Colour me worried

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When I was working nearly full time, I used to dread the school holidays. How on earth would I keep up my lightening pace? Who would look after the kids? How would I get everything done?

The question I never asked myself was, why don’t I take a break and slow down with them?

So for a long time, the school holidays were a pain in the arse. Two weeks of inconvenience.

Then a little while back, I had the best school holidays. I relished in not having to sprint from the school gates, to the netball court, to the swimming pool, to the supermarket, to homework, to cooking dinner. I stayed in my pyjamas until the afternoon and showered at school pick up time. I didn’t do play dates or art classes or sleep overs or anything. I just stopped to be with the kids. It was fabulous.

I began to enjoy school holidays once more. Although, as hard as I try, I really struggle with the mess that comes with it. Go with the flow, enjoy the chaos, people say. Honestly, it does my fucking head in.

Right now, half way through the holidays, I am exhausted and quite frankly, over it. The five year old princess had chicken pox but because I told her she had the ‘non-itchy’ version (there is no such thing) and thanks to her immunisation, it has been a mild case. We have just had to stay inside a lot more than we would like but thankfully the loom band craze has kept us occupied.

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But one of my children is troubling me. Really worrying me. She is sad and struggling with some big head issues at the moment. The cabin fever of the past week has only exacerbated the tension. She is angry, I am exhausted and it is all a really shitty, tough situation. Plus I am hormonal which just adds more poo to the shit.

I think by nature I am a worrier. It is obvious with my anxiety but I always see what might happen and struggle to live in the moment. Sometimes I can, and I do it well. I love it and relish in it. But it is not something that comes naturally to me.

What comes naturally is worrying about things. If this happens, then that might happen. It is a complete head fuck. Like your brain has a word disco going on in it and you’re stuck on the chair on the side whilst all the girls are dancing. Although the disco feels more like a rave with its laser beam, doof doof, shape chucking messiness. A bad trip that you didn’t mean to take.

Whilst I bumble around in my messy head, the school holidays seem doubly hard. More mess, more negotiation, more snack producing, more demanding, more whinging, more exhaustion and more of just, everything. Instead of less stress, I feel much more stress. And with more stress, for me, comes more worry.

I am hoping that by writing through my worries, I will be able to manage them better. So here goes.

I am worried that she will take a long time to clear her head and that the damage that she has done will define her future.

I am worried that my one fanged monkey will never learn to speak properly. His word wall will remain a colourful distraction as his tongue works out how to pronounce nearly everything.

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I am worried that I parent one child too positively and one child too negatively. I think I parent them differently and I don’t know how to change this. My wall goes up when my defences get low and my worries get too much.

I am worried that my stoopid hormonal issues (that are driving me bat shit crazy) will never be resolved. That I am resigned to giant swollen boobs for 14 days each cycle and the side effect that this has on my mood and stress levels. And my worry levels, I guess.

I am worried that I will never let go of the worry. I have all the tools at my disposal but like some weird security blanket I hold on to them and wallow for a while.

I am sure that some of my worries will dissipate once my hormones rebalance (which will happen this week). And I am sure that I can keep working hard on dealing with the moment, not the mess. As for the exhaustion, a few early nights should help that.

But I wonder if I can ever let go of the worry. I am not sure if I can as think I need some of them. I need to be able to worry. My worries compel me to action. So perhaps worrying is a good thing?

But with that need comes a responsibility to manage your worries. And perhaps this is what is missing right now. A lack of management.

My bumbling head of words is a little clearer from writing this post but there is a lot more letter sorting to be done before some of these worries disappear. I do hope my head empties soon.

My disco rave of words in my head are coloured grey. I am moody + not quite right. But I think there is also a little green in there – clarity + understanding.

Green + grey is still a bit messy in my mind. But my worries will help me understand.

GREY-DOT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colour me blessedly injured

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I will preface this post by declaring that is not a pity party.

Yes, I am really, really, REALLY pissed off but I am not broken.

Can I do anything about it? Yes.

Can I deal with it? Yes.

Am I blessed to be going through this? Apparently. Although it feels hard to see that amongst the pain.

Two years ago, when I hit the wall, I was running to manage anxiety and lose weight. I was proud of my post baby body being able to run again.

It should be noted that I am not a good runner and I wet my pants during the Mother’s Day Classic. The Baker made light of it saying, “It’s the one event you can piss yourself at. A lot of these women would have done the same.” No one else looked like they had pissed themselves but I was thankful for the love anyway.

Two weeks later I stopped running thanks to a cuboid bone bruise and shin splints. A lot of painful osteopathy, an MRI and a shit load of tears later, I accepted that running was off my menu.

I went on to learn that I could stay fit and healthy without running. For a little while, I genuinely didn’t believe that I could. I could also manage anxiety without the endorphin rush of pounding the pavement. And I could maintain my weight by being careful with my diet. I guess I counted my blessings and worked out what I COULD do.

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At the time I was also recovering from adrenal fatigue. Running was probably the worst exercise that I could do. It exhausted me every time and I couldn’t recover in between runs because my panic was so intense and my adrenaline was off the scale. It was a road to disaster which I hurtled down.

Pilates became, and still is, my drug of choice. I have taken yoga off my list because of an awesomely weird lump in my wrist called a ganglion that prevents me from putting too much weight or pressure on my hands. I still can’t do triceps dips or pushups, which is not neccesarily a bad thing!

But wait, there’s more. After my foot and my shins and my wrist, I dragged one fanged Fred out of the bath and sprained my sacro-iliac joint. It is lucky that I studied Science at university with a major in biochemistry and anatomy otherwise I wouldn’t have a fucking clue where half my injuries were. This latest one meant that I sprained the joint between my pelvis and my spine. And yes, it is as painful as it sounds.

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Then, a few weeks ago I just did fucking nothing to my shoulder and now my rotator cuff is angry. It won’t let me lift my arm above my shoulder, nor hang washing on the line, or wipe a bench, or the worst of all, style my hair. FFS. The pain keeps me awake at night and I am really fucking angry about it.

I feel miffed because in the past few years I am the fittest I have been in a decade and I have had the most injuries ever. I am angry because I won’t accept that this is part of ageing otherwise I’ll be in a full body cast by the time I am 60. I am pissed because I feel a bit ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’.

But I am blessed. I am blessed that an injury is telling my body to slow down. That it is okay to move at a slower pace. That my type A personality doesn’t have to be a million miles an hour nor does it have to be the best at everything it tries to do. That perhaps, at the end of the day, running is not for me. And because I will not take an anti-inflammatory, I will need patience as I recover. And someone to hang out my washing.

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So today, I am counting my blessings. And exercising patience like I have never had to before. So here they are:

1. I am blessed that my ceiling is beautiful so when I do lie down to stretch out my chest, I have something lovely to look at.

2. I am blessed that I can run after the two youngest monkeys when they want to hurtle down the street (hooray).

3. I am blessed that there are four little monkeys in my house who are full of health and wonder.

4. I am blessed that a friend’s quince tree ended on my doorstep.

5. I am blessed because I understand my body well. I understand its ups and downs and I allow it to take its own time to recover and heal.

6. I am blessed because I have moved my goal posts from running to Pilates and it has helped heal my body and my adrenal system.

7. I am blessed because Pilates makes me happier than any running endorphin could.

8. I am blessed because I see green all around me – clarity + understanding.

Can you count your blessings too?

Colour me Shitsville

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I reckon that there are some days when you can click into gear and everything just works perfectly. Sometimes these days can turn into weeks and you can roll on along for quite some time without a care in the world. Then you come to a grinding halt and stop dead in your tracks at Shitsville. Population: you. FFS.

I’ve been in Shitsville for a week or so. And you know what I have learnt during my visit to Shitsville? If you want to stay there, you can keep right on doing so. No one is making you stay. Except yourself.

A little while back I wrote a post about people being drains or radiators. Then during my epically amazing CTC session with Amy from The Holistic Ingredient she said to me that I was wrong. WTF was my first thought but then Amy explained that people are only drains or radiators if you allow them to be. If you allow someone to drain you then, yes, you will be drained. My plan of attack is to let a drain rant or be toxic or whatever the fuck they need to be to continue to be a drain, consider their behaviour and LET IT GO. Ain’t no place in my little rainbow world for no drains.

So during my visit to Shitsville, I kind of wallowed there for a while. I started writing postcards of angst and misery. “Woe me” it would have read on the front, next to a picture of a crappy beach in a dark storm with dead fish on the shore. Who the fuck wants to visit this place? Me apparently. My head felt like Niall’s from One Direction after my one fanged monkey attacked him with a texta.

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There were a few things that set me on my path to Shitsville. The first threw me for a few days and I realised that in my anxiety, I don’t deal with situations that make me feel uncomfortable. I have built a protective wall so that I can just bumble along nicely and not ever confront anything tricky. It is a lovely place to be. The fish swim in this place. But it is not the real world. I haven’t worked out how to cope with this going forward but I am aware of it.

So instead, I spent the next few days edgy, angry and super tired. On Monday I took my six year old out on her bike whilst I went for a run. The eldest was with us too and she is a competent rider. The next eldest, not so much. The Baker forgot to give me the memo that she can’t brake so within 12 seconds of us leaving home, I am sprinting after her to yank her off the seat whilst her bike went hurtling into a wall.

But instead of sitting down and cuddling the bejesus out of this little terrified monkey, I told her to get back on her bike. Then when she wouldn’t, I berated her and wait for it, threw her bike across the footpath. What a fucking disaster of a rage. She’s bawling, I’m raging and we’re all on a public street. Even if I did this in the privacy of my own home it doesn’t excuse my behaviour. What a crappy, shitty, fucked up thing to do as a parent.

So I wallowed in Shitsville a bit more and attracted a whole lot of other shit like a fucking fly. Invitation politics, netball politics, birthday politics and any other fucking politics that landed in my shitty Shitsville shit. It appears that when you are acting shit, you attract shit. Like a toxic drain. So I packed my bags and got the hell outta that town. I should be living life like this little five year old monkey. I mean, tights AND sandals? You betcha.

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So here I finally am. Happy, calm and resilient once more.

I still have a guilt bridge to get over with my six year old. I don’t like guilt at all, but this week I have allowed it in. It is possibly the reason why Shitsville has seemed like a good place to be.

But now that I am happy again, I will attract happiness. I will click back into gear and radiate happy.

Hello yellow – happiness + optimism. It is nice to see you again.

Colour me grateful

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They say when life throws you lemons then make yourself a gin and tonic. I like this thought a lot, not the least because I like gin a lot. But more that in shitty, grey days there is something beautiful on the other side. I guess that is called a rainbow.

For me though it was about straight up clarity. Fuck me, there was so much satisfaction in having a good mopey, sweary whingefest the other day. I don’t think I have ever really properly done it before. My usual mantra would be something like, “Get over it and get on with it” whilst giving myself a giant virtual slap across the face.

But the thing is, you can’t always shake off the blues. For a genuinely long time, I couldn’t shake it off at all. But when you are on that recovery road, in amongst the potholed bitumen is a smooth patch. A time when you can gain some perspective.

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For the past two days, I have had tremendous clarity. And I am ever so grateful.

I am grateful that the sun is shining.

I am grateful that I had the time and the confidence to sit in grey, wallow and come out of it feeling great.

I am grateful that I was able to run this morning. Hard running (for me). Up hills (blergh).

I am grateful that when I get dressed every day my four year old tells me I look like a Princess.

I am grateful that my job took me to a beautiful part of the world this morning so that I could soak in the ocean.

I am grateful that this time last week, I was sitting in a cafe with my gorgeous cousin although I would love to be doing that again right now. (It appears I am grateful AND greedy.)

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I am grateful that tonight my children will ask far too many times for kisses and cuddles when they should be asleep.

I am grateful that my one fanged two year old can say ‘Good Morning’ in his weird, tongue tied, very cute way.

I am grateful that my hormones are behaving themselves this week.

I am grateful for the grey hairs on my head because I read a quote recently that said, “Do not complain about growing old, it is a privilege denied to many.”

I am grateful for my flourishing garden that is producing an abundance of vegetables and some kick arse chillies.

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So colour me out of the grey. Colour me grateful. Colour me Anna.

I think I will colour myself in a bit of blue – calm + mindful. Then I will add a bit of yellow – happiness + optimism. And if you mix them together then I am really just a big dollop of green – clarity + understanding.

In the snakes and ladders of life, I got out of grey and climbed back into green.

What a wonderful palette of satisfaction there is right there.

Colour me doom and gloomy

GREY-DOT

Lately there has been a whole series of individual unrelated events that, on their own, would be enough to topple anyone off their well beaten path to recovery. I have been proud and surprised by my ability to deal with some serious shit lately. That is, on top of the daily grind of shit that is parenthood. That routine of boredom in a Groundhog Day whirlwind of schedules and cooking and homework and asking the kids to put on their fucking school shoes again.

Then there is the inside of my head that I have been so expertly able to empty after a long time of allowing it to be full of weird and scary and dreadful thoughts. Some grey thoughts are back in there but I am fairly confident that they are getting mixed up with all the jobs on my to do list and masking themselves as shit thoughts. That is the thing with shit thoughts, they are clever at confusing your clear head and messing with your mind.

One thing I have learnt, and will continue to learn, is how to acknowledge these thoughts, process them and then let them go. They are toxic if you hold on to them. They need to go, just like my anxiety. It needs to go.

And on a normal day, I can do this. I can process and let go. But if my reserve is a little down, it can take a little bit longer. But then a pile of really fucking shitty events, seemingly one after the other, makes that really, really hard. Shit like domestic abuse that makes your toes curl, serious mental health issues that rock your foundations, business and work stress that devastates families and then five deaths, all unrelated and three of them sudden, unexpected and leaving grief unimaginable.

So right now I just feel like drinking all the wine and some more. And when I wake from my comatose slumber and recover from my hangover then I might begin to process things.

But I won’t do that. I won’t drink the wine because then I am not allowing myself to acknowledge this shitness.

Instead I will write a little to clear some of my head. I will hug my family extra tight. I will be grateful for my heart being so full of love that I can share it in my home. Then I will spend some time trying really, really hard to process my head.

I am in charge of my own happiness so it is up to me to sort my shit out. But today, I will wallow in it. I will allow myself to be grey. I am not afraid of this today although I am not happy with its presence.

It is there and I can’t ignore it.

I will make peace with it and move on.

Colour me a freakin’ great day

St Paul's at night

Sometimes you can have a day so freakin’ great that it just sticks in your mind.

There are many days in life that just pass you by. Days where routine takes hold and quite honestly, you are looking for them to end. Days full of anxiousness, grizzlies (not just from the kids) and general busyness.

But then there are those days that just stay with you. Embedded in a memory that just gets better with time. A day that becomes part of that sentence, “Do you remember when we…”

We’ve landed back in Oz after the trip we never wanted to make. But the last day was one of those days. It started the night before the last day with a gin and tonic in the bar of the most glorious hotel that the Baker had discovered on one of his many trips home over the last little while. It was a bit hip, very London and in a fabulous location. We met the Flying Dutchman who had er, flown in from Holland to see us. A perfect start.

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We headed to dinner under the glowing lights of St Paul’s Cathedral and around the table was a wonderful assortment of friends from our lives. The Baker and the Flying Dutchman were there of course, along with a mate of mine from my University days in the nation’s capital. Isn’t it delightful, or a sign of the busyness of life, that I catch up with my Canberra mate when he’s living in London but hardly at all when we are both in Oz? He’s an awesome amateur baker and massive Geelong Cats fan so he’s a winner in our books. Then there was Neen, the Fairy Godmother of our first born. Our kids don’t have regular godparents, only the ones of the fairy kind. Neen is the Baker’s University friend and her divine other half joined in making us a regular half dozen.

We ate, we drank, we laughed and laughed some more. A beautiful evening full of our favourite beautiful people. And of course, another rainbow coloured page in my book of my Year of Friendships 2014.

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The morning after the Baker and I got our pedalling on thanks to London’s Boris bikes. We rode through Mayfair and past the designer shops. We wheeled our bikes through the beautiful Green Park in front of Buckingham Palace for a tourist selfie. We got scolded by a Bobbie and took off down Pall Mall, through Trafalgar Square, along The Strand (between double decker buses – yikes!), Covent Garden before ditching our saddles at High Holborn.

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There, right near Chancery Lane tube we met with Scot 2 from my epic meeting in Melbourne. Imagine not seeing each other for ten years, then twice in two months on opposite sides of the world. Delightful. With a capital D. And he got to meet the Baker which made me doubly happy, like my double yellow rainbow. Freakin’ awesome. Doubly freakin’ awesome.

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A quick zip from Chancery Lane to Tottenham Court Road and along Carnaby Street to meet the Baker’s oldest school friend for lunch. More life talking and musing and righting all the wrongs. Discussions of similarity and chats of complete confusion and you just know sometimes that there are certain people that you will always be able to talk to, talk with and talk about. It is comfortable, natural and normal. It is exactly how it should be. No strain, no stress, no nasty. Friendships that are radiating and not draining.

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Then we were spent. But oh, so happy. More than double yellow. On a massive high which was kind of odd considering the reason for our trip. But after the rain, comes a colourful rainbow so I guess it was okay. We felt okay. The Baker felt comfortable leaving again and we were desperate for cuddles with the four cheeky monkeys we had left at home.

I could not have imagined that my #yearoffriendships2014 could be more rewarding. Nor could I have possibly hoped harder than to see my friends across the seas than I had already hoped. And now, back in Oz, my focus is to see the friends who live metres from my house that I don’t see nearly enough. That inner circle of loveliness that needs nurturing before life and its freakin’ busyness takes it all away.

The Year of Friendships is nothing but yellow. Yellow, Yellow, Yellow. Happiness + Optimism. And that peace that comes from knowing you spend time with the ones you love. It is freakin’ yellowy awesome.

Colour me Scarborough

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Colour me happy with the next installment in my most excellent start to The Year of Friendships 2014. This chapter is one that was born out of complete sadness. A heartbreaking week for the Baker as he said his final farewell to his father. An awful goodbye to his mother, knowing that the hard work was ahead of her now she’s alone.

We had travelled 12,000 miles across the globe. There were a few days at the end of our trip that we deliberately left open. Just in case. Then just in case came.

It is a special friendship that sees you hop on a train for six hours, where you stand most of the way, to spend 40 hours together. Then you stand on the train on the way home. And you don’t batter an eyelid.

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Nor have you missed a beat as things pick up exactly as you left them. It’s a glorious thing isn’t it?

It certainly doesn’t feel like four years since we saw each other. Our growing children and additional offspring indicate that it is. Plus all of our grey hairs.

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So much has happened in between. Some of it has been tremendously happy, parts of it are dreadfully sad. We’ve all been fighting our own battles. But sometimes a friendship stops you in its tracks and you just enjoy the ride together. And you take comfort in knowing you’re not traveling this topsy turvy road alone.

Between us there’s a netball team of offspring. We’ve spent time as a family in Sydney, London, New Zealand, Geelong and Yorkshire. We’ve shared weddings and Christenings. There’s been conversations full of epic stupidity that my cheeks have cramped and my sides have split.20140209-084916.jpg

We laughed ourselves warm because if you remove the zero off the forty degrees it is back home then that’s what we were sitting in. Add a cold wind off the North Sea and freezing doesn’t do it justice.

We laughed hard. We shook off the grey for a moment and just stood in the present. Calm. Happy. Content.

And we decided that when we’re old and ridiculously wealthy, we’ll fly first class to the Seychelles with our new Botoxed faces and giant boobs under our chins. It is long distance friendship at its finest and comfortable silliness.

And even though the tears flowed as we hugged our goodbyes this morning, as well as a few more standing on the train, I am most definitely yellow – full of happiness + optimism. It is like sunshine on a cloudy day. A giant rainbow after a week of rainy tears.

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