50 Anecdotes To Get To Know Me Better

1) I am an Aquarius, which matters to me because I’m the kind of person who likes to catagorise human behaviour based on personality types.

2) I really liked Star Wars when I was a kid because it was a way to bond with my dad. It was also my first introduction to Sci Fi and I like sci fi a lot.

3) I completely dropped my fascination with Star Wars when I discovered Harry Potter. I became so obsessed with Harry Potter that I had a trunk set up just in case Hogwarts was real.

4) I always wanted to wear glasses growing up but I didn’t need them until I was 14 years old and I didn’t need to wear them all the time until I was about 18.

5) My first celebrity crushes weren’t on popular attractive men of the time but on comedians. When asked about who I found attractive I was embarrassed and said Heath Ledger because I had heard Mum say he had nice shoulders.

6) I have loved South Park since I was 8 years old. I don’t like toilet humour at all but I find political satire and dark humour to be interesting.

7) I would never miss the Simpsons growing up. Another activity I shared with my Dad when he would get home from work. The divorce really deeply affected me because I was a daddy’s girl up to that point. I continued to watch the Simpsons without him.

8) I loved video games growing up, especially ones with role playing aspects. I also loved books where I could pick a path and board games with intensive story lines.

9) I didn’t sleep well as a kid and found that doing rosaries or praying over and over helped. I had a lot of anxiety and channelled it into the routine and basic rules of religion.

10) I was often put in to gifted classes. I was in gifted art classes as a kid and selected for extra curricular opportunities. I was smart but I also had to put a lot of effort in and I did so to get approval from my parents and teachers.

11) I’ve always been clumsy and uncoordinated but I tried to participate in sports and dancing on several occasions growing up.

12) I have been fascinated by medicine, childbirth, and pregnancy since I was 5 years old. I would read anything about pregnancy or babies. I guess you could say I’ve been casually studying as hobby for almost two decades.

13) I used to wish I had an older brother so I didn’t have to go to school alone and so he could defend me when I got picked on. Really I just wanted a close relationship with my sibling and couldn’t imagine ever being close with my younger sister at the time. Sometimes I resented the pressure of being the oldest.

14) When I was around 11 my dad wanted to move to Scotland and he sat me down and asked if I would move with him. I didn’t want to leave mum and he didn’t want to leave without us so he stayed in Australia. My sister would have gone because she was a really young and obsessed with the Loch Ness monster.

15) For a few months when I was growing up we didn’t own a tv. Our washing machine broke really often. And mum forced us to drink Soy milk.

16) I loved scaring my sister when we were little so I would devise different ways to trick her or jump out at her. This got me in trouble a lot.

17) For almost a decade I thought I would never get married or have kids. I was determined to move to the city, be successful and independent. I pictured myself thin and good looking like all the successful women on tv. I wanted to be strong and in charge.

18) Wearing boots makes me feel confident. Especially my steel caps.

19) When I walk backstage I have to stop myself from crying with joy. Every time.

20) My family has a history of not knowing what kind of gifts I wanted. On more than two occasions I was given the same gift from multiple family members for the same birthday.

21) I loved the concept of spies. I had this book from my parents that was a spy guide written for kids. Ever since I’ve really wanted a jacket with pockets hidden inside. My sister later became even more obsessed with forensics and everyone forgot that I was ever interested.

22) I liked anime in my teens. Again everyone forgot about this when my sister started liking it too and got much more invested than I was.

23) I got over my intense fear of fire by lighting incense. My room constantly smelled of incense. Side note: This was also around the time I was obsessed with Daughter by Pearl Jam and would listen to it on repeat in a dark room full of incense like the strangest ten year old ever.

24) When we moved once I left notes in the door stops as a time capsule. I can’t remember what most of them said but I do remember listing the name of the prime minister at the time.

25) There are very few people I still talk to from highschool. I have lost contact with a few people I actually cared about. I think about all them all the time.

26) I love seahorses because they suck at being fish. I also love meerkats because they’re paranoid. Basically any animal that’s just a complete hot mess.

27) I love stationary. Always have, always will. I once spent over $100 in OfficeWorks on sharpies. I miss getting new pens and pencils for school. Fresh notebooks are life.

28) I’ve always wanted long hair but I’ve never been able to grow my hair out enough. Even as a child. I have had a pixie cut or a bob for most of my life.

29) I’ve always felt weirdly connected to Greece and Malta but not Italy. Maybe it’s an ancestry thing but I don’t know.

30) French is my favourite language.

31) Italian food is my favourite kind of food

32) I love good calamari and crave fish all the time but I don’t like prawns or shellfish.

33) I used to get jealous of people who got nose bleeds in class and wished I would get one. Proving once again I was a strange kid.

34) The first time I felt connected to other women as a woman was the time I got my period and bled onto my dress in biology class. Some of the other girls helped me. It triggered a change in my perspective. I argued with other girls a lot in high school but that was the most supportive interaction I had that entire time.

35) The relationships I’ve had with the men in my life: my father, grandfathers, stepdad, uncles, friends, and especially boyfriends… have had the greatest amount of impact on my identity today in both negative and positive ways.

36) I have always been mocked for my strong beliefs… as early as 4 years old I’ve been arguing for equality and peace, and I’ve been laughed at.

37) I’ve always wished I could skate and play several instruments but I’ve failed miserably which is probably why I find those skills so impressive and attractive in others.

38) I hope my descendants will care enough to find me on their family tree the way I’ve found my ancestors. I don’t ever want to be forgotten.

39) I’ve spent my life scared of everything. Even from a really young age. I once wrote a list of my fears and triggers. That list is now about a quarter of what it was and that doesn’t ever get acknowledged.

40) I have a lot of regret about our wedding day but I’m so glad we got married. I just wish the day had worked out as we had planned it.

41) I miss my tree house. My mum built me one as a kid but the real estate made us remove it from the tree of the property we were renting.

42) I love rain and wind. Even though I grew up terrified of storms I have some great memories from my childhood of bunkering down. I was also irrationally scared of tornados for a lot of years.

43) I watched the Wizard of Oz at bible study enough times to become fixated.

44) I thought I hated musicals until I worked on one. I avoided musicals growing up. When mum watched them I would roll my eyes and leave the room. I found them annoying and boring. Watching Grease for the first time changed my mind a little but working on my first show changed everything.

45) I worked hard to become good at communicating because I feel an intense need to be understood. I often feel ignored or misunderstood and therefore judged. My goal is to find people who can understand me without my need to communicate and explain everything all the time.

46) I always wanted to own and run a lolly shop and seriously planned on dropping out of high school to do so.

47) I had a detailed plan of buying a van and travelling up the coast with 3 friends the moment I turned 18. I had the friends and plans when I started high school but when I changed schools those plans went out the window.

48) I always imagined getting married on the beach. Blue and yellow would have been my wedding colours. My actual wedding was on a farm and our colours were navy and silver.

49) My favourite flower growing up were Frangipanis because they’re common near the beach. My teen bedroom was painted blue and yellow and I had frangipani motif curtains. I even put frangipani oil in my hair occasionally. I went on to like yellow roses, which are supposed to represent friendship. Now I love daisies, all my favourite flowers have been common and associated with happiness.

50) When I was scared of vampires as a kid. I later became obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and would carry stakes and crosses around. Mum taught me to learn everything there was to know about the things that scared me in order to get over my fear. I applied this to my fear of dying by beginning to plan my funeral at 7 years old.

61: Tomatoes and Tests with Two Lines.

I wrote the following over a year ago. I have updated the timeline to be current but I have since worked through most of the emotions I am about to discuss. I considered not making this public (it has been published privately for a long time) since I feel like the words are no longer true. However I believe some other person might feel the same as I did a year ago and may find comfort from knowing they are not alone.

It has been almost two years since I last fell pregnant. It has been more than three years since we started trying to get pregnant in the first place. I keep a tally of all the babies we know that have been conceived and born in that time. I also know of multiple miscarriages that multiple women in my life have experienced in that time. I’m not alone. I’m always aware of that.

I had an ultrasound during my second miscarriage. The doctors wanted to check it wasn’t ectopic pregnancy. It was an awful experience. I wish I hadn’t gone through with the ultrasound as the experience was worse than the miscarriage itself. I was uncomfortable and in pain; then I had to get undressed and lay on some towels while I had an internal ultrasound. There wasn’t anything too see. It was too early. My hormones were high, my lining was thick, but it was wasn’t a pregnancy that was meant to progress.

I get worried that none of it was real. I don’t want people to think I had a phantom pregnancy because there wasn’t anything on my ultrasound. My doctor assures me that I was pregnant. It was real.

My logical mindset told me not to cry. I cried silently in the waiting room. A few tears rolled down my cheeks but I didn’t cry loudly. I normally cry loudly. I normally feel every emotion so strongly. In that moment I didn’t feel anything. I knew there was nothing I could do, there was absolutely no way to prevent it, there was no point being upset… in that moment. The next few days I would feel more complex emotions. I expected to feel much more than I did. I was annoyed that I didn’t feel enough. I have known other women who had lost pregnancies and they felt so strongly and we all felt for them. I would stand alongside any woman and support her, but when it was my story, my experience, I was numb.

My dominant feeling throughout the experience, and ever since, is frustration. I’m frustrated that it doesn’t feel real. I’m frustrated that the validity of my pregnancy could be questioned (mostly by myself) by an empty ultrasound. I’m frustrated that I didn’t feel more. I’m frustrated that my mind tells me other people are allowed to feel more than I am. I’m frustrated that after a while of trying to conceive I lost an opportunity to finally achieve my goal. I’m frustrated that I haven’t been able to get pregnant since. I’m frustrated that I can’t control my body or my emotions or my fate. I’m frustrated with not knowing whether or not I will ever have a successful pregnancy. I’m frustrated that I have spent so much time thinking about it and have began doubting myself.

Most of all I’m frustrated that I can’t talk about it because that’s not how the world works. I don’t want to make other people uncomfortable. I don’t want to have to explain all the details. I want to respond honestly when people ask me if we want kids or when we are planning on having them. I want to say things like “when I was pregnant I loved tomatoes” because for a only a few weeks in my life I didn’t hate tomatoes!

I kept all my positive pregnancy tests, discoloured and faded, in a ziplock bag. I did it so I can remind myself it was real. Sometimes I feel like I imagined it but those lines are definitely there. I remind myself that I will have another positive test one day in the future but it always seems like a lie.

60: A quick thought about friendships.

I haven’t written anything in a while. This is disappointing because I had managed to keep up a consistent schedule for over a month but sometimes other things are more important. I have been trying to make new friends and find some meaning in the world. I want to connect with people. This has always been important to me. I find I get too attached to people. I know I’ve said this before but it remains relevant.
I care so deeply about everyone and everything. My husband told me that he admires how much I care but sometimes I care too much. I’m too invested in the happiness of others. Even the people who have treated me poorly. The people who I once connected deeply with but who have moved on.
I wonder sometimes if I will find a friend who cares as deeply for me as I do for everyone else.

I wonder if people understand me or if they humour me as my thoughts wander so much.

I express myself in unique ways. We are all just looking for those who express themselves in the same way or at the very least those who can comprehend us.

59: A Rose By Any Other…

My name is Jessica. 
Jessica was the most popular name for girls in my country the year I was born. I have met dozens of people names Jessica in my lifetime. Throughout primary school I was often in classes with multiple girls who shared my name and even the occasional boy named Jesse. I don’t like to be called Jessica; the name sounds so abrasive to me. Perhaps, like most people, I have come to associate my full name with being scolded. I go by Jess more often than anything else. This almost feels too casual in comparison. My family referred to me as Jessy growing up, always spelt with the letter Y not the more common ‘ie’, I have never been a fan on this moniker as it seems juvenile. 
For a time in my adolescence I wanted to change my name. I considered Kennedy because it seemed much edgier than Jessica. I thought about going by my middle name Kate, which resulted in all my online accounts being labelled as such. My school friends didn’t assign me a nickname unrelated to my real one; unlike my sister, who’s family nickname (Bear) managed to cross the boundaries of her social spheres.
I have grown to dislike Jessica due to its popularity. It has only been in recent years that I have come to accept the name Jess without wishing I could change it. I only came to this conclusion because I am unable to imagine myself going by any other name. I have also become occupied with name origins, meanings, and statistics in that time. I always knew what my name meant but now I have a large portion of my memory cluttered with facts about names. I love finding out the name someone has chosen for their offspring. I delight in discussing how people feel about their names. I follow the popularity of names like some chart the rise and fall of the stock market. Yet I still don’t know what name I would prefer to have. I suppose I will just stick with Jess.

If you have an extremely common name or a very rarely used one I would love to know how you feel about your name so feel free to leave a comment.

55: Why I don’t like goats.

I want to start off with a disclaimer; if any of my old housemates happen to stumble upon this, rest assured that living with you was great as I got some fun stories out of the experience. These were great people but the situation itself was very strange to me and I just wanted to share my experience.

I once lived in a share house with three other people. This isn’t uncommon when you’re young and trying to pay the bills. We were all performing arts students in some capacity. I had completed my course the year before but I found myself in this living situation because of who I was dating at the time. I usually prefer to live alone or sharing my space with only my partner. My boyfriend at the time was much more inclined to share with his friends therefore the house was already established when I moved in. I had been friends with this guy for about a year and when the friendship evolved I found myself living at his house. The house he shared with two other women and occasionally some others. 
There were two large bedrooms, two living spaces, one bathroom, a kitchen and dining area, and a small bedroom/office area. My then boyfriend was living in one of the rooms while the other bedroom was empty. The smallest room was full of random furniture and the person who had once occupied it had recently moved out. This is when things get interesting. As I mentioned earlier, there were three people living in this household yet two of the bedrooms were vacant. 

You might be wondering where the two women were staying? The two women had annexed off the living room by nailing blankets to the ceiling and the polished wood floor! The living room furniture was squashed in to a small living space at the back of the house while the main, much larger, living space was being used as a makeshift bedroom. This seemed ridiculous to me but I tried to bite my tongue. These people had been living in this arrangement before I came along so it wasn’t up to me to interfere. Not long after I began staying in the house one of the women moved in to the empty bedroom while one remained in the living room. 

This was a strange environment to suddenly enter in to. I didn’t know these people. The woman who continued sleeping in the living room would write on the walls and skate in the house. She had lived in a lot of squats in Melbourne and was always full of interesting stories, such as her previous living arrangement where all the household were using the same towel. I always made sure to keep track of my towel after that story. There was also always a puzzlingly large number of toothbrushes in the bathroom which prompted me to keep mine separated.
The other woman was vegan and had encouraged a mutual friend to eat vegan food most of the time also. One day both the housemates were away in the city and this friend of ours came over with a great deal of raw salmon they had purchased from the deli and ate it all ravenously, presumably taking advantage of the break in their vegan diet, I found this extremely amusing. For a group of people living on a vegan diet, a suspicious amount of our non-vegan food would go missing. There were two fridges in this house but no obvious organisation. It was extremely confusing for any outsider.
The house was a private rental, which meant that the owner had left some furniture on the property… Including two pets! One had died before I moved in but the large fish tank remained as a sad reminder. The other was a bright blue yabbie, who lost a claw after my cats moved into the house with me, we quickly returned him to his owner before any more harm could befall him. There were also four couches and an outdoor dining set left for us to use. (It always seemed to me that four couches was a tad excessive.) The pet situation escalated when the vegan housemate came home one day with a baby goat. They expected to let this goat live in the backyard, however, our backyard did not have any lawn for the goat to chew on. The yard was all rocky pebbles, which meant that the young goat would often resort to climbing on the outdoor furniture which belonged to the owner of the house. As the goat got older we began to worry that it might accidentally damage the furniture so I would have to go out and scold the animal. This didn’t work for very long as the goat learned to ram me in response. With shins covered in bruises my boyfriend and I were well and truly sick of this goat. The goat’s human mother was feeding it soy milk and leaving audio books playing for it while she was at work yet somehow this wasn’t stimulating enough for a growing billy. 
Eventually the end of the teaching year came along and both of the women moved out to return to Melbourne (the goat moving out along with them). I couldn’t wait to carefully tear down those blankets and reclaim our living room. We lived in the house for a year after everyone else had moved out. It was nice to spread out and use all the other rooms for their intended purposes.
I wrote a short story in high school about a group of friends who all share the house. In the story I had the main character buy an old motel and all of her friends moved in to the various rooms and made them their own. As a teenager the idea of all of my friends living with me in one huge house seemed like such an appealing idea. In reality my share house experience was very different. After my previous experience I can’t think of one friend with which I would willingly share a house. No offence to any of my friends out there, however, I enjoy the control and privacy I have in my own home. 

I do live with my husband and clearly I love him. Living together means we have so many opportunities to spend time with one another but we are adults with our own interests and therefore we find ourselves speeding our free time very independently. We are very introverted in the way we live and that’s the way I like it. We may go out and socialise but when we get home we unwind in our own space. The best part of my current living situation is the control I have over my own space and there’s not a single goat!!

54: A Glass Half Empty

I often get criticism for being too pessimistic. This really bothers me. I believe my anxiety caused me to become so pessimistic. I feel that if I prepare myself for the negative scenario I will be less disappointed. I’ve lived like this for years. Sure, I can see how this is a sad way to live my life, however, I find myself pleasantly surprised. When things go right I am happy, when things go wrong I can sigh and tell myself I expected it. 

I think of myself as unlucky. Not unlucky in a life and death kind of a way. Unlucky in the kind of way where I run in to things and trip over things more often than some. I never win raffles and if someone at the table is going to find hair in their food then it’s probably going to be me. My car will inevitably get a flat at the most inconvenient time and then it will start raining. The one time I got the courage to perform on stage in a play instead of behind the scenes; I got bronchitis! Things seem to break a lot when I’m around. My wedding day seemed to be one thing after another. I always seem to get lost. I’m just mildly unlucky.

Apparently saying that I’m unlucky out loud to other people makes me a pessimist. I feel like I’ve just learned to accept that sometimes things don’t go the way I want them to. Whenever I get sick I don’t expect to get better right away, this is because multiple times in the past I’ve struggled to shake a cold and then found out it was actually a chest infection. More often than not, I don’t just get over my sickness with some OJ and bed rest. I suppose I should have more hope in these situations. Maybe that’s the difference between an optimist and a pessimist? 

I don’t mean to be so negative. Maybe it’s all just a coping mechanism? I don’t do it to bring down the people around me. My outlook isn’t as cheerful as others but does that make me a bad person? I’ve tried to be more positive in the past but it just feels fake. I struggle not to make it seem like I’m lying to myself. I don’t want to be the lady with the bad attitude. I accept good things when they happen but I don’t trust myself to hold on to hope for too long. I want to. I try to. Is that all part of being depressed? 

I was told that it’s all about my attitude. I need to just decide to be happy. That if I think good things will happen then they will. Life is what you make it. I struggle with this concept because so much is out of our control in this world. A good spirit doesn’t always make things better. Hoping things will run smoothly doesn’t make it so. 
I will admit that it might make situations easier to handle if you believe that there is good in everything. I look around this world and I see so many examples that just seem so unfair and unjust. I wish it was as easy as a smile. I wish good things always happened to people with a positive attitude but that’s not always true. I also don’t think that when bad things happen to people who are all out of hope that it’s their fault for not seeing the silver lining. I will try harder to be positive for the people around me. I suppose at least I can make the people around me feel happy and hopeful and that in itself will be good. 

53: Sitting with my Sadness (and analysing anger.)

I have been in therapy, seeing a psychologist, for years. I have a history of depression and anxiety. I have been trying cognitive behaviour therapies since I was 4 years old. In my late teens I started trying what my psychologist referred to as acceptance commitment therapy. A.C.T. was the most helpful method I have ever encountered. I began to allow myself to have emotions and have thoughts without trying to control and suppress my feelings. This really helped me to relax and be able to really sit with my feelings and experience them. By doing this I have been able to analyse the way I think and why I react to things in certain ways. Instead of trying not to be anxious I am able to find why I am feeling anxious. When I am sad I look at why. Sometimes the answer is that I have a chemical imbalance or a predisposition, but usually I find that something has triggered a thought in my head and then I spiral. It had helped me feel in control. 

One of the things I have struggled with the most during this process is allowing myself to have negative emotions. I feel as though we are told from a very early age to suppress these feelings. Don’t cry. Don’t be afraid. Don’t worry. Don’t be angry. Don’t be jealous. Don’t be sad. In this way we don’t learn to look inward at why we feel this way or how we can make ourselves feel more comfortable emotionally. We only learn that we shouldn’t feel these things. We know we will be scolded for reacting negatively to a situation. Instead of learning how to have feelings appropriately.

The problem with suppressing these feelings is that when you can’t hold it in anymore you explode. So many people I know have encountered this, when everything just becomes far too much to handle, you find yourself experiencing all these feelings you have ignored all at once. Without acknowledging your feelings and dealing with them, you can become overwhelmed. Sure, some people never have this problem, but in my experience I have found many more who have.
In some ways I had to learn to “self soothe”, to sit with my fear or my anger or my sadness. I let myself cry it out. I let my emotions dissipate naturally and this occurred much faster than when I tried to force them away. So often I have been told to “move on” or “that’s enough” because “there’s no point getting worked up” or “we have been through this”, instead of letting go in my own time. My feelings make other people uncomfortable. I know this. I know that I am an extrovert and when I feel good I want to share it and when I feel bad I seek the acknowledgement of others. I want to be told that my feelings are valid, because even now I feel I need permission to feel. 
I find myself getting more upset now when my feelings are met with disapproval. Once I accepted this new way of feelings it was harder to let other people dictate how I should have my emotions. I know it’s trendy to dismiss people, especially millennials, for having too many feelings. I know that it comes across as self indulgent to allow myself to stop and listen to my emotions. I know how much it bothers my family to hear me repeating myself out loud as I try to process the thoughts my brain keeps playing on repeat. I am sorry that my feelings are causing an inconvenience to those around me. However, the old way caused much more inconvenience to myself. It disrupted my life because these thoughts and feelings never really went away, I was just ignoring them until they became too loud. I didn’t want to feel anything until I couldn’t function at all because of all my built up fizz, bubbling to the surface, overflowing, drowning me. 

We should all me allowed to feel things. I don’t expect anyone else to “fix” my negative feelings. I will find a way to resolve. First I need to know the cause. I need to sit with my body and my mind. I need to look within. I need to hold my feelings like a glowing crystal ball. I need to turn it over in my hands and take in every angle. I need to run my fingers along it, to feel the textures, the warmth or the cold, the smooth or the rough. I need to breathe in and out and take my time, and as I do the ball will get smaller and smaller, and it will become easier to hold. It won’t disappear but it will get smaller. The next time that ball expands and I have to deal with it again it won’t take as long, I will recognise it, remember the details, I can recall how it shrunk away and have faith that it will do so again. 

My feelings are more familiar now. I can soothe myself. I tell myself my feelings are justified because I know why it is I am feeling them. I know myself better now. I trust myself. I still have to remind myself to take time to listen to my inner self. Ignoring my feelings means I am not being honest to myself. I have to remember that I am important. I’ve been told it’s a waste of time dwelling on feelings but life is full of feelings and ignoring the negative is only experiencing half of life.

51: A scary label

Feminism has been a complex and controversial topic since it’s conception. The struggle for equality of the sexes precedes the 20th century. However, most people would associate the suffragette movement of the late 19th century with the beginning of modern feminism. First wave feminists fought for the rights of women to vote and hold fundamental human rights. A second wave came and went along with the ebb and flow of societal changes over time, bringing us to the modern third wave feminist movement. Whenever, wherever, and in whatever form women’s rights activists have presented themselves there have also been those who oppose and criticise the movement. This remains true today. Along with the growing visibility of gender fluid identification and non-binary individuals, the way in which society views gender, sexuality and equality has been evolving. Feminism should play a large role in this progression but as with any change there are those who resist. The way society views feminism has changed in the last few decades as we have seen women gain more rights and move significantly closer to the goal of gender equality. Some segments of society therefore view modern feminism as redundant and believe the movement has fulfilled its purpose. Some believe men and women have achieved equality and therefore feminism has changed functionality in an attempt to elevate women to a level of power above men. Some women have also criticised feminism as they feel more comfortable in the traditional gender roles. The internet allows these groups to voice their criticism loudly and spread their views far and wide. The current political atmosphere continues to demonstrate the importance for equality movements such as feminism. In Australia and globally, feminism is just as controversial as ever.

This is why labelling yourself as a feminist is terrifying. When Emma Watson gave her speech in September 2014 to launch the UN He for She campaign her words really resonated with me. “I decided that I was a feminist, and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists. Apparently, I’m among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, and anti-men. Unattractive, even.” (source). Since I was young and first heard of what a feminist was I felt the identified my beliefs. However I find myself afraid to openly mention my viewpoint on equality. Especially on the internet. 

I own a shirt with the word “feminist” written in thick black letters across a plain white crew neck. My husband hates this shirt. The first time he saw me wear it he rolled his eyes. A reaction I am very accustomed to receiving, especially from men. “I’m just afraid for your safety” he explained. “I hope you weren’t planning on wearing that in public” He continued. I have argued with my husband about this in the past. He isn’t anti feminist but he doesn’t believe in taking a strong stand for or against anything. I can’t imagine living my life in this way. The fact of the matter is that he was voicing my internal fears. I don’t think I am comfortable wearing that shirt out in public. I feel like I will receive criticism and present myself as a target. We live in a small country town and I don’t trust that every person in this area shares my progressive outlook. It’s a shame.

I acknowledge that even within the feminist movement there has been issues with what feminist are actually advocating. It’s a complicated topic. There is so much exclusion in this world. It’s sad to see exclusivity within groups who should be fighting for equality and acceptance. I don’t want to have to be afraid of voicing my opinion in this world. I just hold on to hope that one day we can all find happiness and live in harmony.

50: What I have learned since switching to reusable menstrual products

I have to start this off with a warning. I’m about to talk about menstruation. I’m going to be very open and honest. If you have a problem with that then you probably should not read on.

It has been about eight months since I switched to using cloth menstrual pads. I made the decision based on the way my skin was reacting to disposable pads. I was experiencing unusually long periods due to a hormone imbalance which meant that I was exposed to disposable pads for longer than the usual amount of time. I come from a family of escema sufferers and sensitive skin is just a given for us. A lot of products can give my mother, my sister, and myself, a rash. I am the luckiest of the bunch with the least sensitive skin but after sometimes weeks of using chemically treated disposable pads my skin was not happy.

I had been researching reusable menstrual products for a few years because I knew that my sister was having a similar problem and switched to a menstrual cup (similar to the commonly known Diva Cup). I have never been a fan of using internal menstrual products such as tampons, my personal preference is external protection, so a cup was not a good option for me. Coincidentally around the time I was starting to seriously consider swapping to a less irritating product, i had began teaching myself how to sew. My grandmother had passed away a few months prior and I was sewing as a way to feel connected to her. She bought me a sewing machine for my eighteenth birthday which had barely been used since, although it’s getting plenty of use now.

It only took a couple of YouTube videos before I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to make my own cloth pads. The first one I made was constructed from an old T-shirt and a face washing towel cut and layered to fit. I had sewed it by hand which made it less structurally sound than is ideal but it did the job. I was inspired to make more.

I’ve now made over a hundred cloth pads in various styles and different fabrics. I’ve become much better at sewing and now know my sewing machine like the back of my hand. My sister and a family friend have received sets of the pads from me but I don’t think I will sell them to the public.

I now use cloth pads exclusively. My cycle is much more comfortable and I don’t break out in a rash from the chemicals in disposable products anymore. I find myself excited to get my period for the first time in my life. I love the patterns and how comfortable the cloth is. Yet I still hesitate to tell people that I make pads and it’s even more intimidating to let people know I actually use them. I expect that people will think they’re “disgusting” or “unhygienic”. My husband is surprisingly supportive of my choice. My family know about my project and I’m now known as the “green” one for wanting to avoid chemicals and reduce my waste production. The few friends I’ve talked to about it have been accepting of my choice to my surprise. I’m sure I will get mixed reactions when this goes up however.

The thing I have noticed the most is that people are more comfortable talking about menstruation than you would first expect. Using cloth pads has made me much more comfortable with my body and my period. In the end it is a normal occurrence, yet I spent so many years ashamed and confused. I was uncomfortable with my own bodily functions. I am so grateful that cloth pads have changed my life and my outlook. If anyone is reading this because they’re considering the switch. I would definitely recommend trying it. If you’re reading this and you’re finding yourself repulsed… that’s your viewpoint and I respect that.

49: Seven and counting

When I was growing up I had a charm bracelet. I loved the idea of collecting small symbols to represent my interests, my experiences, my life. This bracelet has gotten too small for my wrist, I plan on buying a new one, but I have noticed that my tattoos serve as a permanent version. I am marking my body with meaningful symbols. Sometimes these meanings aren’t clear to outside observers as they are linked to my own memories but I don’t mind. 

I have seven tattoos so far. I want more. I have my next three designed and another two planned. I love them. 
Sometimes I forget that my tattoos are there. The beauty of their permanence is that even if I forget, when I see them again and I smile. 

I have written about my first tattoo experience before. I was 20 years old, I had been through a tough couple of years. I got a Latin phrase in cursive across my collar bone. It translates to “not always prepared, no always perfect”. Words I constantly need to remind myself. It’s been a journey of self acceptance and my tattoo is there as a symbol of my humanity. When my perfectionist anxiety kicks in and I’m driven to control every outcome, I read my tattoo and remember.

My second tattoo is an abstract mermaid. Some people see a wave, others a fish, or a shell. I designed it to be that way. I have been obsessed with mermaids my whole life and have discussed this on here years ago. 

My third tattoo is my blood type. O positive. It is in black ink on my inner forearm. I have been told by many that at first glance it can be mistaken for the female symbol. Also known as the symbol of Venus. I am okay with this association. O+ 

My fourth tattoo is a crescent moon around my ankle bone on my inner left foot. My sister got a sun tattoo during the same sitting. I designed both. The inner circle of the sun fits with my crescent moon. There are four stars included in my tattoo. Four is my lucky number and the age I was when my sister was born.

My fifth tattoo is a seashell on the inside of my wrist. I grew up by the ocean and some of my fondest memories involve collecting shells. This is one of my most visible tattoos. It hurt the least she has the crispest lines. It is also my only tattoo so far that I had done by a female artist. I got this tattoo done in Port Macquarie last October. 

My sixth tattoo was done in December 2016. It is a quilted flower in memory of my beloved grandmother. A needle appears to be under my skin and the thread attached is twisted in a way reminiscent of a cursive letter ‘G’ (the first letter of her name). I love this tattoo. It is on my left calf and healed very poorly. I got an infection and lost a lot of ink. Lesson learned: summer sweat will mess up your tattoo.

My seventh tattoo is an anchor with the claddagh symbol incorporated. The anchor goes with my nautical themed tattoos. While the claddagh represents love, loyalty, and friendship. My sister was my maid of honour at my wedding and I gave her a claddagh ring to show my appreciation. 

I can’t wait to get more tattoos. I have no problem with people who receive tattoos for purely aesthetic reasons but I love my fleshy scrapbook. My charm bracelet now lives under my skin and tells stories of those who mean the most to me.