store the other day, about what she thought of last week’s ABC story on slavery in Australia. It showed workers underpaid by $30,000 each while the company made $3 million, migrants who couldn’t speak English crammed into sublet flats, women subject to assault, and people operating machinery on an hour’s sleep.

I asked her if she thought they would be ok with it? Perhaps because it’s money they wouldn’t normally be able to earn? Or, maybe because it’s what they’re used to back in their poverty-stricken country’s?  Sounds ridiculous but you never know.

She shook her head, sad and frustrated. “They’re still human beings.”

Slavery makes up an alleged 20% of human trafficking victims.  Estimates say over 21 million children and adults are slaves – close to the entire population of our country.  Nearly 12 million of those are in Asia Pacific – think, Made in China. 

Here in God’s Country, we  now know we are not immune. 

Later in the week, I came across this list, ranking fashion brands in terms of ethics – A+ are the dux of the class, then we carry right on down the drain.

With thanks to http://mattdarvas.com for the list.
With thanks to http://mattdarvas.com

Big fail to two places I regularly shop at – Lowes for my kids school wear. And I’m sitting in a pair of Quiksilver jeans right now.

Oh, R.M Williams, really?  Salt-of-the-earth, great Aussie brand – my foot, you are.

Writing about human trafficking is my mini mission to make a difference; however, my conscience has always whispered quietly in the background, asking me to do more.

But, you know, life is chaotic with four small kids, some work and a book on the go.  “I’ll do it later”.  And then Kmart has four handballs for $4, some Converse replica’s for $10, and a Barbie caravan copy for $20.  “How can it be made so cheaply?” I wonder, then promptly and conveniently forget about it as I look down and feel good in my new trendy shoes.

(I’m hearing a collective “phew” from my friends that Kmart got a B here).

Well, time’s up for me. “They’re still human beings” is my kick in the Quiksilver pants.

Step number one is to be inspired by a project my son did on finding sustainable Christmas gifts. (He gave everyone soccer balls, which were sustainable because they would be played with forever and if they ever didn’t want it anymore they could recycle it back to him).   

I’m going to begin with Christmas gifts too. I will attempt to buy slave labour-free goods for all my family.  This, in my mind’s eye, would lead me to local artisan’s, or small businesses.  I like the thought of buying Australian, and you would hope it would be easy to track the source of raw materials and labour in this case.  I also like the idea of sustainability, so might try and add this in too.

I found this great website: http://www.behindthebarcode.org.au/ which looks at the treatment of the workers behind our fashion and electronics brands. This could be helpful.

Although a very obviously first world problem, as they say, this still feels like a giant mission – how will I resist a 50% off mega Lego box until I know where it’s come from?

Surely it cannot be that hard, thanks to the very helpful and kind heart of Google.

Watch this space.  My Christmas list starts now. I’ll let you know what I find.

Are you coming along on Project Christmas Fair?

 Forced labour is the term used…to denote situations in which…women and men, girls and boys are made to work against their free will, coerced by their recruiter or employer…through violence or threats,…retention of identity papers or threats of denunciation to immigration authorities…

 

 

 

 

I Stand For Mercy

I stand for mercy.  We knew what that meant up til the early hours of this morning:  Forgive them. 

Is that the most heartbreaking thing about this, today?  That forgiveness is not something humankind does?  That we do not look beyond the crime, to see the redemption? 

Or is it the sense of injustice?  That the real perpetrator here, the big boss who employed two boys to bring him his drugs, is currently living his life of luxury on Sydney’s beautiful, safe, foreshores?  

For me, it is the families.  Who have loved them unconditionally and likely forgiven long before redemption was apparent. Whose sense of injustice might lay in the fact that their child has been killed, legally, by leaders of a country.

All I know is that I feel like I should do something.  Take this strong feeling of sadness and make it worth the effort of their lives.  Make sure I don’t forget these feelings and the strength of them.  Make some small part of all this not fade away, but use it to enact good.  To honour the good life these men lived in the end.

But what can I do? 

There is someone I can show mercy for.  Someone who has been difficult to forgive.  I will remember the faces of those men, and it will remind me, that I need to show mercy, because the consequences can be so dire.  I can practice my mercy, feed it, til it grows strong, til it is ingrained and I have no choice but to show it all the time.  We have a higher power of reasoning, which no other animal on this earth has been given: We should try and use it to it’s fullest potential. I will start small.  But I can see now, that showing mercy all the time, brings peace.

I stand…. What do I stand for?  Many things.  Perhaps the point here is that sometimes I need to come out from behind my shelter and stick my neck out. This, I am definitely not good at.  To do this, I need to not worry what people think of me, and this is my greatest downfall.  But I will try. I will remember their faces and know that it is important.  I will try and stand tall and be loud, about things that need justice and kindness. And mercy.

These are my tiny dedications to your lives, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. May you rest in God’s presence now.