Life With Allergies

One thing that has been very hard for me to admit is that I have allergies. I grew up with none. I believed that allergies meant that you were somehow defective as a human.

 

Now, I am defective as a human, but it isn’t my allergies that make me so. That’s all me, baby.

 

When I first “became a woman” I discovered these allergies. I went to a doctor who prescribed me creams to apply (yeah, because that’ll get rid of it) and told me it was a fungal infection.

 

It wasn’t.

 

And, since then, every doctor I’ve been to has basically told me I’m crazy.

 

I’m allergic to nickel. And Latex. and Kiwi Fruit – or Gooseberries for any weirdos not living in Australia.

 

And they’re all connected.

 

The best part, is that they’re all so me. They’re all just one hundred percent weird.

Let’s start with the latex allergy: that one flared up because my sensitive areas don’t like contact with it. Did you know that most pads have latex in them? I didn’t. My lady bits apparently did. It makes condom shopping extra fun! Also bandaids. Anything from the waist down, I get a welt the exact same shape and size of the bandaid, after it’s removed, from the adhesive.

The nickel: only when I eat it. Yep, you read that right. No I do not make a habit of sucking on heavy metals. Nickel is present in high quantities in almost everything I love – grains, nuts, bananas (I know, right?), avocados (God, give me strength), spinach, leafy greens, tomatoes (as an Italian, that’s just offensive), tea, soy anything, garlic (again, Italian), licorice (oh my God I love bullets), onion, baking powder (what the actual?), red wine (just hell no) and chocolate. You try avoiding those. Not possible, nor do I want to. I’ll take dermatitis over eliminating those from my diet, thank you very much.

On to the Kiwi Fruit. Only since I had my child. Yep, pregnancy, as completely messed up as it is all by itself, decided to give me the eternal gift of never being able to consume Kiwi Fruit ever again. It’s as if mother nature greeted me herself and said “Hey, congratulations on what was one of the most awful experiences of your life! The only way I could make it any better for you was to make it so that now you can be actually killed by a small, brown furry fruit. Thanks for coming, and have a great life!”

Seriously. What is that? I grew up eating those things like they were lollies. They’re on every bloody fruit platter you order. They’re in fruit salads. Hell, us Aussies put them on pavlovas like we’ll never see them again! Every time I go to my mum’s for Christmas it’s like “Hey! Merry Christmas, don’t eat the pav unless you want to die and ruin everyone’s day!”.

To get to the age of 28 and suddenly realise your mortality could be decided by a dessert is just so depressing it’s almost hilarious.

So, in true “me” style, my body hates everything I love and would like me to know that it has other plans for me, and those plans are strange.

Sorry, body. I refuse to give up most of those things. You won the Kiwi Fruit war – mainly because I refuse to be removed from Earth by a testicle fruit – but I will not play your messed up game on the rest of that stuff. And I will punish you with red wine until you get the message.
xxx

What they don’t tell you

When you make the decision – or the decision is made for you – to have a baby, you know that you may feel tired, need to pee a lot (every hour on the hour. Hell, eastern standard time could actually be set to your bladder.), get fat, get swollen, get achy, crave random things like dirt and copper and, most importantly, grow an entire human inside you. You also know that there are two possible endings to your pregnancy: through the sunroof or the door.

Personally, I don’t care which way you do it. People bang on about “natural” birth being vaginal. I disagree because, and I can’t stress this enough, all birth is natural. 

Even nature needs help sometimes. Bananas. Bananas are sterile. So I hope all you “having a caesarian is the easy way out” people don’t eat bananas.

But I digress. I have one child because the pregnancy and birth were disgustingly traumatic. The birth, more so. Mainly because they wouldn’t do an emergency caesarian. 16 days overdue, 23 hours of labor – 9 of which were endured only through the blessing of an epidural – which climaxed in a tachycardic baby, exhausted mother, a private doctor forcing her way into the birthing suite to help, 13 randoms looking on, the ventouse and a 9 and a half pound baby with meconium staining causing a severe respiratory infection. Blood hit the ceiling when my child was born. Literally.
Funnily enough, I was prepared for that. It was awful and I ended up with severe depression afterwards but I think I always knew birth would be difficult. Do you know what? At least I was able to take my baby home and, for that, I could not be more thankful.
But, and there’s always a “but”, there are a few things you aren’t told. I don’t care how many books you read, the following content will be in none of them (I’m the light apricot. The grey is a friend):

Yes, folks, you absolutely will have an adjustment period after a vaginal birth. And, trust me on this, even though your biggest worry is whether it will still feel the same for your partner afterwards, you’re going to find other things to worry about. Like whether a fart bubble can cause infections.
So here’s cheers to them not telling you that you will feel like Helen Keller if she came home and some bastard had moved her furniture as a joke. I still don’t know why my front door seems smaller or why the hallway seems more roomy after almost a decade.
What I do know, though, is that there are some things they leave out of the “list of things you should know”. I didn’t have anyone I could talk to about it. My friend always asks me these things.
If I could offer any advice during someone’s pregnancy, it’s to make sure you have someone you can talk to about everything. And have two people. One for a sunroof birth and one for the door birth. They’re very different and each brings unique challenges.
Also, if anyone, at any point in time criticises you for how you gave birth, throw some mashed banana at them for me.
xxx

Work take 2

In the last two days we’ve received 60 pallets. 60. 

Scratch that. 

In 24 hours we have received 60 pallets.
20 team members have had to deal with this. 6 of those can operate the forklift. 
This is what Christmas in liquor looks like. 
So the next time you’re at a bottle shop and you’re frustrated that what you want is “out the back” or “coming today” or “out of stock”, remember this photo.

Remember that the person you speak to has to move three tonnes of stock each day so that you can buy one bottle. Remember that that person has a family and a life, just like you, and risks injury every day so that you can buy that bottle. Remember that we give up our holidays for you. Remember that you needing things last minute is our entire year. Remember that you and your attitude can make or break our day. Remember that we are just doing our jobs.

Don’t be a dick this silly season.

“It’s not happy holidays”

Well, actually, it is.

I understand why people don’t like being “politically correct”. What I don’t understand nor empathise with is why people refuse to be respectful and choose to remain ignorant.
December is home to at least 11 different religious observations: most of them major events in their respective calendars and a minority are “Christian”. That’s in inverted commas because the majority of christians are unaware of all but one and only a small portion celebrate any in a religious manner.

In its original form, what we now know as Christmas was adopted by Christians from pagan festivals such as Saturnalia and Yule. Everything from the tree to the wreath to gift giving to feasting, singing, lights and family gatherings were done at this time of year to celebrate the winter solstice and the return of the sunshine and warmer weather. Some people even still place a star on top of their tree which is a pagan symbol (the pentagram).
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that these things aren’t relevant or important in the Christian faith – they are but it upsets me at this time of year when I start seeing all of the people on social media sharing statuses and memes stating that “It’s not happy holidays, it’s Merry Christmas”. Well, that may be true for them but that doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone. Those same people would get incredibly offended if they started seeing “It’s not Merry Christmas, it’s Happy Hanukkah” memes being shared. 
Part of being Christian is loving thy neighbour. Well, I’m your neighbour and some consider me a friend and even family. Yes it’s Christmas, but it’s also Yule, Litha, Hanukkah, Ashura, Kwanzaa and a handful of other holidays for people of different faiths. 
So please, at this time of year which is all about love and acceptance and togetherness, try to remember the spirit of the season. This is not a time to spread exclusion or superiority or to disparage other faiths. I wish my Christian friends and family a Merry Christmas, but if I am unsure of a person’s faith, I wish them Happy Holidays. Not once has anyone outside my faith ever wished me a blessed Yule or Blessed Litha despite those who know me well knowing that I believe in Wicca and celebrate pagan festivals.
As the year draws to a close and we begin to celebrate the season, remember what it’s about and remember that empathy is a gift given to humans.
I wish you, all of you, a very happy and love-filled holiday season and hope that you have a beautiful celebration of whichever event is dear to your heart.
Happy Holidays.
xxx

In Flight

This is the first piece which has been bought by someone I do not know.

I feel as though this was the event which officially makes me a “professional artist” which is both terrifying and exciting at the same time. My five year old self would be beaming with pride right now and my almost 35 year old self is astounded.

The piece is called “In Flight” and it’s comprised of 5 cranes created from silk yuzen and mounted onto the inside of a pine canvas. No glass, no background. Just the pine and the paper.

The five cranes show how we are, each of us, on the same basic journey through life but we are all vastly different from each other and we are different people at different stages of our individual journey. Cranes are a symbol of hope. Hope is that one thing that, if you lose it, all is lost. Hope unites us all and is the common denominator of everyone’s journey through life. 

This yuzen was the same yuzen I used to create the piece for my mother when I decided to give this art world a go. I made her a piece with 5 cranes – one large and four smaller ones to symbolise my mum and her 4 children. 

The funny thing is, I don’t particularly like this piece. This is what most artists won’t tell you: we love our art and all of our art says something and expresses the emotion or the inspiration behind the piece. That does not mean we like the result. It’s much the same as when we view art from other artists – I can absolutely appreciate someone else’s art but that doesn’t mean I want it on my wall.

In any case, 27 years of origami, 30 years of wanting to be an artist, and the piece that makes it official is one I dislike. This is my life.

But, 5 year old me is still proud. That little Fatchested Stinkinbitch finally got her wish.

Sparkle

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/sparkle/

Somewhere in between trying to be a better human than I am and succumbing to being the prat I can occasionally be, I drink. 

I’m not going to sugar coat anything, here. I drink most days – I try to not drink every day so sometimes I’ll have an “every second day” week, some weeks I don’t drink at all and others will be 6 out of 7 days. 

It’s not healthy, I’m aware of that. I enjoy wine a bit too much. Tonight, it’s rosé (and it’s a delightful rosé – fresh, dry, the right shade of peach with a subtle nose and an incredibly powerful strawberry and pomegranate palate followed by zesty basil and lemongrass) but most nights it’s white wine, occasionally red and sometimes I have bubbles.

That’s where I lose myself. 

I… love… bubbles

Sparkling Wine, Sparkling Rosé, Spakling Red, Cava, Prosecco, Champagne – all of it. If there’s a sparkle, I’m enthralled.

I’ve been blessed in my job to have tried many more than I can afford and to be able to afford more than the average person while also having the knowledge to be able to always choose well.

Some make the mistake of thinking that sparklings are only for special occasions – I say that every day is special, treat it that way. The biggest crime against wine that people commit is keeping one for far too long. As a rule: reds age well, mostly. Certain whites will age but not Sauv Blanc or Pinot Gris/Grigio or sweet wines with the exception of dessert wine. 

The rule with bubblies is this: if it’s a vintage with a year stamped on the label it will age but the length will depend on quality – always research it. A non vintage (a wine with no year stated on the label) will give you 18 months tops. Do not keep them. They are made to be drunk so do just that.

I’ve enjoyed many sparkling wines. My all-time favourites are: Fresita Chilean Strawberry Sparkling, Henkell Trocken Dry Sekt, Georg Jensen, Piper Heidseick NV Champagne, Bollinger NV Champagne, Ca Bolani Prosecco, Leasingham Sparkling Shiraz, Cristal, Piper Heidseick Rare and Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blanc.

When you feel the need to sparkle, do yourself a favour and do it with one of these.

Work

Ah, yes, that dreaded word. Mine is actually quite fun… most of the time.

Today is my day off. It’s also my husband’s birthday. So I’ve had a couple of wines and not at all in the mood for dealing with work stuff.

Too bad. 

The forklift is broken. Broken. 3 weeks before Christmas and our most important piece of machinery has just decided it wants a day or two off. What the actual fuck?!

So, at 8:15pm on my day off (the store closes at 9), I get the call from one of the other managers telling me the fork is broken, they’ve called the tech and he hasn’t shown up. Not only has he not shown up, but there is stock outside in the dock that we cannot get inside because the fork is broken.

What the, in the name of Jesus, fuck?

So, here I am, half cut, calling the service desk, Crown and security trying to get the problem fixed and a security guard.

Poo.

The upshot – my duty manager is fed up this week. He’s had to deal with everything from unbalanced safes and registers to massive deliveries to sickies to a broken toilet and now this. 

This week hasn’t just been shit, it has been the stinkiest, blackest, runniest diarrhoea you can possibly imagine. If this is a taste of Christmas week, I’m tapping out. Buy your Christmas booze elsewhere because we can’t deal.

Laid Him On The Green

(Not what you’re thinking, you dirty minded bugger.)
I was at work the other night and one of my team members asked me why we were allowed to play the song we were listening to (Four To The Floor by Starsailor). I asked why we wouldn’t be and he responded with: “I would have thought that a song about Balls To The Floor would be deemed too offensive.”

I was actually on the floor laughing. I had tears streaming down my face while trying to explain what the real lyrics are. Now, we sing Dan’s version when it plays.

Mondegreens are one of those things that just make me so happy. Even when they’re stupid, they’re still funny.

At the moment, I’m struggling with Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive”. Before I knew what it was, I had heard it on the radio and thought it was “Ready to rock you”. I like my version better.

If you haven’t viewed Peter Kay doing his Misheard Lyrics set, you need to. See it here. You’re welcome.

From Jimi Hendrix singing “excuse me while I kiss the sky” but it being heard as “excuse me while I kiss this guy” through to Creedence singing about a bathroom on the right, Manfredd Mann being revved up like a douche, Cold Chisel’s female goat and Selena Gomez famously farting carrots, there is no end to the amusement of misheard lyrics.

Dubbed “mondegreens” because the line of a traditional Scottish song: “Laid him on the green” was misheard as: “Lady Mondegreen” was the first recorded example.
I have lots of favourites. The unfortunate thing is that you can’t unhear them. I still sing my versions even once I know I’m wrong. What can I say? I enjoy laughing. Best of all, making others laugh is one of my favourite pasttimes.

A Rose By Any Other Name…

It started well. I was born on December 17th, 1982 in St Margaret’s Hospital. I later discovered that the hospital was converted to a mental hospital a couple of years after my birth. How apt.

 

I had a fairly standard childhood except for being a little wog girl in THE most Anglo-Saxon area in Sydney. Growing up with a surname I couldn’t even spell until I was 10 years old made me the subject of years of teasing and the butt of too many schoolyard jokes. While at the time I felt like dying inside each time someone teased me or bullied me, I can now see the humour and, on some level, appreciate the creativity the kids at my school displayed.

 

They managed to crucify my first name in the usual ways:

“Fanny”, “Fatty”, “Fat-cheska”, “Checker”, “Frank”.

 

It wasn’t until they started incorporating my last name that they got REALLY creative (and subsequently more hurtful):

“Link-a-bitch” “Link-a-witch”, “Lick-a-bitch”. “Lick-a-witch”, “You’re-a-snitch”, “Stinkinbitch”.

 

Combining any two of these was my name throughout my first seven years of school.

 

My personal favourite is “Fat-chested Stinkinbitch”.

 

So up until I turned twelve, this teasing was a daily occurrence and it took a good 13 years after going off to high school to realise that it wasn’t really me that they were teasing – it was my differences. They never poked fun at my Mediterranean skin, dark eyes or dark hair because those things were common place.

 

It was all because of my name. In among the Nikkis, Sarahs, Anthonys, Matthews and Shannons, my Italian/Polish hybrid name stood out like a salami in mashed potato.The truth is that kids truly are cruel. They are mean, narrow-minded, discriminatory, relentless little beasts who pick on the weak. On the flip side of that coin, though, they are also pretty damned funny. It took me 13 years to see the humour and now that I have, I embrace the hilarity of the fact that my parents looked at my name on paper and thought: “That’s so beautiful. No one could ever make fun of that!”.

 

To them I say: “Thank you, Mr and Mrs Stinkinbitch.”

The Front Line

I suppose anxiety is just one of those things. I’ve had it for so long, I don’t know what it’s like to live without it. My anxiety is always there but there are some days worse than others as seems to be normal among sufferers.

I hate that word: “sufferers”. I don’t suffer with it – I have grown to enjoy it. It’s almost like having a best friend inside your head at all times giving you really fucked up advice. My usual conversations go something like this:

Me: “It’s such a beautiful day. I think I’ll go for a walk.”

Anxiety: “Well, you could go for a walk. But what if you get hit by a car? Your family would be devastated!”

Me: “Ok, then, I’ll go for a walk in the park away from the road.”

Anxiety: “Hmm, see that’s silly, too. What if there’s a big dog there and it attacks you? Or you step on a funnel web spider or a murderer grabs you?”

Me: “How about a drive? Is a drive ok with you?”

Anxiety: “There are so many idiots on the road, though. What if you have a fatal accident?”

Me: “Right. Can I sit in the backyard then?”

Anxiety: “Snakes and spiders, my friend. Snakes and spiders.”

Me: “Fucking hell. How about I go to mum’s house?”

Anxiety: “That requires both driving and walking. Honestly, it’s like you’re not even listening!”

Me: “Fine. I’ll stay home then. Fuck you.”

Anxiety: “Mate, do what you want, just don’t come crying to me when you die.”

Ditto for my son going to school (terror attack or paedophile), my husband going to work (armed hold up or massive car accident), flying (just God, no), work (imposter syndrome) and basically life in general.

It’s got to a stage now where I generally have it under control and I usually just laugh at the scenarios my brain creates for me. Life with anxiety is interesting, to say the absolute least; at worst it’s depressing and lonely, at its best it can be incredibly comical. And I can experience both ends of the spectrum multiple times in an average day which makes things fascinating.

You know what, though? If you can push passed the constant catastrophising of your own brain, you learn that everything you push yourself to do is worth doing well. I love wholeheartedly, speak what’s on my mind, laugh loudly and give generously. 

I am not my anxiety but my anxiety is me.