Poker Face

What's your 'tell'?

I'm about as opaque as a pane of glass - it's rare that emotions don't show on some part of my body. Sad? Eyes (usually leaking). Happy? Bursting out of my skin. Anxious: pasted on smile, crazy eyes. Angry? Tense shoulders, old-lady-smoker mouth. Speaks in short, staccato bursts. Stressed? Pimples, ashen skin, can't make eye contact, angry. See also: Angry.

Now I'm older and I have a seemingly never ending set of stress tests that are aged 3 and 5, my stress tell is what I can only call Snappy Tom. It's not disastrous, but not pretty. I am much more tightly wound than my usual brand of tightly wound and at times the inanity of answering the same question five times in a one minute period wears me down and Snap! There I go.

I like to think I can hold my Tell and let it all ride - because stress will disappear tomorrow after a much longed for great night's sleep and everything going smoothly. Like a gambler who will just take one more hand, this is not a great solution. I will rarely have a great night's sleep everything will rarely go smoothly. It's about being able to bend and roll with the punches.

I recently injured my hand (and documented it at length over on Instagram) and I think my stress levels are a continuation of this, coupled with a highly stressful work situation, a still-fresh going back to work with daycare and school situation and a dark wintery time when grief hits the hardest.

Self care is crucial at these times. Stopping giving all the fucks is also crucial at this time. Sorry for the language Mum, but it's true. Being nicer to myself and ergo those around me is crucial.

When I feel Snappy Tom, I wonder how I let it all unravel. Again. I even wrote songs about this. Again, as I age I realise that these ups and down, they're a part of my life. Being able to weed out the parts that I really don't need (Snappy Tom) is a useful skill to continue my journey. However, Snappy Tom serves as a good barometer for when things aren't going quite right and it's time to mix it up again.

I was re-reading some old posts and I miss Positive Me. She's pretty awesome and she's still there, but she's been hiding. Anxiety is sitting there in the corner, coughing and clearing it's throat most days. Thankfully Depression moved out a few years ago to Change Her Life. Sadness is moping around at the moment. With any luck some sunshine will appear in this wet, cold winter.

This is my new guide for life until I find a better one:

I've also been listening to a lot of great music recently. Music is a huge part of my life, but it takes a lot for a song to break me down. I was driving through the city a few months ago with a sleeping Lady Pip in the back seat when 'Village' came on. Such a beautiful song with haunting lyrics - I think you'll like it. In fact, check out the entire album - there's some absolute beauties on there.

It's Okay To Fall Down

itsok

Years and years ago (golly) I wrote a song titled 'Let It All Out'. It goes a little like this...

weekofsaturdays

It's from my 2009 EP 'A Week Of Saturdays'. Alas, the Kitchenhands are no more and I am pretty much retired from professional gigging.

I wrote 'Let It All Out' when on some level I realised that it was okay to fall down, drop all your marbles, slowly gather them up again and continue on your merry way. In 2008 (when I wrote this song), my father had passed away the previous year, I was in a job I hated, we had to move house suddenly after my father died, and my depression and anxiety was really beating me down. Music was a solace, and writing this song was such a great help.

I'd always been concerned with finding 'The Real Me' - the big thing that I wanted to do and what would make me have an awesome career and which was the Right Way To Go? Susan Jeffers had a great diagram in one of her books about finding the 'right path'. I can't find it online anywhere, but it was essentially a straight line with a gigantic amount of squiggles drawn through it. In other words, the 'right path' is never a straight one. Incidentally, I'm the real me and I still haven't quite worked out what I want to be.

The path is never straight and true. There's always quirks and roadblocks and it's up to you as to how you deal with them. Find your path. Navigate the twists and turns that will take you to your destination. It's okay. If you fall down, enjoy the view, find your cards, get up and keep going. Enjoy the ride.

'Dark days cannot take me
I won't let this one make me
It's all over to me
I let it all out
I let it fall down
I fold my hand and I'm out of the game
Then I pack it all up
I put it all away
Here I am I can face another day.'

Written by Amy Kendall, arr Amy Kendall and Andrew Smyth

If depression and anxiety are concerning you and you'd like to talk to someone please call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or visit beyondblue.org.au

To Dream Big

MrsSmythDreamedBig

Hello, and welcome to my new space. Let me tell you how I got here, with a new vision and a new design to boot.

A few months ago, I had a conversation with a friend about blogging. My writing mojo had well and truly waned with the birth of my second child. For my friend, a few years of professional blogging had taken it's toll and she was burned out. We joined forces and it was so much fun. My joy in writing was rekindled and I put all of my energy into writing. It was a huge learning curve on a different blogging platform and dealing with an existing audience that weren't used to my style of writing. Slowly things ground to a halt. My family were completely snowed under with germs (it's like a domino effect when my kids get sick) and my friend needed a complete break from writing and worrying about stats to refocus her energy on things she enjoyed.

Where did that leave me? It left me sad for a few days. I began to wonder what I would be when I grew up. I asked my friends. I asked myself. Their answers weren't dissimilar to mine, but I realised one thing.

I loved writing. I've ALWAYS loved writing. I've always written in some form. When I was 10 it was books and books of creative writing, and making my own books from cardboard and staples. When I was 13 it was emotional teen poetry in spiral bound notebooks. When I was 15 it was song lyrics on the back of scraps of paper at my part time job. When I was 18 it was full songs, complete with scored music in composition music books at music college. Through my twenties it was all songwriting and performing. I didn't realise it at the time, but I've never stopped writing.

I also realised that I wanted to help people. I completed a university unit this year called Foundations of Technology for Healthy Living, which was all about health and wellbeing. Helping people. I realised that I want to share positivity amongst women, help people achieve their goals, be so infectious with happiness and positivity that it could only make people smile and feel good.

Mrs Smyth Made This houses a place where you can read about dreaming big, moving your body every day, happiness, living simply, being crafty (like a fox!), organising your things and your life and a few stories from my home life too.

And here is the space where it will happen.

I've dreamed big. I've made plans. It's go time.