31 October 2017

The lost art of faking feng shui

I am not a 'woo' person.

I have a lot of friends with faith - in religion, in the supernatural, in the universe, in signs, in superstitions, in pseudoscience, in science, astrology, in alternative therapies, in the power of 'woo' generally.... the list goes on.

BUT

The only thing I believe in is Rumpology.  Who doesn't want to believe in something that states that although everyone’s bum is unique,  a round bottom suggests a person is open, happy, and optimistic, whereas a flat bottom can mean someone is vain, negative, and sad.

Better still - you can get ROCKY'S MUM TO READ YOUR BUTT! This is a true story. Check the link out if you want definitive proof that fat bottom girls make the rocking world go round.

ACTUALLY

I don't really believe in Rumpology.  Though I really want to do so because I have a round rump.

I am however, an expert in the ancient (1990's) art of faking Feng Shui.

The following are 5 untruths I attributed to Feng Shui in the time before the internet to help some friends, that ended up actually being REAL Feng Shui.

It's a gift.

1. Throw out the mattress you slept on when you were with your ex-partner

I said it was something about the mattress holding all the negative energy of past relationships where you needed something clean and untainted. They got a new mattress, got a new partner and lived happily ever after.



2. Don't have your front and back doors aligned

I said it was something about needing the good luck coming in the front door not being able to go straight out the back, and you could fix it by putting a table or plant in the way to divert it into the house. They gave it a crack, got a promotion and six months later spent a lot of money on an interior designer to Feng Shui their entire house so they could live happily ever after.

3. Put up pictures of you with your friends having a good time

I said that I understood it was something to do with surrounding yourself with visual statements of positivity was good Feng Shui. They whacked up a bunch of photos, had a ball finding the perfect ones, reminded themselves of some great times, actually called some of the friends and voila! - no longer feeling friendless and lived happily ever after.


4. Declutter

Even I, queen of the untidy, recognises that tidying up makes you feel more in control of everything. You tell somebody you are pretty sure it's a basic Feng Shui principle rather than just some basic common sense, THEY WILL DO IT and live happily ever after. 

5. Get some red cushions and 'stuff'

I honestly even said and 'stuff' proving once and for all I clearly knew nothing. They were saying that it didn't seem to matter how hard they worked or what job that they tried, they weren't feeling successful.  Working on the assumption that the Chinese like red, Feng Shui was probably Chinese based, I said that I had seen somewhere that having strong blocks of red around the house attracted wealth, success and happiness.  They got red cushions, red vases and I think a red dinner set, actually stuck out a job for longer than three minutes and put it all down to the red cushions as the reason they lived happily ever after.



Thing is - at it's heart Feng Shui seems to me more about the ancient Chinese art of common sense than anything else -  surround yourself with colour, have a positive mindset and clean your shit up occasionally*. 

And that's definitely something I can believe in!

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* Disclaimer: This is not the dictionary definition of Feng Shui.

16 October 2017

5 things which may one day end my marriage

I've seen a lot of relationships break down. And I'm not so smug as to think that my relationship -  which has passed through the stage of loved up housemates, to living in different countries, to living across the road, to moving countries, to living together, to engaged, to married, to married with children - is perfect. 

There are many, many reasons a marriage breaks down and to make sure I'm giving mine it's best shot, I have narrowed down the five areas which trigger the most discord in our happily ever after.


  1. He doesn't peg clothes on the line the way I do  Worse, his inability to peg clothes on the line in a way that is sensible, efficient and CORRECT, appears to be genetics (based on my scientific observations of his parent's clothesline over the years) which makes me fear for my daughters.  He doesn't align seams so that clothes hang straight, he'll hang jeans up by their waistband, he doesn't match socks as he goes and worst of all, when he takes clothes off the line, he LEAVES THE PEGS ON THE LINE, rather than returning them to the peg bag. In short, he's a monster.
  2. He gets amnesia when taking things out of the pantry
    Every. Single. Day. For. 13. Years. He has forgotten where the coffee and sugar go in the pantry, so once he has taken them out, he just leaves them on the bench. He also forgets how to seal the bread, put away the milk and or indeed any of the things EVER. I know he wouldn't continue to do things that annoy me so I have to assume some kind of regular, intermittent, amnesia.
  3. Time management
    We have different approaches to time. His approach is to see time as an abstract concept with no real meaning. Unless it's for a gig. In which case, his approach to time is as exacting as an Olympic official. It will come as no surprise that his approach is inconsistent with mine.
  4. Relaxing weekends
    My man knows how to relax. A weekend that involves seeing nobody but his family is his idea of bliss. If we can avoid leaving the house altogether he considers himself a man utterly content with his lot. I can do this kind of relaxing for approximately 37 seconds. I like to do things. Lots of the things. All of the things. With all of the people. All of the days. All of the time. We have a shared calendar so there are no surprises. Me forgetting to put things in the calendar means sometimes HE gets a surprise. I'm never at fault here - he should have learned to read
    my mind years ago.
  5. We have different 'conflict resolution' stylesThis means when we get cross with each other he becomes mute and I become absolute, and it only ends when we sit down and take turns to express our points of view calmly and rationally until we are back to being cosmically aligned.

    This is of course - 100% untrue.

    It generally ends when one or both of us is fed.
And for all of those sitting there smugly thinking - my relationship is much more solid than that Al - We share values, love our families, are kind and respectful to each other and love each other more than life itself. We are totally awesome.

I say.... Call me after your next argument.  

If it's about your opposing view on Australia's approach to the North Korean nuclear threat, or how best to demonstrate empathy to your children, I'll be more surprised than Nick's going to be when he sees what we have on NEXT weekend. 

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11 October 2017

Beyonce is not right. YET! #dayofthegirl

If only Beyonce was right. 
Who run the world? Girls! Girls!
Who run the world? Girls!
Who run the world? Girls!
Who run the world? Girls!
Who run the world? Girls!
Who run this motha? Girls!
Who run this motha? Girls!
Who run this motha? Girls!
Who run this motha? Girls!
Who run this motha? Girls!
Who run the world? Girls!
Who run the world? Girls!
Who run the world? Girls!
Who run the world? Girls!
But she's not. 

I mean nobody's perfect but I think we can all agree that the people currently running the world are doing a pretty crap job at it.  

That's the problem with adults. They get a little bit of power and they start wanting to have all the things - all the oil, all the money, all the love - and they forget the first rule of childhood - share!

They make up stupid rules, fire guns at people, declare war, get their knickers in a knot about who said what and who believes what and before you know it, there are a whole bunch of children whose lives are suddenly a lot crappier than they were before.

And because of thousands of years of ingrained patriarchy and sexism and all those things we're not allowed to mention in case we hurt a white man on the radio's feelings or somehow impinge upon his ingrained privilege, it's generally the girl children that get the rougher deal.

Seriously - what is it about girl children that scare powerful men so much? From Joan of Arc to Malala I think we can all agree that teenage girls can be totally kickarse if given the opportunity. I've seen first hand how World Vision (to name but one organisation) empowers entire communities by focussing on the empowerment of women and children. And it works. It really does. 

I wrote last year about the impact of the F-word, toilets, education, and rehab on the lives of children in India.  And that was just what I saw in a week. 



Now if you imagine what this world could look like if all girls had the same opportunities as my daughters... clean water, a minimum of 12 years of education, access to doctors and all going well, a career when they get old enough to realise that those damn Shopkins don't buy themselves.  

Think of what this world could like if we stopped publishing 'news' stories about whether or not Margot Robbie is wearing a bra. Imagine what this world could look like if every single girl child felt in control of their bodies, their minds and their lives. Imagine what we could do if we raised a whole world of girls that trusted themselves, believed in themselves and didn't have to 'prove' themselves capable. 

It might not be a perfect world, because YES MR WHITE MAN ON THE RADIO, nobody is perfect, not even girl children, but I think we can all agree, that given the opportunity, GIRLS CAN RUN THE WORLD, a whole lot better than the adults in charge at the moment. 

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10 October 2017

Things I know about depression: World Mental Health Day 2018

There are some things I know about living with depression.

And so I should. We've been living together for a long time.

I didn't know I lived with depression of course when I was younger - I just thought I sucked at life. I dabbled in self harm, gave a decent shot at self destructive behaviours, and I wholeheartedly believed all the things my brain was telling me about my self-worth - things I'd absorbed growing up that had become my internal truths despite external contradictions.

I have lived with the incessant babble of my brain, and the overwhelming cacophony of a mind constantly at war with it self, for most of my life. These are some of the things I now know.

  1. I know that people don't think I'm depressed because I'm not lying in bed, crying all the time. Don't get me wrong, there's an element of that sometimes. But trust me, I can be sitting at a table with you, chatting about life and laughing at your jokes, and still be thinking that me dying would make the world a better place. I live with depression 24/7, 365 days a year. My medication and my clinical psych keep me in check. Without those - I'm in free-fall. I learned that the hard way.
  2. I know that there is no logic in depression. If I could stop being depressed and feeling the way I do, don't you think I would? Of course I know that I am much luckier than a lot of people. Of course I know that people go through far worse without becoming depressed. I KNOW that. And I can assure you I feel guilt and shame about living with depression for those reasons without you pointing it out to me. 
  3. I know that there are no words to explain the hopelessness and dread which consume you living with depression. It's a constant, throb in your chest, it's an ache in your bones, it's a gauzy bandage over your brain keeping everything fuzzy.  It's an effort. And trying to explain it when you are overwhelmed by those feelings makes them seem trivial, minor, and insignificant. Which makes you feel worse because you can see that the people you are speaking to don't get it, unless they've lived it. There is nothing more soul destroying than trying to explain something people don't get.  Ask any maths teacher. 
  4. I know that depression doesn't just affect me. It affects my partner, my children, my relationships, my friendships, my parenting style, my business, and my physical health. This means that you try really hard sometimes to pretend you're okay even when you're not, because 'normal' seems a nice world to live in. 
  5. I know that people think that you're 'fine' because that bit where you wanted to die so badly a year or so ago has passed and the fact you're still not 'sorted' is incredibly frustrating to them. It's frustrating to me too, trust me, I'm trying. 
  6. I know that people think they know what my triggers are. And I appreciate those that don't try to fix me, and I appreciate the ones that do. The thing is, if there was something tangible to fix, I'd do it myself - trust me on this. Different things impact at different times. I recognise this. I really do.
  7. I know that people find the fact that I can be so frank about my depression disconcerting. The thing is, I don't lack self awareness or resilience. But never acknowledging it means that I internalise all of the 'stuff'.  And then the line between what is my truth and what is my depression fades away and the world just seems unbearable. Plus, if she who 'apparently' talks too much can't talk about it, who is going to? If sharing my diagnoses makes it easier for even ONE other person to articulate their own struggles than that is the silver lining in this shitty storm.
  8. I know when my lifestyle choices are not the best for my illness, and I know when my lifestyle choices are very good for me. Sometimes making the right choices doesn't change anything despite me wanting them to be the 'fix', and then on the flip side, sometimes I just don't give a fuck. I just want to switch off. 
  9. I know that some people don't "believe" in depression or mental health as a bona-fide illness. Like climate change deniers, anti-vaxers and racists - you can just fuck off. Your belief systems don't change the science. 
  10. I know that my depression is not all of me. It's a very real part of me, like anybody that lives with an illness either short term or long term can attest. But it's part of what makes me, me. Living with depression is frequently the lens through which I view the world and sometimes, it acts as CCTV for every arsehole I encounter in a day. BUT more frequently it shines a spotlight on the kindness of others and the really great things that are going on in the world, despite all the tomfuckery.  
  11. And last, but not least, I know that no amount of David Wolfe memes make any impact on my mental health. So please stop sharing his quackery and bullshit. 


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