Tag: introverts

Taking My Own Advice

Taking My Own Advice

Correct. And we don’t dislike people. We just, umm, like not-people.

I had every intention of working throughout Christmas, going to all the social things, and plunging into the New Year at the same pace. I know there are a lot of you out there trying to do the same thing – or feeling guilty that you haven’t. So here’s the deal – I’m not doing it. And you don’t have to either.

I thought I was doing just fine, until I put the wrong lights on the Christmas tree and had to take everything off to re-do them.

We almost had no Christmas tree, because my first instinct was to throw the whole damn thing away.

Which is a wee bit of an over-reaction, yes?

I probably also should have realised that not sleeping more than a few hours a night for three weeks wasn’t exactly a great sign. Or shouting at inanimate objects when no one was around to witness it. Or the rather driving urge to retreat into small corners and wrap myself in blankets and pretend the world didn’t exist.

And it’s surprising how little too much actually is.

But, although rather later than was sensible, I did stop. I cancelled plans. I considered the ones that I would keep carefully, and I made sure they were manageable. I looked at the blog and decided that a week off was more important than having January planned out and written up (ask me again next week if I still think that was a good idea). I looked at the big writing work – the important stuff, the stuff that matters most to me – and figured that a week of no writing followed by a week of focused writing would get me further than two weeks of checking twitter, facebook and instagram every ten minutes, followed by an evening of being furious with myself and eating too much chocolate (don’t get me wrong – there will still be chocolate eating. It’s part of my Process. It just won’t be angry chocolate eating).

Make a blanket fort and don’t come out until bribed with cookies.

I realise I probably shouldn’t give anyone advice about anything, because I’m clearly terrible at listening to myself (see all those blogs about self care that I re-posted but completely ignored in the run up to Christmas). But I’m going to anyway, because maybe if I tell you something enough, it’ll stick with me, too. Be gentle with yourselves this year, lovely people. Listen to yourselves.

Don’t worry about being the perfect guest or host or partner or parent or anything. Let’s face it – the only perfect things in this world are kittens, and they’re floofy little psychopaths. Oh, and probably AI, but they’re just terrifying, and will likely kill us all.

Be okay with not being okay. With not being perfect, and not achieving all the things we want to achieve, even if those things include just accepting ourselves where we are. Be okay with the fact that all of us are always works in progress, and even when we seem to be navigating life pretty smoothly on the surface, everything’s probably held together with duct tape and promises underneath. And that’s okay. Because who wants to be an AI?

See? Perfect floofiness.

Although, given the choice, I wouldn’t mind being a kitten. They’ve got life pretty sorted.

And if I were to make a New Year’s resolution (which is not something I do)? Be a kitten.

No, I mean stop fussing and just be not okay. Love myself for the work in progress I so evidently am.

And what do I wish for you in the New Year? That you can be okay too, however that looks, whether it’s more duct tape or more floofiness. I wish you all the complicated, messy beauty of being human, all the crazy frustrating chaos of it. I wish you dreams and thoughts and creativity, and hopes and joys and sorrows. I wish you everything, and I wish you the strength to be purely, utterly you.

And if you need any duct tape, let me know. I’m buying it wholesale.

 

Amateur. I haven’t been to a New Year’s party for at least a decade.

 

Oh, and did I go out for New Year’s Eve? Hahahahahaha no.

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Or is there anything you’ve learned from this year that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments!

 

The Possibilities of No

The Possibilities of No

How I feel when I say no.

I’m notoriously bad at saying no. The SO teases me about it quite a lot, but I feel it bears pointing out that the only reason we went out on that first date 7 years ago was because I didn’t know how to say no. I mean, obviously, I knew how to say no, but what if I hurt his feelings? What if he thought I was a truly horrible person, and our mutual friends thought the same thing? And was it a terribly impolite thing to do? Or… You get my point.

Part of my no-allergy is due to the fact that I made the decision a while ago to say yes to a lot of things I don’t necessarily want to say yes to – party invitations and get-togethers, usually. I do this because if I said no to all the things I’d prefer to say no to, I’d only ever leave the house under the cover of darkness in order to buy cat food and chocolate.

And while this yes-strategy has enabled me to retain the ability to interact socially (awkwardly, yes, but still – I can hold a conversation under duress), it also means that the line has gradually become a little blurred for me between what I want to say no to, and what I actually need to say no to.

He just can’t bear any more. Snigger.

Okay, some things are are easy:

Do I want to go to a four-day electronic music festival, living in tents and using porta-potties? Oh, dear god, no.

Do I want to go to a hunting exhibition, where we will learn to butcher animals and turn their skin into hats? That’s a really big no.

Do I want to go on an all-day wine tasting tour, where we will share our innermost stories with complete (and tispy) strangers? D’you know, no.

Only one of these is an actual invitation. I’ll leave you to guess which one.

Other occasions I’m more ambivalent about, and these are where I run into problems. I love my friends – they’re wonderful people, and they’re quite indulgent of the fact that I’m not a very social little animal. But, obviously, they only know what I tell them, so sometimes I accept invitations I shouldn’t, and only find out later that they run my reserves of socialness dry. Honestly, I’m still learning this stuff. In my drinking days, I just used alcohol to power through social events, with predictably dire consequences. These days, I make sure I have my own transport, and leave when things get too much. It works, and if some days are harder than others, it’s usually just because my socialness supply was a little low going in.

No list of ‘no’ would be complete without Grumpy Cat

And then there’s the fact that some strange little quirk of mine assures me that if I say no even once, no one will like me anymore, and they’ll never invite me to anything ever again, largely because a main activity at all social events from then on will involve throwing darts at an image of my face.

Which is a), probably not the case, because who prints photos these days; and b), weirdly egocentric.

However, the other day I did have to say no to at least part of some plans, because I knew it would wear me out entirely, and I’d go from being quietly socially awkward to grumpily socially awkward, which is an unpleasant combo for everyone involved. I felt awful, and kept apologising for messing everything up (and checking to make sure no one was carrying darts), but in the end we came up with another idea. Which, as it turned out, was an even better plan than the original for everyone involved. And my friend said, “If you hadn’t said no we’d never have come up with this. Sometimes someone has to say no so new possibilities can be explored.”

No.

Which was quite beautiful and profound, and went a long way to making me feel better.

It’s a lovely thought, that not all possibilities arise from ‘yes’. That ‘no’ has its own way of opening doors and changing paths. I mean, we all read the articles, right?

“Say ‘Yes!’ to Everything and Change Your Life!”

“Empower Yourself! Say Yes!”

“Embrace Positivity! Embrace ‘Yes’!”

Etc, etc. Always with exclamation marks and a picture of some improbably happy person, usually dressed in white and jumping on a beach somewhere. ‘No’, on the other hand, tends to conjure up images of either a tamtrumming toddler or a sulky teenager.

But, in my experience, saying yes isn’t a problem. It’s easy. It’s saying no that feels like stomping on someone’s ideas and feelings. Yet sometimes we have to, both for our own sake and for others. And maybe if we stopped being so scared of saying no, we’d find all the wonderful possibilities that arise from exploring other options, all the opportunities that can develop when we decide the current situation isn’t right for us.

Unless it’s a hunting exhibition. That’s a hard no, I’m afraid.

What about you? Are you a no-er or a yes-er?

Just say no to carving up trees. How would you like it?
Honestly Odd

Honestly Odd

I don’t know. They might just make you more weird. Kids are weird enough to begin with.

I have weirdness aspirations. Which is potentially weird in itself, but I do really admire anyone who is completely comfortable in their own oddness. I don’t mean Manic Pixie Dream Girl-type oddness – I mean real-life oddness. For instance, I’m clumsy in a way that results in bruises rather than cuteness, and socially awkward in the sense of struggling to make small talk and descending rapidly into silence while wanting to go sit in a corner behind a potted palm, not having adorably deep conversations about life and flowers. For the most part, I accept this, and prepare myself for social events by thinking a little about what I can talk about, and making sure there will be people there I know. I also carry plasters and ibuprofen at all times.

But while I accept my weirdness, and am in some ways even comfortable with it, I wish I could embrace it a little more. For example: I was walking down to the shop the other day when an elderly lady on the other side of the road ducked behind a lamp post. She wasn’t a big lady, but lamp posts aren’t particularly big either, so I could still see her – and obviously I had to look again, as nothing draws your attention like someone trying so hard not to draw your attention. As soon as I looked her way, she ducked lower, as if that was somehow going to compress her into something that could hide behind a lamp post. I decided the best thing to do was to pretend I hadn’t seen her, but of course I had to check back before I reached the end of the road.

She ducked every time I looked back.

One day, I’m going to go around freaking people out by hiding really obviously from them. And then I will be satisfied that I have arrived at maximum acceptance of my own oddities.

Cats fully embrace their weirdness.

And here’s something – I thought, when I first started this whole excursion into blogs and social media and all the rest, that I could do it at arm’s length. Project what I wanted to project, but keep enough of myself back that it was Writer Kim you were talking to, not me. Because Writer Kim is quite straightforward. She likes cake and tea and cats, and reads a lot and writes a lot, and doesn’t swear, and is all-round pretty inoffensive and not that weird at all.

She’s also kind of boring, but that’s okay, because her writing isn’t boring (she says bravely). It has dragons hoarding barbecues and crashing Women’s Institute meetings, devious creatures sabotaging your diet and gargoyles busting organ trafficking rings. So that speaks for itself, right?

Why would this be weird?

Probably more than I know, to be honest.

But then I discovered Twitter, and Writer Kim was a wee bit lost there. Because 140 characters doesn’t allow you a lot. Because there’s no time to talk about knuckers and tiddy ‘uns and sock monsters there. There’s no room to explain yourself. So Writer Kim liked a few things, and shared a few things, then retreated. Because she couldn’t hold a conversation. Not without the real me sneaking in there. And wouldn’t that be a horror? If my oddness was revealed?

So I left Twitter, at least for a bit. And in that time I discovered something else. Some of those blog posts got a little personal. Not a lot, just a little. And people enjoyed those more than the arm’s-length ones. People liked the weirdness (people may need help). So it seemed that maybe I could let a bit of actual me out into the online world, and that’d be okay. Maybe.

I see nothing weird about this. The gravel is lava, after all.

I tried Twitter again. I commented on things that weren’t just about books and writing and cats (although a lot still were). I made some bad jokes. I made stupid comments (because that is who I am as a person), and most people kept talking me. In fact, more people talked to me. And I talked back (because social media is so much easier than actually being social. I like talking to people on t’interwebs). Actual me is a little weird and goofy, but it appears that weird and goofy is much more acceptable on Twitter than it necessarily is in the outside world. I even made some Twitter friends who seem to share a certain amount of oddness with me, which was quite a lovely and reassuring thing.

And Writer Kim kind of vanished. It’s been a curious lesson about acceptance, the idea that by projecting what you think is the best part of you means that you connect less to people, even online. And sure, I’m still awkward on social media, but people tend to commiserate, or at least laugh at me fairly kindly.

Which is a long way around to saying that letting my own odd self out online has led to me being less concerned with my own odd self in person. Maybe not less worried about what other people think (that’s a lifelong problem that I’m still working on), but more sure that while not everyone may warm to my weirdness, there are people that will.

And if not, the cat still loves me. Most of the time, anyway.

What about you? Do you feel you’re able to be more yourself online, or less? And do you have any weirdness aspirations?

Me, facing another day of trying not to be too odd.
The Little Furry Muse Speaks

The Little Furry Muse Speaks

Sit down, human. I have wisdom to impart.

The significant human (SH) is ‘tired’. It’s her own fault – she will insist on staying up all day when there are sunny spots to be napped in. All it means is that she oversleeps for my first breakfast, and I have to wake her. I don’t want to wake her, but what can I do? She never leaves food out, and if she doesn’t get it for me, what reason would I have for keeping her around? She makes lots of noises about how ‘3am is too early’, and ‘you put your paw in my mouth, that’s disgusting’, but I know she realises it’s for her own good. Well trained humans are happy humans.

And my paws are perfectly clean, thank you very much.

It’s not easy keeping up with human training as an only cat. Admittedly, I prefer it that way, and make it very clear to the SH and the other human (OH) that I do not appreciate company. This necessitates attacking any other cat or dog that ventures near my home, although I’m careful to keep it to a lot of spitting and tail bushing. One does not engage in actual physical contact, like some common alley tom. It’s unnecessary, undignified, and, quite frankly, beneath me. I am from Harrogate, after all. But it does get the point across that other animals are unwelcome. While the assistance in training would be appreciated, one can never be certain that a new cat would uphold the standards I have set. And a dog? Don’t make me laugh.

Laps are for cats, not machines. Deal with it.

I am struggling in one area of the SH’s training, however. She spends far too much time on her screen machine (she calls it a ‘laptop’, which is ridiculous, because she hardly ever has it on her lap. And if she does I insist that she move it at once so I can sit there. Machines should not be on laps. Laps are for cats), and I have observed her looking at other cats on it. Sometimes she even calls the OH and shows these cats to him. In front of me, no less! This is an insupportable situation, but despite my best efforts she remains rather attached to her ‘laptop’. The only solution therefore was to establish my presence on the machine as well as in person. Now that I have done so, world domination is, naturally, within my grasp, but as a mature and intelligent cat my chief concern is the education and training of humans. As I have secured access to this webnet platform, it seems only fair to offer my wisdom to other humans who may not as yet have comprehended the finer points of their cats’ training methods. In addition, some humans may not have even been chosen by cats yet, and this is doubly important reading for them.

Stop. You need to listen to this.

So, humans (because you must be human if you’re reading this – fellow cats, I imagine you’re trying to stand on the clicky bit beneath the screen. Allow your humans to read unimpeded. It’s for all of us), allow me to enlighten you. There is a world outside of the interwebs, and your cat overladies (and overlords) would like to take this opportunity to remind you of why you should step away every now and then and show us a little appreciation.

1. We give you someone to talk to. Talking to yourself is frowned upon in all species (well, except birds – they’re always nattering on, whether anyone’s listening or not, but then – ‘bird-brain’, yes?), but you will find a receptive audience in us. Plus, we really are the only ones that will listen with infinite patience to you ramble on about your ‘stories’. Mostly we tune you out and purr a little louder, but we never criticise and we are completely supportive of that troll/wereduck/alien love triangle you have going on. I mean, it’s inventive. Totally.

No, I’m not judging you. Honest.

2. Our purring (whether we’re using it to drown out your whinings about your undiscovered genius or not is rather a moot point) is very soothing, and the amount of caffeine and sugar you’re ingesting, you need soothing. You probably also need an intervention, but who’s judging. Yes, admittedly, we are, but we won’t say anything. You can tell yourself we’re staring at you lovingly.

3. We never suggest you should get out of your dressing gown. It’s super-comfortable and wonderful for bedding into, so, you know, you do you. We support your choice of working attire whole-heartedly. Although it might be wise to removed that half-eaten cookie from the pocket. Just because we keep the rats away doesn’t make that sort of behaviour okay.

4. We are unfailingly attentive when you get a 2am working sprint on. We won’t ask you to turn out the light, or complain that you’re keeping us up. We will sit next to you and purr, any hour of the day or night. We are 24/7 companions. But you should probably offer us a few biscuits to show proper appreciation.

5. We remind you daily that there’s a different way to live. That sun on the floor is reason enough to Zen out on life, the universe, and biscuits. That moments of exuberant playfulness are necessary no matter how old or dignified you think you might be. That there are wonders to be discovered in wardrobes and drawers, in bags and washing machines and boxes. That relaxation is an art form, and self care is vital to happiness. That there are more things in the world than you can perceive, and that love and companionship come in many beautiful, wonderful shapes, sizes and species. And that there’s always time for an ear scratch.

There’s always time for a stretch in the sun.

So off you go, humans. Strive to do better.  And cats? Keep up the good work. Together, we can manage our people.

Special thanks to Feegle, who inspired me to speak out. Training humans is going to reach a whole new level now we have the interwebs. Feegle can be found over on her human Lisa Sell‘s web page thingy here.

Sunshine Blogger Award

Sunshine Blogger Award

Shiny!

I won, I won!

I’d like to thank the little furry muse, chocolate, tea – wait. Sorry, no. Not that sort of award.

Although I’m pretty chuffed anyway.

The lovely A.S.Akkalon nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award (isn’t it cool? And shiny??), and I’m both enormously flattered and a little intimidated, because I feel that this means I have to, you know, live up to this award, which sounds kind of grown-up and responsible. I’ve survived almost 40 years managing not to be grown-up (I couldn’t avoid the responsibility bit), so I’m not sure I’m ready for such big things.

However – I’m immensely flattered because I love A.S.Akkalon’s blog. She’s funny, prolific, smart, has inspired at least one of my own blog posts, and is fully prepared to survive the zombie apocalypse. These are big things. Plus she’s from NZ, which obviously makes her even cooler. If you haven’t checked out her blog, head over there and do so – it’s well worth the read.

So, there were conditions associated with this award (is that fair? Shouldn’t you just get to thank the cat and keep it?), so let’s see…

  • Post the award on your blog. Done!
  • Thank the person who nominated you. Thank you!
  • Answer the 11 questions they set you. Coming up next – you lucky readers, you get to find out the most intimate details about me, such as if I fear the kraken or the black death the most!
  • Pick another 11 bloggers. Okay, this figure is flexible, apparently. So I didn’t pick 11, but I picked some wonderful bloggers who are at the bottom of the post – go say hi when you’ve finished reading!
  • Give them 11 questions. A.S.Akkalon set the bar rather high on these, but yes, done.

Right, so – let’s get started on these questions…

  • What do you most wish people thought about you? She’s an amazing writer? No, I wish more people knew that although I’m really socially awkward, I’m actually quite nice and am not deliberately being rude. I’m just not very good at small talk, and get especially awkward in big groups. Plus I’m easily distracted by cats, or the idea that there may be small sentient beings living under your couch and stock-piling potato chips.

    I don’t JUST sit inside writing stories.
  • What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done? Such a big question. So big. So many things. Sometimes I think my life is a succession of stupid things I’ve done. Most recently, I bought a cat tree for the little furry muse, who scorns all things cat-related, never uses cat beds or scratching posts, and I’ve known this for the 7 years she’d deigned to live with me. She climbed on it once, when I put cat treats inside the little hidey-holes. It’s currently functioning as bulky, expensive shelving for keys and bags.
  • If you were a game show host, what kind of game would it be? Something involving kittens. Kitten agility?
  • Are you more scared of krakens or black death? Definitely the black death. At least you can see the krakens coming for you, and presumably if you get out of the water you’ll be okay. Unless these are a new breed of perambulating kraken, adapted to life above the waves and determined to enslave humanity in underwater factories and conquer the world. In which case I’d have to re-think.
  • What do you wish there was more of in books? Friendship – as in, main characters that aren’t intensely/reluctantly/eventually attracted to each other, but are actually friends. It does happen!

    Also me. Not looking too abominable here.
  • Where is your favourite place to read a book? Anywhere? Curled up on the couch with the cat and a blanket on stormy days, listening to the rain. On the beach in the sun in the summer, swimming in between chapters. In sunny spots in quiet places. Anywhere no one’s going to disturb me, really.
  • What is the most “you” thing ever? Hmm. I’m not sure. I feel like a contradiction in parts, sometimes. Sea and sun, especially as it relates to either sailing or diving, is very, very me, but so too is losing hours in a good secondhand bookshop, or getting over-excited because I found an awesome book on a market stall. Talking to cats and being scared of talking to people. Falling down a red run snowboarding (as in, falling down the entire run because I got cocky) and ending up looking like the abominable snowman, giggling the whole way down and going back to try it again. Sleeping with a stuffed toy. Hating being the centre of attention. Tea and cake. Hiking in quiet places. All of these.
  • Cats eating birds: more proud of the cat or sorry for the bird? Sorry for the bird. I love my cat, and I never shout at her for catching things, because I know it’s part of being a cat (plus she’s fat and it’s good exercise). But I always feel awful about it. Even a bell on her collar doesn’t seem to help.
  • What did high school English do for your love of writing? I was really, really lucky, as I had two brilliant English teachers in high school. They always encouraged my writing and were hugely supportive, even getting me into a national writing workshop, and never insisted that I follow any sort of ‘form’, but that I should experiment as much as possible. Thank you Mr Brady and Ms Aldridge!
  • If you could have a mythical creature as a pet, what would it be, and what trick would you teach it? Ooh. A dragon. A small one, so it could live in the apartment. I’d teach it to roar at people that try to talk to me when I’m reading or writing.
  • If you could have a superpower, what power would you choose? Breathing underwater. I’ve always wanted to be able to do that. And not get cold when I was in the water, either. Basically, I want to be Percy Jackson. I was so jealous when I read those books.
    The little furry muse on the hunt.

    Now to nominate some of the lovely bloggers I follow. This was trickier than anticipated, as I wasn’t quite sure who would appreciate the nomination, and who would maybe not be entirely enthralled by the idea. But, either way, here are the people who I believe deserve the award for being entertaining, inspiring, informative, educational, or any combination thereof, as well as just being all-round lovely.

  • Lisa Sell
  • Anna Adler
  • A J Watt
  • Hannah Mines – check out her answers here (also find out more about being a Library Warrior!)

And finally, my questions for the nominees!

  1. What book made you want to start writing?
  2. If you could co-write with any author, who would it be? (Or would you want to? Why/why not?)
  3. What’s your writing super-fuel?
  4. What’s your spirit animal?
  5. If you could be a character in your favourite book, who would it be and why?
  6. What’s the last book you read that really stayed with you?
  7. What’s your writing uniform?
  8. What was your funniest moment in life?
  9. If you could plant magic seeds, what would grow?
  10. What does your monster under the bed look like?
  11. What’s your most irrational fear? (Is it that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you?)

Thanks again to A.S. Akkalon – don’t forget to check out her blog if you haven’t already.

And since we’re here – any questions you’d like to ask? Questions for the little furry muse are also accepted.

Another happy place.

 

An Interesting Age

An Interesting Age

Cat lady mode.

In not very long, I will have a birthday, and I will be 39. I actually wrote a whole blog post about this, musing not just on how the hell I made it this far (honestly, in some ways I’m surprised), but also on how society, as represented by TV, movies, and an uncomfortable proportion of books, isn’t quite sure what to do with people of my age. Our options appear to be harassed mums, nagging wives, bitter divorcees, or (if childless) selfish career woman or cat ladies.

I have no children and a cat, so, actually, maybe they nailed that one.

But doesn’t it seem this way? We’re apparently too old (or too young) to be love interests, too old to be sexual creatures (unless we’re cougars, which is only good for comedy value), and we’re much too busy with kids to be interesting. Unless we’re childless, in which case we’re just waiting to be swept off our feet by Mr Wonderful, at which point our biological clocks will immediately kick into belated overdrive, we’ll whip through some IVF (which will, obviously, be immediately successful), we’ll have triplets, and settle into domestic bliss in suburban paradise.

The only problem is, I can’t seem to identify myself in there anywhere. And, in fact, I can’t find any of my friends in there either. None of them seem to fit into any of those particular boxes, kids or not, married or not, career (however you want to define that) or not. They’re much more interesting than that. They’re much more varied than that. Could it even be – gasp – that women are individuals even when they get a few crows’ feet and grey hairs? That they actually have lives and drives beyond marriage and kids? (Or cats and careers?) Eek!

Maybe it’s not that we don’t fit the boxes. Maybe it’s that we’re not actually designed for them at all.

But then I realised that better bloggers than me (I’m more a blog dabbler than a blog writer, if I’m going to be honest, and since I’ve told you my actual age, which is apparently something women aren’t meant to admit to either, I may as well be honest) have written better and more serious posts about such things. So I thought I’d have a little fun with it (since it’s almost my birthday, and it’s my blog, so nyah), and see what the ever-reliable stock images felt were in store for my 40th year.

Special thanks to the lovely writer and blogger A.S. Akkalon, because her hunt through the wilds of YouTube did in part inspire this. I occasionally forget about all the wonderful weirdness that the internet’s home to. (As opposed to the just – weird.)

So, without further ado:

My 40th Year As Predicted by Stock Images.

I typed in ‘stock images women 39’, and it started out pretty much as I expected:

Drinking tea and gossiping, I guess? Or plotting world domination? Yesss.
Sitting in the woods trying to blend in with green clothes. Stealth training for world domination?

Okay, so tea parties and yoga. Fits the narrative.

But then things got a bit weird.

Apparently the aggressive career woman thing gets quite… intense.
But that’s okay, because it’s fuuun!
Until it really is too much, and you end up wandering about channelling The Doctor, complete with over-sized coat and psychic paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what do you do  if you’re not being a somewhat eccentric businesswoman?

You’re hanging around with your friends. Pointing.

Pointing.
And also pointing while standing around in your knickers.

I’m not sure what drives all this pointing. It’s rather accusatory, although they’re all grinning like it’s an awful lot of fun. It’s a bit, “Yay, you’re the witch! Burn, witch!”.

They may have a (heh) point. Is this the result of too much multi-tasking?

Even if she has a excessive amount of arms, there’s no call for finger-pointing and witch burning.

You tell them.

We’re adults here. We can sort out all this shouting and pointing and multi-limbedness.

With an arm wrestle, like sensible people. While wearing surgical masks and gloves, because germs.

Of course, you could just not let any of this get to you. Bollocks to knicker-clad finger pointing and workout multi-tasking, right?

Yeah, bollocks to it.

So, apparently, this is what stock images expect of 39-year-old women. Much more interesting than expected. And much, much weirder. Which I like. I’d sort of expected the whole thing to be awash with pastel colours and tea cups. And while I like my tea, I like my weird, too. The greatest beauty of getting older is, I’ve found, the ability to embrace your own wonderful weirdness, to understand that not only is it okay, it’s vital. Because it’s what makes you so perfectly, fabulously you. Squishing it down to fit into society’s boxes only works for so long, and it’s not a good time while it lasts. We really are not made for boxes, we’re not made to be catalogued and categorised like some collector’s specimens. We are all weirdly, wonderfully ourselves, and it may have taken me an awful lot of years to realise that, but maybe that’s part of it. Maybe it shouldn’t be called ageing at all. Maybe it should all be called growing. Growing up and growing out and growing weird.

What’s your next milestone birthday? What’re you expecting, and what does stock images think lies ahead of you? (I’m starting to think they’re as good as horoscopes).

And allow me to leave you with one final search result for ‘stock images women 39’:

I don’t even know where to begin. Is this the cat lady model, d’you think?

You’re welcome.

 

 

A Blog About Baking

A Blog About Baking

Portrait of the author. Okay, not really, My hair, make-up, nails and dress are never that perfect, and especially not when baking.

Once upon a while ago, I used to cook full-time. In fact, I had a few jobs where this was the case, the first time being with the caterers at Waiheke Island RSA when I was still at Uni, and the most recent being in a lovely wee deli/cafe in Yorkshire. These are facts that would surprise people that knew me when I was working diving, and existed on two-minute-noodles and biscuits scrounged off the dive boat, and maybe even people that know me now, as when the SO’s away through the summer I eat nothing but salads drowned in homemade Caesar dressing, and Carrefour praline chocolate.

But I do have a thing for baking.

I’m not a creative person in any way except writing, really. I can’t draw, I can’t sing, and I’m terrible at sewing and pretty much anything that requires a good eye for proportion and an ability to work in straight lines. I think those adult colouring books look amazing, but I’d never pick one up, because you can guarantee that even if I stayed inside the lines (dubious) the colour combos would be interesting, to say the least. Even when someone gives me flowers, I try to keep them as they were bundled, because my version of ‘arranging’ means I have to claim the cat sat on them (she does come in handy).

But, baking.

Read More Read More

Bookshops, Road Trips, & Preconceptions

Bookshops, Road Trips, & Preconceptions

When we decided to head to Paris for a few nights, I had two things I wanted to do – visit the Catacombs, because they were closed the last time we were there, and visit a few English secondhand bookshops, because this has become a bit of a thing for me. Unfortunately, the Catacombs are conspiring against me, as they were closed again, so that left the bookshops – which was really more than enough. And as this is, of course, a blog primarily concerning the reading and writing of books, I thought I could make quite a nice little blog post about visiting them.

So let’s start with a couple of scene-setting shots…

Read More Read More

A Writer’s Christmas List

A Writer’s Christmas List

These are not as easy to build as they look.

​I know, I know. There are a thousand and one gift guides out there for the writer/reader/introvert in your life (because let’s face it – more often than not, they’re one and the same). But how many fancy pens and pretty notebooks can we really use? Especially as we are super-picky, and it’s entirely possible that, although we’ll thank you very much for your lovely gifts, and they’ll have pride of place on our desks, we’ll also continue writing in our cheap notebooks with the dodgy covers, using our scratchy, blotchy pens, because, well, habit. And writer weirdness. Don’t try and talk us out of it.

So, now you have some idea of what you’re dealing with (if you didn’t already – after all, if you have a pet writer/reader/introvert in your life, you’re reading this for a reason. Such as: they’re weird and I’m not sure what to do with them), let me make a few suggestions:

Read More Read More

Be Gentle With Yourself

Be Gentle With Yourself

The little furry muse understands the importance of a little self love.

The last month has been one of those months, not just for me, but for quite a few people I know. In fact, I think it’d be fair to say it’s been one of those years for lots of people. It always is, in one way or another, isn’t it? And there are things we do to get through, some of which are healthy, others not so much (I’m looking at you, king-size bar of fruit and nut chocolate). And that’s all just life, really. It’s coping. It’s living. But sooner or later, things get on top of us all, no matter what the soft-focus, implausible lives documented on instagram or twitter or facebook tell you. Life tends to be a bit more Lewis Carroll and a bit less Beatrix Potter.

But at some point, we need to start taking care of us. We need to stop over-stretching to achieve some mythical ideal, to stop beating ourselves up for those things we can’t fit into our days or our lives, because eventually the bruises will start to show, and things will start to break. So we need to look after ourselves, as difficult and unimportant as that may seem. As against our conditioning as that may go. We need, in fact, to be gentle with ourselves.

Read More Read More

%d bloggers like this: