Words you just don’t say …….

Saw this on Facebook

The “You Don’t Say Campaign” seeks to raise awareness around the misuse of language that relates to the LGBTQ community and gender issues. These words dehumanize and marginalize many within the Duke community and beyond and it is important to understand why.

Our Goal: Foster dialogue on the intersection of language and gender and sexual identities.

Words mean something. Think Before You Talk.

There is a line between us being so politically correct with our speech that we will eventually not be able to say anything without offending someone, and being aware of the power of our words and being consciously aware of the words we use.

And that the meaning and the emotional value of the word might be something we do not realise because for what ever reason we have become desensitised to it, or possibly we just do not realise the sheer weight of some of the words and phrases we use in every day life.

I recall using the word “Nigger Balls” for those large black sweets that you purchase from the shop at 5 cents a sweet, and suck them for about three months.

I have no idea where the word came from – but it was the “phrase” that was acceptable, and as a child it was the words I used.  I only stopped using it because I no longer ate the sweets, and it came back to me when my kids started asking for the same sweets – they refer to them as jawbreakers.

I did not “think” about the phrase “Nigger Balls” at the time – I did not find it offensive.

It is an offensive phrase.

Sometimes someone needs to point it out to the user, because we do not always “hear” what we are saying – and do not always realise the impact of what we are saying – and the damage our words do.

Or the stereotypes that we continue to propagate because we are using “common acceptable terms.”

I have a son and two daughters.

It seriously does my head in when someone tells my son “don’t cry like a girl” or “you throw like a girl” or what ever the other things are that people say, which degrades and undervalues girls as somehow not being “as good” as boys.

I encounter these “girls are weak, but pretty” and “boys are strong, and must hide their emotions” every day —-

I like this campaign ……

 

you_dont_say campaign

 

man up

 

man up 2

 

Please visit their facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/youdontsayduke?fref=photo

Follow them on twitter – https://twitter.com/youdontsayduke

 

Have a good weekend, where ever it may take you!

 

1404_Best-Friends

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The lies we tell ourselves …. to get by

You know the part where I said I was fine and coping really well.

The sheer magnitude of that “lie” became apparent yesterday as I proceeded to have what can only be described as a shit-fucking day, and a total break with reality.

I am not sure if shit and fucking should be combined, but it was the sort of the day where there were few other options that would work.

I have managed to cope pretty well.  I told you I was coping well.  I told me I was coping well.

I told my psychologist I was “fine actually” …. anyone who would listen I told them I was fine.

It appears coping and just putting things into neat boxes, and avoiding dealing with them is almost the same thing.

On Sunday I had been invited to a really lovely day away with my friend and her lovely guy.  We had a relaxing day.

Went out for dinner, and it was really just really great.

view

I am not a big “sea” person – possibly because I have always lived at the sea, or near the sea, the sea holds very little in the way of wonder for me.

Mountains are far more my thing.

My divine friend and her significant man person, were nice enough to “evacuate” their room and let me have the room with a view – I know I should have said “no, really guys, no” but then I didn’t.

But then I saw the view — and well then I rethought that I might in fact be a “sea person.”

Monday pulled around.  And then I had a poes collapse.

The epic kind.  I know we tend to use rather “epic” liberally but if I can direct you to one of it’s meanings of unusually great size or extent” then I get to use the word epic for my day yesterday.

The sort of day where I stood wondering how many sleeping tablets would be sufficient to have a really long sleep, say versus off”ing yourself.  My personal feeling on numbers is 22.

I am not sure why, but I feel that 22 is the “magic number.”

I have not done any personal investigation, it just is the number that I think would be the number.

I opted not for 22.  I just wanted enough to sleep for most of the day.

I figured THAT range would be more than 1 less than 10 –  like sleep for the day and maybe the rest of April, but wake up refreshed, or at least not crying.

Kennith had the kids with him.

I lay on my bed curled up in a ball.

I cried like I have not cried since that time I fell whilst roller-skating and broke my coccyx. And then realised I still had to get off my sorry arse and roller-skate the rest of the way home.

Do you know how much fun roller skating is when you have a broken coccyx.  Not as much as you would think.

That kind of cry.

I would swap a broken coccyx for the way I feel right now.

I cried so hard my eyes looked not dissimilar to sheep’s vaginas.  I will be honest and tell you I have not really looked at a sheep’s vagina, but I just have this picture.

And my eyes sort of filled the mental picture I had created of a sheep hoo-ha.

The humour, or the part that is slightly funny, is that I didn’t sleep.  I dozed for a bit.

I did not sleep last night. I did not sleep this morning.  I have not slept since Monday night.

I have ingested two week’s worth of sleeping tablets and I did not go to sleep.  Do you think LIFE is laughing right now?

Or possibly I misread the box, and I took two weeks’ worth of diarrhea medication.  My eyes were red and very swollen, it could have happened.

I hope someone is laughing, because we know it is not me.

I did some more crying last night, and usually crying makes me very tired.

I had to do it (cry) quietly into my pillow as I had two kids sleeping in my bed, and a dog.

This morning dawned and I put my big girl panties on, showered, brushed teeth, attempted to arrange my hair around my now swollen face, dropped kids off and then drove to work.

I am attempting to not cry at work — well I can cry, but only when I know no one is looking.   I am moving between no mascara and panda-eyes.

How much can one person cry?  Is there a number?  Is there a liters per capita?  Is there a point where your fucking tear ducts just burst into flames?

Yeah, so anyway, in answer to the previous question no, I am not fucking fine.

Next person who asks gets punched in the vagina.

 

{this post is not a cry for help —– it is just a cry}

 

 

 

 

 

Struggling to fit into the Living and Loving Mommy mould …..

This is the third part of a few parts.  What you can surmise from this is my inability to plan.  

The first part is here, the second part is here and the third part is here ….  if you wish to catch up on the “story” – alternately you can just skip those and read only this bit:

…………………….

I started blogging not because I wanted to chronicle my journey through motherhood.

I wanted to understand what was flying around in my head.

None of it felt normal.  None of it felt right.  I know people say that motherhood is difficult and and and …. my issue was that it was not difficult it was bloody impossible.

I kept looking for the escape clause.  It was as if I was acting a part, and I just could not “get into character.”

The only workable option was to find a way to put it down.  There was something cathartic about putting it down on paper/on a blog as then it was not knocking around in my head.

Not because I wanted treasured moments put down, and recorded for my children to come and read later.  But because I wanted to understand the way I was thinking and the way I was feeling.

My head is too busy and too chaotic most of the time, for me to work through my thoughts and come out with a solution.

I thought I would start at the beginning, and like all things I got bogged down in the detail.

Then I stopped writing.

As usual I had a picture in my head of how it was going to go and then when I struggled to put the reality into the picture or visa versa then I just stopped.  I could not continue.

In January 2010 I went out to dinner with a friend’s husband – he mentioned that he read my blog.

I was a bit surprised, as at that point I thought I wrote the blog, and some guy with his dog who lived in Parow were reading it. Just the three of us.

I was not writing thinking anyone was reading.  I was writing because I needed to write.

Mike (the friend’s husband) said that Anita (his wife) had struggled with post partum depression with both of her pregnancies and he never really understood what she was going through – until he read my blog.

He realised the pain, the confusion and what she was feeling because I could write it down.

He understood.  He got it.  He wished he had known that before when she needed his support the most.  But he just did not understand.

Mike said “Keep writing your blog, no one else is saying what you are saying, and there are people out there who it will help” ……

I didn’t believe him, but it did give me renewed energy to return to my blog and start writing again.

I wrote about everything, and I decide to write like I talk, and not worry about whether someone as reading it, but just that I was saying what I thought —-

I wrote passionately and sometimes in a deranged frenzy.  If I thought about it, then I wrote about it.

This post was about how I struggled to fit in with Mother and Baby Groups.

  I hate Mommy and Baby Groups – Part 1

I realize this rant is totally out of context, but I belong to a few women-with-baby forums and when I read through some of the threads I start to get a dull ache in my bum area.

For some reason this morning I recalled how much I loathed mommy and baby groups.

There is so much pressure to join one with your new little mushroom.

As soon as you get out of hospital and are able to take more than five steps, you start figuring out which group you are going to join.  You call the group leader and it all sounds so wonderful .

They are generally really really happy bubbly people.  Usually at this point I start to get uneasy – I am deeply suspicious of happy shiny people – I like my people a little bruised, a little dirty, a lot pessimistic.

You get your little bundle ready – dressed in their best clothes – you have already starting to buy into this under current of competition that exists at these things.

You don’t even realize you are doing it, but there you go.  You are so proud of your little Joshua/Sarah and can’t wait to get to the group, because your little one is going to be the best kid there – you know this.

In the car with your safety seat, getting the pram, the nappy bag and your bag in, buckled up, sort of figuring out where to go – because usually it is in a suburb off a side street that you really don’t know.

In your area, but you are not so sure, so odds are you take a few wrong turns, drive at 20km/hour to try to figure out street signs and basically get yourself lost.

You finally get there and it is usually a house in suburbia that has been revamped by a mommy with one or more likely two kids, who is using her love of kids to work from home, so there is a garage converted and lots of TreeHouse themed cushions and curtains.

You get all your kit unloaded.

By now you are a little flustered as you are late, and you have had to park about 500 metres away as all the more eager moms got there before you.  So you drag all your stuff all the way there.

By the time you get there and go through the alternate entrance, which usually is a narrow gate that your huge gi-normous pram does not quite fit in through the door, so there you are fighting the good fight, and starting to sweat a little, because odds you have over dressed, because you have not been out of the house by yourself for 6 weeks.

The weather has changed since you were last outdoors, and the only clothes that fit you are from the wrong season.

You sort of fall inside the sliding door.

To be greeted by a sea of usually attractive moms wearing their Sunday best and all their Joshuas and Sarahs are on little mats or cushions and everyone is so damn happy.

You, of course, have worked up a bit of a sweat, your Joshua or Sarah is a little cranky as you have transferred baby from safety seat, to pram, and now have to get baby out of pram as pram does not fit into room, so you are trying to juggle baby, your bag, the nappy bag, snug and safe and what is left of your composure.

The far-too-friendly leader of this little ensemble, comes over to greet you and refers to you usually as Mommy <well, it is tricky referring to everyone by name, so Mommy sort of makes it easy, and because you are a new Mommy, it kind of makes you smile that you have a new important title>.

You find a space and try to settle down.

At some point you are trying to assess the mood of the room, and then you start realizing that these moms are generally over achievers – like really over achievers.

When you are trying to find 10 minutes to read or sleep, while you are forcing junior to take a nap, more for your benefit than for theirs, these moms are busy reading Baby’s First Words or doing some sort of Baby Gym with their babies.

Damn, you are clearly behind with your baby’s development as you look down and your little imp is quietly gurgling and dribbling on his chin.

The leader takes her seat in the front centre, with her “baby doll” and everyone smiles and the excitement is tangible.  Everyone beings introducing them selves.

You start practicing a bit in your mind how you are going to introduce yourself and show off your offspring as you really only have about 4 seconds for introductions and really want to get bang for your buck here.

At the same time you are trying to remember names and baby names and ages …. and the reality is that you can barely remember your own.  So your turn comes around and all you can muster up is

“Hi I’m Celeste, and this is er…. Connor….. and he is ……hmmm….. his 4 months old.”  And the spot light moves away from you.

Then the real show begins  …….

 

I wrote subsequent posts about my issues with Mother and Baby Groups.

Expressing how I really felt about things, and showing people that I was not finding this motherhood malarkey easy, was so much easier than hiding it from people and saying “oh yes, everything is fine” — it was far easier.

I think the part that I found amazing and incredible, is that I realised I was not the only person crying in the bathroom at 2am.

I felt so alone, but I realised there was sea of moms out there, who felt the same.

Crying knowing you are not the only one does not make it easier, but somehow does make it less lonely.

Somehow.

IMG_0196

The week that was raw, brutal and painful ….

{for those who are not on point with the subject matter, Kennith and I are going through a divorce process, and instead of using litigation we are using mediators and facilitators – we have had three sessions, and pretty much wrapped up our 20 year relationship in a mere 6 hours —–}

Thursday was the day.

It was the epic and highly anticipated mediation and facilitation session.  Number 4.  The big one.

The one I have been dreading, lost sleep over, had fear that I was losing my mind which at best I have a very tentative hold on – I had escalated anxiety “moments” and this week was raw, rough and painful.

I was at my best when I was sleeping.  During my waking moments I was a total disaster.

I sleep like a fucking champion!

I had worked myself into quite a froth by the time Thursday rolled around.

I did make one good decision this week, and that was to book an interview with my head doctor from 10h00 – 11h00, and then the mediation session would run from 11h00 – 13h00.

The hour before was just so that I did not have a total melt down during the m&f.

Dr A was great, and he kept me centered, and focused, and definitely help to reduce the “flight or flight” process that was happening on my side.  I needed to keep it together for the two hour m&f, and I needed him to just keep me focused and my anxiety at bay.

I had already bailed on the earlier booking we had for about two weeks ago and I knew I could not postpone again.

I have been erratic, slightly insane (okay very insane), totally off the wall bonkers on several occasions, and have lived in fear of Thursday dawning.

I was scared. Petrified.  Afraid.  I felt like I was walking into a gladiator’s arena with absolutely no protection.

I had escalated the entire thing to the point where it consumed my every thought, breath and fear for the last month.  And every day that got closer to Thursday I could feel my anxiety, and stress growing …..

Thursday arrived.  As it has want to do.

Like with all things, it was not as bad as I had feared.  It was not as brutal as I had anticipated.

It was painful.  It was excruciating.  It was horrible, it was all of those things.  At it’s worst it was not worse than the anticipation, fear and anxiety that I had created.

I recall at one point seeing the time and it was 11h40.  I could not believe we had only been in there for 40 minutes it felt like several life times had passed in that office.

I walked out of the session at one point to have a good cry.  We were on a subject that I just could not look at in a non-emotional way, and I think I also had a moment of clarity when I realised I was fighting for something that I had to accept I was going to lose.

When I say “good cry” I mean the kind where you are tjunking, loudly with snot and tears spilling down your face whilst people walking past hold their children a little closer in case crazy crying lady outside the psyche clinic really lost the last thread of the plot.

This week has felt like every cell in my body was vibrating and the hamster in my head was running at full throttle. On ritalin.

I have honestly never been as scared as I was of Thursday.

I was jumpy, distracted.  I felt like my head was constantly losing the plot.  I have had wild erratic thoughts, found it difficult to remain on point, and this week has totally overwhelmed me.  Consumed me.

And spat me out.  Wet, shivering and feeling weak.

I have made so many mistakes this week, so many bad decisions, so many things I wish I could get a re-do on.   I wish I had more control over my emotions and my spinning head. I wish I had.  I just wish I had differently.

alone-2014

 

 

Win Family Tickets for FAMFEST at the Wild Clover Farm on Sunday, 13 April 2014.

FamFest, the festival that puts kids and families at the forefront, will be making its return in 2014 to the Wild Clover Farm just outside of Stellenbosch on Sunday, April 13th and we are offering two lucky families tickets to the event!

famfest

Having successfully launched a year ago at the Claremont Cricket Club in Constantia this family festival will be strutting its stuff in the Northern Suburbs.

With an action-packed day full of kiddies entertainment there is plenty to look forward to including jumping castles, petting farm, face painting, balloon sculpturing, roaming magician, kids movies and interactive dance sessions brought to you by Jelly Bean Events – specialists in kids entertainment and events.

Whilst the event is geared towards kids, FamFest has plenty for mums and dads to enjoy with a wonderful selection of live music entertainment, delicious food, a fully stocked bar and shaded seating areas.

In addition to this, with the help of a controlled entry, tight security, an on-site medic, labelled wristbands and FamFest child-minders parents can sit back and enjoy the day while the kids run amok.

Do not miss out on this day of excitement at the beautiful Wild Clover Farm in April, and grab your tickets today!

Founder of Famfest - Frankie Hannigan

 

Jumping castles and plenty more inflatables for kids to enjoy

 

Kiddies facepainting

 

LB1_5169

 

Petting zoo

EVENT DETAILS:

Date: Sunday, 13 April, 2014

Venue: Wild Clover Farm, R304, Cape Town

Tickets: R60 per person available from www.quicket.co.za/events/4622-famfest. Kids under 2 get in free.

WIN TICKETS: To win 4 tickets for your family comment on the post with your name, email address and comment with what your kids would enjoy MOST about FamFest!

Check out the video from FamFest last year – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DGXIEiORSM

For more information visit the website at www.famfest.co.za or contact info@4leafagency.com, 021 462 1529.

Follow the action on Twitter @FamFestSA or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/4LeafFamFest

For media enquiries and images please contact Andrea at KL PR & Events at andrea@klprsa.com or call 021 671 4127. 

Illusions of the Body by Grace Hagan

Illusions of the Body

This series was made to tackle the supposed norms of what we think our bodies are supposed to look like. Most of us realize that the media displays only the prettiest photos of people, yet we compare ourselves to those images. We never get to see those photos juxtaposed against a picture of that same person looking unflattering. That contrast would help a lot of body image issues we as a culture have.

Imagery in the media is an illusion built upon lighting, angles & photoshop. People can look extremely attractive under the right circumstances & two seconds later transform into something completely different.

Within the series I tried to get a range of body types, ethnicities & genders to show how everyone is a different shape & size; there is no “normal”. Each photo was taken with the same lighting & the same angle.

Celebrate your shapes, sizes & the odd contortions your body can get itself into. The human body is a weird & beautiful thing.

Note: This series is product of passion on the part of the artist & volunteers. If there seems to be certain body types, genders, ethnicities etc that are underrepresented, it is because that type of person has not chosen to be apart of it.

I have not intentionally excluded anyone. 

I received this email from Grace Hagan – I had mentioned her work in an earlier post — see here.

I wanted to thank you for putting my series Illusions of the Body on your website, doing that allowed me to reach millions of people.

Some of them felt relieved that they were normal, some were amazed about how much someone could change within the span of two photographs, some told me they wished they had seen this when they were younger & they were going to teach their kids this lesson.

It even caused people to want to participate in the series!

Due to the positive response I’ve created a lovely coffee table book of the series. I felt that Illusions of the Body was best consumed with multiple body types to look at rather than a single print of one person.

 

Illusions of the Body Book Cover

Includes 17 never before released images.

All advance purchases will be numbered & signed by the artist

Full Color

100 page

Bound Softcover

Matte Cover Finish

8.5”x11”

 

Limited Edition Signed Pre-Order $50

unsigned post release $60

Books will be shipped May 1st.

They can buy the book directly from my website. I made an easy URL for people to remember: http://IllusionsOfTheBody.com/

Gracie Hagen lllusions of the body 2

 

gracie hagen illusions of the body

Book Launch Party April 26th, 2014 at 8pm -11pm for those people in Chicago.

Location Forte Framing & Gallery, 2301 W. North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

People can pick up their book early & I’ll be there doing a book signing.