Some quick ponderings

There are so many things that are going on for me right now. I’d love to spend hours unpacking them and digesting them on here…but the truth is that I’m speed typing this while my son is still asleep and I don’t have time to write a fat, satisfying blog post which dives into all and everything that is going on for me.

But I’d love to get some of what I’m thinking and feeling onto this digital page to perhaps visit later on.

TV

Sometimes I get obsessed with a programme and want to do nothing else but spend my days and nights drinking it in until it’s over. The OA, Grey’s Anatomy, This is Us, Game of Thrones, Louis Theroux documentaries.

But more than ever at the moment I’m bored of TV. I find myself viewing myself watching something, sitting in front of a scenario which in some ways is a play-by-play of plots that have come before it.

This probably speaks of my hunger to do more than it does of the shows that are failing to keep my attention. I’ve been at home mostly every night for my son since his birth, but I feel something inside me call to do more, to have more active things for myself.

I’m looking into drumming groups, I feel like running once a week might be good for me…I’ve not quite yet sorted out what this means for me, but I know something needs to change.

Brexit

We started talking about Brexit at work the other day and I felt so strongly about my view and so negatively about the other people’s views that I needed to leave the room to not raise my voice in a way that’s inappropriate for the workplace.

What makes it so hard to listen to the other people?

Why can’t I open my mind to see where they’re coming from as I can with mostly every other sentiment?

And I’m mulling over a thought that someone shared with me – how so much is passing us by – damning reports about the state of care for the elderly and children in care, the environment, the reducing budget to local council budgets which is crippling their ability to respond to those in need. And there are so many other critical areas which I am ignorant of – which are passing us by while we argue about whether we should leave or we should remain.

I want to do more – protest, revolt, make a stand for all these things that are so important to me – and yet I don’t know where to start. I don’t know where I can make a difference. I’m unsure where my voice could be heard beyond my own echo chamber of social media and the groups of people who have the same opinion as me.

Stopping shopping

It’s been almost a year since I stopped buying anything for myself that wasn’t essential. A year of not buying shoes, clothes, stationary or unneeded beauty products. I’ve stumbled a few times –

  • I bought a dress (which is lovely but I didn’t need).
  • I bought a teething necklace when I had a 30% off voucher (which I felt compelled to get but was a total waste of money)
  • I bought a lip stain when I have loads of other lipsticks (but I like that this makes me feel pretty without making me look like I’ve got lipstick on)

Each time has taught me something about myself and my relationship with consumerism.

I’ve relaxed my rules slightly over the year – I’ve bought a few helpful apps for my phone¬† (some have been great, some have been pointless) and a few books for a kindle so I didn’t need to lug around physical books on my travels (worth it in my opinion).

So the question for me is where I go from here to keep up my life of consuming less.

“Don’t be a nuisance”

I’ve noticed a voice holding me back at work. A voice which tells me to not bother people, to not stir things up or be pushy or take up too much space.

But to be effective in what I do, I need to push forward my agenda, I need to step into my power and take up space.

I’m ready to unfurl, but also scared of what this means.

I can feel a tightness in my throat as I think about it:

  • Speaking my truth
  • Demanding from others instead of hiding behind likeability
  • Being more honest about what is going on for me
  • Trusting more in myself, my skills, what I have to offer, my opinions and ideas about the way forward.

I’ve noticed how I’ve wanted to eat more recently – and to be honest, I have eaten to push down my fear about this.

It feels overwhelming at times to step into myself.

To let go of the behaviour that brought me to my struggles of today, which means turning back to how I was as a little girl – at school, at home, at church – trying to be accepted and contorting myself to fit in.

This way of behaving doesn’t fit me anymore, yet I don’t quite know how to step forward into my power.


So there are the immediate thoughts that spring to mind in the surprisingly long time my son has been asleep.

Happy Sunday to you, friend. I’m sending you hopes that you, too, get a bit of time to reflect on what’s going on in your mind and in your life.

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TV

My husband laughed at me last night because I decided I didn’t want to watch Ozark, a TV show on netflix which is just a bit too high pressure for me. A show where twists and turns are around every corner and near misses are part of every episode.

I’ve found myself pulling away from these types of shows recently – I couldn’t face series two of Stranger Things, recently stopped watching ‘Power’ (another adrenaline inducing show). I really can’t handle these shows anymore or don’t want to.

I’m not sure which.

All I know is that I find myself wanting to watch TV shows that are about connection, don’t leave me feeling jittery or amped up.

So I thought I’d share my favourite two with you…they’re not out of the box finds, ones that you’d never have guessed (or some strange Swedish intellectual series) so this is as much an ode to the two shows I love as it is a description of them:

Grey’s Anatomy

I starting watching Grey’s pretty much from the beginning and it’s been a love affair ever since. I love the characters (my original ‘TV friends’ as I call them to my friends). I love the powerful women – there are so many of them – and I love the storylines, which mirror the social and political themes of the day. Racial violence, domestic abuse, transgender transitions, homosexuality, gun ownership, illegal immigration…they’ve covered it all.

There was particularly powerful episode recently when the Chief, a black female woman, sought treatment for having a heart attack.

The symptoms women have when they’re having a heart attack are often different from men (they’re more likely to experience nausea and vomiting, and pain in the jaw, arm or back), yet it’s the ‘male’ symptoms that are more widely know (pain the the chest, difficulty breathing). Women are also less likely to taken seriously by a doctor – our pain is seen as less severe and we’re less likely to be believed because we’re ‘overreacting’ or ‘being dramatic’ which was reflected in the show and nearly resulted in her death.

I love that, by raising this issue as well as a myriad of other relevant social issues the show has most probably saved lives.

This is us

Oh my gosh, this programme is like food for my soul. It’s such a beautiful programme about a family, skipping back and forth through different generations and storylines to explore different themes that the characters are going through.

Dealing with bereavement, struggling with addiction, finding their way through infertility, jostling to find their place in the family, coping with anxiety.

It is beautifully written, more beautifully acted and feels like I’m watching the highlights of an actual family through their lives (albeit a family who don’t really seem to work much and whose dialogue is a bit too flawless!).

It’s one of the only shows that I sit down to watch and soak up instead of half-watching it while cooking and cleaning…

I also love how the show feels like it’s an actual reflection of society. There are lots of beautiful, slender people in it, but (and I’ve noticed because I’m sensitive to these things) the cast has an over average number of ‘real’ bodies on it – people with bumps and curves. It surprises me because it’s such an anomaly and makes me hopeful that in the future we’ll see more of society reflected on the screen so that ‘thin’ isn’t the predominant body type on TV.

So there you have it – my two favourite shows. It’s lovely to write about them and think about all the reasons why I love them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my thoughts too!

Baby moon

I wrote about my breastfeeding issues a few days ago and, while I’ve stopped being angry at myself for having trouble producing enough milk for Jenson, I’m still frustrated that things haven’t improved. If anything they’ve got a bit worse as Jenson needs to have all the extra milk I’m expressing in order for him to fill up. I’ve started to worry that his demand will outstrip my supply and that my milk will start to dry up…

My good friend Charlie recommended that I call the La Leche League breastfeeding support line to get some advice and I’m so glad I did this afternoon when I was having a wobbly moment. The woman at the end of the phone was really kind and supportive, telling me that I’m trying my best (it’s always nice to hear that!) and gave me some great advice that I’m putting into practice right now.

To have a baby moon.

Not a trip away to a tropical destination – although we’re planning to go away as a family to Vietnam in June (more on that in future posts, I’m sure!) – but a time to get snuggled up warm with my bubba doing lots of skin-to-skin contact*.

Apparently this can increase milk supply more than any food supplement, stout, breast pumping or concoction can.

I’ve written previously about how hard I’ve found the change of pace in my life. Slowing down has been tricky, let alone grinding to a halt to have my baby on me as I rest for as many hours a day as possible.

But this feels different.

Like in doing nothing, I’m doing everything that I need to as a Mum. There’s a point to this stillness.

And could it be that I’m comfortable with the notion of stopping because I’ve been given permission to do nothing? Instead of thinking that I should go out, be active, stimulate Jenson, I’m looking at this time as a chance to pamper myself (reading a book, eating chocolates, watching my favourite tv shows and writing to you) while getting endless cuddles with my son.

Suddenly the pace doesn’t bother me at all. It feels like I’ve entered the start of a very enjoyable baby moon where I relax, sit back, take things slow and look after both myself and my son.

*skin-to-skin is where you get naked on top and have the baby rest on you. It apparently gets the mother’s hormones working, encouraging the body to produce more milk and gets the babies hormones working, encouraging him to breastfeed more.