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Archive for the ‘Seriously’ Category

Dear Readers,

Grief can be, for some, an extremely private process. So it is for me and my family.

I just wanted to let you know that I haven’t abandoned this blog. It’s just that I’m finding it hard to write amusing posts about arse worms or being called a Ukrainian Clown Whore at my own husband’s 40th birthday – not when people I love are suffering so much.

So please consider my silence to be an ellipsis. A pause in my speech.

In the meantime, while you’re all waiting for me to return, I’ll try make a weekly offering of either a photo for discussion or a post I’ve uncovered in the NDM vaults.

THIS WEEK’S OFFERING: “The Inadvertent Vibrator“.

Love from

The NDM.

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Lest We Forget

For the longest time, I meant to make Anzac biscuits as part of a care package for my brother-in-law serving overseas in the armed forces.

I meant to make them but first the oven was broken. Then the kitchen was being renovated. Then I couldn’t find the recipe book with the recipe I liked in it. And then, when I found a good recipe on-line, there wasn’t any toner in the printer to print it out.

And in the meantime, my life got filled with school excursion permission slips and doctor’s appointments and over-due library notices and unfolded laundry.

And so the biscuits went unmade and the care package went unsent.

And then last week, we received the incomprehensible news that my brother-in-law had been killed on a dusty road far from home.  And I finally found myself making those Anzac biscuits for a completely different reason. I was making them with my children to take to the Shrine of Remembrance, to pay our respect to a long chain of fallen soldiers, of which my brother-in-law was the latest.

And I realised my mistake.

I realised I had left it too late. I had let my days get cluttered with excuses that I tripped over like so much lego scattered over the loungeroom rug. I had failed to stop and honour someone I loved while he was still here.

And now he’s not.

_______________________________

My brother-in-law was a good man, a fine soldier and was beloved and respected by all who met him. Lest we forget.

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The morning after I’d gone tit-watching with her husband, my friend KT made me “dance my way thin” with a “Afro-Latin” routine on DVD. 

Admittedly the first incident didn’t actually cause the second – it just made for a good opening sentence, don’t you think?

You see, KT had actually arranged for Uncle B and I to go tit-watching together. And if she really had resented me for it, I expect she would have put on the “Fat Burning Dance Party!” DVD instead, where the instructor shouts instructions at you like you’re at some kind of Fat Girl Boot Camp. Personally speaking, I don’t think I could stand for somebody speaking to me like that in my own home. KT agrees – she usually turns the volume off and puts Justin Timberlake on instead, which should pretty much indicate how scary that FBDP instructor must be. 

Anyway, the “Dance Your Way Thin” instructor was cute and full’o’pep and led us through the dance routine by calling out things like “Salsa to the left! Salsa to the right!” “Shimmy back!” and – somewhat confusingly – “Africa Arms! Africa Arms!”. What struck me most was how confident she was at the end of the routine when she congratulated us all for completing the Afro-Latin workout, like we’d actually done it and weren’t just sitting looking on from the couch with a drink in one hand and a family block of Cadbury’s chocolate in the other. Which we weren’t, of course, but only because it was 9:30 in the morning.

Now, I’m sure I lost some of you back at the first tit-watching reference. Okay, okay, so it wasn’t bird watching as some of my more ornithologically-inclined readers might have been hoping. You see, Uncle B and I went to see a show called “Busting Out” which is a bit like “Puppetry of the Penis”. Except with breasts. But I think you probably might have guessed that already.  

And what a show it was. There’s something very empowering about seeing a grown woman turn her postpartum tummy into a wide-mouthed frog. Or to have an auditorium full of women all laugh together about loss of bladder control. Or just to see two ladies letting it all hang out as if to say “This is who I am. You got a problem with that?” It was like everything I’ve ever try to achieve with my blog except just bolder, brassier and semi-naked. 

And you know what? I walked out of that show feeling shit hot about my saggy baggy body. Yes: shit hot.  And the next day, after I’d been bustin’ an Afro-Latin move, I found myself pausing for thought  – and not just to wonder what the hell “Africa Arms” were. I realised that I didn’t necessarily want to be “dancing myself thin” but rather just “dancing my way healthy” – except, perhaps, with better grammar. Whatever. I wanted to just feel good in my own skin, whatever my size or shape. 

I remembered how Cate Blanchett once said in a TV interview:

I see someone’s face, someone’s body who has had children, and I think they’re the songlines of your experience.

This rang true with me because I always felt that my caesar scars are like songlines: they are my other secret smile. My deflated balloon of a stomach is a sacred place that once harboured new life and now just stores excess fluid and gas. My breasts… well, let’s just say that when I stretch down to touch my toes, my breasts get there well before my hands do and yet, for a combined total of 59 whole months, they nourished and comforted small beings most precious. This is my body: it tells my story. And it’s a story I should be proud of and not be hiding away as if it never happened. 

And so I may go on to lose my “baby fat” or I might just lose all bladder control instead. Whatever happens, I want to like those Busting Out Ladies. I want to be able to stand in all my postpartum glory and be able to shout “This is who I am. Have you got a problem with that?” and know that I, personally, don’t have a problem with it at all.

__________________________
The Not Drowning Mother wishes it to be known she’s not planning to make any semi-nude public appearances any time soon. But if she does end up making one, she’ll definitely blog about it.

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A warning: For those of you who didn’t think I was that funny yesterday, I’m definitely not going to be funny today – but this time on purpose. 

 

Just last weekend, I found myself burdened by an uncooked chicken that had reached its use-by date. I started obsessively checking the weather outside, praying for the cool change to come in earlier than predicted so that I might be able to use the oven. When dinner time came and went, the temperature was still soaring and my chicken remained uncooked, I cursed the land in which I lived where a woman couldn’t roast a chicken when she needed to. 

I woke up the following morning to the news that there had been many more people anxiously waiting for that cool change to come in, but some of them had not lived through the night. And I felt silly and frivolous. 

Latest reports have almost 200 people killed in the bushfires in the southern state of Victoria, many of them children. Almost a thousand homes have been completely destroyed. All over Australia, communities are pooling together to raise money and gather much needed supplies. My sister works for a large company which raised $32,000 for the Red Cross in the first 24 hours of their appeal, which the company will match cent for cent. At Mr Justice’s school, people are bringing in blankets, towels, tinned foods, tarpaulins, tents and toys to give to those who have lost everything. 

On the radio, television and internet, in offices and classrooms all over the country, people are talking about the bushfires. Mr Justice said he wanted to put up his hand and tell his class the really sad thing that he’d thought, but it was just too sad. His thought was that there were children who had lost all their toys in the fire. 

And worse, I thought. But I couldn’t say it. Not to my child, with his shiny eyes, who still believes in the Tooth Fairy, that Good always triumphs over Evil and that Death is just for the Old.  

The harsh reality is that every day over a 150,000 people die on our planet. And not just from old age, but from hunger, disease, accidents, neglect, acts of war, persecution and other unspeakable acts. 

And every day round these parts, we go shopping for the latest fashions when there are people who don’t even have a roof over their heads. We obsess over losing a few kilograms when there are people struggling to feed their children.We worry about getting a Late Pass where there are people who never made it to their destinations alive.

How do we find a balance between being overwhelmed by all the grief in the world and getting bogged down in the trivial minutiae of life? How can we, as a self-professed “Zero Populationist” once asked me, bring more children into this crowded, overheated, under-resourced planet of ours? 

There are a thousand answers to that last question but for me it is this: because a loved and happy and aware child, who is engaged with their community and the problems that it faces, is the most valuable investment we could possibly make in the future. Because, as one wise friend once replied to that same question, “my children are going to save this planet.” 

To all the mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, old and young, who have suffered these past days because of those fires, we are thinking of you. And we will send what help we can. 

______________________

Donations to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal can be made using their secure online donations form or by phoning 1800 811 700 in Australia.

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