Objectification total

I’ve got stonewash grey tight jeans, white Adidas high tops, a navy hoodie. Straightened long dark hair (flipped over to the side), minimum makeup (saving my face for tonight). A handbag over the crook of my arm, iPhone clutched in hand.

I stop to take a selfie. Cue pout.

I went running this morning, did some planks. I’m going to the library to study (digital advertising). I’m going out dancing tonight.

I could be anywhere between 14-40, living in New York, Paris or Sydney. It’s so iodine, so middle of the road, so zeitgeist.

Yet the whole thing makes me feel so normal. I feel so in-line with my generation, so strangely connected to what I’m “supposed” to be doing. It’s unreal.

I’m usually covered in children, toddlers, stains and shouting. This week we had nits and intestinal worms (not the first time for either). Broken stuff, shouting. Running from A to B to drop and pick up children, guitar lessons and after school clubs. Food smells and grubby floors. Chaos, total imperfection.

Selfies and straight hair and my i-Phone and looking hot make me feel in control for the first time in a  long time. Belonging to the external world, having value in the external world through objects and the image they project of me. Objectification total.

Of course, the world that gets played into is manipulated, highly consumer and very external. Does nothing for my soul. But habits and routines that ground us in their repetitive simplicity – in the feeling that we are all doing it – they reassure you.

It reassures me to have clean, nice smelling clothes, to have material things that are unbroken, that are mine. I feel I belong to myself.

In this world, where does parenthood lie? Where do chaos and bad smells and mess and parasites and sleepless nights and never going out lie?

It lies at the other end of the value spectrum. It has no value in this external world, it is worthless, just an impediment to the real stuff, the stuff we want and are taught to want.

And so we feel trapped and impeded and held back by our kids, they become another thing to manage, to get done so we can get on with living, and run the risk of making them feel worthless and annoying.

Objectification of the self, objectification of life. Sweet illusion of control. We cling onto it sometimes, like a raft before going under into the (inevitable) undercurrent of chaos again.

Today is an exceptional day.

Objectification total

Will it matter?

will it matter

Don’t know if this has gone viral all over the globe, but on this little speck it’s trending to post the first profile pic you made on Facebook and tag other friends to do the same.

So I did. A lovely smiling face of me and my (then 2 y/o) first child, I look young and happy, with shiny hair, smooth skin, and no bags. I look quite hot actually. My son looks cute. It’s a really nice picture.

I’m not usually officially bothered by the whole aging thing. Yes, yes, I know I’m “young”, but I know some people who have been bothered by every passing year for, like, FOREVER. I’m not.

I like birthdays, like the sense of accomplishment I usually feel, setting new goals, celebrating with friends and family, and progressively more children.

Tbh, what’s bothered me most on the aging subject in recent years is those around me. I don’t usually notice it in myself so much, but because I live abroad I see friends and family infrequently, sometimes years apart, so they look older each time.

I don’t make a value judgment on whether that means they look better or worse, it’s just the years are noticeable. I also find this bothers me seeing my mum get older. Yes, it really bothers me actually. The years are passing, I guess it makes me feel the impermanence of life.

Then there are celebs, have you seen Brad Pitt lately? Or Cameron Diaz? I can’t stand it. I want them to stay young forever, like they were in Thelma & Louise and There’s something About Mary. Indefinitely.

So I posted this old profile picture, and it made me feel good to see a pretty photo of myself, and bad to think I don’t look that nice anymore. For those who have based any sense of themselves around what they look like, losing what they perceived they had is going to be painful.

I have. It is.

One day I will say “I used to be beautiful”.

Will it matter.

photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/gwendalcentrifugue/7163627005/”>Gwendal_</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Will it matter?

TFI Friday?!

Working in an office, I would love a penny for every time I hear “It’s Friday!”, “At least it’s hump-day” (erm, that’s office speak for Wednesday, not ya birthday, just sayin’),  or “Ugh, Monday” in descending pitches of excitement.
Although I have learned the right things to say, usually just echo or nod, I don’t really agree.
Here’s a secret: I don’t get that “Friday feeling” and haven’t done ever since, let’s see… I had kids.

Pretty much how I feel about Fridays: "not bovvered"
Pretty much how I feel about Fridays: “not bovvered”

When I was a stay at home mum, I really enjoyed what I did, and tbh sometimes dad around at the weekend would throw a spanner in my works and it wouldn’t flow as much. The weekend was just another state with different rules, no better no worse.
Since starting work full-time again just over a year ago I work hard all week and it is challenging to fit it all in: school runs, pick ups, appointments, playdates, after school stuff, shopping and sorting house in the evening. But, I still don’t feel the weekend is a rest or a break or tbh that much different from the week. I still have what I would consider more than a full time job: taking care of a house and minding 3 children.

Also, although my renumareted job isn’t at all high flying or hugely exciting right now, I’m content. I have my desk, my stuff, I know what to do, I have nice colleagues, I drink my little coffees and have my little chats and I just get on with it. I would like to think that if I was literally ticking off the days backwards from Monday, I would know it was time to move on.

I’m not sure if my non-plussed attitude to Friday is a depressing fact, basically that my weekends are devoid of the fun or rest&relaxation that others look forward to, or that I’m actually more or less content with my life so don’t have to live solely for the weekend.

What I do know is that just as I don’t have TFI Friday syndrome, I also don’t have the dread of Monday. Which ain’t no bad thing, especially on a Sunday.

TFI Friday?!

Note to self: make time for you

Time, elusive for most parents. I have some time today because I’m in bed recovering from a nasty fever, but usually I have no such luxury.

In a life with no perceived time, we can easily fall into traps of bitterness. We can feel as if our lives are an endless circle of facilitating others’ needs: our kids, partners, friends and bosses.

They say “have some me time”. But how many people actually do it?

In my case, I have always taken the me time when it has almost been too late. When I’ve got to the point of hating my life, my partner, my kids, my friends and my job.

Why?

They say “take some me time”. Yet how many actually do it before the breakdown, before the happy pills, before the divorce?

If people did actually look after themselves so many other (harder) things would be avoided. This is why all this new stuff about radical self care and self love us really worth noting.

It is not selfish to look after your self first: it is the best gift you can give to you, and if you can’t stomach giving a gift to you (yet) it’s the best gift ever to those around you 😉

At the moment I’m making time for myself by taking Wednesday afternoons/evenings “off”. I’ve realised that my partner can absolutely handle the kids alone all evening (just as I do every other evening when he works). I plan to read, write, chant and see friends.

And fill my cup so I can start to be cheerful again. 

Note to self: make time for you

Funk-y

So, yes, it’s been a long time since I last posted. Life is hectic: 2 jobs, 3 kids and no family help just means constant (CONSTANT) activity.

Working for money at work takes up around 75 hours per week between us, then there’s picking up/dropping off various kids, food related activities (shopping for, prepping, serving, clearing), house stuff: the endless clearing, let alone actual cleaning (the daily laundry loads, folding clothes, toys everywhere, shoes everywhere, everything a constant mess), and lastly personal care which I will not give up although last night I did wipe my face with a babywipe and skip flossing. My legs are sooo hairy: damn summer and the need to bare skin, hair removal is just one more thing to do.

Anyway. This post wasn’t going to be about that. That is something most families experience to one degree or another. We are all busy. Many of us work outside the home and if not are damn busy inside it (I have done both and looking after young kids at home ain’t no walk in the park). Homes need care, children and adults need care, these thing take time and energy.

The question really is about that energy, where does it come from, how do we sustain it?

There are times when I feel I can take on the world. I am woman, I am strong, and all that. I feel zippy and capable, and fabulous. I make it look a breeze, they all wonder how does she do that? I revel in my children, laugh and play. I feel proud of myself: I’m coping! way to go!

Other times I just feel drained. I wake up tired after a crap nights’ sleep, I’m pissed off when my kids wake up and demand me, the day in front of me stretches out into eternity, I work and while I’m there I use up any of the niceness energy I have because I have to put on a good face, when I get home I have no niceness left and the kids piss me off immediately by fighting, I feel hard done by and drag the dinner on, heave the clothes into the machine, tidy up and bark at anyone who isn’t, I lie in the dark getting my kids to sleep, biting my nails and thinking of all the other things I could be doing. I’m totally not in the moment. Each day and each task becomes something ticked off an eternal to-do list. Another day done, another day closer to…to what exactly?

Lately I’ve been feeling number 2. I’m just constantly in a funk. I’m aware of it, which is good and painful. I’m aware that I’m not being my best self with my kids or my partner. I know that each day “ticked off” is also a day of their childhood, which is so fleeting and precious. I know that they are building a horrible image of mummy being moody and irritable.

I know all this yet the feeling persists. The not right feeling. There is every and no reason to feel like this. To say it’s down to choice is too simplistic, as if we can turn off and on joy at will. I think joy is more like a cultivation or practice but right now I’m not even sure where to start with that. In other times I’ve turned to books and spiritual practice, and I must say I’ve totally let that go again. Being present and grateful really help but I feel awash with a mixture of tiredness and urgency which make it hard.

There’s no solution, no conclusion, no answer. It’s just put one foot in front of the other, as my mum always says, and possibly put the old oxygen mask on, and hope that joy comes back sometimes soon.

Funk-y

(about 8) grey hairs

…ok, so 8 is not very much. It’s really like who cares. And I don’t. BUT, I know I will, and each time I see a new little grey (white actually) hair growing it reminds me that one day (one day soon) I will have to make that decision to dye or not to dye.

You see, I’m  a natural brunette, and very happy with my hair colour. When I was younger I used the occasional 6 week tint to give it a deeper glow, some shine, but havent done that in like 6 years. It’s dark, rich, glossy, brown hair. I like it as it is.

So now when I see these little grey peepers coming through, I’m thinking do I dye (i.e. change my habit of not dying so I don’t look grey) or do I just get more salt in my pepper and go with it.

Arguments against dying: I probably still look as nice with or without grey hairs, it’s costly, takes time I don’t have (or would rather be doing other things), I hate the grey roots look, and I can’t be bothered.

Arguments for: I don’t want grey hair, I want to keep what I always had, I don’t like the way grey hair looks (on me).

Also creeping in here is a resentment that I feel like this, that I have to make this decision and based on that I will be perceived (by myself and others) in one way or another. If you dye it no one notices or even thinks about it, if you don’t you are making the statement that you are cool with grey, or you can’t be arsed or you are happy with yourself just as you are (right on!).

If I was to go a bit deeper with that I would say it’s like one more example that being a women is so often about taming your natural self (body hair, fat, grey hair) to be ok, to feel ok, to be less visible, to not be noticed, commented on, scrutinised. It’s like “oh fuck it, I don’t want my leg hair/belly fat/grey hairs to make me stand out or to be seen, I will just shave it/cover it/dye it” (submit to the system) again and again…

So, looks over morals and money. Can’t be arsed (and feel against it in principle, to be honest) vs want to look my best self (youngest self, acceptable self…?)

Ach, the annoying thing is, I’m so gonna dye it.

PS thanks Fanny P for unknowingly prompting me to get round to writing this one 😉

 

(about 8) grey hairs

A little slice of heaven

The good times are here.

G and I are both in full time employment for the first time in 5 years. We are about to receive 2 full pay checks, which means paying bills on time this month, means no need for family to top up our income, means long overdue visits to the dentist, means buying some glasses and knick knacks for the house, a few spring clothes for the bairns, and going out for a celebratory lunch. Life is good.

Boychild has been away for the last 3 weeks in Cancun, and now in London doing all sorts of fun stuff like a parkour course for kids. We are incredibly lucky to have parents young enough, wealthy enough and willing enough to take him (and eventually girlchild and babyking) for amazing holidays. He is back in 3 days, and we have missed him.

Spring is here in all its glorious frivolity. The eggshell blue of the sky is brought into full contrast behind the sprays of tender green that have shot out in a matter of weeks, giving the city its leafy outdoor roof back. This living cover is one of the things I love about Barcelona.

I have spent the last week being a SAHM again, it’s Easter hols, and loved it. We have been to the beach, the zoo, the park, seen friends (mine and girlchild’s), baked (twice!), painted Easter themed stuff, watched The Neverending Story cuddled up together on the couch (and, oh, how I felt the solemn right of passage as we did so!), talked, laughed, connected.

And last but not least I have invented a new habit for myself. As G works most evenings now, and I don’t have boychild here, after I put the babyking and girlchild to bed and then tidied up, I set myself up in bed with tea, book, iPad, phone, food, nail kit or whatever else I think i might need and I CHILL, baby. OK, so some nights it doesn’t work out (i.e I fall asleep with them, or have a load of housework to do, or someone calls me and it just gets too late), but when it does, it looks something like this photo I whatsapped to my girls the other night….

In my books, it doesn’t get much better than this…

Image

 

 

 

A little slice of heaven