Storm In A B-Cup

Daily Prompt: Good Tidings

Ten years ago, I was a very different 15 year old girl to the 25 year old woman I have become.  I was a shy, nerdy bookworm who was just discovering performing and had really only just made some friends for the first time. I was a musician through and through and basically my whole life was year 9 at high school.

Today, I am many different things – but most of those things are different to what I was ten years ago. I am a young woman, married (which alone, my fifteen year old self would never believe), with a beautiful baby. I no longer define myself by my academic success or what my next piece of music might be, but rather by how happy my day has been, how many times I have seen that bright baby smile grace my day.

The daily prompt today asks us to tell our ten-years-ago self three things about our lives that we have to look forward to, and I feel like this prompt couldn’t come at a better time! The most challenging, rewarding and fun things for me – and for my fifteen year old self – to look forward to in life are very much all the same thing to me at this point in my life, and can be summed up in one word: parenting.

I am mum to the most gorgeous 4 month old baby girl in the world (in my biased opinion) and it is all at once the most challenging, fun and rewarding thing I have ever done.

Every day, being a mum is a challenge in a new and different way. Right now, the challenge is in teething, and sleep. Baby girl is uncomfortable and sore and as such is not sleeping. Really at all. Unless she is held, therefore hubby and I are spending a LOT of time lying on the couch with the little princess. Every day is a challenge because I am never sure that any decision I make is the right one, and I second guess myself at every turn, and every second that passes. I think in the end, all parents are just doing their best and making it up as they go, and that brings me some comfort.

It is the most fun thing ever, because I get to spend my days singing and playing and making up new games to play with my baby. It is the most fun experience because I get to see a gorgeous little smile and hear a musical laugh every single day, and it makes all of the challenging moments worthwhile.

It is the most rewarding job on the planet, because every day I see an amazing little person emerging and becoming her own self, with her own personality. Every day, she grows and changes and I get to help her discover the world for the first time.

If I had a chance to sit down with my fifteen year old self, I would tell her all of these things because right now, at this point in her life, she is pretty scared that she won’t ever come to anything. She is stuck on the idea that she has to be something. something bigger than she actually wants to be. She thinks her life has to be all about books and words and having it all. She is scared she will be the lonely bookworm forever, and I wish so much that I could tell her it will all turn around and that in ten short years, she will have the most incredible life – nothing like she has dreamed – that she could imagine.

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Daily Prompt: Write Here, Write Now

I am promising myself I will get back into blogging – it is a resolution of mine.  Not necessarily for the new year, or for any particular reason other than I need something to focus myself on and to continue to express myself in a way that is meaningful to me, if not to anyone else.

That’s why I am writing this post in response to the daily prompt: Write here, write now.  It’s a challenge to myself: I will write every day,  something new.  Something that makes me think or reflect or that interests me.

Right now, my life is in a place of great change.  I feel scared, excited, lost, terrified.  I have no direction, and yet a whole new direction.  I am scared that I will be a bad mother, that I can’t make the right decisions for a whole new person who is completely dependent on me.  I feel terribly selfish because I am afraid that in this whole process of making someone else, that I might lose myself.

I already love my baby – in an intellectual kind of way – I know that I want the best for him or her, and that I don’t want anything bad to ever happen to him or her.  But I also feel as though I am a bad parent for not already feeling that deep, instinctive connection and love for my child that so many parents say that they can feel as soon as they see that first scan or hear his or her little heart beating.

Now – completely unrelated – I’m also not sure that I am following this prompt quite correctly.  But to be honest, I don’t think I care all that much.  I am writing, and I am feeling and I am expressing something that I have been afraid to express aloud.  And I think that that is one of the most important parts of blogging for me.  Connecting with myself.  And hopefully, someone else out there can relate and maybe feels some of the same things.  And maybe, just maybe, they feel a little bit less alone now.  I know I do.

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Daily Prompt: Tourist Trap

Today’s daily post prompt was such an easy one for me – I am actually on vacation right now! It’s a location that I have only been to once before, and so has T but we have both just fallen in love with it. The snowy mountains here in Australia, specifically around Jindabyne and Thredbo is absolutely breathtaking. We swear we are going to move here one day. There isn’t very much snow here right now as winter hasn’t really hit yet but the views are spectacular, the air is crisp, the atmosphere relaxed and the local lake to die for.
This is just a short post, since I am after all on vacation, but I thought I’d share a couple of photos I’ve taken on my phone. Unfortunately all my “snow” photos, taken further into the mountains are on my camera and I can’t upload them now

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Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

This week’s weekly photo challenge is about signs. When I saw it, I immediately thought of a photo T and I took on our first trip away together to a beautiful spot on the NSW coast called Port Stephens. We had a lovely time, and this sign was just too cute to pass by without snapping a photo.

I saw it on the way home from our trip and had to get a photo through the window of the car.  So it’s not a fantastic photo by any means, but it is meaningful to me, so I thought I’d share it with you guys.

ps i love you

 

 

Do you have a favourite sign?

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Jealousy, the Stage, and Marriage (do not mix)

Jealousy is not a good colour on me. Or anyone, but definitely on me, and especially in the toxic incarnation that it has worst affected me.
Let me tell you about the start of my relationship. T and I met when we were both performing in a local show, a production of South Pacific in which I was playing one of the leading roles and he a smaller role.

I was so proud of myself. It was my first production with the theatre company and not only had I scored a leading role, but I had just been accepted into a semi-prestigious music theatre school. I had been acting and singing for not very long, and I truly thought I was all that.

T and I started dating (he was my very first boyfriend, at age 19), and things were good. As we got to know each other better, I discovered that T was an aspiring actor and singer – not a shock since we met performing – but when the next show rolled around in a few months’ time I was in for a surprise.

The director of the past show was a singing teacher, one I had started having lessons with since South Pacific, and she was grooming me for the lead role in the upcoming production of “the Baker’s Wife”, and full of the agconfidence of youth and inexperience, I believed her. I practiced hard and turned up to the auditions with confidence. So did T. I was gunning for us to be cast opposite one another, romantic leads on and off the stage. Alas, it wasn’t to be. I was cast in a supporting role, and T as one of the leading men. I was happy for T, but quietly jealous.

As each show rolled around, we both continued auditioning, and the same thing kept happening. Now I know it is community theatre, and it can not only be very political but also much more competitive for girls than guys, but it hurt. I loved theatre, it was my life at that point. But my jealousy was beginning to make me toxic.

It was affecting our relationship, making me sad and resentful of T’s success. Instead of supporting him and building him up like I should be, I was saying things that made me feel better – but we’re not the sort of thing I should have been saying to my boyfriend. Things like “well there was hardly any competition for the role” or criticisms of his performance. Or even just not being as fully present and happy for him as I should have been. I didn’t recognize that while I was upset that my work wasnt getting me anywhere, my lack of support and my less than kind words were hurting him a great deal too.

We have talked about this a lot. A LOT. It has been a big thing in our relationship. And for now, we have both made the decision to stay out of community theatre since the whole scene – not just my jealousy – was not doing us any good as a couple. Maybe one day one or both of us will go back. But right now, us is more important. T is focusing on teaching and the more professional side of performance. I am focusing on music, singing for pleasure (for myself, not others) and my nursing. And that’s enough for us.

My jealousy got the better of me, and almost caused some permanent damage to my relationship with my husband. We are still dealing with some of the consequences today. I really hurt T back then. But now that I have moved past it we are better and stronger than ever before.

Has jealousy ever affected your relationships

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Daily Prompt: Dulled

Today’s daily prompt question should – theoretically – be a no brainer for me.  The choice of which sense to sharpen, even if it would dull the rest for someone like me, that is, someone with a sensory deficit of one kind or another seems like a simple one.  I have less hearing than the rest of the general population, so why would I not choose to have that sense sharpened to experience “normal” hearing?

My first thought of course was indeed that I would choose the sense of hearing to sharpen.  But then I really thought about it.  If I heard normally, I don’t think I would like it.  I would be completely overwhelmed.  I hear only out of one ear.  To suddenly hear – acutely – noise coming at me from all directions would, quite frankly, be almost scary.  I quite enjoy my silence.  I like being able to sleep on my good ear and not be disturbed.

But I haven’t yet answered the question.  I think whether I sipped this potion or not would depend on whether the effects were permanent or not.  If they were, I really don’t think I would.  I like my senses how they are, thank you very much.  Even were one sense sharpened, the others are too important to the full experience to dull.

If the effects were temporary then I think I would most like to experience a sharpened sense of taste.  I read a book once as a teenager about a girl who (after experiencing a blow to the head) experienced sharpened senses, enhanced to a degree where each was interlaced with the other and new senses awakened.

The book describes especially the sense of taste as something entirely different when enhanced.  Of course, none of us really know what it would be like, but this story would have us believe that it is quite the experience. I think that – as a temporary experience – this might be one of the more enjoyable.  A sharpened sense of touch, smell, sight or hearing each has its drawcard, but I think this would be my pick. If I had to pick.

Would you try a potion that would sharpen one sense, if it would dull the rest? If the effects were temporary? Permanent?

Sorry about what I think is a very garbled, nonsensical post.  If it is any excuse, I am very very tired (it’s late at night here!), and back to uni tomorrow.  I hope it’s semi-coherent.

Thanks for visiting

Nat xx

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Daily Prompt: Memories For Sale

On a weekend road trip, far away from home, you stumble upon a garage sale in a neighborhood you’re passing through. Astonished, you find an object among the belongings for sale that you recognize. Tell us about it.

Photographers, share an image that says MEMORY.

 

This is today’s daily prompt.  And I really had to think for a minute.  A LONG minute.  I suppose because I don’t really associate objects with memories so much as I do events or people.  But then I remembered something that would make me smile and take me back to a time in my life when things were…bittersweet.  Babysitters’ Club books.  Remember those?  A spunky group of young girls, who – when I look back on it now – were really too young to be babysitting? There was a girl in there who we could all relate to.  Probably more than one for most of us.

For me, Mary Ann was who I wanted to be.  She was pretty and smart, but quiet.  And she still had friends!  I wished I could be cool and edgy like Claudia.  I wished I was sophisticated like Stacey.  Dawn was so unique, and all of the others had something that some little girl out there just wanted to be.  And I wished I was all of them!

I so looked forward each month to the day that I would receive my new books in the mail, and when they arrived I would devour them that day.  I adored these books.

I started reading these books long after they were first released in the 80s.  It would have been the mid 90s when I started reading them, I was about 6 or 7.  The second grade.  It was a time in my life that was great, but when I look back on it now, I wasn’t exactly the happiest of kids.  It was a stressful time for my whole family, my youngest brother had just been born, and we were adjusting to life as not only a family of 6, but a family of a child with a disability.

My sister was still at preschool, my “middle” brother between 18 months and 2 years old.  We were busy, and as the oldest child I was expected to entertain myself a lot of the time, as well as at least my sister sometimes.  I was a very shy kid, something that wasn’t helped by my bully of a teacher who used to send me for reading time in the storeroom because my reading level was higher than that of the other kids and she didn’t want them feeling inferior.  Who put me on detention day in and day out because there was no school bus, and my mum had trouble getting all four of us out the door and into the car on time.  Who singled me out every day for one reason or another.

One day, because (as a 6 or 7 year old, mind you) I couldn’t spell tomorrow without help.  Another because I was wearing Christmas earrings – she stood me in a corner with my arms pointed above my head, telling me I looked like a Christmas tree.  Yet another time because I went over some of my letters twice.

She was a small, petty woman.  But at a time that I was so impressionable, and that my family was in such a time of stress anyway, it made a big impact on me.  I withdrew, became terrified of doing anything that might make me stand out or look different, became even more scared of making the smallest mistake.  I wouldn’t do anything without first looking for approval to make sure it was right.  And still seek approval more than I should, I think.

It was lasting, and I need to let it go.  For good.  Really.  But that whole year is something that is embedded in my personality and my psyche, and I’m not really sure how to let it go.

Anyway.  The Babysitters Club.  Those books were such an escape for me during this time that after that they became my “go to” books when I needed comfort.  I collected well over a hundred of them (were there a hundred? A lot, anyway), and after that moved on to the Sweet Valley High books (and yes, I fancied myself an Elizabeth Wakefield).  I didn’t pack any of those books away until I was about 16, and even now, they sit packed in a box.  Hopefully one day my own daughter/s will love them as much as I did (though hopefully not for the same reasons!)

PS.  Sorry that was such a long post, but it was actually rather cathartic!

What item takes you back to another time?

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Dear Mum (an open Mother’s day letter)

Dear Mum,

Today it’s mother’s day (actually, yesterday was mother’s day here, but that’s a minor detail!), and since it’s also my birthday soon, and the first year I’m married, I thought I’d write you an open letter here to thank you for everything you’ve done for me.

You’re an amazing mother, the sort of mother I want to be some day.  You care for all four of your children, different (and spread around the globe) though we are.  You support all of us in whatever we want to do, even if that “what we want to do” doesn’t seem like the most sensible thing at the time.  You let us know that you don’t think it’s sensible, but then you support us through it.  Even if it goes wrong.  And yes, you told us so, but you’re still there for us.

You paid for ten years of piano lessons, and then when I wanted to quit a few weeks before my final exam, you said “fine”…and then threatened to make me pay you back for all of the lessons and the piano if I didn’t do it.  And I appreciate that.  I didn’t think I would at the time (but who does, at 16), but I ended up with a qualification that can take me anywhere and a passion for music that I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for you.

I know you and Dad struggled financially for a long time, but none of us kids ever knew it.  We never wanted for anything, even if it meant that Dad was eating baked bean sandwiches every day for lunch at work, and the dogs ate baked beans too because they were cheaper than dog food.  I thank you for putting us first, and for always providing us with everything we needed – and usually most things we wanted! – even though the going was tough.

Thankyou for putting up with taxi-ing me around for so many years to piano lessons and exams and band practices and dance lessons and musical theatre rehearsals and then for coming to the shows and volunteering to help out at front of house or backstage or in the “cafe” at intermission.  Thankyou for making me believe in myself.

And now, more than ever, thankyou for giving T and I a soft place to fall when money got bad for us.  Thankyou for being there even though you told us that if we weren’t careful with the debt this exact thing would happen.

Thankyou for helping so much with our wedding, and for supporting us in getting married, when many didn’t because they thought we were too young (we weren’t).

But most of all, thankyou for always being there.  Thankyou for being the best mum a girl could ask for.  Thankyou for teaching me to crochet, but not teaching me to cook (I’ve enjoyed figuring that out all on my own!).  Thankyou for being a super mum who even after almost 24 years is still a full time mum (who works almost full time) to all of us, but especially D (for anyone reading who isn’t mum, which – let’s face it – is anyone who is reading this, since mum doesn’t know of this blog, D has Down Syndrome and will live with mum and dad for the forseeable future).

So for everything, and then for everything else I’ve forgotten, thankyou.  From the bottom of my heart, thankyou.

I love you, mum.

Love, Nat xx

My whole family (minus one brother who was a groomsman, so was getting ready with T)

My whole family (minus one brother who was a groomsman, so was getting ready with T)

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The Forest or the Trees

Today’s daily post prompt asks the question:

When you gaze out your window — real or figurative — do you see the forest first, or the trees?

 

I would like to think that I can appreciate both the big picture and the details in life.  I can appreciate the beauty of a grand landscape as much as a close up of a drop of dew on a twig.  I love the lushness of a full orchestra as much as a lone violin (or piano, or flute).  But to me the true beauty of life is in the details.  What is a person without their quirks and little mannerisms?  Would my husband be the same if he didn’t call me by twenty different pet names every day, each more outrageous than the last? Without his hair paranoia, and his collection of products? If he didn’t insist he was overheating every night, before stealing all of the covers in his sleep?  It’s the little things that make a person who they are, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

I love sitting down with a good piece of music and picking it to pieces.  Finding all the details that make it unique, and intriguing.  The motifs, modulations, and dynamic shifts.  Listening to different interpretations.  Anyone can pick up a piece of music and play it, and while it may be technically the same piece of music, it is never the same.  And I adore that.  It is the little things that make a piece of music your own, that make it speak of your own story – your own heartbreaks and triumphs, your own joy and pain.  It is the details in life that make our experiences unique.

I love taking my camera out (new at it though I am) and photographing a panoramic landscape, or a portrait.  But what I am really enjoying learning is focusing on the close ups.  That spiderweb gleaming in the sunlight.  The morning dew on a rose.  The sunlight dappled through branches of a tree.  I’m loving just being present with my camera.  Observing moments, and trying to capture the emotions as they pass through a person’s face.  They may be fleeting, but the best photos (though mine are mediocre at best right now!) are the ones that the person doesn’t know are being taken.

The big picture is great, but I want the details.  Because that’s what makes life worth living.

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The Glass

Is the glass half full or half empty? I’ve spent quite a lot of time contemplating this question, often at the “request” of my mother. By nature, I think, I tend to be more of a ‘half empty’ kind of girl. I know it’s not necessarily a good way to be, but to me it is very natural to find the problems in a situation, and what could go wrong. As much as this is probably a very pessimistic mindset to be in, I think it can be an advantage to be able to see the negatives – as long as you can also see the positives – in a situation. It helps keep a balanced perspective, and allows potential problems to be negated, or at least planned for, before they happen.

At the same time, it has been said that I’m far too much of a “glass half full” type of girl when it comes to people. I always see the best in people, even when that isn’t necessarily a good idea. I can hear a lot of bad things about a person, but I will always give them a chance. As far as I’m concerned, if a person has never done anything to me, then I have no reason to judge them. Often this backfires, and I end up learning the hard way that I should have paid attention earlier to what I was hearing. But I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt, there is good in everyone I believe. Maybe thats a naive point of view, but it has served me well so far.

So – glass half empty or half full? Naturally I tend towards half empty but I strive to see he half full in every day. And too much half full when it comes to people.

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