Dear Daughters and Sons – how to not become a hermit in a knitted beanie.

Dear Daughters and Sons,

All my life I have been ’emotionally fluid’ you know – like waves, large ones that roll and crash about without direction. Its gotten worse as I’ve gotten older which is a bummer because I expected to grow wise and become able to control my emotions. Not just grow older. I used to wonder how those older people who lived like hermits with big overgrown gardens and spooky houses became like that. Now I know that over a life – life’s experiences can wear you down, erode away your sense of self worth and faith in others until you want to hide. I could easily be on the road to being the strange hermit, behind the rambling roses, with the tumbling down house. I have been hurt often enough, I have hurt others often enough that I find it easy to drown in waves of self loathing.

I have searched for self worth in many places. I searched for it in my appearance and true, when I was in my 30’s the decade where everyone is beautiful, I felt great walking down the main street of Daylesford in my short short dresses and knee high boots. But now I am too old for short short skirts though never too old for knee high boots. We all will look older one day (unless we are Nicole Kidman) and can no longer rely on youth for self worth. I searched for self worth in sex and I had some fun sex on tables and by rivers with gorgeous men with long flowing hippie hair and even better forbidden sex with men I shouldn’t have been with. But then I met the man I wanted to grow old with and my relationship with him became more important than sex – which was lucky because nothing ruins sex and self worth like getting aggressive cancer and I got that when I turned 40. I searched for self worth in social media even though I don’t really get it and hashtag all the wrong words and send messages to the wrong people. But I realised I felt happy when people liked my posts and became distraught when a men’s vigilante anti feminist group in the USA latched onto me and swamped me with hate mail and I ran and hid.

Lots of things make me want to hide. I could easily be on the road to being the strange hermit, behind the rambling roses, with the tumbling down house. I have been hurt often enough, I have hurt others often enough that I find it easy to drown in waves of self loathing.

But I choose not to become the strange hermit in a hand knitted beanie.

Because what really gives me my sense of self worth is the relationships I have with the people closest to me. These aren’t relationships where we exchange a couple of texts or like each others posts (though these are useful ways of staying in touch on a daily basis with those you love). These are relationships that exist in real time, spent in the real world, with food and drink and old fashioned breaking of gluten free bread. This is sitting every morning with my husband over a pot of tea and coffee. This is knowing what is happening in my kids lives and hearing their voices every few days. This is being honest with my friends about how much they mean to me even if they think I am a soppy loser who might be too dependent and intense.

So daughters and sons, in a noisy noisy world with skinny skinny actresses and models plastered everywhere – don’t find self worth in your appearance. And in a world where thank god it is becoming more acceptable to be pan/trans/bi/gay/straight/binary/non-binary remember that in the end sex is just sex and please remember that texting is not a heartfelt letter, posting memes is not sharing your soul, likes and follows do not mean you are loved or not loved.
What matters is the relationships you are building with those that will accompany you through life and stop you becoming a hermit.

Dear Daughters and Sons on Day 2. To be Happy Put Your Head in the Sand

Dear Daughters, Sisters and Sons

This is what I always do.

In my mind I line up all the wonderful women I know, admire and love and then I focus on how far short I fall of them.

This is not a good idea.

But I’m not going to stop doing it, so instead what I am going to do is ignore the short fall.

Ignoring stuff is a really useful life skill and tool.

I have found it to be a most useful tool in having a successful marriage. Anything that can be ignored should be. Only make an issue of stuff that is a deal breaker and ignore every thing else that niggles at you and I promise your marriage will be far less fraught with tension.

So I am going to ignore the fact that I can’t paint as beautifully as my friend Maryanne, or that I don’t have the social skills that make people feel warm and happy like Julie and Jenuarrie, nor am I as kind, compassionate and funny as my friend Louise manages or be, nor am I as beautiful inside and out as my friend Linda, nor do write as well as Kate, nor cook as well as Maggie and I certainly don’t look as sexy in the kitchen as Rachel. I even look at my daughters and think how much more together they are, than I was at their age.

Basically I can look at any other female and immediately identify all the ways in which I fall short in comparison. And I don’t manage to manage my friendships well because I assume that underneath my friends are going to feel about me the way I feel about me which isn’t that great.

So on day 2. Of changing my life, in the pursuit of happiness I have decided to ignore the fact that I don’t do any of these things as well as the clever, wonderful women I know.

I’m going to ignore this and I’m just gonna get on in there and do this stuff anyway ignoring the fact that I might not be doing it very well – just like those kids that apply for Australia’s got talent, who sing like cats but are convinced they are the next Amy Winehouse and don’t hesitate to tell the judges how brilliant they are.

I’m going to try some blindness to my own failings and see if it works. I’m going to do the three things I love doing most regardless of how well I do them or how well anyone else does them, cooking, painting, writing and then even if I am a wailing cat I am going to inflict them on the rest of the world.

So last night I created a new recipe and put it on my recipe blog, I wrote on this blog and I started a new painting.

I admit I had to force myself to do these things as the despair was biting at my heels.

And I admit that after I did them I did in fact feel better in my mind and body. So maybe the stiff upper lip the British always stood by has some merit – along with putting your head in the sand.

Dear Sisters, on day 1. make your own happiness

Dear Sisters,

I have not written for a long time. This is because I am a mess.

When I was in my 30’s people in their 50s told me that your 50s is the best time of your life. For me this has not been true.

When I look back, the best time of my life was my 30s. I was slim; I had great sex with men wherever the passion took me and was old enough and mature enough to manage it with reasonable aplomb and only a few bad choices. I had two of my kids in my 30s, I found “the one” and got married in my 30s and most importantly I felt I had my whole life ahead of me.

Little did I know that life ahead of me was going to mean spending my 40s fighting cancer and then the after effects of cancer. And spending my 50’s being a mess.

I have not found this wonderful place I was promised of finally being happy in my own skin. In my 50’s I have fallen apart.

Astronomically and sensationally fallen apart.

A couple of things have happened to trigger this slide into despair.

The cancer was life threatening and life changing and I never really got over its damage. The psychological damage from cancer is massive and underrated. Even if you survive and don’t get me wrong I am so, so grateful for surviving but I don’t look the same, I don’t feel the same, so many parts of me that made up me were ravaged and killed by the cancer. I lost my hair, my eyebrows, my eyelashes, my cervix, my uterus, my ovaries, my breasts and what I got was a whole pile of chemically induced weight. I was left with a shell emotionally and physically. My hair was the only thing to grow back and it grew back resentfully in tiny thin wisps that weren’t even a reminder of the enormous curly long locks I had pre-cancer.

When I told my oncologist I felt bad after the cancer, that I had trouble getting out of bed each day he said, ‘but your cured for the time being – you should feel good.’ And that is the attitude that is most expressed, once you have survived you should pick yourself up and get on, because after all there is all those people who are still being diagnosed or not surviving. This is true but doesn’t address the nightmares, the change to your personality and looks, the exhaustion from the treatment, the constant worry that every little thing wrong with you is the cancer back. I would happily have a permanent weekly spot in my doctor’s appointment book to check the ache in my little finger and the new freckle spot on my toe.

So I took this cancer baggage with me into my 50’s and in my 50s’ further trauma struck. I was monumentally wronged by a woman who sued me for something I didn’t do and when we were just getting back on our feet from the cancer this cost me a huge amount of money and emotional stress to defend myself against her allegations. The lawyers won out. I spent many days in tears worried about my ability to emotionally and financially survive.

But again I survived and was just getting back on my feet again when I was attacked in my workplace, by a massive bloke, who punched me in the head and tried to kill me with a 25cm pair of scissors. I truly thought I was going to die in that moment. So this was the second time in a decade or so that I faced imminent death.
I stood there as he plunged at me with the scissors, aiming for my heart and I thought this is the place I die – this is what my life amounts to – dying here at the hands of an idiot.

I lost my job because the threat to my life continued and I was no longer safe in my workplace. And he got a one month suspended sentence and I became a mess again.

I know this all spells Post traumatic Stress.

Is Post Traumatic Stress real? Insurance companies think not and it’s hard to prove you have it.

How do I explain what it feels like to not be able to walk out my front door or if I do walk out the front door its even harder to come home again. How do I explain that I spend most of my waking time thinking about how I could kill myself in a way that seems natural and won’t destroy my family or that most days I can’t answer my phone or look at my emails because I expect it to be bad news of a catastrophic type. How do I explain that I am constantly shaking inside, a shaking that just never stops. And what can be done about it anyway?

On top of all of this I am in my 50s’s. This means I have become invisible. I get served last in shops and the sales people don’t bother to make eye contact with me, men don’t see me at all, younger women have started calling me love and darling and speaking to me as if I am an idiot, the clothes shops are not for me, the advertisements are not for me, the world is not for me.

I have reached the age where people make jokes about people my age having sex or passion and make ooh sounds that are of the oooh gross type rather than the oooh sexy type.

I am a woman who is 50 therefore I question if I have value in the world.

So what to do? I have long believed we are responsible for our own happiness. So I think the answer is obvious and practical. I need to change my life. I need to ignore the fact I am in my 50s. I need to find that place that I was told about where I don’t care for the gazes of men or the recognition and approval of others.
I need to get physically healthy and mentally sound. I need to take responsibility for my own happiness. Today is day 1.

Dear Daughters – How to Ruin a Relationship

Dear Daughters,

I’m going to tell you how to ruin a relationship because some of you seem not to know. Some of you seem to think equality will ruin a relationship between a man and a woman.
This is not true – it won’t work for you.
Its super easy to ruin a relationship.
If you need help here are a few ideas,

  1. Cheat with someone who looks like Aidan Turner
  2. Be really stupid
  3. Be really selfish
  4. Throw lots of tantrums

In case you don’t quite get it – EQUALITY DOES NOT RUIN RELATIONSHIPS!

So to all of you who have written to me telling me that Feminism is ruining relationships between men and women I would like to say a few things,

  1. Feminism is only a word that means Equality for Women
  2. Equality for women does not Equal Hating Men
  3. The only thing that ruins relationships between men and women is men and women acting selfishly and stupidly, I’ll say it again in case you missed it – equality does not ruin relationships
  4. If you are with a bloke who doesn’t believe in equality for women dump him!
  5. My husband is just as committed to feminism as I am – after all he has 4 daughters and a wife he adores
  6. I personally adore many men, my husband, my 4 sons, my doctor who is often also my friend, my art gallery owner friend Giorgio, my writer friend Mario in Italy, Marco Pierre White who has the hottest voice ever and the list goes on – adoring these men doesn’t stop me being a feminist.
  7. And this is most important – For the majority of women in the world the job of feminism is far from done and we must stand and demand better for those women. We do not live in selfish isolation.

    I wish to thank all of you who have written me wonderful letters like this one,

Dear Robbi,
THANK YOU! I am absolutely dismayed at the cavalier way many (obviously, not all) young women treat the feminist movement. When applying for an executive position, they’ve never been asked their typing speed, of if they “wouldn’t rather have someone to keep them warm at night than this job,” or hearing their interviewers say, “Well, we never thought about hiring a woman, but _____ company did, and I hear she’s done OK,” or “Sorry, we aren’t going to give you the job, but how would you like to have dinner with me?”
You are so right that as long as women anywhere in the world are chattel, we should be working to help them have access to education and jobs, and freedom from forced marriages and servitude.
Best always,
Nana, Happily married (for 25+ years!) feminist.

Now I lets get back to discussing really serious issues like how the world can be divided into Legolas Women and Aragorn Women.
Personally it’s Aragorn all the way for me.

Dear Daughters Against Feminism – You’re right. Equality Sucks!

Dear Daughters @ http://yourfriendshouse.com/2014/women-are-standing-up-against-feminism-and-its-going-viral/

I’m so glad you believe you don’t need the feminist movement – the reason you believe you don’t need the feminist movement is -because hmmm lets see – oh yes – the feminist movement.

I’m glad you weren’t a young women in the 70’s when I thought I might like to be a bank teller with the Commonwealth Bank, it was a good steady job that I could do until I got married, yes that’s right, even in the 70’s women were often expected to give up work if they married. Anyway to be a teller you had to sit a state-wide exam in Melbourne. So I trundled off to the city one Saturday morning and sat the exam.
Then the bank called me in for an interview.
I sat in a little cubicle and a bank man told me, somewhat startled about it himself, that I had come second highest in the whole state with a score of 98. He said he didn’t expect that from a “Girl“.
He then told me the boy in the next cubicle had come third and he offered me a job, until I had my first baby at which point I must leave the bank.
I asked what my starting salary as a teller would be and he said, $60 a week.
I then asked what the boy next door, who came third, would get paid and the man said, with absolutely no apology, ‘Oh he’s a boy so he will get $90 a week.’

That’s right. He was going to get paid half again on top just for having a penis. Or let’s put it another way, I was going to get 1/3 less than him just because I was a girl and I had even beat him in their stupid test.

So I am glad daughters that you don’t need feminism, I’m glad you live in the 1st world but you are only 10% of the world’s population of women.
I’m glad you can voice your opinion because in many countries women aren’t allowed to have opinions, many women still die in child birth, many women are not allowed to work or drive cars even if they want to, many women are told what to wear and have no rights in a court of law, many women have no right to divorce or have their own money and many women are not educated simply because they are females.

I wonder if they feel the same as you. I wonder if they have signs saying they don’t need feminism?

I’m glad none of you want to be a Catholic Priest because women still aren’t allowed to do that. I’m glad you don’t aim to be the next prime minister of Australia because the last woman that tried that just about got burnt at the stake, I’m glad you don’t want to be safe in the streets at night, I’m glad you don’t want equal pay for comparable jobs or to be successful in business or politics because if you wanted those things you might feel you needed feminism to get them.

But really what it comes down to is that the reason you don’t think you need feminism is because a whole bunch of women before you have worn a whole lot of crap and fought a whole lot of shit so that you can feel like you don’t need feminism.

So why don’t you make some signs that say, ‘Thanks – job well done – we’ll carry the load from here.’

Dear Daughters – About Grains of Truth

Hot Property?
Hot Property?

Dear Daughter’s,

And so here is a Singlet that is for sale in Ice Design, Earlville, Cairns.

Do I really need to say anything?

It kinda speaks for itself.

I did say something to my daughter.

I said, ‘Don’t even think about it!’

Thankfully she said, ‘As.  If!’

Who is the idiot who thinks this kinda stuff is appropriate for teenage girls to wear – where are we? Last time I looked it wasn’t the middle ages.

Please aim higher than to be someone’s property.

Please, no matter how much you love him, don’t advertise yourself as his property.

Dear Daughters – don’t buy into this crap! Even if it’s presented as tongue in cheek because everyone knows there is a grain of truth to every joke.

Letters to Sons and Daughters – How to be a slut

Dear Sons and Daughters,

 

I was driving down Mulgrave Road with both my teenagers in the back of the car munching on chips and drinking slushies. They were discussing the other students at the school.

‘What about Jenna,’ said my boy

‘OMG she is such a slut,’ said my daughter.

‘She’s the sluttiest slut face ever,’ my son agreed.

There was a little more discussion along the lines of,

‘Well the whole school knows what a slut she is…..

At this point I put my foot on the brake and stopped in the middle of the busy road, all the traffic honked, glared and drove around us which I ignored. This was much more important. I turned and said,

‘What exactly makes this girl a slut?’

‘Oh well,’ said my boy, ‘she breaks the two year rule.’

‘The two year rule?’ I began driving again, much to the relief of the 3 kilometres of built up traffic behind us.

‘Yeah there’s a two year rule,’ said my daughter.

‘Tell me about the two year rule?’

‘Well,’ explained my son like I was really the most stupidest stupid person over 20 EVA! ‘The two year rule is that you can’t date anyone who is in a grade more than two years above or below your grade.’

‘You do realise,’ I said slowly so they could take it in, ‘that your father is eight years older than me. When I was 14 he was 22. That makes me – your mother – extra slutty.’

‘Oh but she doesn’t just break the two year rule. She’s also been out with three different guys this year.’

‘At the same time?’ I asked.

‘No one after the other.’

It was November.

‘So three guys in 11 months. And she’s how old?’

‘Fifteen,’ said my son, ‘she’s in between us.’

‘God I once dated three guys in the one day,’ I said, ‘What does that make me? Guys by your calculations nearly every girl in the world is a slut. Do you think that’s fair?’

Silence.

‘Okay,’ I said. ‘What about the boys that date these girls that are more than two years younger than them or who have dated three girls this year. Are they sluts too?’

Silence

‘No they’re Players.’

‘Ahh,’ I said, ‘Feminism has achieved such boundless equality for women.’

‘Are you being sarcastic?’ my son asked.

Letters to Daughters and Sons – True Lies

Dear Daughters and Sons,

True Lies:

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me – Ahh Bulls..t. Use sticks and stones to break me any day over Crushing, Heart Breaking, Words.

Once a cheater always a cheater – Not true! My ex-husband cheated on me and I on him (with a gorgeous cross dressing dope addicted hippie who looked like Sting) but I have never cheated on my second husband and never will. Cheating is a SYMPTOM not a CAUSE. (However my recommendation is that it’s better not to cheat because if you are splitting up, it only murkies the waters, and allows the other person to concentrate on your cheating rather than the relationship problems).

The Best things in life are free – Free my arse! The best things in life cost a packet. The best thing in my life is my kids and they say the average kid costs $200,000 to raise. Times that by 5 means without kids I could have been a lonely millionaire.

Love means never having to say you’re sorry. My daughter’s wall is plastered with cute little truisms like this one, accompanied by cute little pictures of cute little teddy bears with bandages on their arms. Problem is they are lie-isms. Love means very much saying you are sorry – a lot!

Especially if you are the bloke, because let’s be honest blokes – half the time you just don’t get what it is you’ve done wrong – and if you do get it you usually didn’t mean to be nasty and horrid – you just weren’t thinking – you say

which lands you in more hot water because – why can’t you think about your better half’s needs once in a while – not even thinking about us is as bad as thinking and doing the wrong thing on purpose – we say

– and well if you thought of that, you say, you wouldn’t be in trouble, but you have to think you’re not thinking to be able to rectify not thinking

and so it goes on and before you know it,  the hole is so deep you are half way to the centre of the scoring hot earth where you will surely be burnt to a crisp by the she-devil herself, so you might as well just say sorry and mean it and get on with being in love.

Karma will sort everything out in the end – More Bull….t Bad people get away with bad stuff all the time. The problem is that usually good people blame themselves and allow it to define them when bad things happen to them and bad people blame everyone else. Bad stuff doesn’t happen to you because you are bad. Bad stuff happens because bad stuff happens. Good people need to stick together.

Letters to my Daughters and Sons – Stuff I’ve stuffed up that you can do better

Like most mothers I want my kids (and all future generations) to be better, richer, healthier, happier and kinder than me and my generation.

To do be happier than me – you must learn from my mistakes.

Which you won’t do.

Because if the generations of the world have anything in common it’s our resolute determination to make our own mistakes, regardless of how often they’ve been made before.

There are many things in my life that I look back and think – Well I coulda done that better!

Some of the things I want you to do better than me – some rules to live by, things I should have done better:

  • I apologise for the many drafts of this post – never try to write when you have just had a general anaesthetic
  • When I had sex I wish I had only had sex with people I actually liked;  like my husband Pete who has the kindest heart of anyone I know and not just someone who was available and willing like the weedy guy that looked like an anorexic  Woody Allen and thought the measure of good sex was how many times he could do it in a 24 hour period, rather than the quality of what he was doing. So have sex with people you really do like.
  • I should have stood up for myself better. I know in my gut when I am really right about something but often just don’t trust ymyself. I have always blamed myself for everything that happens around me. But we are not responsible for other people’s bad behaviour (its taken me 50 years to learn this). We can’t change other people’s bad behaviour we can only change how we  respond to it.
  • I wish when I partnered up with someone, and then realised after six months that they treated me  badly – I didn’t then spend the next nine and a half years breaking up with them
  • When I got divorced I wish I had done it with dignity (even when or if the other party behaved like an arse)
  • When I got divorced I wish I had left the kids out of it – quite frankly parental bickering is about as interesting for kids as watching the beef stock sales results on Country TV
  • I wish I had found what drives me and committed to it wholeheartedly and didn’t think I was too old to start – From now on I am just going to think Susan Boyle.
  • I wish I had made some money while I was young so I had the finances to commit fully to what drives me.
  • If I had a problem I should have sought help and not felt bad about needing it. If you can’t find help keep looking till you do and don’t worry about what other people are going to think about you.
  • I wish I had the guts to say something to people who take their kids out to quiet adult cafes (except McDonalds, Coffee Club, KFC etc. i.e. places that are purpose built to be kid friendly)  when I am there trying to have some kid free peace and quiet. Kids don’t want to be in boring cafes or sipping babychino’s and I don’t think they’re cute when they are noisy and precocious because they are bored shitless and keep flinging food and tantrums in my direction.
  • Appearances do matter. I dressed like a hippy chick and then wondered why people thought I would be unreliable, into drugs and didn’t want to trust me with responsibility. Inside I was really a conservative Baptist girl who was very competent at my job.
  • I shouldn’t  have judged people by how they look as often as I have. I looked like a drugged out hippy chick but was really a conservative, articulate, competent Baptist girl.
  • I wish I was better at being friends with women; it’s hard to be friends with men unless they are gay. If they are not gay they will want to have sex with you because you are such good friends and bang goes the friendship.
  • I wish in my thirties I hadn’t flirted with other women’s men. It made the women hate me. Usually I didn’t flirt with other women’s men but I didn’t deter the men from flirting with me either.  I suppose the school girl dresses and knee high socks I liked wearing in my late twenties and early thirties didn’t help either. If you don’t discourage the men, or you dress like this on a daily basis, the other women will hate you.
  • Sometimes other women will just hate you – they are bitches.
  • Don’t expect other people to make you happy. You are responsible for your own happiness.
  • Life is a risky business. Take risks.
  • If you love someone tell them, if you hate your job find a new one, if you hate your town change towns.
  • Life really is too short to be unhappy
  • Again I apologise for the many drafts of this post – writing and general anaesthetics don’t mix

Letters to all Sons and Daughters – where to start?

Dear Sons, Fathers, Husbands – and daughters too

I am very pleased that my daughters take the lives they have for granted. So they should. Women should expect nothing other than the same opportunity to do anything and everything that men do and the fact that both my daughters take this for granted as their right, is itself a sign that the feminist movement of the 70’s and 80’s had some positive impact on the future for women. Women in the 70’s fought for equal pay and sexual freedom, for access to the pill and the right to be working mothers. It was a fight that was needed.

s my parents informed me that I better come down to earth and find something satisfactory to do as my education was to cease at Form 6 – (now year 12) – because they said, it was a waste of money sending a girl to University  because- again – I would just have babies.

I did what I was told and applied to the Commonwealth Bank for a cadetship. My parents were thrilled; it was more than they had hoped for me.

In those days a job in a bank meant a job for life if you were a man – or until you had your first baby if you were a woman. A bank job had prospects and security. I had to sit an exam and I passed and was called in for an interview. In the course of the interview the grey suited bank guy told me I had ranked second out of the state. The boy who came third was in the next booth being interviewed at the same time. The grey suit guy proudly told me I could start next week.

How much will my starting wage be? I asked.

$60 per week he said

How much will the boy next door get paid? I asked

$90 per week, he said.

So I did better than him but I’m going to be paid less? I said.

Well – you will go and have babies. We’ll only get a few years out of you. We get him for life, said grey suit man.

I walked out and tried applying to be a graphic designer/signwriter – but was turned down because I would have to climb up a ladder and everyone would be able to see up my skirt. I thought jeans would solve that problem but my prospective employer didn’t “trust girls who wear pants.”

Well my parents and the commonwealth bank were right. I did go and have babies. But did that mean I should get paid less for the work I did in the meantime – of course not, did it mean I shouldn’t get a tertiary education – of course not. So I paid my own way through uni.

Unfortunately I chose to do an art course which was less practical than doing a course in donut making and all I was qualified for at the end was waiting tables or cleaning. But I did learn how to empty a bong, how to make rabbit skin glue and how to stretch canvasses, I developed an obsessive crush on another art student who looked like Bryan Ferry and my art lecturer Gareth Sansom and I had deep and meaningful conversations about the cold war and went on even more meaningful marches against the bomb.

Not one to give up on uni I did a theology course next, thinking I would become a minister but instead I became an atheist but in theology classes I learnt how to question and think and had deep discussions with other students over vegetarian pizza about the future of the world ahead of us and how we could turn the status quo upside down and assist the poor and marginalised.

It was hard, still in the 70’s, for some girls like me to get to uni, to get a decent job, to get ahead. And even though I chose courses that stretched my mind and not my wallet it was more than worthwhile and I didn’t take it for granted.

But daughters  I hope you do take going to uni for granted. I hope you choof off to uni thinking nothing of it.  And if you don’t go to uni I hope you always assume you will have a career of your choice.

But whether or not you got to uni  is insignificance when compared to the problems women face in the rest of the world.

In Saudi Arabia they are discussing whether or not women can be trusted to drive a car. Women are not allowed to travel nor apply for work or education without the permission of a male guardian. A woman activist has been arrested for driving.

Does this not sound similarly like slavery?

Ahh but its cultural or religious people say.

Well slavery of African Americans was once considered a religious right too. Masters used holy verses to justify the keeping of slaves. Verses like these:

Ephesians 6:5:  Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.

1 Peter 2:18: Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.

But any writing that supports the oppression of any other person is not holy and it is not sacred!!!!!!

And I would hope no one, not even right wing Christians would support slavery. So why do we turn a blind eye to the slavery of women? In the 80’s the world held sanctions against apartheid South Africa. Yet never does anyone suggest sanctions against nations that abuse their women.

Why is this?

I think it is in part because the rights of women enter every home in the world. So every man, every Son needs to make a stand starting with his very own home.

I have a wonderful men in my life. I have a husband who wakes me each morning of our married life with a hot pot of tea as a symbol of his love.

Even if we’ve had a fight.

If I wake up before he’s had a chance to make my tea he says,

‘Would you like hot tea or hot sex this morning?’

Then he sighs and says

‘I’ll go put the kettle on and comes back with my  steaming tea in its English china pot with the bone china tea cup sitting beside it.’

I have four amazing sons.

Each of these men is kind, compassionate and teaches me about tolerance which I’m not always good with.

And then there is Mrs Banks who in Mary Poppins sang: (I might have paraphrased here)

Singularly men are brilliant, kind and hot.

But collectively, when you look at men as a collective across the globe, there are serious issues.

Women are still excluded from decision making at best and oppressed in ways that should have the world in outrage at worst. Sometimes I think women have achieved very little and when I read about Saudi Arabia I feel women have achieved nothing and I worry for my daughters that they live in a world that preaches racial equality but forgets gender equality and I worry for my sons who need fair equal relationships with women for their own well being.

It is not the job of women alone to achieve equality. Women need equality because men as a collective refuse to share it.

I beg all sons and daughters: There needs to be a New feminist movement, a movement that is not overshadowed by personalities and fights for sexual freedom but a movement that fights for the basic essentials of women’s rights across the globe to not be slaves and it needs to be a movement with voices from both the sons and daughters of the world for all the sons and daughters of the world!

But I don’t know where we start.

Letters to my daughters – dream with one foot

Dear Daughters, Aunts, Friends, Mothers,

At any age it is often hard to know what to do with your life. You want to make the best of it given as you probably only have one.

No spares, no returns.

My mother wanted me to be a nurse so that when I produced children I could mend their broken knees.

If not a nurse, her next suggestion was a teacher because teachers know how to control children – or so she thought – and that would make me a better mother.

Well if not a teacher, her third option for me was, what is now called a P.A. (personal assistant) or even better E.A. (executive assistant) but back then was just plain old secretary. Her reasoning was that as a secretary I would make a better wife; I could look after my husbands business affairs, write his letters and pay his bills with the efficiency I learnt in secretarial school and with such efficiency there would still be time for all my other wifely chores.

But what do I want for you daughters of mine – I could spout all the airy fairy stuff about following your heart. Well I followed my heart like the hippy girl I was, smothered myself in acrylic paints and canvasses, spouted socialist lingo about money not having any meaning and traipsed off to all the marches against the nuclear bomb and all it did was keep me poor, happy but poor – and sometimes the poorness made me very sad.

I met boys with similar values and we had sex amongst the canvasses and were poor together. Then I managed to marry one of them, produced three kids, divorced, had lots of sex, remarried another kinder hippy (by this time heading towards middle age) and produced two more kids and got even poorer.

I thought money meant nothing. But its absolutely not true. If I regret anything, it is not taking the opportunity to make money when I was young. I should have followed my heart but perhaps also done a little teaching on the side. So whilst I want you to follow your hearts, make art and music and drama and love; I also want you to think about where the money is going to come from – as boring as that is.

It is important for a woman to have her own money!

And whilst money doesn’t buy happiness it does buy the things that make you happy, like freedom for holidays, art, movies, good food, travel and being able to pay the bills. So balance the money with the chasing the dream stuff.

The other important thing to remember is that you are never too old to start something new no matter what it is!!!!!

When I was eight I wanted more than anything to marry my sunday school teacher, he was sooo blond. But I thought I would have to wait until I was 16 and that seemed such an old age.

Then when I was 14 I wanted to marry our minister Alan Marr. I thought we were meant to be together for ever. I held on to this one for a good ten years but when I got to 22 the age I thought I should marry, he was 32 and I thought that was ancient – not  to mention he had married a very nice someone else in the mean time and I was pretty pee-ed off he hadn’t waited for me.

When I was twenty eight I wanted to study medicine but I thought I was too old as I wouldn’t finish my studies until I was the elderly age of 35.

At 40 I wanted to be a psychologist but as I wouldn’t finish the studies until I was 45 what was the point?

I thought I was too  old to write a blog but I am and now someone, or two or a few are reading it.

The point is that our perception of how old is old changes as we get older.

And the real point is that no matter what your age it is only the age of your body. It is not the age of you!

So go out there and conquer and let nothing stop you!

I’ve got a job now but I am also going to chase that painting career I wanted back when I was 16 and my mother said “Don’t you dare start dressing like one of those artist people!!!” which is exactly how I’ve always dressed.

Letters to my daughters – especially the one who is 16 – don’t rush

Dear Daughters,

All global daughters. My youngest daughter is 16. She thinks I have forgotten. It might have been the drug dazed 70’s ….But I remember well – those high high wedges we tottered around on covered by our maxi dresses and big floppy hats over even bigger hair. Those guys with their long hair that blowed in the breeze like hero’s from Game of Thrones, those tight tight denims that just covered their tiny arses and draped on the ground with the flower embroidered bell bottoms, those skin glo-weave shirts that clung to every muscle on their chests.

My mother told me if I did anything with the boys she would know – and I stupidly believed her. If I told my daughter that she’d laugh at me. My daughter – just like all beautiful young girls is gorgeous, she bubbles, she skips when she walks, people are drawn to her eager for life eyes and her gentle giggle. The boys hang around her like kids hanging around the fairy floss machine at a fete.
“Oh” she says to me all sunshine and naiveté, ‘They just wanna be friends.”
“Oh honey,” I say “really?”

I have thirty years of experience of trying to be friends with guys and I can honestly say I ended up having sex with all of them! Men are wonderful but men are unable to separate friendship from sex because men are unable to separate anything from sex most of the time.

I tried to be friends with the german café owner and we had desperate sex on the café tables
I tried to be friends with a fellow student at art school and I ended up doing life modelling for him – enough said
I tried to be friends with a fellow parent at kindergarten and we ended up having friendly sex in the park while the kids were at kindy
I tried to be friends with a cross dressing client when I was a social worker and we still ended up having sex and he was wearing my clothes
I had sex with them because they were needy and I hate to seem uncaring and because they were friends and I felt warmly toward them and because at the time I couldn’t see the harm in it.

So now I say to my daughter, “Be careful, look after yourself because when you give yourself sexually you give a little of your soul too. Don’t be too eager – don’t think you will miss out if you don’t hurry in. Wait for him, wait for the ones that are good enough. Treat yourself and him with respect AND demand it back from him or dump him.”

If he puts you down – dump him!
If he tries to control you – dump him!
If he beats you – dump him!
If he uses anything as an excuse for superiority and that includes religion or culture – dump him
If he’s rude to your friends or family – dump him
If he won’t stick up for you – dump him

I had to wait until I was 33 for real love to find me but it did. But I truly think the secret was that I wasn’t looking for it. By then I was happy in my own skin and in my own space. Now when I look at my husband, he’s an old man. Gone is that thick jet black hair that hung to his elbows, gone is his height and the tight tight pants. He wears reading glasses now and his hear is grey – but I truly still think he is really hot!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/10463976/Casual-sex-linked-to-depression-and-suicidal-thoughts.html

Welcome to all women who are or will one day be 50

Dear Women 50 and over or who will one day be 50

I am a woman. I have recently hit 50. Well its a bit less recent than I like to admit. For the last three years I have been under the impression that I was 51 until a friend recently informed me that she was 53 and I am a year older than her. Ahhhhh!!!!! 54 is so close to 55 and not as far away from 60 as I would like.

At this point I should make it clear that I am not afraid of growing old. There is only one other option to growing old and that is to die and I nearly very did when I was 40 and I didn’t enjoy it very much at all. I determined then and there I would never fight growing old. Growing old I saw was a Gift not afforded to everyone. I thought I would always feel this way having narrowly escaped death at 40 but ….

But I’m not sure I like growing older either. So what have I found out about being over fifty. Well this is the list:

  • men no longer let their gaze linger on me as walk down the street instead they don’t even see me and their heads quickly turn to take in the 20 and 30 somethings.
  • the only men who flirt with me now are so old and decrepit they have urine stains on the front of their trousers.
  • No one and I mean no one values my opinion, not in the workplace anyway, its always “why don’t we just hear from some of the younger staff present” and I think my kids are only being polite or humouring me and pretending to listen to me.
  • the day I turned 50 my body betrayed me and my eyes were “No you’re fifty now so I need bifocals, yep definitely need daggy bifocals”
  • sleep looks good after 9.30pm
  • a good pot of tea looks more attractive than sex
  • most films are boring and are either plot A with a car chase and shoot out or plot B with boy girl meets, boy girl fight, boy girl end up happily ever after at LA International after the boarding gate has closed and he has forced his way illegally onto the plane which is held up on the runway so he can declare his love.
  • its really hard to make new friends when you are over 50 as most people have their “friend set”
  • its lonely over 50 and there are a lot of 50 + women at the pokies
  • my body is betraying me and my waist has thickened without even giving me notice of its intention to do so

At my age my Gran was busy being a Gran. But these days lots of 50 + women are grandchildless and still feeling in their prime despite the bifocals. That’s me.

Fifty or not I am determined to:

  • meet other women which is why I have started this blog so write to me please
  • give up or control how much I go to the pokies from boredom and loneliness
  • be an attractive 50+ that men under 105 might want to still take a glance at before moving onto the 20 and 30 somethings
  • get a trendy pair of bifocals
  • fight my body and lose weight
  • make this part of my life as important as any other part of my life

Join me