Sunday, 20 March 2022

BORING SHIT, GO AWAY, COME AGAIN ANOTHER DAY

 I found myself procrastinating today. I do it so much, it's probably one of my biggest bug bears and one of the things I fight daily, every hour of every day. 

I found out recently that my child has ADD. It has gone undiagnosed her entire childhood, I have helped her deal with it, manage it so to say. Turns out we have a strong ADD gene. One of my  nephews has it, and another appears to have it as well. 

For those who know me professionally and personally, it may not surprise you to learn that I recognise the features in myself.... 

But I manage it. I guess maybe that is why I missed it in my own child and just helped her manage it. I thought it was normal to be this distracted by your own brain all the time. It is normal for me and I function perfectly well....although it is debatable how tolerable I am at work and at home with my idiosyncracies. It may just be that these traits are genetic traits we all have and have absolutely nothing to do with ADD. Who knows? I'm no expert. 

What I do know is that my daughter has benefitted enormously from medication and is on a good path for her and is learning how to deal with her distractions, and her stress levels are so much lower now that she doesn't have to stress about focusing all the time. 

I procrastinate so much. In fact, I am doing it now. 

I would so much rather do something I enjoy ahead of other stuff that needs doing. I detest being an adult. There's all this boring shit that needs doing that invariably needs to be done again tomorrow, and the day after. You can literally spend your entire day doing boring shit and never get time for non boring shit that you enjoy. So, I can spend an entire day lying in bed watching netflix and feeling bad about the pile of laundry, the stinky dogs, or the crap I have left lying around. Because I do. 

One of the things I know about me: I unwrap something and I would rather not put the wrapping in the bin. I just put it down where I have unwrapped the item. Not because I don't know where the bin is or because I am a hog, but because I can't be stuffed right now. Having people over later today or knowing my kids are home and I will inconvenience them is a strong impetus to put the bloody thing in the bin!

It's so boring! I struggle withe being bored all the time. 

I have made sundays my housework day. But I have to trick myself into finding it fun. I play music, I make a list and I have fragrant candles, a nice drink, and make a pact with myself that we will do something fun after! That is the only way in which I can get it done. 

I have to go from room to room and look around and write down what needs doing by visually identifying the pile of shit and then writing down what needs doing. 

If I try to simply do it as I go, shit gets forgotten. Why? Because my brain is distracting me every step of the way. I start doing the cat litters, and half way through I notice that one of them is really stinky on the outside, so I disassemble it and put it in the bath to clean out. As I am doing that, I leave it there to dry and then remember that I bought shampoo and that it is sitting in the front room. This is because I have seen shampoo bottles in the bathroom. So I go to the front room and start putting away the shampoo bottles. However, as I do this, I notice that the yarn I bought has not been put away. So, having put one of the three shampoo bottles away, I start putting away the yarn. As I enter the craft room, I notice that one of the craft kits I bought is still in there and I haven't started it, so I take it out and place it on my work table in the lounge room for later so I can start it. Maybe that can be my reward for doing housework today. And then I have to pause and chastise myself, because I now have three tasks that I have started but not completed. 

So, back to the cat litter tray. And so it goes. 

So, I write a list. I tell myself like a child to finish one thing before I go to the next. 

And so I procrastinate. This process takes so long, and takes so much mental energy. It is exhausting. 

I have a detailed list that has things like "Put new toilet paper in the bathroom", because even though I know it needs doing, I will get distracted and forget to do it, until I need it next time I'm in the toilet!!!!! I cross out each task as it gets completed, and get my little dopamine hit from doing it. 

I think one of the biggest contributors to procrastination is not allowing yourself the time to have fun. 

I ensure that every day has a bit of fun added to it. Being an adult and having responsibilities does not mean you are not allowed to be playful. I cherish it, I look forward to it. I know those of you who know me or have worked with me are aware of this. It can be annoying, I know. 

But it keeps me focused and interested. Otherwise, I get bored and annoyed. 

So I move jobs a lot, I change my timetable from week to week. I keep it interesting. Routine bores me to tears, and I love something new happening every day. So I have heaps of pets that surprise me, and I play lots of different sorts of music. I just keep it interesting. 

If you do not allow yourself to have fun and promise yourself leisure time, you will procrastinate when you have to do the boring shit. 

There is always time for fun, even if it's just five minutes collecting  a flower from the path, blowing a dandelion, or avoiding the cracks in the path. That's how I cope with the mundane. It's never mundane in my head, I tell ya. I wish sometimes it was. But it's not, so I embrace it, I go with it rather than against it. 

That's enough procrastination. Back to the grind. Today's soundtrack courtesy of the 1975. 



Friday, 18 March 2022

Cardiac Arrest

 I lost a patient tonight.

He came in and within five minutes, he had had a cardiac arrest. The nurses called me in to help and we started CPR. I was soon advised that he had documentation to the effect that he was not to be resuscitated if he had a cardiac arrest and I was shown the signed paperwork.

Stripped of my familiar protocols for life saving, I was left with needing to stand back and allow him to pass. I know he was old. I know he was probably not in good health and had considered his options carefully and made his decision. He was ready.

I wasn't.

Because stripped of my ABC protocol, I had to just be human.

That's hard, I gripped his arm, and said 'oh, sweetie' under my breath lots of times as his life slipped away and his lips turned purple.

I looked at him, and he was someone's dad, someone's husband. I don't really have any religious beliefs, but I was reminded of people who have had near death experiences and what they describe when they survive, and I imagined his spirit leaving his body and watching us take his last few breaths.

I told him to rest in peace, and felt pretty useless.

It is hard to stand back and watch, respect his wishes. I know he may not have survived anyway, but it's hard regardless. We witnessed an end, we were there to send him off to wherever he was going to next.

Trained to heal, trained to help. It didn't feel like it, even though we helped, I guess. I just wanted to share that. Some days in medicine just suck.


Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Fossils

 I saw an article the other day about an artist who uses modern animal skeletons and imagines what the animal would have looked like just based on the skeleton. He came up with full illustrations of what he imagined the animals might look like based on assumptions. So he had a giraffe that looked like nothing on earth. Similarly, my son was telling me that there are people who are proposing that T Rex was actually a flightless lizard, and its little forearms are actually wing remnants and that the assumption that they hung at the front like arms is incorrect. If you rotate the arms around and stick them at the back, you get wings. 

Why am I going on about this, you may ask?

What assumptions do we make about our bodies and faces based on what we see?

Let's start with what I see in the mirror. 

I have dark circles around my eyes. I grew up in South America and apart from the genetics that I carry, I got sunburnt repeatedly as a child, with blisters on my face, several times each summer. There was no such thing as sunscreen, and eventually I learned to hide from the sun or apply nivea cream in a huge thick slather, and then hide from the sun when the cream disappeared. 

I have streaks across my abdomen, large stretched roads across it. They start under my ribs and end all the way at my pubic bone. Babies, that's right, two of them. One of those unfortunate 9/10 people who stretch in pregnancy. And I was fat even before I got pregnant, so I was stretched even before that. 

I have the same stretch marks across my breasts and thighs, and even one on my left shoulder, the weird shoulder that stretched more than the right. 

Let's pretend for a moment that my body is a fossil. 

If you saw me, what would you think?

That woman is a greedy, lazy pig. Let's face it, we all think that when we see someone who is obese. The stretch marks could be forgiven and you could assume that I have had babies. Somehow that softens you? Makes it ok to be stretched? or is the assumption based on my fossil that I must have overeaten as a pregnant woman and done little exercise? Fat and lazy again. 

Maybe I have dark rings around my eyes because I really don't sleep well. Or I stay up late drinking. 

We are all walking fossils, and humans love making assumptions and categorising people. Of course we do, it helps us make sense of the world. But I think it is really important that even if we make an assumption based on an observation, that as sentient human beings, we question it. 

I remember meeting one of my best friends for the first time. Covered in tattoos, taboo at the time; last freakin century. My first thought was: rough as guts. And then, (and I think this is what makes the difference), I pulled myself up on it and decided that I could be wrong. So I went up to her and we chatted. I discovered one of the most amazing humans who I still pride myself in having in my inner circle. She is a nurturing, powerhouse of a woman. I no longer make assumptions about tattoos, I make a point of looking past them, or at least trying to. And there is the redeeming quality....if we can question the fossil record, over and over again. 

I have struggled with weight all my life. And when I lost it, I found myself lost. I was very aware that people no longer make assumptions about who I am. I am no longer the funny fat girl who eats too much, loves her good old food and can't be bothered exercising. I am now more visible. People will see who I am. But who is that? Do I even know what I was covering up all those years? What assumptions do I make about me that no longer apply? Why was I happy to be the funny fat girl for so long? Will people like who I actually am? My fat was my armour, my way of hiding who I am, and putting a fossil record out for discovery that would throw people off the scent of who I really am. And the truth is that the reason I did that is that I was not sure anyone would like who I really am. There, I said it. Successful professional, perfect life, and yet, inside, I am an insecure shadow of that. 

Instagram, tik tok, facebook, they are all fossil records for generations to find. We project an image that we wish to portray to the world, to ourselves, as that is what matters in the end. What we see when we look back. I have committed to my outsides fitting the insides. I am not lazy, never have been. I have been at the gym more often than a lot of other thin people. I do like food, but I do not eat entire chickens for breakfast. The reasons for my weight are complex, and unique, and way too lengthy to go into here. 

I colour my hair. If I didn't, it would almost be completely white at the front. I tried to grow it out, but I didn't like the assumptions that people made about me. That I was old, that I was past it, that I no longer mattered. AND the assumptions I made when I looked at myself in the mirror. It shits me no end that people in our society feel that white hair means you're practically dead. No one wants to see that. No one wants to date that. C'mon, yuck. 

I decided that I am not ready to have white hair, because of my own biases and assumptions about white hair. I am part of the problem, of course. I need to be braver, I think. And I now joke that I am a natural red, almost preparing for the day when I will let my hair be the colour it decides to be. And be comfortable with that, knowing who I am without needing to check in the mirror each time just to be sure. 

Some assumptions will be correct. But I think we need to be careful to check those facts and those assumptions. There are reasons why there are stereotypes, because a lot of them are true. But a lot of them are not as well. 

I endeavour to ensure that the image I project of me is who I want to be. Who I genuinely am. I hope that people notice the laugh lines, and that the frown lines are minimal as I age. I hope people notice the scars around my wrists from burning myself on the oven one too many times, that definitely says a lot about who I am. 

It would be nice if at the end of this, you questioned just one assumption you make today. If you're not sure, ask. It is ruder to assume than just ask whether they identify with male or female pronouns, or whether they are a mother, or whether they like to exercise. That's the advantage of us not being actual fossils. 

We will never know the truth about T Rex. Maybe he was a vegetarian. (I know, I know, unlikely!). 

Maybe next time I will highlight assumptions we make about people based on what we don't see. 


Sunday, 13 March 2022

Kids

 I have decided to write on here more often. Maybe more randomly, and maybe less relevantly. But maybe this is something I need to do.

Maybe someone will listen, follow. Maybe someone will need it as much as I do.

I am sitting on my bed making a crochet blanket, there are four dogs and a cat on my bed and I am writing. I guess this describes a pretty average evening for me. And maybe this is what I want to capture. Maybe I wish to be immortalised in a way.

I am ageing. I guess we all are. Every minute of every day, we age.

I feel like my life is accelerating. Sometimes it feels like I am becoming less relevant with every breath I take. And I think this is a factor of who I am.

I have chosen to remain single, for all sorts of reasons that are quite irrelevant right now, but I think when you do that, you become more introspective. When you are a couple, you include another person in your day to day living. Someone else becomes almost as important as you are. I haven't necessarily had that.

Every decision I have made for myself in the last 15 years has been pretty much my own.

I think this has given me a perspective on life that few others can be proud of.

I was browsing a book shop today. A rarity, but a delightful one at that.

And I was looking for a book that would tell me how to navigate this next step.

I used to always get parenting books out of the library when my kids were little. There were hundreds of them. I would digest them and implement the results into my own parenting style. I think I have done a pretty good job.

But there were no books on how to move on when you have explored all your life trauma, your kids are growing up and you find yourself single.

What the fuck do I do know? Am I still important? What is my role in my own life? I have always played a role. Like I've always had a job. I don't really know what my job is now. I feel like I have reached some sort of finish line, but I'm not finished.

What am I now?

A middle aged woman with loads of cats and dogs who still doesn't know who she is? That is insane.

So maybe I need to write that book. How to become a woman who is single and whose children have grown up. What legacy do I wish to leave? How do I want to proceed.

Let's find out.

I can't wait to see, because this is the book I need to read next.


Friday, 4 March 2022

Weird

 When I was growing up, all I wanted in the world was to fit in. I was the foreigner, forever the new kid, the weirdo. Not only was I in a different culture, but different language, and what felt like a different planet.

Fast forward 35 years, and I understand.


Weird is who I am. I am who I am. I don't enjoy TV, I don't follow trends, I'm the actual crazy cat and dog lady. But more than anything else, I realise that it really doesn't matter. Nobody gives a shit!!!


It is so refreshing to be middle aged. Nobody cares what you choose to do, nobody cares if you are indeed a weirdo. Life is yours to live, and what a delicious gift it would be to know this in our teens and twenties, even thirties.

Single mum and divorcee by 31 when expected to be a securely married professional with a nuclear family. By whose freaking parameters? The same middle aged weirdoes who are making it up as they go along?

Let's face it. We are all chasing the same mysterious intangible truth: happiness in a nutshell. And at the end of the day, happiness is what you decide it is for you. It's not having the fullest lips, or the slimmest figure, or the most romantic relationship. Those might all be ingredients in your ultimate happiness recipe. But at the end of the day, embracing your weirdo and knowing who you are is happiness.

My hair grew back so curly after my recent weight loss. It's almost as if my body knows that my personality is large and therefore my hair would reflect that, I should look how I feel.

What about we aim for that? Embracing the weirdo within, who we actually feel we are despite conventions and culture? Oooooooo, dangerous rebel.

Or realist?

We can be no less or more who we are.

I need to be a crazy cat and dog lady in order to be happy and comfortable within my skin. What do YOU need? Are you brave enough to acknowledge it and actually live that reality? What is stopping you? Is it that it's weird to be who you are? Does anyone ACTUALLY give a shit? Will you still love you?

I am happy just the way I am. I haven't found a true romantic partner to share it with.. Does that make me odd? Unlovable? Crazy? Maybe. But if I don't care, why should you? Have you ever walked in my actual shoes? Do you really know who I am? Because I do. I genuinely do, after a LONG time of soul searching. And no one else has that intimate knowledge.

Be brave, be you. Be weird. Or not! Be conservative, unique, mainstream. Whatever the fuck you choose to be. Because at the end of the day, that's okay. 

Mummy guilt

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