Tag Archives: Women

F is for Falling through the gaps

Sometimes, I think about what my life would have looked like if I hadn’t been ill. Not very often, but sometimes. I look back over the last seven years or so and I end up feeling seriously confused and alone.

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Over my life time, I’ve heard people say things like ‘complaining is easy’, ‘there’s always someone worse off than you’,  and I’ve seen that quote ‘Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional’ time and time again.

Pain-is-inevitable

I’ve heard people talk about Karma and how if you work hard or if you’re a good person, you will succeed and good things will happen to you…or the opposite!

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I’ve been told that if I pray hard enough and if my faith is big enough I will be ok, and I will be healed and I will be prosperous.

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People have told me that things will work out, that I’ll be ok and that things will change soon.

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None of this has happened and none of this has been true in my life.

For seven years.

Where does that leave me? And why? What does it mean? Am I a ‘bitch’? Am I a bad person? Am I doing something wrong? Am I saying the wrong prayer?

I don’t know…

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But somehow and for some reason…

I think I’ll keep trying to be and do good anyway.

I’ll keep believing anyway.

I’ll keep doing my best anyway.

Why?

Well, I was inspired by this poem by Mother T the other day – it hit me hard and it seemed to perfectly put into words what I haven’t been able to.

Anyway

Mother Teresa

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

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F is for fervor

So I haven’t written here in a criminally long time.

Life (excuse my french) is a bitch. And then you die.

Right now, I wouldn’t mind trying out an experimental drug that induces a week long coma. If you’re developing this ,ye scientists, pray do get in touch. Why?

BECAUSE I’D REALLY LIKE A BREAK.

God, come on give me a break

How many of us feel like we’re in over our heads? How many of us are in pain of some kind every day? How many of us are overwhelmingly stressed? How many of us would give our most prized possession, a limb, our hopes or dreams to simply experience 10 solid minutes of health and stability? If I had anything of worth, or the opportunity to barter bits of me for a glimpse of health and peace….

I would hand it over no questions asked.

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I was wondering, does this desperate state of mind & body damage us? Does it mean we forget things? Like the art of patience, forgiveness, empathy and even simple thought? Does it erase the parts of us that had perspective and the ability to dream and hope? Does it mean that we become blind and detached?

Do we lose the will to believe in anything but pain and anger? Do we make menial things, Gods? The small things that actually have some kind of affect and positive interaction in our lives? Or do we let something much darker take hold of us? Do we bow down to medication, alcohol, drugs, sex, food, gambling, self harm, money? Do we sabotage others in a desperate attempt to feel better about ourselves?

Maybe we can take it slow, start over, begin again every day. I may have been able to ignore some of the pain today, but yesterday I let it take over me. Tomorrow I could feel excited and hopeful and be able to help somebody in some small way… Next week I could consider suicide. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, or indeed what this evening will hold, but maybe that’s ok. Maybe then we could release the guilt and release the shame. Take it slow. Maybe?

What do I think?

Keep asking

&

Change your expectations

Of yourself, others, life, experiences, the bigger picture.

Stop and think and ask yourself

Do I need to rest, do I need to be sad, do I think I can go and see a friend, do I want to cry, do I feel angry, do I need to get help, do I need to breathe deeper…..stop and think and ask.

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Here’s a song that I’ve been a little bit obsessed with for a while now. I feel hesitant to share it because it’s my life line at the moment, but today I can share and today I can write.

Today I can ask, maybe?

Love and strength to you x

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I DO!

“Everything that I know…

I know only because I love.”

Tolstoy – War&Peace

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Everybody’s had marriage on their minds recently. Some of you want to stay away from it, some of you are trapped within it. Some of you feel free because of it and some of you don’t know how you feel about it. Some of you are desperate for it, some of you have dreamt of it since you were wee and some of you couldn’t care less.

All of that is ok and all of that is valid.

Not that you need an ‘ok’ from me – I just wanted you to know that I get that life is complicated and there are few safe places to feel accepted and at peace. You can relax here and you can speak freely.

F is for Feisty welcomes you with a big fat FUGGLE! (A free cuddle, or free hug = FUG)

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Here are my messy, random, frantic, silly, OTT, slightly odd thoughts on the matter of marriage.

I got married in 2009 on July the 4th.

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Some may find that ironic, but for me it sits perfectly.

In a previous post about changing my name when getting married, I said…

From the day Russ and I started dating I felt strongly about not wanting to lose myself to the relationship. I had been ‘lost’ so many times before, I’d seen so many people get ‘lost’ and I didn’t want to sink and just be ‘Russ’s girlfriend’ or ‘Russ’s wife’.

I wanted to be Kate.

An individual who was free and independent with her own mind. And you know, Russ knew that. Before I told him. I didn’t have to spell it out – he knew my heart and he wanted to be the one to free me from the crap that bound me from negative experiences in my past.

!SOPPY SLUSHY PUKEY WARNING!

For our last wedding anniversary he gave me a bird cage, with a bird shaped candle inside.

He told me that the door on this little bird cage would never be closed – and that has been our biggest promise to each other for 6 (nearly 7!) years now – to give each other wings, to free each other from pain, insecurities – anything that holds us back.

To want the best for each other and to FIND ourselves within the promises we made, not LOSE ourselves.

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I am glad to say that this is still the foundation of our marriage – that, and honesty.

When I got engaged, I got a lot of confused looks and a lot of questions. I also got a lot of remarks like:

‘but you still have so much of your life left!’

‘but you’re so young!’

‘why not wait until you’ve lived and you’re ready to settle down’

‘marriage is for old people who are miserable!’

and so on.

My favourite list of comments showered me when I was at the hairdressers one spring afternoon back in 2009….

Shocked to see an engagement ring on my finger, my hairdresser – visibly panic-stricken – asked if I was part of a cult or if it was some kind of an arranged marriage. A good effort was made to talk me out of it and to get the ‘real story’ out of me, like I was a lost child with ‘help me’ written on my oh-so-youthful forehead. Having never met this hairdresser before I was a little baffled by the whole thing. The sad looks like I had announced I had days to live, the slight snigger at my ‘young age’ and the patronising list of questions about the seriousness of this commitment all added to my confused little chair/mirror/cape/towel combo.

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The thing that kept me confused and pretty speechless throughout the whole shebang was that my hairdresser – shocked and fearful at the mere thought of marriage – was about 7 or 8 months pregnant.

Now, please don’t hear me wrong – I have nothing against makin’ babies. In fact, I CAN’T WAIT to have a little tribe of mini people to live life with.

My point is – when did marriage become this plague-like life sentence that we are victims of and need rescuing from? When did it become a retirement home for the miserable and doomed?

Why is it for some people and not for others? Who gets to judge or decide that? Who gets to deny or grant it?

What the F-is-for-Flip IS it?!

A simple ‘define marriage’ in the google search bar gave me this ‘gem’ of an explanation:

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Personally I feel this is extremely dated and rather vague and, well, RUBBISH.

So, naturally, I turned to my friends kids.

What is marriage?! I cried. Who is it for?!

This is what they told me….

Marriage is when you marry someone and it’s after you’re engaged.

The book reader says you are now husband and wife and the lady gets another ring.

The lady changes her second name to the husband’s second name and you have bridesmaids to hold up the end of the bride’s dress.

You live together forever.

Look, bumblebee!

I asked the children “what do we do when we love each other?” a 3 year old told me…. “we get married and hug.”

Marriage is a festival!

Marriage is for mummy and daddy, you should marry daddy.

Marriage means getting married, you have a party!

It gives me a headache to think about that stuff. I’m just a kid. I don’t need that kind of trouble.

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So I then turned to Sesame Street.

Seemed logical.

Cute, yes, but this kid obviously has better things to think about. He clearly isn’t FOCUSSED.

We need guidance, oh YouTube God! Help us in our time of need!

And then I saw a face.

A face in the darkness.

A face to light my way.

Yes, Brad Pitt, it was your face.

Oh sweet sweet you. 

Who actually talks SENSE!

Sweet sweet sense!

Brad’s is a message of LOVE and ACCEPTANCE. It’s a message of SENSE and PEACE and of RESPECT.

It’s a message I like.

We, too, must put on accents and suddenly become a fictitious character on TV and be GORGEOUS in the face of injustice!!

F is for Feisty salutes you, Brad!

*fist pump!*

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At the beginning of this (now somewhat absolutely random) blog post, I quoted Tolstoy. It wasn’t a quote about marriage but about LOVE. I chose this because my reason for living is to love. I try to make every choice through the eyes of love and to see everybody through those eyes too. How many times are choices made without a moments thought of love?

Let’s give it a try.

Let’s start with LOVE and see what happens.

Let’s choose LOVE and see what happens.

Let’s speak LOVE walk LOVE dream LOVE share LOVE give LOVE see LOVE hear LOVE make LOVE create LOVE weave LOVE write LOVE and inspire others to LOVE.

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Freedom is for everybody

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I LOVE this website:

MADE IN A FREE WORLD

I also love this organisation.

BECAUSE I AM A GIRL

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We just CAN’T be ignorant anymore!

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STOP THE TRAFFIK

CUT IT OUT CAMPAIGN

Women’s Rights – Amnesty International

 

What great campaigns or organisations do you know of?

How can we get involved?

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“Rockin’ Robin, TWEET!”

Thanks Michael, I’ll take it from here.

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Come tweet with me at

@fisforfiesty 

where I’ll never quote Michael Jackson lyrics.

Well, maybe.

Maybe just at Christmas.

And, you know…

If it’s ever relevant.

To the cause.

And like…

Stuff.

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Feminiwhatism?!

To be honest,

I am figuring this one out too.

I’m figuring out most things and I hope I always will be. I hope I’ll always want to learn and listen to new and old opinions and experiences and theories.

Over the past couple of years I’ve collected some images and quotes which, so far, sum it up for me. I hope they’ll be helpful to you too.

Don’t forget to share what inspires you, makes you giggle, helps you get up in the morning,makes you angry or makes your heart beat.

Leave a comment, you know you want to!

And when I say you, I mean YOU. Whoever & whatever you call yourself.

I mean the unisex, err’body in the club, love train, join hands, brother, sister, S Club 7, boogie wonderland, marching band, yours&mine, rosie&jim, marvin&tammy, ziggy stardust, granny& gramps, R E S P E C T, mama, papa, hoe down, barn dance, fred&ginger type of thing.

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Graffiti, Soweto, Gauteng

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You & Me

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I love discussion, community, journeying, wrestling, chatting late into the night, learning, reading, understanding, growing and sharing and I want to do all of that with YOU! I’ll post questions I get asked and comments too so that we can work things out together.

I am definitely at the

discovery

stage of all of this and I’m loving it!

I don’t have answers and rules and nothing is set in stone here – feminism isn’t a club or an organisation with a logo and a membership card. It’s simply believing that you and me are people. That we’re valuable, unique and worthy of respect no matter what dangly bits we may or may not have. Simple!

Let’s get started with a few bits from this past week……

QUESTIONS:

I wonder what you think the most immediate goal for contemporary feminism should be?

Where do you think the most energy should be spent?

How do you choose your battles?

Not to imply that any issue is trivial but I wonder if there’s a requirement for more formalised leadership within feminism?

What do YOU think? Leave a comment below and let’s get chatting!

COMMENTS:

It was illuminating and concerning to hear successful TV cook Mary Berry announce that

feminism was a dirty word

and she

“didn’t want women’s rights and all that”

this week.

Perhaps she just can’t be bothered to have a career anymore, wishes she never learned how to read, got bored of choosing how to spend her money and ran out of ideas for her own opinions. Each to their own. But I’m pretty sure she’s enjoying many rights without realising.

She cited

not liking shouting and wanting to respect men as reasons to reject feminism

but this only highlights her misunderstanding of it. Good news, Mrs Berry –

feminism is with you.

We like the same things.

We can be friends.

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F is for Feedback

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I’m excited, interested, blown away and chuffed at the responses I’ve had to this blog so far – thank you! I really do love to hear what you guys are thinking – whether you agree with me or not – I’d love to get your input.

This blog is an open house for everyone and anyone and I passionately want it to be a channel for your voices too – your thoughts, feelings and questions are valued here.

Some of these posts will be silly and some will be serious but all are a valid and genuine part of my journey as a person and as a woman.

Thanks again!

x

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Hairy Mary

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I get frustrated when people think feminists hate men. Feminism is not about hating men.

It’s about EVERYTHING and everyone and every day normal big and small things and people and choices and challenges and fun and love and work and parenting and thinking and pain and freedom and all sorts of glorious things life throws at us as women.

It’s a safe space for women to express themselves freely, and sometimes that is to let out cries of frustration and longing from living within a male dominated world (and I don’t mean ‘male dominated’ in a 2D way).

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Riiiiiiiiiight…..

Fun Fact: I am a lover of documentaries and I love to learn. BOOM!

I was watching one the other day and was distressed and saddened to hear a woman state that ‘body hair is unnatural for women’. The general idea of the documentary was following a group of women who had been challenged by the program makers to stop any kind of hair removal for one month. There was me thinking what an easy challenge that was!

Again I was distressed by a conversation that took place between one of the women taking part in the challenge and her group of friends aged between 35 and 45. The disgust and utter disgrace that was being placed upon this woman by her friends was shocking. Comments such as

‘that’s just wrong’

‘you look like a man’

and

‘I feel sick’

floored me.

Over the course of the month these women had break downs, lost boyfriends, retreated from their social lives, lost self-esteem, received abuse from friends, family and total strangers, thought of themselves as ‘unnatural’ and ‘wrong’ and not one of them made it to the end of the month.

WHAT?!

The New York Times Fashion and Style section featured an article on famous women who choose not to shave. Here’s a mini chunk…

“On the red carpet, if a woman has hairy legs or armpits, it is assumed to be an accidental misstep — a failure of time management, if you will. But that hasn’t been true lately. In January, at the Golden Globes, Mo’Nique, who won for her portrayal of a gruesome mother in “Precious,” lifted her floor-length dress to reveal her unshaved calves, abundant in their hairiness.

This did not go over well. On Web sites like TMZ.com, people posted comments like “I have to HURL now … Disgusting is an understatement.” It would seem that a collective ewww rang out nationwide, one designed to make every ’tween girl snap to attention and realize that leg hair is not allowed.”

A simple google search produced these images:

Not-Shaving

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What is it about body hair that is so unacceptable? Why am I a failure if I don’t shave? Why am I acceptable if the only hair on my body is on my head? Why are the expectations so completely different for men and women? Why am I seen as lazy, unorganised and disgusting if my eyebrows/armpits/lips/chin/legs/pubic area/bottom/stomach/back/arms/feet/hands aren’t plucked, shaved or lasered?

What are your thoughts?

Me? Well, sometimes I’ll shave and sometimes I won’t. I won’t judge women or men by whether they shave or not.

We are all free to choose. And I’ll love you whatever you choose.

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Her name was Lola…

My good friend Gabrielle (hello!) often likes to drop F bombs on me. Or as I like to call them, Fem Bombs. Both sound equally as offensive. Neither mean what you think they mean.

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She’ll casually message me over facebook or text me from time to time with a question like:

“I just read a really interesting article about women changing their surnames after marriage. Can I ask what made you decide to change yours?”

(Really Interesting Article)

Well Gabrielle!

I did think about it a lot, and initially I wanted to double barrel it. I wanted to honour my family and continue it’s name (especially with my Dad not having a son to ‘carry’ it on), but then I went on to think about how I wanted or needed my main point of reference to change from my parents to my partner. I wanted to form a strong partnership that would enable us to be such united parents like my parents were. It’s the whole roots and wings thing for me, and actually, I knew that the best way I could carry my family’s ‘legacy’ forward was to honour them through the way that I live and the choices I make and to learn from their lives and choices.

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THEN I had a little think about how I would have felt if my mum and dad had had different names, if and how it would affect me. For example – which name would I take? Which family or ‘side’ did I belong to or relate to most? What would I do when I had kids? Give them four last names?! Did my mum and dad not want to commit to each other completely? Does it matter? And other such wonderings.

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I THEN thought about Russ’s family name, and just simply getting to know his family and their families and what I thought and felt about them. Over a handful of years I learnt a lot and I’m still learning – but what I’ve found are people. People. Just like the people in my family. People with stories, history, pain, grief, joy, love, warmth – and the last thing on my mind is what our names are.

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From the day Russ and I started dating I felt strongly about not wanting to lose myself to the relationship. I had been ‘lost’ so many times before, I’d seen so many people get ‘lost’ and I didn’t want to sink and just be ‘Russ’s girlfriend’ or ‘Russ’s wife’.

I wanted to be Kate.

An individual who was free and independent with her own mind. And you know, Russ knew that. Before I told him. I didn’t have to spell it out – he knew my heart and he wanted to be the one to free me from the crap that bound me from negative experiences in my past.

!SOPPY SLUSHY PUKEY WARNING!

For our last wedding anniversary he gave me a bird cage, with a bird shaped candle inside.

He told me that the door on this little bird cage would never be closed – and that has been our biggest promise to each other for 6 years now – to give each other wings, to free each other from pain, insecurities – anything that holds us back. To want the best for each other and to FIND ourselves within the promises we made, not lose ourselves.

x

So, finally, I decided to take on a new name, a new chapter, a new role, a new journey and to ‘fly the nest’ I guess.

It’s a beautiful name and it’s one my parents were more than happy to give to me when Russ asked them if he could propose.

x

But, you know, more importantly – MOST importantly – at the end of the day…

I honestly don’t care if nobody remembers my name.

I just want to love others and empower people to love themselves and others.

THAT’S a legacy.

THAT’S something to honour.

That’s what I have learnt.

Simple as.

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The life of Lyndall

... all its glorious twists and turns

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A lunchbox full of tasty treats (maybe)

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loseeverything.wordpress.com/

a blog about honesty, hope and losing everything