10 Last Thoughts In The Dying Hours of My Fifth Decade

So, it is done and it is true what that say, life really does go on.

vintage birthdayAs the day loomed and time in its relentless pursuit marched on, the smell of my fear became more pungent. Whilst my determination to make middle age an era of opportunity and adventure is absolute there was just something about actually crossing over the great divide that I could not wrap my mind around. A moment in time, a mere second and here I am on the other side of fifty.

Whilst the great event occurred a couple of days ago, I have only now plucked up the courage to recount my thoughts during the dying moments of what has undoubtedly been my best decade. For my fourth decade was when I asked:

Hello, is it me you’re looking for?

and my forty something year old self echoed back a resounding

 

YES!!

In line with the great “one day I’ll look back on this and laugh” tradition, I penned the following in the dying hours of my forty-ninth year :

  1. Sometime overnight I’m going to cross the great abyss. Logically, I know I’ll awaken in the same bed, in the same body, but sometime during the night when the moon steals the light from the sun, time will steal from me another decade.
  2. Politicians really do write to you on your 50th birthday, on rather posh looking stationary containing a signature that was actually penned by a human. This is not to infer that politicians are human, but apparently reaching 50 is seen by some as a great achievement. I understand at 75 there will be a telegram from HRH. Chances are by that stage HRH will be a him and I suspect that the birthday greeting may come in the form of a tweet. I mean, who sends telegrams anymore?
  3. I have no need to lament the loss of perky boobs or a thin waist. I never had them during what most people would consider my heyday. My confidence and body have now finally crossed paths and whilst there’s a few things I would tweak, I’m certainly not crying over the loss of my 20’s body. In fact, I’d be crying if I still had it.50 years of awesome
  4. Is there something pre-ordained at birth about being chosen to live a counter-cyclical life? Sure, my life has proceeded down along the conventional route of birth, school, university, marriage, career, motherhood and mortgage. However, emotionally I have never felt better or more adventurous. With the boys getting older, it is now all ahead of me.
  5. Sometimes I look at people the same age as me and am overcome with the sensation that I am surrounded by old people. Not that age has anything to do it with per se, but I wonder if they look at me and feel the same. I sincerely hope not. Particularly as I’m just regaining some relevance and credibility to my teenaged progeny. Surely it’s about outlook and energy levels, people!
  6. I seem to be entering the age when it is fashionable to engage in “unwellness” contests. This shits me to tears. I can’t understand why anyone would want to compete to have the most complex health problems or the most famous specialist treating them. Since when did having a health problem become a social status symbol? Don’t get me wrong, when people talk about their health problems I will listen patiently, but I don’t see the need to raise the stakes by out “bad healthing” them. It takes me back to the days of playgroup and new mothers competing over who had the worst labour stories. Ick!
  7. Patience really is a virtue and I’m getting more virtuous as the years roll on. Another counter-cyclical trait?
  8. One of the best decisions I made was not to have a big birthday bash, but to make this a jubilee year and have lots of little jazz agecelebrations over the length of it. From celebrating with friends on different continents to high tea in the mountains, the celebrations will focus on our shared milestone of friendship not about my individual milestone of reaching 50.
  9. I’m actually younger than Michelle Obama – go figure.
  10. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz well, by then it was 10.45 pm.

Having survived the fall over the abyss, I’m moving forward smug in the knowledge that there’s another 10 years to go before I have to worry about another milestone birthday and that it won’t involve correspondence from a politician.

Have you ever received birthday greetings from a politician? Do you stress about milestone birthdays?

Masculinity and Women of Hard Headed Repute #zerotohero

The [lazy?] days of Summer and the Zero to Hero assignments seem to be whizzing by.

Time to don the cape, the super hero boots and the golden lasso and practice leaping off a few blog posts in a single bound.

Most of the assignments since I last checked in have involved blog tinkering including adding some widgets, Spring cleaning of the blog’s about page and side bar and honing commenting skills. However, there are a couple of assignments that require a blog post

Day 12:  write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Don’t forget to link to the other blog!

Day 16: publish a post based on your own, personalized take on today’s Daily Prompt. The Prompt on the day being:

Do you have a reputation? What is it, and where did it come from? Is it accurate? What do you think about it?

In the interests of energy conservation, I am going to combine the two assignments in this one post.

On day 12, I commented on a wonderful post by BTG who blogs at musingsofanoldfart. The post entitled, I Am Looking for a Hard Headed Woman discussed the lyrics of the Cat Stevens’ song of the same name and gave BTG’s take on what a “hard headed woman” means to him, drawing particularly on two lines of the song:

  • one who will take me for myself
  • one who will make me do my best

and finally counting his blessings in having married a hard headed woman. It was a heartfelt post from a blogger who uses his vast knowledge of music and lyrics to shine a spotlight on the more meaningful events of a human life.

touch womanIt is extremely refreshing to see a male acknowledge his love and appreciation for a hard headed woman. I firmly believe that most men love a hard headed woman, but there is something in the ‘How Men Should Act Code” that prevents them from publicly making this admission. But have a think about it, how many families do you know where the wife/woman leads the way? She may not do it openly for a clever woman knows never to make her mate feel emasculated, but how many times is she truly the family brains trust? How many times is she the resilient one, how many times is she the one that pushes the family beyond its collective comfort zone and introduces it to novel experiences? How many times does she credit her mate with spearheading the charge?

So what does being heard headed woman mean to me?

A hard headed woman is one who is willing to make decisions – tough, easy, makes no difference, there is no inertia with a hard headed woman. She is one who is less worried about chipping a nail and more about rolling up her sleeves, one who owns the consequences of her actions and omissions, one who will defend her family no matter what, one who moves the family forward with due thought and care but who does not feel the need for ask for permission and one who knows where she is going.

She makes her mate feel central to her processes and tries to cloak her sterner stuff in feminine warmth and softness.

As the song says one who makes her mate do his best.

If I could choose to have a reputation it would be as a hard headed woman in the manner I have described. Have I achieved it? UnderestimatingThat’s impossible to answer as it is akin to asking someone to answer their own “Does my bum look big in this?” question. Just like it is difficult to see how one’s own backside looks, it is very difficult to judge one’s own reputation. To do so would necessitate holding up a mirror to one’s interactions with others and interpreting what is reflected back. A rather inaccurate process.

Thank you BTG for making the admission about hard headed women. It is hoped that more men take your lead and publicly confess to their secret appreciation for us. A hard headed woman is a perfect complement to a strong, soft hearted man. A note to you men, strong and soft heartedness are not mutually exclusive. In a woman’s eyes you can be both and perhaps the collective male psych will evolve one day to also reach that happy place.

For further reference, read The New Manhood by Steve Biddulph. Also, a must read for mothers with sons.

Come on, baby, spend Christmas with me!

After it’s debut on the WordPress blogging scene last Christmas, Company For Christmas (C4C) is back again. C4C is a blog site run by volunteer bloggers from all over this great globe spreading Christmas cheer and connection to those who may need it. Or to those who just want to hang out on Christmas Day on an island of sanity in an ocean of craziness. Last year it became a marshalling point for those who just wanted to chat or get to know other bloggers.
So come along, check it out and help out if you want to. Just let Rarasaur know if you would like to be added to the volunteer list. Last year’s experience was a real positive one with the initiative gathering momentum as Christmas was celebrated around the world.
C4C where Christmas lasts at least 36 hours!

rarasaur

You’ve probably noticed the pretty new badge on the side of my page.  And oh– hey look, there’s Marilyn with it, too!  In fact, just to give it some attention– since we’re starting a little late this year on getting the word out– I’ve taken down most of my side-blog sparkle.

It’s C4C– Company for Christmas!

Company for Christmas is a volunteer-fueled mission, created by fabulous blogger RuleofStupid.  It is a virtual place for people who, quite simply, don’t have any company on Christmas, and would benefit from a little non-religiously-affiliated, non-counseling-oriented, conversation.

I’ll be volunteering, so if you want to spend some of your Christmas day chatting with me and the hubs– come on over.  Schedules will be posted, too, so you’ll know when to find us.

You can help, too.

  • Spread the word, so that no member of our wonderful blogging family spends Christmas alone.
  • Volunteer!  If…

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Mother of Sons? You Might Just Be A Ladybromum

Weekends are for blowing away the weekday cobwebs and what better way to start the process than by reading the weekend papers?

Weekend papers contain all sorts of intriguing nuggets and tidbits that are wonderfully self contained. One of these nuggets is a little feature called “Dictionary For The Modern World” which introduces readers to modern day linguistics by describing words and their meaning. Today’s word was ladybro:

A ladybro is a man’s female friend (or girlfriend) who is cool enough to hang with the boys. She must share their appreciation of beer, sport and all forms of humour involving bodily secretions. Princesses need not apply.

This little snippet caught my eye for several reasons. Firstly, I have always regarded myself as a bit of a ladybro (although in my day the term was probably “tomboy”) without the liking for beer. I have played wingman for my guy friends, attended many a sporting event with them,  laughed at their fart jokes and judged burping contests. If that grosses you out, then maybe you should take your kitten heels and jump off this post here. Don’t get me wrong, I can do ladylike. It’s just that it’s way too much work, so its reserved for special or mandatory occasions.

I’m also the mother of sons, not daughters, so naturally found this definition highly relevant to my adult parenting life.

And being the punster and blog writer that I am, I naturally concluded after seeing this definition that there should be a parental variant, ladybromum:

A mother of sons who is cool enough to hang with them. She must share their appreciation for cereal at all hours of the day and night, sport, computers and all forms of humour involving bodily secretions (and never admit to that in polite company). She must give as good as she gets and never wear pink, but must enjoy a good wrestle and endure being tickled. Princesses will be eaten.

So are you or would you want to be a ladybromum?

son quoteFor me the answer is a resounding yes. The state of ladybromumness is about fun and connection and some parenting messages are best delivered in ladybromum mode. The stuff about cleaning rooms, folding laundry, rinsing dishes are far more effective delivered in ladybromum mode. The alternative is seen as nagging and is eminently forgettable. And of course some of the most poignant moments of parenting involve bodily secretion humour. It’s the great leveler. No one is immune as much as polite society may think otherwise.

And as a ladybromum you really know you have made it to the top when your sons invite their friends over and don’t immediately shoo you out of the room or when you are invited to share a big bowl of Cheerios at 3am in the morning.

So ladybromums unite. One day your sons will thank you for your fortitude, authenticity and relaxed attitudes by introducing you to their very own ladybro. By which time all that play wrestling with your sons will have well and truly payed off.

Ladybromum solidarity forever!

No Nuts Please We Are British

No doubt you have seen the latest reports from the News of The World phone hacking trial about HRH (aka the Queen) and her nuts. This is a priceless little piece about alleged pilfering by police of HRH’s nut mix and HRH’s displeasure at her finest “scoffing the lot”. Google “The Queen and Nuts” and you will find pages of articles reporting this juicy salty morsel. If you missed the story you can read about it here.

CrownNow, I preface the comments I make about this story with a statement that I am rather fond of HRH and the monarchy in general. Whilst we Australians flirt with the idea of becoming a republic, we haven’t quite succeeded in breaking the monarchical apron strings. Our head of state is still HRH’s representative although she (presently, anyway) is an Australian. So this piece is not about that particular debate and nor is it intended to bash the monarchy.

But really, how can this story go past without comment? It is just too precious.

We learn that HRH apparently prefers savory over sweet and that to meet this need, staff leave out cashews, Bombay Mix and almonds in the hallways of Buckingham Palace. Although some outlets have reported that the nuts were left out in advance for wedding guests of Charles and Camilla, it seems they were firmly intended as a permanent, rather than an event driven, fixture to satisfy HRH’s salty tooth. We also learn that HRH sensing something was amiss marked the level of the bowls with a marker to determine their levels.

One can’t help but applaud HRH’s sleuthing skills and scientific approach. Not for HRH is sitting and waiting to catch the thieves. Clearly HRH understands the merits of forensics and one can’t help but wonder if HRH is a fan of NCIS. And all of this done with a degree of stealth that not even the police detected. One wonders how HRH eliminated the corgis as suspects.

However, one can’t also help but wonder whether the corridors of Buckingham Palace are really so large and long that Bombay MixHRH’s nut cravings have to be met mid transit. Does HRH not have a passel of ladies in waiting and butlers who could bring HRH fresh nuts in her private chambers so the constabulary would not be tempted? And what of hygiene generally? One can’t get past the visual of a row of tiny tables, each 100 metres apart and sporting a lace doily upon which sits an open bowl of Bombay Mix strategically placed down the Palace corridors just in case HRH had an urge for nuts.

Further just how many hours of phone tapping did these journalists have to sift through to find this little morsel? And what about what ended up on the journalistic cutting room floor? Perhaps more would have been revealed about whether HRH would actually use the word “scoffed” or whether she would have used words such as “consumed”, “ingested”, “gobbled”, “gorged” or “devoured”.

Tell me more, I’m going nuts here!

Any way you slice, dice or roast this story it should be digested.

At least I now know what to bring HRH next time I visit England. A bag of Bombay Mix and a finger print set awaits gifting.

We are seriously amused.

No Snakes On This Plane, There Was Only Mags

It’s amazing what can happen in a sealed capsule hurtling through the stratosphere at 30,000 feet.

storm pic

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

I had just one of these experiences earlier this week on an interstate trip. Because on this flight I sat next to Mags (not her real name).

The experience started tentatively enough after a two hour delay in departure time due to weather at the destination. Apparently in these situations the destination air traffic control can determine the take off time at the point of departure. And so it was.

I dutifully boarded the plan after killing two hours watching bad television and reading even worse gossip magazines and settled into the window seat in what was a two seat configuration. Then along came Mags, worry lines on her pale English Rose features carrying three bags. She stopped in the aisle  to check her boarding pass, causing a blockage to the people behind much like a cork stopping the flow of fizzy champagne refusing to be tamed.  Oblivious to the swarm behind her, Mags checked her seat number and looked at me, before starting to unload her luggage. She looked at me again and having sensed  that she was to be my flight companion for the next hour or so I said hello as she settled herself.

“I really don’t want to be on this flight” explained Mags.

“Oh?” I asked

“I don’t like flying and now its raining and storming and I don’t understand why they are letting us fly.”

“They did say the weather was clearing where we are going to land, I wouldn’t worry so much”

“I don’t like it and my web mail is iffy, I don’t know whether my friend who is meeting me got my message that we are going to be late”

“I’m sure it will be fine”

“I hope so, my friends told me this trip was risky.”

Mags then explained that she was on the solo trip of her dreams, lasting 6 months. She had been away from her English home for mature aged travellerabout a month now and had taken off to the other side of the world to explore Australia and New Zealand. She was flying into Sydney to meet some friends before undertaking the Indo Pacific train trip to Perth (a three day journey) and would then be visiting New Zealand’s south island for a month. Being a travel tragic, I was keen to hear about everything she had planned for her travels and her expectations about her experiences so I asked her a few questions. At which point  the conversation really started to flow.

We covered all sorts of topics, England, Australia, travelling in general,  marriage, men, divorce ( Mags was a divorcee), parenting (Mags was also the mother of two sons), health (Mags had had a hysterectomy just as her husband left her), study (Mags was a late blooming student, having attended university after she had children), friends (Mags had many – it was not hard to see why), ageing, and being adventurous to name a few.

About a quarter of the way into our conversation, I knew Mags was my kind of woman.

We stopping talking only briefly with the announcement from the pilot that the plane had to circle just outside of Canberra due to delays in Sydney. And we only stopped then because we could not hear each other over the intercom.

Mags was incredible. Here was a 70 year old woman who was travelling solo on the trip of her dreams, having taken out a personal loan to do so. She was doing this despite her comfortable life back home and the advice of her friends who would never dare to embark on such a journey. On this trip she would be staying with former lodgers or family of former lodgers of hers all of whom had helped Mags pay the bills on her home to save it from her husband who tried to take it away.

This was a woman who despite her fear of flying had more courage and grit than a lot of people I know.

At the start of the descent, I turned to Mags and said ‘I’m sorry, we’ve been talking for two hours and I don’t even know your name, I’m Judy.”

“I’m Mags, I am so happy to have met you, I would have been very stressed had I not been able to talk to you.”

And with that the wheels touched down on the runway below.

My short time with Mags had come to an end. In two hours I had told Mags more personal information than a lot of people I had known for two years and felt that Mags had done the same. Maybe we both felt safe in the knowledge that apart from this brief encounter we would never meet again, maybe it was because of the brief moment of connection we had shared or maybe because Mags just needed to be distracted during the flight.

Whatever the case, I will never forget Mags. Right about now, she should be getting ready to board that train to Perth, no doubt talking the ear off the person next to her.

Mags made my trip. Her pluck, courage and welcoming visage were a gift.

And dear Mags, you thought on that flight I was doing you a favour. Ha!

Have you ever been touched by a stranger?

The Boston Red Sox, Victory and Drawers #NaBloPoMo

It’s been forever since I’ve blogged about baseball. Some might say that’s a good thing.

Boston emblemAs a diehard Boston Red Sox fan living Downunder, I can’t let the year end without acknowledging the humongous achievement that was the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series. From bottom of the ladder in 2012 to top of the totem pole in 2013, we Red Sox fans rode the roller coaster with our team. Clinching their first World Series since 1918 at Fenway Park and their third this decade, it was six games of riveting, hairy baseball. The hair came from the lengthening beards of several Red Sox players who in a sign of solidarity and strength grew their whiskers as the play offs progressed and looked more like pirates than ball players.

Boston and Red Sox fans will be talking about the 2013 season for decades. In a year where the city was left reeling in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings and the Red Sox’s dismal performance in 2012, this World Series win represents tenacity, focus and kinmanship. Something that we won’t tire telling any Yankees fan. Apart from the win itself, there were many amazing moments – from Big Papi’s grand slam in Game 2, Victorino’s three run double in Game 6 and Kuji Uehara’s closing dominance – all will be remembered, all were uplifting.

Being so far from the action and on the other side of the world, I found out the result from my good friend, Cricket who is also a passionate baseball fan and American citizen transplant to our fair shores. She sent me a text at about 2.30pm our time, which I managed to peek at between work meetings. And this is what is so great about the Boston Red Sox win, because it is more than just baseball, more than just a game, it is a bonding experience. Cricket, a fellow blogger who blogs at Cricket’s Corner of Australia, is a huge Chicago White Sox fan. So huge that she also live blogs most White Sox games for an audience through MLB.com. And that’s quite a commitment from our Australia time zone! Cricket’s technical knowledge of baseball is vast and puts me to shame, but I definitely regard her as my own Cricketpedia on the topic. So during the course of the year, we have been swapping baseball stories, sharing the victories and the defeats in what we have termed our own Battle of the Sox Drawer. She of the white, I of the red and with a cross over pitcher in the form of Jake Peavy who was traded from white to red mid-season, we have shared in the fortunes of our respective teams. Cricket of course donned the red sox in the post season in what became the year of the drawer.

Apart from this little bonding experience the win gave me an opportunity to contact a friend in Boston, also a big Red Sox fan, to share in the spoils. We had lost touch for a couple of years, red sox victorybut thanks for the Sox we have now renewed contact. That opportunity itself is worth its weight in gold. And finally, there was the play by play post mortem with my eldest son and husband and watching the games on delay after our work days. It brought us together and made us reminisce about our trip to Fenway, about hearing the crack of the bats and roar of the fans.

The big news for Aussie baseball fans is that the Arizona Diamondbacks and the LA Dodgers are heading to Sydney for their 2014 season opener next March. Our whole family will be there for both games and we will be hosting Cricket and her hubby for game two. We will be decked out in all of our Sox gear and will make the very most of this unique opportunity. I will be adopting the Diamonbacks as my team for those games as I take in an MLB baseball game on Australian soil.There was an MLB photo teaser this week with representatives of the teams standing before the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This is about to get real!

So thank you Boston and thank you Red Sox. You have brought me more this year than just a world series win, you have brought me friendship and connection. And that’s a home run right there.

This is the last of my NaBloPoMo posts. I didn’t quite achieve the Challenge, but I posted more often that not.

Thanks for joining me on the journey.

I’m No Turkey This Thanksgiving #NaBloPoMo

If you are a turkey in the United States of America and are currently reading this then congratulations not only have you achieved a level of intelligence that is most fowl, but chances are you will survive the next twenty four hours.

As I write this most of you are catching your final moments of peaceful rest before Thanksgiving preparations begin in earnest and the feasting begins. And then when you finish saying thanks there will be yet more feasting and probably some football watching and/or discussion. At least that’s what Thanksgiving to a non American who is far, far away seems like.

Australians don’t have a Thanksgiving, but I’m not going to let that stop me getting with the programme.

So here are my tips for a trouble and calorie free Thanksgiving:

1. Purchase only fresh, quality ingredients

turkey in a cab

2.Be sure to review the nutrition information panel to ensure that you have bought the best for your family

turkey can nutrition panel

3. Examine the produce and verify its freshness and suitability

deflated turkey

4. Toil away for hours weaving your magic to create a memorable feast that your family members will remember for years

front on turkey

5. Admire your handy work which looks even better in profile

turkey side view

Enjoy. And don’t forget the accompaniments like I did. Next year, I’m definitely scouting for inflatable potatoes, gravy and the odd vegetable or two.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers.

Somewehere Over The Rainbow Blue Cars Drive #NaBloPoMo

Ah, the smell and excitement of a new car, there’s nothing like it. Or so my childhood recollections tell me, since it has been more than a little while since I have driven a new vehicle. The feint lingering of car paint odour mixed in with a hint of faux leather topped off by a smidge of detailing fluid. Just enough to lull you into a false sense of luxury, unless of course you have purchased a luxury car in which case please let me know if the smell lingers for just that little bit longer.

I remember growing up that new car adoption in our family was a momentous occassion. We would stand on the street admiring the new acquisition from every angle, exclaim over its beauty, sit in it acclimatizing to the new sensation and then finally take it for a spin. We would puff with pride at the showroom shine and the immaculate tyre black knowing they wouldn’t last beyond the first month. The paper foot print mats that came in the vehicle would also remain for some months until my parents would finally concede that paper was no match for dirt stuck to our shoes and that really they didn’t need a sign post of where to put their feet.

lego carMy mother was a fairly groovy car chick. She would always pick the best colours in vehicles. All the women in my family knew without any verbal form of communication that the only two important things about a new car behind the smell was how well the radio sounded and the colour of the paint. And so she never failed to deliver. Her first car was a metallic green, sporty number with black trim. A stick shifter and with an AM band only radio perpetually stuck playing classical music or Perry Como. Yeah baby!

Her next car was a bright orange number, one again with a stick shift and black trim. It looked like an orange on wheels on a sunburned day and only had two doors.  You know who was always was the one who had to climb in the back, but by that time FM radio had made an appearance and when I could wrestle Perry Como off his perch, I had the wonderful strains of Abba to listen to.  We had this auto until the doors failed to open from the inside and dad had to finally administer last rights.

The point was though that you could see this baby coming from miles away because of its colour. My mother passed on her wonderful taste in car colour to moi, when I purchased a bright yellow hatch notwithstanding that the sales guy was a condescending misogynist who asked me why I was enquiring about the tachometer and was hell bent in showing me the make up mirror behind the driver’s sun shade. I mean really, didn’t he know the radio was far more important?

Roll the film forward and we now have more cars on the road than ever before. It seems however that our innovation in car colourscar-colors stopped somewhere around 1985.  As I survey our roads all I can see is a never ending sea of white, silver, black, charcoal and beige. The homogeneity is occasionally broken up by the odd splash of navy blue, burgundy or red, but generally not a green, yellow or orange vehicle in sight. And nary a psychedelic purple on the horizon.

Have car consumers become more conservative and pragmatic as time has worn on? Has safety and the cost of a paint job overtaken the desire to make a personal statement?

Now, dear readers a small mea culpa. My current vehicle is not colourful. But in my defence, I have had it for more than a decade and when I bought it there were not many other cars on the road of that colour. So it was seriously rad or bad or whatever back in the day, but now it is one of the crowd.

Oh, how the wheels of progress have turned to mute us all down. Bring back the colour on our roads.

New car ma’am? Certainly, would you like that in white, off white, cream or oatmeal?

Have you noticed a blending of the car colours where you live? What car colour would you choose if money was no object?

 

Speaking Out: Are You Prepared to Pay the Price? # NaBloPoMo

Sunday, the 17th was my last NaBloMoPo post and I have to confess after writing that post my week turned to crap. So there is no way I am going to succeed at this challenge, but I’m going to at least try to post everyday to the end of the November to make up for last week.

Over the weekend a wonderful article appeared from Jacinta Tynan, a local news reader and newspaper columnist. The article talked about the importance to Jacinta of speaking out, or in her words “speaking her truth” and the price she has paid for doing so. Jacinta explains:

My intolerance for insincerity, inequity and just plain bitchiness is palpable. I try to let it slide, making my dissent clear by keeping my distance. But that’s followed by uneasiness. By my silence, have I not contributed to the problem?

and:

I have learnt the hard way that there are consequences to being candid. Although there is never any malice on my part, I have copped it for speaking my mind.

You can read the article here.

Dear Jacinta, I know exactly how you feel.

It’s not that I think the world is entitled to my opinion. In fact, it is no hardship to keep it to myself. Rather, it is the need to prevent further bitchiness or injustice from occurring. I just don’t understand the need for either one. There are better ways to deal with disagreement, frustration and issues in general and we should be doing what we can to build bridges rather than blowing them up.

turtleThere is no doubt though that this is the harder road to hoe. And not only is it harder, it is also far more sparsely travelled. And like Jacinta, more often than not I don’t see the broadside coming, simply because I don’t act that way. So it does cost to speak my truth, and I have the scars to prove it. I acknowledge that my truth is not absolute and that everyone has their own truth, but for resolution or advancement someone, somewhere has to start with speaking their truth.

I have noticed that there are more than a few people who lie in wait to pounce on those that speak their truth. They don’t actually speak their own, but rather just spend their life countering or commenting on other people’s truths and in this way they let others, like me, step on the land mines. But I have never been a follower and I am not about to start now.

So for all of you who speak your truth, I salute you. Whilst it comes at a cost, the personal cost of not doing so is much higher. So like Jacinta, I have to conclude that:

As wounded as I’ve been by the occasional fallout from my frankness, I would like to keep being that person. One who speaks her mind. It might be risky – not everyone will love you – but it’s the only way to generate a meaningful connection, something not on offer if it’s all smiles and watching your words. To speak from the heart with empathy and compassion is a contribution, however small, to a more meaningful life. You don’t leave much of a legacy by keeping mum.

Wisdom is teaching me compassion and empathy and the journey will only ever be complete when that final land mine decides to explode.

Is this something you grapple with also?