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Shifty Fades of Grey - My Story of O

It's Day 4 since I decided to accept my grey, and so far it's going better than brilliant - very happy with the colours and it's made a tremendous difference to how I feel about myself.

I've been rather reflective since Sunday (and that's not just reference to the silver catching the electric light in our house).

If I'm honest, I struggled a bit with the term transitioning, because of the significance the word has for the transgender community (for the record, I'm pro LGBT+ - my anxiety rested with using the same word for my fade to grey), but I'm an English scholar, so I know it is the right word for this.

For years, my roots have been an indication of my mental and physical health. When they've started to peek through (usually a week or two after they've been pasted into brown benevolence), it's been an emotional struggle to face the world - for me it was tangible evidence that I was too tired/busy/unhappy to touch them up, and people knew…

Shifty Fades of Grey

Sunday, I had an epiphany.

For years, I've been dying my hair to hide the grey. Stuck in a corporate role, I've been slapping on the dye to present a corporate face, and hairline, and it's been tiring and expensive (and smelly - ammonia... ugh).

For my 40th birthday, I was given a medical menopause, something I still have (it's the gift that just keeps on giving) and since then, the grey has become more resilient than ever.

Actually, it's more white than grey, and ironically the parts of my hair that get the most dye (parting, hairline) are the baby white of an nonagenarian. Not a great look when you're not even half that age.

Since I've been working for myself, and since I rarely see anyone other than my family and the postman, the need to dye my hair has become less and I've just touched up my roots for meetings and photo opportunities.

On Sunday I was reading an article about the effect of the menopause on hair which mentioned the Facebook group Grey…

Mummy gets absolutely bladdered

When I was a little girl I figured I would marry a prince and live in a castle.

I would inexplicably wear period costume and we would live happily ever after, probably with a unicorn in the garden. At no point in my innocent daydream was there even a hint that my pelvic floor wouldn't join me in this nirvana.

I'd not received "the talk" at that point. When it did arrive, it involved some indistinct mumbling from a nun about snails and cupids arrows, and a demonstration of what happens to a tampon when it's put in a glass of water. That was all mildly horrific, but really got interesting when Sarah Baker's brother had to come in to our girls-only lesson, and go to the teacher's desk, where said tampon resided in all its saturated majesty.

Life and reality teach us a lot, and so my childhood fantasy matured with me, until there was no period costume and no castle. I kissed some frogs and found my prince. And I exchanged my unicorn for children. As for happ…

Hard as fuck

I've never hidden the fact that I'm an emotional person. I don't just wear my heart on my sleeve, it's in every fibre of my body, plastered across my face, and my clothes are cut from its cloth. It's fair to say I emote my way through life.
If I were to hear someone talk about me, perhaps my eulogy (you'll be leaving the service - likely non-denominational although I am a Catholic - to Green Day, so I hope you have the Time of Your Life), I'd hope to hear from someone that I'd achieved my wish of being a kind and considerate person to others, strangers as well as friends.
You see, even though I don't have that much, I'm willing to share what I have. It may be my advice or a shoulder to cry on, it could be a last-minute favour or a place of refuge, but I am always generous with my time, friendship, love and support.
I readily admit, I don't just befriend or acquaint, I adopt. That's not to say I'll suffocate you - but expect me to be…

When it all gets too much

Prevention is better than cure, as the proverb goes.

You can't cure suicide - by its very nature, it's fatal - so it's appropriate then that today is Suicide Prevention Day across the world.

Every year, more than 800,000 suicides - one every 40 seconds - are successful. It's one of the top 20 leading causes of death of people of all ages across the globe.

As with many mental health problems, there's a stigma attached to suicidal thoughts and behaviours, and it's time that changed.

You could be closer to it than you realise.

Here's a snapshot of how mental health problems and suicide has touched my life in the last 20 years.

Suicides gun shot, hangingAttemptsdrowning, overdose, cutting wristsBehaviours self-harming, alcoholism, mania, violence, withdrawal, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, paranoia, lack of personal hygiene, mood swings, extreme fatigue, talking and researching suicide methods  
You don't need to know the stories behind each example …

The open double shit sandwich of the new school term

I've never looked forward to a Wednesday as much as I did this week. Wednesday was when the mini-RMs went back to school, and between the hours of 8.30am and 3.30pm give or take, it was someone else's turn to deal with the noise that, despite combined very best efforts, has filled our house over the very (very) long weeks of summer.

The new term dawned like a open double shit sandwich announcing the demise of the summer season. That's a hybrid on steroids of the normal shit sandwich by the way, what HR departments the world over train their managers to deliver ("I like your tie; you're not good enough to be here; I like the font on your email"), but with only a single layer of positivity - it's raining, the kids can't go outside to burn off the energy that is making the very foundations shake with their screaming, shouting and fighting; Yay! they're back at school; it's raining which is going to make the school run fun and I'm stuck indoor…

#Justock Part II: Shreddies, Shredded Wheat, or Weetabix

Not since Justin Hawkins flew into the Brighton Centre on a massive pair of tits, has there been a better entrance than Julian's on Saturday night to #Justock Part II.

I'll set the scene... as you know, the whole day has been a surprise and it's been a year in the planning. We've dashed back from tennis (Part I) and are back out the door in just over an hour (late, we're always late) to pick up our friends for "dinner".

As we pull up to Tomas and Jana's house, Julian remarks on how unusual it is to see the gates closed. He gets out the car and Tomas calls from the other side of the gate he'll let us in. I step through the gap, and the gate opens wide to allow Julian to step over the threshold.

There's a split second before our friends and family (those who could get to us, there were notable absences with good reason, but it didn't stop us missing you), led by the Mini-RMs chorus "Surprise!" and the best tribute band in our world…