Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tichel me all the colours!

This week I started wearing headscarves daily. I wear them after the fashion of the tichel, which is the  Yiddish word for the headscarf worn by observant married orthodox Jewish women. I find this style the most flattering and user-friendly for me, but it also is culturally attractive to me as my paternal great-grandmother was a Jewess. I do not wear it for religious reasons, but respect those who do.

So, why have I chosen to start wearing a tichel? Well, my reasons are both practical and esoteric so I'm not going to share them here. Suffice it to say, I choose to wear a head covering.

My love affair with head coverings has been long - I wrote a blog post about it several years ago when I first flirted with the idea of wearing headscarves regularly. Even though I had a bob at the time, I struggled with the scarves slipping off my head. As much as my mother insists I have a lovely rounded head shape like my father, this simply isn't the case. The back of my head is flat, and scarves and headbands ride up all the time. As, well as this, I have very fine hair - lots off it, but fine, and soft, and smooth, and slippery scarfs slide back from my forehead all the time...

This put a stop to me wrapping my hair all those years ago, which was very disappointing.

Recently though, I came upon some YouTube videos by some women from a business in the US called Wrapunzel and there I learned about a thing called a 'volumizer' which is a cap you put on your head and in the back it has a pad cell that gives your head a little extra, well, volume.

Not only that, but these volumizers come with a velvet non-slip headband, which stops scarves riding up in the back and slipping back in the front. Abso-bloody-lutely brilliant! So, I let MIL kindly gift me a volumizer for Mother's Day and it arrived last week.

I feel so lovely in the headscarves. So graceful and even a bit serene - which really is so much better than I have been feeling in recent month. There is an added benefit of warmth in this colder May weather. I'm getting to express some creativity as well. Since the beginnning of March my wardrobe has transitioned to a monochromatic theme of black, white, and greys (mostly greys), and the scarves are a colourful focal point in my outfits now. This is working very well for me!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I'm a good person...

I've worried so much this year about what people have said about me. There are many memes on the internet about this topic. They pretty much all say the same thing, don't worry about what other people think about you, your true personality will shine through etc. and so forth. It's hard though when you aren't a people person, when you're naturally aloof, when you are socially awkward to begin with. People who have better social skills can easily take advantage of these flaws as evidence that you are a horrible person.

I'm aware that I have been portrayed as a horrible person to many people who don't know me well.

But you know what? I'm a good person.

I am a good friend.

I am honest - often to a fault. Often, I call the bullshit I see, especially self-pity. This isn't very popular amongst some of the privileged people I've had as friends who like to consider themselves oppressed, impoverished, or otherwise hard done by. I guess, with my background, having actually seen, worked with, and lived with people who really are oppressed and impoverished, I can't stomach the hypocracy of people with access to virtually free education, housing, and childcare, who can afford trips overseas and interstate, who travel away from their kids (because they have support), buy new clothes, go to restaurants and concerts, buy organic food and can afford to be picky about which jobs they would 'like' to take, complaining about how their 'hard' lives are.

This does not make me a horrible person.

I am a good person. I just don't stomach bullshit very well.

I am a good friend. I am kind, I am loyal, I am funny. I will sit with you in hospital for days on end. I will help you clean and pack your house when you move. I will watch your kids. I will talk to you for hours about all the crap you're going through. I will encourage you to reach for your wildests dreams. I will be your PA, your wingwoman, your 2iC, your behind-the-scene person. I will assemble your flat packs. I will skype lunch with you when you're overseas. I will be your employer during those 'dead years' on your CV.

I don't go out of my way to be rude to people. I don't ignore people. I always talk to people who talk to me. These days I don't see people all the time, and now I don't recognise people I have known all my life unless they identitify themselves. Sometimes I smile at complete strangers because I don't know if I know them or not. Going blind is a Russion roullette of social interactions, but I'm never intentionally rude.

I am a good person.

Say what you will.

That's your bullshit.

I am a good person.

I forgive you.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Braille brain!

Learning braille is so weird!

There are grades in braille. In grade 1 you learn the alphabet, and you learn that some of the letters also stand for words when they stand alone in a sentence, for example, the letter 'b' on its own means 'but', and the letter 'l' means 'like' and the letter 's' means 's'.

In grade 2, you find our that some combinations of letters have their own braille characters. So, there is a character for 'c' and there is a character for 'h', but then there is a character for 'ch'. Some of these 'short-forms' also stand for words, for example, 'ch' on its own in a sentence stands for 'child'. There are other rules that govern these short forms though, such as the 'ch' short-form for child can't be used in the word 'childhood', though the character 'ch' can be - 'childhood' in grade 2 braille is spelt ''ch'ildhood'.

Where there are two possible short-forms which can be used, the one which includes the most letters takes precedent. So, for example, there is a short-form for 'th', but there is also a short-form for 'the', in the word 'there', the short-form for 'the' would be used --> ''the're'.

Confused? I don't blame you. It's not exactly like learning to reading English, just with dots.

This morning I had to read a passage I had read twice before already. I knew every braille letter and short-form on the page. I really did, but it took me so frustratingly long. I second guessed myself on every word. My difficulty was over such words as 'the', 'f,' 't', three characters next to one another and I couldn't figure out what they were, there weren't any vowel - the-f-t - that wasn't right? I was sure I must be reading that wrong.

As I tell my kids, it's all about perseverance, one day I'll get it! One day all these funny little groupings of letters that seems so counter-intuitive to me right now will glide under my fingertips unnoticed!

Friday, May 20, 2016


Slowly, slowly, I've been working my way into that book. Usually, I throw myself into new 'projects' and I'm not sure if it is the shock of Erik leaving, or the head-cloud caused by the topiramate I'm on for migraines and seizures, but I'm having to do this in small steps. I haven't even gotten to the daily exercises yet. Not even the part where I write out my greatness blueprint.

My Greatness Blueprint.

It makes me laugh.

It sounds so grandiose.

There was this segment where I had to write my 'Why'. Where I had to write about who I am and why I am here - what legacy I want to leave. This bit wasn't hard. I know what I want to leave. I want people to know they are enough.

You are enough.

You are complete.

You have everything within you to do what will fulfill you.

Other people cannot give you power, and that is a good thing because it means other people cannot take your power. Your power is within you. It isn't your body. Your power is your spirit. Your spirit cannot be locked up or killed, and even when you think it may be broken, it isn't because you are still alive.

My 'Why' is to teach people this. Teach them that they are enough. And also that there is love and there is fear, and you can choose one or the other, it is a choice. And lastly, pain is unavoidable, but pain is valuable and to run away from pain, or try to avoid pain only creates more pain because we must learn to value pain and until we learn to value it, we will constantly be confronted with it.

There is someone I want to be, I feel her struggling to emerge.

Have you ever seen a chick break out of an egg? It's no mean feat. It's a slow process and takes a lot of energy and once the sticky little chicky tips sideways out of the broken shell, it teeters about dazed and confused for a while, exhausted from the effort. I think that might be me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Daily Greatness Journal...

Taking a short break from attempting to redraft an abstract for my thesis - oy vey! - to tell you about my new project for staying sane.

My mother-in-law recently gifted me this (that is, she gave me money for Mother's Day - I know, isn't she sweet, she really didn't have to get me anything at all, and I bought this with it). It is a journal for pulling your sh!t together, to put it bluntly. It is all about upgrading yourself, digging deep to expose your brilliant self, the 'you' that is hidden under all the crud that is negative self-talk and distraction and whatnot.

So, I'm going to give this a red hot go because I know I am better than the person I march out the door every morning or, for that matter, the person who mopes about the house when she doesn't have to march out the door. There is a good heart beneath the furrowed lines on my forehead. Lots of people don't know that; they can't see it. A few people can, and to me, those people are gold, but really I would like more people to see me for who I am behind this resting bitchface.

Besides, no one is perfect. We can all do better, be better. 

The book is a step-by-step guide to developing long-term goals, a mission statement, to reflecting on attitudes, and thinking creatively. It encourages the user to set aside time morning and night to actively intentionally think about their life, day, week, goals, feelings, behaviour, attitudes. I think this can be very beneficial for me. It may very well prevent me from letting my anxieties run away with me. It might help me upgrade my time management skills. I'm hoping it will keep me on track to revealing more of the person I know I can be.

Friday, May 06, 2016


I have about half an hour until my bus leave - having just missed the bus I intended to take because I was fussing about. A week ago I really wasn't sure if I'd get back to uni this week. I went to extend my intermission several times, but embarrassment, more than anything else, stopped me from submittng the form. My friends and the Grumpy Old Man encouraged me to go back. So, back I went, on shaky legs, and with my arse dragging.

It hasn't been the most productive of weeks, but slowly, slowly, I've gotten my mojo back. I have a clear path forward set in my sights now and know what I'm doing, which is a big deal for me because this time last week I wasn't sure I could even remember what I was researching.

I've had a couple of skype chats my mate, Robbie, which have cheered me up no end, and I have caught up with other PhD candidates here on campus. I had a couple of visits from friends last week as well. Face-to-face contact is very important for human well-being. It makes all the difference.

Good Job!