A Lesson in Blogging

I think it was Eden Riley from Edenland who said ‘the blogosphere  is like the Wild West’.

Well, this week I felt like hanging up my boots.

Starting this blog was a huge deal for me.

Determined to keep my online life separate from real life,  my blog was to be a space for me to work through some of the shit that should have been dumped a long time ago.

I read lots advice before I began.

One quote stood out:

“Write as if no one is reading”

Mmm, I thought. Yes I can do that. I mean who’s going to read my baloney anyway?

I was spurred on to write thoughts I would never share in real life (still at the ‘can’t show the crazy too soon’ stage).

But this week I learnt a painful lesson. You cannot write a blog as if no one is reading, because someone is. And not always the person you are expecting.

My words hurt someone (unintentionally I should point out) from my real life. I felt, and still feel, terrible about it.

It was a huge reality check.

There is no way I can keep my two lives separate. I’m not sure why I ever thought it possible. Maybe because I prefer my on-line self? Who knows.

I cannot control who reads my blog.  (this is especially hard for a control freak like me). I cannot control assumptions people make about what I have written. The fear that mistakes that I will inevitably make will be seized upon, words criticised and ideas ridiculed has stopped me from pressing ‘publish’ many times before. Now, that feeling is stronger than ever.

I’m just not brave enough to write as if no one is reading. I care far too much what others think of me. (yes, lame, I know)

I’m not sure I’m cut out for blogging. Maybe I should stick to gin.

What are your thoughts about on-line life versus real-life and blogging?

P-Plates Required!

I love social media. Especially twitter.

But I think I need a manual and some p-plates.

In the rush to keep up with the feed, I skim-read, trying to pick up the nuances in 140 characters.

Occasionally, I see a tweet I don’t like. Generally, I ignore it. If it really offends me, I unfollow, without fanfare (I’m not very good at confrontation).

Last night, though, I was the offender.

In my quest to be the funniest and most supportive woman EVER on twitter. I fucked up.

After hitting send, it crossed my mind that it might not have been the most appropriate tweet I could have sent, but it was a direct message from someone else that hammered it home.

Fortunately for me, the person who received the tweet was as beautiful and as sweet as she always is (and thankfully not offended) , but it got me thinking (and worrying).

Should there be some sort of quality control (“Sorry @user4576 that tweet was not funny and will be deleted”)?

How often do our (my) tweets miss the mark? What happens when we do?

Should I stop mixing gin and twitter?

Have you ever regretted a tweet?

Mother

How do you feel safe when the person you are supposed to trust the most, you trust the least?

How do you love yourself when the one person who is meant to love you unconditionally, can’t?

How do you cope when the person you share your secrets and fears with, tells others?

How do you feel when you discover that not every child is thrashed for stealing hundreds and thousands from the cooking cupboard?

How do you feel when you see hatred in her eyes?

How do you feel when you try to explain to those around you that you have chosen to separate yourself from her?

How do you explain to your children that you chose not to have her in your life?

How do you cope with the loss and grief that you feel, still?

Anxiety – The Joy Sucking Vampire

Someone needs eye drops.

THINGS ARE LOOKING GOOD.

Married to a man I adore, two (on the whole) OK children, and living here, I am content.

Some weeks are harder than others, but the laughter is more frequent than not. There is an exciting new project on the go and some plans to help my writing. All progress on the path of self-fulfilment.

But hanging around like a bad smell, threatening to throw me off course, is my old foe, Anxiety.

Heart-racing, palm-sweating, breath-stopping anxiety.

Sucking the joy out of life, like a fucking vampire.

Along with his friend Panic Attack, both of them can …yes. That.

I am what is known as a  ‘born worrier’ (an insecure childhood will make you anxious that’s for sure) and have carried that throughout my life.

Then we had children. God knows every parent worries. For us though, our intense experiences were more than just the average concerns about sleep and potty training .

BW had seizures on average every 6 weeks between 12 and 24 months. We would hear the noise in the night, in his sleep. The sound of him choking.

There were too many high-speed ambulance journeys, too many nights sleeping in hospital chairs next to his cot. We got to know the paramedics by their first names.

He was finally diagnosed with epilepsy at 2 and medicated shortly afterwards. The seizures stopped and we relaxed enough to allow babysitters to come so we could go out together (we’d been too terrified before).

But that didn’t stop me from keeping a baby monitor in his room until he was 7.

A few years later, after a spell of enormous stress,  TS had 4 seizures in 2 hours. I’d seen enough seizures with BW not to panic, but my mind was racing through the possible causes – brain tumour, cancer, he was dying? No. It was epilepsy.

For him, that meant meds and no driving for 12 months and for me,  being too terrified to leave him  alone with our children. You can imagine the scenarios that went through my mind, can’t you?

BW’s Asperger’s diagnosis was probably the final twist in our family story that my anxiety needed.  The worry that goes with parenting a child with special needs is unfathomable. I have no idea what each day will bring, let alone what sort of future he has.

Now my body doesn’t know how to function unless it is in fight or flight mode.

I am an adrenaline junkie.

Cold Turkey isn’t an option.

Medication, space to contemplate and relax, good friends and gin help.

I can manage.

Some weeks better than others.

But I need to kick the habit.

Do you suffer from anxiety? What helps you?

Popping My Blogging Conference Cherry (ProBlogger 2012)

My blogging conference cherry has been popped.

It was terrifying.

Fortunately, I had stalked asked Carli if I could get a lift with her, so I didn’t have to arrive on my own. Bloggers who attended on their own, how brave are you?

In some ways, it felt a little like high school with the various ‘tribes’. There were the popular girls, the business types, the techies, the arty crafty people, all bursting with creativity and passion.

I was alone in the ‘numpty* blogger’ tribe.

Plenty of other people will give the round-up of what we learnt, but what you really want to know is…

Did I mess up?

Hell yes. Here are my top five.

1. Lunging at Kerry Sackville for a pash when all she wanted to do was shake my hand.

2. Introducing a well-known blogger to someone else I had just met, and getting their blog name wrong

3. Spitting marshmallow over the nice person who drove me in that morning. Sorry Carli.

4. During small talk over refreshments with a member of the ‘blogeratti’, showing them my best seal impression, to illustrate how I burp if I drink coke.

5. At the cocktail party, drunkenly trying to explain to a group of women why I was wearing a moustache.

You knew I wouldn’t let you down. Right?

The conference itself was one of the most well organised I have ever attended (and I’ve been to some doozies). The energy bouncing around the room while the speakers shared their stories was electrifying. They were all so generous with their advice, willing everyone in the room to pursue their ideas with passion.

The twitter-folk I met were fabulous, especially Michaela, Grace, Norlin, DonnaSophie and Belinda.

And the cocktail party was awesome. I need my own photo booth. Seriously.

Much of the conference focused on making money from your blog. As my blog started as a way for me to write and to get rid of some of my sad feelings, I’m not sure I could monetize it if I tried! Apart from gin, I’m not sure which brands would want to work with me!

That aside, a little spark was ignited.

Meeting new people like Amanda, Lincoln, Jane and Kimberley who were all so complimentary, made me realise that I do have lots to offer in terms of my business acumen and other skills.

This says it all for me:

Returning home I began making plans.

Who knows where they are going, but I’m following them.

What changes have you experienced or made for yourself recently?

*definition: Someone who (sometimes unwittingly) by speech or action demonstrates a lack of knowledge or misconception of a particular subject or situation to the amusement of others.

Chicken!

The sky is falling!

What if something embarrassing happens? again?

Like, this one time, I fainted on a train and the passengers shouted “Help the young man up!”

NOT EVEN JOKING.

So scared, so much of the time – such a chicken.

But, today I am stepping out of my comfort zone.

Today, I am nervous as hell, but focusing on how lucky I am that I get to do something new and exciting.

Today I am trying to remember that if I can do this:

I can do anything.

What have you done recently to step out of your comfort zone?

Imperfection Is Beauty

When my lovely friend Renee sent me this quote, I had to post it, it’s so me!

(I’m not really an “inspirational quote” blogger, not sure of my niche, but it’s definitely not inspirational!)

I am trying to accept my imperfections.

There is more madness in me than genius.

The Saint thinks I’m beautiful.

And I’m definitely ridiculous, several times a day.

Thanks, Marilyn. You get me.

Who Do You Think You Are?

It’s happening again.

Activities I have been looking forward to, suddenly loom like insurmountable obstacles, to be avoided at all costs.

The Black Dog is whispering in my ear.

“Who do you think you are?”

“What makes you think you can do this?”

“Is anyone really interested in anything you have to say?”

I swear I can hear the fucker laughing at me.

I can’t breathe.

Trying to ignore him, I realise the voice is coming from inside my own head.

Fuck.

My brain, conditioned over so many years, is playing its favourite tricks.

You are not good enough.

“She may as well stop coming to ballet you know, she’s getting too tall”

“It’s a shame really, her sister is so pretty”

“Why do you have to look like him?”

“You can’t do that”

“Depression  lies” a good friend told me.

It probably does.

But she’s still here. The tall, gawky girl, who sometimes talks too much and too loudly, scared of doing or saying the wrong thing.

Still trying to find out whether or not she’s good enough.

Today is World Mental Health Day – raising public awareness of mental health issues. Depression affects 350 million people worldwide.

It’s time to end the stigma.

Little White Lies

I have Bec from Bird with a Chip as my guest today:

Is it okay to say you are doing well, when you are not? How about that nothing is new, when life with a baby brings the unexpected every single day?

Does it matter who it is to, what it is about, or what the purpose might be? Or is it more about whether the lie is white, or grey, or black?

I don’t know.

But I do know that my truth is telling lies. Little white ones. Harmless. Trivial. Inconsequential. I’ve become quite accustomed to presenting a story to those around me. Creating an illusion. Crafting words with omission. To smooth things over. To avoid confrontation. To spare feelings. To dodge difficult conversations.

I’ve often heard it said that white lies are okay. Lies told to protect others. But protecting oneself through lies? That’s deceptive. Wrong. Harmful. Hurtful. And I agree, wholeheartedly.

But what of lying to yourself? Does it count as a white lie if you are both the storyteller and listener? Protecting yourself, from yourself? Is that wrong? Because here is another truth; that’s me. I do that sometimes too.

I’m not a Bird who always smiles. My life is often chaotic. Feelings of anxiety regularly invade my head space. This is my shade. But when there is light, there is laughter. Life is fun. And the sun is shining while I dance. Bending the truth helps get me through the shade and back into the light. And that’s my unvarnished truth on white lies.

I’m a lying liar. Am I the only one?

Bec, from Bird with a chip, is a newcomer to the blogosphere. As a self-confessed d.i.try-er, and lover of all things sweet, Bec writes about life as a new Mumma, with some decor and delicacies on the side

Rainbows and Unicorns

The holidays are over (I can hear the cheers reverberating around the neighbourhood) and my boys are going back to school.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved, but I confess to feeling a little sad too.

PANIC YE NOT, IT IS STILL ME WRITING THIS BLOG!

It hasn’t suddenly become all rainbows and unicorns.

There have been some spectacular meltdowns this holiday (including a brawl at a public swimming pool). Not to mention an “interesting” counselling session where Boy Wonder implied I beat him regularly. OH MY GOD! (yes, tears were shed and gin was had).

However, the more challenging situations have been managed differently and some of the time, the new strategies have worked.

(The Saint definitely noticed the lack of tearful phone calls made at 9.30am asking “when are you coming home?”.)

I also had a secret aim. To say ‘yes’ more than I said ‘no’. I’m not saying I achieved this 100% of the time, but  I am not Wonder Woman (yet. Another secret aim).

So while we may not have completed all of the activities on the boys list, I think judging by these photos, fun was had.

How were your holidays?