This one’s definitely for the girls.
I’ve been thinking about jeans lately. A lot. Mainly because I had a belated Christmas pressie: I’m now skinny enough to fit into my pre-pregnancy fat jeans. Result! I was so excited; I wore my newfound wardrobe item for two weeks straight without washing. No, I’m not making that up. And I’m counting the hours until they come off the washing line…
Jeans. They must be one of the most versatile garments around. Dress them up with a tailored jacket and heels. Add rhinestones. Dress them down with a baggy sweater and flat boots. Work in the garden or play in a gallery. Make you feel sexy, or comfy, or anything in between. Wear them year-round, come rain or shine.
I didn’t even wear jeans until I was in sixth grade or so. I thought people wearing them were eternally cool. So that was pretty much everybody. My polyester trousers just couldn’t compete. I actually worried at one point that my grades might drop if I scrapped the synthetics and donned the denim. No, they didn’t and no, I am not making that up either! Let’s just say I didn’t exactly ooze confidence at age 11. Although I guess the polyester wasn’t entirely my choice. Still, I could have resisted. Maybe.
So denim is cool and fitting into a beloved wardrobe staple without the elasticated sides is to be celebrated. And yes, we may all be eternal victims of the fashion industry but let’s face it; nice clothes make you feel good (and nice doesn’t have to be expensive, or branded). Rob often asks me if I’m going somewhere when I put on a bit of lippy. He doesn’t quite get that I might be doing it just for me, just because.
So go on, wear your good stuff on a Tuesday. Your cashmere while weaning. Your hooker heels at home.
Hmmm, must try that last one. With my pyjamas and pearls. Rob would approve.
I thought I might write about Friday the 13th today. I did a quick bit of research but in the end, the topic didn’t catch my fancy. What did amuse me, however, was to discover two funky new words:
Friggatriskaidekaphobia: the fear of Friday the 13th
And codswallop, as used in the headline ‘The utter codswallop of Friday the 13th’. Apparently codswallop is a British term for complete nonsense. What a cool word. Only in the UK…
Anyway, the whole hurrah about Friday the 13th got me thinking about the concept of luck. I tend to think of luck as a good thing, but my friend Merriam-Webster pointed out that luck can be ‘a force that brings good fortune or adversity’. So I guess that’s why we differentiate between good and back luck.
Personally, I favour the attitude that you make your own luck. Today and every other day. After all, what you focus on tends to come into being, so why not focus on the good stuff? I actually have a bit of a radar that goes into alert mode when I hear people say stuff like: ‘I worry it won’t work’ or worse ‘It’ll probably be a nightmare’. I know we all get caught in that trap sometimes, but wouldn’t it be much better if we didn’t doom something before it even had a chance to happen?
A mentor of mine actually advocates enjoying things before they happen. I’m all for it. After all, rather than focussing on all that could go wrong, how much more fun would it be to divert all that energy into focussing on what could go right?
Or take the words of the immortal Dr. Seuss: “Just tell yourself, Duckie, you’re really quite lucky!”
So, Friggatriskaidekaphobia. Try saying that 10 times fast. Then again, don’t.
One of my favourite words.
Merriam-Webster calls it the phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for. Wikipedia simply defines it as a “happy accident” or “pleasant surprise”, specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful without looking for it.
I had a lot of serendipitous moments yesterday. Such as Lilly falling asleep just as my hairdresser was ready to attend to my tresses for an overdue cut. Or getting a MoonWalk donation from said hairdresser, the eternally cool Karen, without having even asked for it. <I did ask for advice on brightly coloured hair dyes though>
And suddenly taken with the idea of sleep, Lilly nodded off again on the train home, which had me stopping in the platform waiting area to avoid waking her up being hauled down the treacherously steep steps at my home station. I doubt the sleep is a lasting love affair. In reality, I just think her little brain is temporarily overloaded from the recent introduction to culinary pleasures. Either that or hair salon fumes.
Anyway, said waiting area has got bookshelves in support of a lovely ‘take a book, leave a book’ concept. Perfect for a train station. And perfect for finding a book with the serendipitous title ‘Publish Now’ less than a week after having sent my book off to a publisher. I take it as a good omen.
Even yesterday’s gremlin attack had its silver lining: a new book idea popped into my head at 6 o’clock this morning. Don’t tell the gremlins though. They are sure to disapprove.
They probably don’t believe in serendipity either. But I do.
It is said that you are your own best teacher. It is also said that you are your own worst enemy. Diametrically opposite statements… but both of them oh so true!
One of the things I have noticed is that I seem to be learning the same lessons over and over again. It may sound like I just discovered the power of showing up or doing despite but really I kinda knew all along. I just needed a reminder.
Over the years, I’ve often wondered why there are lessons in life that come up repeatedly. There are skills like reading or riding a bike that you learn once and then are pretty much competent at for life. But not everything is quite as straightforward.
For some reason, we seem to grow up with this inner critic that just loves to raise his or her little head whenever we are stepping up. Or when we’re feeling down. And these inner critics are powerful little gremlins.
I’m feeling tired tonight and my gremlins are kicking off. Having a party and a laugh at my expense. They are like that, the pesky little critters. They always get you when you’re feeling a bit frazzled. Never when you’re feeling great. I know that. Even so, they still get me.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons I write… so that I can remember the lessons I am learning over and over again. Or maybe so that I can read my own writing as a bedtime story to the gremlins. That’ll shut them right up.
Or maybe I just need some good old-fashioned Ghostbusters to knock them back into submission. After all, I’m afraid of no ghost. But I might rethink taking a shower tonight.
Right, here’s a quick Friday round up… that’s all the brain cells I’ve got left for tonight.
Two days into the FUNdraising challenge, the stakes have been raised. I had a funny feeling this was gonna take on a life of its own. If you haven’t been following the thread on Facebook, these events occurred in real time:
I put out the challenge of becoming a brunette for a month if I manage to raise £430 doing the Moon Walk. Inspired by the Australian friend in New York and the Chinese friend in Germany, we now have the following target:
£430 – brunette
£590 – red
£750 – pink (yikes!!!)
(I just noticed that my first attempt at splitting the difference between £430 and £750 turned out to be wrong. I blame baby brain. Note that no one else spotted it.)
So I’m up for the challenge. I just trust that my hair doesn’t actually turn green from all that colouring by the time I turn 40 this summer.
You can access my fundraising page here:
I also vow to contact as many of you as possible directly in some form but please don’t wait to donate! 😉
So, pink. Fitting colour choice for a breast cancer charity, I admit. But pink hair? What was I thinking?
Yet again, I blame baby brain.
I recently saw a quote saying ‘I believe that what we want to write wants to be written’. I believe that too. I believe that words and stories have their own agency and evolve in ways that we can’t (and shouldn’t attempt to) predict.
I started my day thinking I might write about stepping up. About stepping out of my comfort zone. After all, at the end of your comfort zone is where life supposedly begins.
My act of stepping up was mailing a copy of my book to a publisher. I wrote a children’s book for my goddaughter’s second birthday some eighteen months ago and I have been wanting to get it published ever since. And towards the end of last year, it finally felt right to pursue the project. Anyway, I went to the post office this morning, and the book has gone on its merry way.
But by the time I got to writing this evening, I was feeling rather less pleased with myself. Pretty frazzled actually. Somehow the last hour before Lilly’s bedtime got the better of me. I was rushing to get various outstanding travel arrangements booked and she was getting tired and fussy. And then bumped her head to boot. Talk about feeling instantaneously guilty about having had your attention in a different place. And I mean guilty… it’s completely heart-wrenching to watch your little girl sob her eyes out. So I was feeling upset as a consequence even hours later after she had gone to bed and I was on the couch with the laptop. And being upset is no frame of mind to write. As a matter of fact, it’s not a great frame of mind for anything.
So I journalled about it. About why I sometimes get so caught up doing things that don’t matter when what really mattered in that moment was to spend time with Lilly. Then I went into the bedroom and cuddled up to watch her sleep. For ages. And told her I was sorry. I had a cuddle on the couch with Jack who’s not supposed to be on the couch. I had a long chat with Rob. Things that mattered.
So in the end a day that started with stepping up ended with stepping back. And that’s all good.
The other day, I mentioned my second challenge for 2012 beyond writing a daily post for one month. So here goes:
In May, I am doing the Moon Walk (http://www.walkthewalk.org). It’s a marathon-length walk through London to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. You walk throughout the night. In your bra. Whilst howling at the full moon. <just kidding on the last one>
Which leads me to the subject of money. Because inevitably a challenge organized by a charity involves fundraising. Not my strong point. So I was pondering how I could make it more fun, and what I could do to go beyond simply asking people for money. This is ignoring the fact that walking a marathon overnight in your bra is a challenge in itself. I guess I wanted to spice things up.
I thought about shaving my head but that might get me divorced. But the hair theme stuck. After all, hair is a big thing for us girls. And I’ve never been particularly adventurous with mine. Yes, I have gone from straight to curly and long to short but mostly I stay with the same style for years. And I have always been blonde. With varying degrees of chemical enhancement I admit… but blonde.
So here’s my cunning plan:
If I raise £430 between now and May, I’ll become a brunette for a month. And I’ll blog about the experience. After all, they say that blondes have more fun. I am prepared to cross over to the dark side and find out. You can make your donation under my name here:
Two of my team members have been rather successful on the fundraising front already. Both blondes. So my competitive side is itching to get in the game.
So please help me put the fun back into fundraising!
Any amount welcome. In any currency. After all, if every one of my Facebook friends contributed as little as £1, we’d be there in no time. It’s about momentum really. And the sooner I raise £430, the sooner I become a brunette! <gulp> Which may not get me divorced but might get me banned from the bedroom. I’m willing to risk it.
PS: Just be like Jack – BE UP FOR IT!
I talked about showing up the other day. One of my inspirations for that is actually my dog.
He’s a fabulous feisty Jack Russell Terrier named after Jack Bauer from the TV series 24. He’s got the same sort of persistence and tenacity. Although he also chills a fair bit. In his bed, in our bed (by invitation only), on the sheepskin in his favourite chair.
But if you offer a walk or any form of entertainment, he’s always up for it. He can be blissfully asleep one minute and chomping at the bit to go out the next. He sees you putting on shoes and a jacket and he’s by the back door ready to go. Rain or shine. No excuses. No procrastination. Ever. Ok, maybe on Guy Fawkes Night and New Years Eve. Fireworks are not his thing.
I don’t need to list the excuses I might on occasion come up with for not wanting to take him out. Conversations you might have on a day like today:
Jack: Let’s go out and play!
Me: Not today Jack, the weather is terrible out there.
Jack: So? Let’s go out and play!
Me: No really, it’s windy and raining and and and...
Jack: So? Let’s go out and play!
I wonder what the dialogue would sound like if the tables were turned:
Me: Jack, let’s go out and play!
Jack: Have you seen the weather out there? I don’t wanna get all wet and dirty!
Me: So? I’ll just give you a bath afterwards!
Jack: Yeah, so I can smell like peppermint like a poof! <Please don’t mention that I tried to mount a dog called Rocky in the park. Twice.> Me: C’mon, it’ll be great to get some fresh air! Jack: I’ve been out running with the big dude every day for the last week. I need a day off. As a matter of fact, I am having a duvet day. Have fun without me.
I think I’ve made my point. The only problem is now I have to go out with Jack. On a miserable and rainy day. For integrity’s sake.
Ok, I have to admit that despite reaching out for great advice on being a writer, I have really been struggling with where to get started and what to write about.
My usually gutsy self is quite unnerved at the thought of publishing myself for all to read. So I have been falling into the trap of using excuses for not writing. Mostly centered around the fact that I have a 5 month old baby and thus in my limited spare time am either too tired or too busy doing ‘stuff’ (that’s a technical term for hanging up the laundry, surfing online or whatever other non-essential things we do to fill our time and keep us from connecting to what we really might be here for).
I chatted to my mentor the other day and her advise was to ‘do despite’. To sit down and write despite all the perfectly good reasons that I come up with for not doing so. To make time when it feels like I have none… or would rather be sleeping on the couch.
I got that… but I was still stalling like hell. Because underneath of course is something else. Namely that I am actually scared. What of? Who knows… being successful, putting myself out there, being judged? I guess on some level, I feel more vulnerable now that I am a mum. I never thought I would and I can’t really explain it but I do.
So I talked to my very clever husband tonight and his advise was this: Do The Opposite.
Just do the opposite of whatever your head (or ego) is telling you to do. That made sense. Write despite telling yourself that you don’t have anything to write about. Pick up the laptop (and your courage) when hiding under the duvet sounds like the more appealing option.
Do The Opposite.
Now, I wonder if 5 months is too early to comprehend that sleep is the opposite of chanting in your bed at the top of your voice?
I have been fretting over what to write about in my first post ever since I decided to publish myself in the online world.
Whilst busy fretting, I wrote to a friend of mine asking him about his experience of being a writer. Not only did he reply straight away, he also wrote a post on his blog with the advice I was seeking. Ever wondered how you start on your journey of being a writer?
Have a look at his words of wisdom here: http://grahamphoenix.net/golden-light/
Seeing Graham’s post not only gave me a huge buzz, it also felt like in some way he had written my first blog post for me. After all, in the beginning, we all wonder how to get started, don’t we?
And the first piece of advise I am choosing to follow is this – hit publish without thinking about it!