Do you ever wonder if you got blogging all wrong? I have this fantasy of blogging like they do in the movies. You know – when they sit on a bed with puffy blankets and a fat cat purring next to them. Or an Instagram-worthy, pretty desk graced a tall glass of lemonade frames the blogger who sits down to write incredible thoughts from their adventures in Tuscany. Bliss! When they sit down to write it all just flows and and at the end the end they close the laptop lid with a look of accomplishment. Yes, me too me thinks!
Well mine looks nothing like that at all. Normally I have an idea in my head – a prompt or something I feel strongly about. What follows is several hours or days of intending to write it. As the days pass by the inspiration and passion dwindles until the thought eventually drifts off into the abyss of “was once thought of”!
Getting to my laptop requires a series of challenges. First there is the gauntlet of all the more urgent and pressing tasks. Until these are done, blogging seems like a guilty pleasure. If I ever make it out of this gauntlet, I have to face the towering climbing wall in front of me. This is another stage where I normally bomb out. This is the wall of self limiting beliefs which include everything from “why bother to write about it” to “who would ever be interested” and “what does your opinion matter anyway” and the wall continues.
If and when I make it over that wall there is zip line through some pretty nasty tree tops. This is the endless interruptions and phone calls and trips to the school and sudden requests for things from everyone. By now the speed of the zip line has increased and I whizz through collecting grazes, cuts and bruises of guilt and irritations.
Eventually I manage to land and try to post. This is normally the time I search for a suitable image. It is also precisely when Windows 10 decides updates are required or the wifi is attacked by antibloggetic gremlins. Somehow my wounded blogging warrior tenaciously crawls to the finish and I see those wonderful words “Success! Posted to Times Between with Michelene“. Yay!!! Panting!!!
Perhaps it is just me but my blogging looks nothing like the fantasies I took from the movies.
Happy blogging friends, however it looks for you!
The things I speak about in private groups only ….
I shared many posts over the last year about the amazing support I get from my family. Those of us who deal with severe conditions like fibromyalgia, ME, CFS etc all know that the single most important need is support from your family. The big things like the like financial support for my needs to the small things like lifting the girls when wrist pains hits heavy are all incredible ways of helping me live a normal-ish life. I am deeply grateful to David, Dominique and Alexandra for being a fibro’s dream team.
On the other side of fibromyalgia are the shadow lands of the things we usually only speak about in the small groups with private settings. In these groups we share our grief for the things we have lost, our resentment to those who still regard our condition as invisible, our frustration with the medical industry and our great relief from medication that is still illegal. We share in these groups with other fibros because we know that our sorrow, shame and anger will be understood and not turned against us. In these groups we know there are 19, 27, 32 and 47 year olds who also climb a staircase slower than 75 year olds. There are other 40 year olds who are exhausted after a pushing a shopping cart for 20 minutes. There are 30 year olds who also can’t hold a washing basket without finger joints aching with pain. In these groups, I am not judged for being unable to do things other 47 yr old women can.
I write and advocate quite a bit for authenticity and embracing the parts of ourselves that we are less proud of. I must confess however that I share very little about the nasty side of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. There are a number of reasons for that. Firstly, there was a time I did not get the support I enjoy now and I learned it was easier to hide my pain than to be accused of and belittled for all sorts of things. Secondly, I figured that talking about it will be seen as moaning about it and I did not want to be a fibro-nag. Thirdly, I tried to avoid the recommendations to doctors, fibro-specialists, shamans, gurus and wonder juices that will cure all my symptoms. At some point I thought that I needed to stay positive and then I could train my brain to think I overcame fibro. Having experienced some symptoms since the age of 12, I am tired of my fibro and I just don’t want to write about it or talk about it. The reality is that there are times when I have minimal symptoms and I actually think I am over it. Just when I think fibro is so last year a flare strikes and I am reminded I have fibromyalgia.
The result of hiding the fibro-nag is that I help to make my fibro invisible. I join the conspiracy and I go about my business with a smiley face and praise hands. The only people who know the visibility of my fibro are the people who live in my home. They hear the thud when I pass out with spastic pain. They see the dead man Raynaud’s feet when the subzero socks come off. They know the impact of blinding fibro headaches which is not the same as migraine. They see the infrared lights to treat neck and back pains. They hear the gasping when sleep apnea suffocates me. Only they see it and only they hear.
On this fibromyalgia awareness day I carry the awareness that outside these walls my fibromyalgia is invisible. I have made it that way. The need to look and be normal has made me side with the conspiracy. This is not a bad thing and I am not wrong. It just is that way and I have come to this awareness. With this awareness I can consider how I want to change things or how I want it to stay the same. Harmony is my sacred word and it will guide me in how much I want to share and contribute to making the visible be visible (I meant that). Somewhere between the need for respite and the desire for awareness I will find that harmony.
Thank you for reading this and contributing to awareness on this Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, 12 May 2016.
A few days before mothers’ day I am a mess of emotions, thoughts and reflections. I am not normally big on this day but this year I wrote a post on Facebook to speak up against something that triggered both my inner protector and my lover. I had no idea it would speak to so many people and resonate so much. Through this experience, I realised again how incredibly connected we are as mothers and people. The women in the mall who look so different and seem so distant really have so much in common. Our vulnerabilities are not that different after all.
Yesterday, I dedicated a song to my daughters. Martina McBride goes to the heart of my vulnerability as a mother when she sings “In my daughter’s eyes”. The mystics and the alchemists speak about the language of the world. Those feelings, thoughts and experiences that can’t be captured but we know to be true in a place deep inside of us. Perhaps this is why it is so hard to explain motherhood. It is a grand and epic mixture of courage and vulnerability and all else. At any one time we dance somewhere between these two crazy extremes.
The younger my children were the more I was a hero and my vulnerability was so easy to conceal. The older they get, the harder it is to hide my failure, shame and vulnerability from them. It’s even harder in my case with my daughter being a 2nd year psychology student. So I don’t worry too much any more because trying to hide my vulnerabilities would be an epic fail as the younger generation would say. There are times I wish I could be back in the bathroom pretending I got soap in my eyes. That was my fave! There are also times I am relieved I can look up with a face full of tears and say “mmmm just busy with my inner child here!” And what a blessing when they give me the space to do it and carry on with whatever, allowing my sadness, grief and pain the space it needs.
My anger and nastiness is also brought to trial regularly now that my girls are older, bolder and wiser. Where once there were only blind spots, I now have mirrors saying “Oh dear let’s have a look at this Miche!” I hate and I love it! The journey with my children from newborn to toddler, tween, teen and adult has been the most life changing of all my many journeys. It has transformed me like no workshop, short course, sermon or ritual ever did or ever could.
So when I sit and listen to Martina sing that soul song over and over and over I cry because all my vulnerabilities are seated in front of me. I cannot deny any of them. I laugh because all my joys are standing along side me giving praise to the Great Spirit for the miracle of being mother. All of my fears are present and mother-courage helps me to stay standing. My hopelessness and fatigue find the strength to lift me up and see this glorious light of Love. My daughters’ eyes are indeed the most beautiful place my soul has ever visited in this life.
Much Love, M
Martina McBride performing In my daughter’s eyes live
Truworths Mothers’ Day marketing really leaves me quite baffled. I am really not sure what a teenager in padded bras and lace panties has to do with Mothers’ Day. There are very many mothers who love lingerie and very many mothers who are a size 30. This is not my dispute or the cause of my concern.
The idea of a child posing in the images is what I find bizarre. Motherhood speaks of a myriad of virtues, struggles, celebrations and promise. Motherhood speaks of depth and growth that comes with the conception, birthing, adoption, nurturing and raising of children. Motherhood speaks of a mature and seasoned sexuality that this little dear could not possibility have any concept of.
If you want your product to appeal to me please advertise it to me – not to my 16 year old daughter.
I assume you were trying to appeal to the Aphrodite in women. As Aphrodite is my archetype, allow me to suggest a few things you should consider. The goddess of love is best invoked through a mature woman who has come into the fullness and wildness of her sexuality. A woman who has experienced all the pleasures and deep invocations of her sexual energy (including the reproductive aspect) captures the mystical divinity of the goddess. A child that we have birthed and suckled at our breast is simply not able to invoke the goddess energy. As pictured in Greek mythology, Aphrodite is never seen with bones sticking out of her flesh. This would be entirely contrary to the idea of the fullness, pleasure and eroticism of her gifts. Lean figures would portray the warrior goddesses. I highly doubt that you were trying to appeal to the warrior in me.
Now to modern day matters where we are dealing with the epidemics and challenges of teenage and young adult sexuality. Every woman in the queue today saw her daughter in the image. None of us took kindly to the premature sexuality and motherhood loaded onto the young woman. The challenges of motherhood require it to be timeously considered. Young women need images that will trigger the desire for education, economic freedom, psychological maturity and so on. Images like the one you are using will only serve to maintain the status quo or gender inequality.
In closing, I remind you of some matters to consider when you try to market to me. Especially when you try to market lingerie. I have survived labour and cesarean sections. I have had gigantic needles poked up my spinal cord. I have had my nipples poked, prodded and suckled by men and babies. It gets more and more graffic but I shall spare you. This journey has awoken many many goddesses in me. If you want to appeal to my Aphrodite as a mother, you need to find symbols and images that can speak to the powerful force in me. Images that can match the beauty, wisdom, depth and sensuality of the mother and the woman that I am. Images that young women can look upon and know that’s who they want to be one day in the fullness of their time. Images that communicate to your customers that you know your target community ….
Ultimately, images that depict mothers as both the seasoned lovers and caring mothers we are.