A New Tattoo

Today I got another tattoo. My inspiration for this one was a quote from Jack Kerouac‘s On the Road. The quote goes “the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars”.

Luckily the wonderfully talented Lucy was able to take a picture of a firework that I liked from an old 4th of July poster and turn it into a fantastic tattoo. I am really happy with the results.

So, what do you think?

Firework Tattoo

Advertisements

Wings & Wheels

Today we went to the Wings & Wheels Historic and Exotic Car Show at the Australian National Aviation Museum.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I visited the show. We have been to car shows before and they vary so widely. However, I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

The cars on display were fantastic and dated back to very early days. There were also a few historic motorcycles on show. Honestly, there weren’t a lot of cars. I have certainly seen much bigger car shows in terms of volume. The difference with this show was the type of cars you could see. They were all spectacular and such an interesting part of our past.

My oldest son, who is now 6, was in little boy heaven. He loved the cars, but we really could have gone on a day when the show wasn’t on. He was in awe with the planes. Every two seconds he was yelling “look at this”, “Mum, come see this!” or “Wow!”

It was great to get so close to the flying machines and learn about our aviation history. There was so much that I didn’t know.

One of the greatest things about the museum is that you got to see a lot of different parts of planes. There are exhibits of engines and other parts of these machines that are usually hidden from view. The boys loved sitting in an old cockpit and getting to touch different parts of the planes. It is not something they get to do ordinarily.

The museum is in Moorabbin, Victoria, a suburb of Melbourne. It is near Moorabbin airport. I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area. The entry fee is $10 per adult and $5 per child. You can find out more at http://www.aarg.com.au/.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Happy Thursday!

My partner came home last night with a bunch of flowers. He presented them to me and said “Happy Wednesday!”

My birthday was on Monday and he didn’t bring me flowers then (although I was very spoilt all day long in many other ways). When he gave me the flowers I thought it was such a lovely gesture. It meant that I got to be appreciated for no other reason then it was today.

Earlier yesterday I was reading Rarasaur’s post about 11/12/13. You can read it here. When I read this post I was thinking just how special every day is. The flowers and my partners reason for giving them confirmed this even more.

So I wanted to share the feeling and remind you only live every day once and they are all as special as each other in some way. So,

Happy Thursday Everyone!

 

Being Different

I am often told that I am “different”. This is something that I’ve found hard to deal with over the years. I have long grappled with the true meaning of being different and why others feel the need to remark as such.

Foremost, I question what I am different too. We are all different. We all come from different places and families and different ideas and values. We come in different colours and sizes and all have parts of our bodies that we love and parts that we would change (you should see my freakishly small little toes). I have never met 2 people who are exactly the same and would never want to. I love all the differences in people in the world.

Yet if everyone is unique, why don’t we call them all “different”. This seems to indicate that “different” in this context means something else. Is it different to “us”? But then, who is “us”?

In essence it often seems that the person making the remark feels a likeness to those around them but not to me. Is this unlikeness due to my physical appearance, my choice in clothing or is it more internal? Perhaps it is my outlook on life or my values.

I think what has haunted me for so long about being “different” is the value judgement that is perceived. If someone feels the need to remark that I am different then obviously they feel I am not like them. For many years I took this to mean “not as good as” them. I could never understand why people would say this. I would think, “but we are all different and you haven’t made the same remark about anyone else”.

As I grow older, I embrace being “different”. I still find it odd that people actually feel the need to tell me that I am different. I don’t think I will ever understand that. I have wondered if it is an ignorance on their part or if it is something that makes me stand out from the crowd. I don’t feel “different”. I have always felt this way. It is only recently that I have started to be comfortable in my own skin. To feel happy and proud of the way I feel. Glad that I am “different”.

Why Do I Care?

I have found myself wondering a lot lately what other people think of me. I worry that they won’t like my work or the way I behaved on my days out. I worry that they won’t like me for who I am, or worse, that they don’t know who I am. Most of all, I worry that people think I am stupid or not good enough.

But why do I care so much? My logic side tells me that if people don’t like me, so what? They are no better or worse than me and it shouldn’t matter what they think. If they don’t want to be my friends or like my work, it shouldn’t matter. There are others who will.

But I do care. I can’t help myself. I don’t know why.

Why I Love Water Aerobics

I recently took up water aerobics. My friends think it is hilarious. Every time I mention it to a friend I am met with a sceptical look or sideways glance.

Why the scepticism? I guess it is because water aerobics has a reputation of being for grannies. It is the kind of thing that only geriatrics, disabled or injured people do.

Well I am here to tell you that this reputation is simply not deserved.

I will admit, in my day time class I am definitely one of the youngest participants. This at my not so young age of 33 (34 in a week but we don’t need to claim it until we have to).

However, my evening class draws quite a mixed crowd. There are other mums, mothers and daughters and a variety of people of all ages. The male population is somewhat lacking but we do have a few.

So why do I love it so much? It is a great work out that’s why. Last class I jumped for nearly 20 minutes straight. I worked muscles in my body that I didn’t even know I had!

Since starting the classes some time ago my fitness has improved dramatically and I have dropped a dress size. Sure, I do other exercise as well. I go to the gym from time to time and play netball once a week.

I credit water aerobics with most of my weight loss and improved strength. I have never found another group class that provides such an all over workout. We do cardio and muscle-building and unlike a boot camp or normal aerobics class it is all low impact. The water makes it possible for me to do things that I wouldn’t be able to do out of the water.

Before anyone laughs, I’d say give it a go. It might look funny but you will feel great!

LIR Water Aerobics Class

LIR Water Aerobics Class (Photo credit: Old Shoe Woman)

I said I am struggling financially… I didn’t say please judge every purchase I make

We are going through a really rough time financially. Over the last few years my partner has buried us in debt. He has managed this through a lack of work, borrowing money to pay off debts, spending more than he earns and not telling me where we were at.

In many ways I have contributed to this. Instead of doing something about his behaviour earlier, I just kept trying to earn more to cover costs and keep paying the bills. I would flit between stages of worrying about how we were going to get out of the situation and trying to save every cent and then go through stages of getting angry that I was fighting so hard to pay bills and not getting anything for myself. In my angry stages I would often decide to have an expensive day out or buy something bigger for myself. This in turn would send me into a stage of guilt and I would be back trying to save every cent again.

Recently the last few years have all come to a head. I put my foot down and decided I’ve had enough. I told him that I am sick of working extended hours and struggling to pay bills while he sits at the café drinking a cappuccino. I work, work, work and sacrifice and get nothing for my endeavours. Instead, we are worse off now than when we started.

After being kicked out, my partner decided that he was going to change. We spent a week a part and he made endless promises. Many that I had heard before. I decided that I needed to see these actions to believe them. I have let him come back but things are very strained. I won’t really know where our relationship is going until I can see some of these changes occur. I am still waiting. The changes are coming slowly.

In the meantime, I have told my friends and family about my situation. It took a lot of courage to admit that I was struggling as badly as I was. There is an enormous sense of guilt and failure. My mum has helped us out endlessly over the last few years. I don’t know what I would have done without her. However as much as I appreciate all that she has done for us, I feel ashamed. I hate that I am such a burden on her.

Telling people that you are not doing so well is heart wrenching. I watch my friends and family buy houses, go on overseas holidays and throw lavish parties. I get so jealous and feel like such a failure.

I have tried desperately to make changes. I have sought financial advice, set budgets, lowered the costs of insurance policies, reduced the days my son is in childcare, deferred my university course, changed our diets, cut back (or out) all of my little indulgences (buying clothes, coffees out, buying quality skin or hair care products, magazine subscriptions, gym membership, dinners with friends, etc.). I have even just got a new job which I start in a few weeks to try to bring more stability to our budget. My new job is permanent part-time. It will actually pay less than what I was earning working from home but is more reliable income.

See the problem with our budget to date is that I have supported someone who wasn’t contributing. Every time I got ahead, my partner pulled us back. We don’t communicate about things or work together so we end up wasting money. My family has watched and get angry. They want me to leave my partner (and make that pretty obvious) although they say they will support me whatever I do. It’s just not that easy to leave. We have 2 small boys who adore their dad. There are also so many emotions involved. After all, we did get together because of love.

What I am finding really hard at the moment is the feeling of being judged. Every time I pay for something for myself I feel like  a million eyes looking at the bill and debating the necessity of the purchase. There doesn’t need to physically be anyone around. They are there in my mind every time I open my purse.

One indulgence I haven’t cut out is alcohol (although I have cut down dramatically). I still splurge on a bottle of wine to share with my partner on a Friday or Saturday night. I know it isn’t the answer, but it does help me to relax a little. At the moment I will grab anything that helps me relax as I am a giant stress ball.

Yet each time I hit the counter with my bottle of wine and bring out the purse I can hear the arguments. “Is this really necessary?” “You said you couldn’t afford cold and flu tablets but you can buy this?” “Don’t you think you should save your money?”

My feelings were further exasperated by a phone conversation I just had with my sister. My partner’s birthday is coming up next week. I wanted to buy him a camping chair which my sister sells in her store. The chair costs $95. She spent 15 minutes lecturing me on why I shouldn’t spend so much money on a gift when I’m always “crying poor”. I do understand her arguments. I have them with myself too.

The problem is that all this judging just makes things even worse. I am beginning to completely lack confidence in my self. I question how much of our current situation is my fault. I wonder if I will ever get out of this, or worse, do I deserve to?

When you tell people about your situation you do so because you want re-assurance. However it is a double-edged sword. For the comfort of opening up and admitting a problem you are then faced with being judged. I go through enough agony in my mind spending money without having to then justify each purchase to others.

What is permissible to buy when you are on a tight budget anyway? Can you buy products that aren’t home brand? Is alcohol ok? How much is ok for a gift? Is it ok to buy birthday gifts for family? Are birthday parties for the kids ok? What about the kids swimming lessons or sporting pursuits?

Believe it or not I can save money. Before I met my partner I didn’t have any debt. I was young and splurged most of my money on nights at the pub but I rarely overspent. I only remember having to borrow money once from my mum to pay rent. I didn’t earn a lot but if I really wanted something, I was able to save for it and meet my goals. My problem is much more complex than simple saving techniques. It is about self-esteem, love and relationships.