Enough.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, etc etc. It's been way too long (understatement of 2017), here we are.

How do I know that it's this time of year again? The new trampoline in my front yard, the gushing tones of joy that my children are still using to describe Christmas, and, oh yes. The bullshit advertising that begins again.

It never really goes away, in fact our entire commerce industry is geared around convincing us we don't have enough, convincing us we aren't enough and convincing us that we need more.

I call bullshit. (Sorry Mum, twice in one post, already.)

I was lucky enough to take some time off work over the Christmas break, at which point the laryngitis I contracted before Christmas never really went away and also brought some sinus problems home to party. The point is I've spending a lot of time parenting from the couch, having a lot of days brought to us by Netflix and spending far more time scrolling on the freakin' interwebs.

Get Your Best Bikini Body. 21 Days to a New You. Be in Shape For Summer. Want to get rid of blackheads easily? YOU WON'T BELIEVE THIS.

This style of advertising (shouting?) isn't even only geared at our wellbeing. There's also things like 'Teach your kid to read in two weeks with our special program! Get Ready For Back To School Today!'

I feel like a grumpy old lady when I begin grumbling about how all the pretty young things in their twenties are actually buying into this bullshit (there we go again Mum, sorry)... then I remember that when I was in my twenties I bought into it all. Frequently. Not fast fashion though because I always believed there were no clothes that suited by 5'10, suitably hourglass frame aside from jeans and shirts, but the rest of it - I was there hook, line and sinker.

I get so angry when I see this blatant form of encouragement of self loathing, perhaps in part because I did spent the greater part of my life being completely immersed in it, and conversely, my own dissatisfaction with my own body, and perhaps because I know now that it means NOTHING. Your life doesn't change when you use a new conditioner. Your life doesn't change when you use a straightening hairbrush, nor when you use a mouthpiece that whitens your teeth. A 21 day bootcamp might help you feel great (and tired) for 21 days, but what happens after that? There might be a minority who continue on the journey, but I am willing to bet money that the 99% go back to craving the Next Big Thing.

There are no easy, permanent life changes. All change can hurt a little but, but the long term gain can be so worthwhile. If you want it to be.

However...

No advertising is allowed to tell you that your life needs changing.
That your teeth aren't white enough.
That your hair is frizzy and needs straightening.
That you need a detox after Christmas. (No, you don't. You are uniquely equipped with the perfect detox system. Liver and kidneys. BAM.)
That a herbal pill will help you lose weight.
That you need to lose weight.
That buying your kid a reading program is going to help them be a better person.

No one is allowed to tell you that you aren't enough.

You are enough.

Switch off any social media account that tells you you're not. Unsubscribe. Unfollow pages on Facebook that tell you that you need to Buy This Thing. You don't. Why? Because nothing you can buy is going to make you into something you're not. You're you. And that's ace.

As my own private backlash, this year I've begun taking pictures of myself with the girls and posting them. Just like a polaroid picture. No fifty selfies before I find the right one - not that I ever did that anyway because ain't nobody got phone memory nor time for dat... but a picture. Here's what we look like. Look! Sometimes I have two chins! Look! I have a normal body that hangs over my jeans sometimes because I had two kids. We all look weird sometimes. And by weird I mean we look like people who haven't practiced their poses and done their makeup. So I suppose we look normal and they look weird? BUT WHAT IS NORMAL ANYWAY? Oh my god, the tangents. But frankly...

We are enough.

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.

Refined Sugar Free Banana Cake

There's so much contention over the terms 'Sugar Free', or 'Refined Sugar Free' or 'Fructose Free'. Since we stopped adding refined sugar to our lives I have struggled to explain the way we eat to those who have asked.

For a while I said 'Sugar Free', then 'Refined Sugar Free'. Last week I got sick of trying to find a name for it and simply said 'We don't eat food in packets and we don't add sugar to things.' It makes me grumpy that there needs to be an explanation for how we eat. I want to shake people and say 'JUST EAT REAL FOOD'. I don't think sugar is 'evil' or 'bad', I just don't think it's necessary to add to food. We get enough natural sugars from unprocessed foods that I don't want to add anything extra. When you cut out refined sugars, it's amazing the changes that happen to your body. All food tastes sweeter and more complex. Ordinary smells smell sweeter. A heady bouquet of flowers will knock my socks off now. And then, when you do indulge in sugary treats, they're either AMAZING or so sickly sweet.

Ahem, I digress.

A fellow follower of 'The Nutrition Guru and The Chef' mentioned that she was looking for a sugar free banana cake recipe. My sister's been making one religiously for years and I always scoffed until recently. I was delighted to taste it and have it be as good as I'd hoped. Even better, it had been under my nose for my entire adult life in my staple favourite cookbook 'The Commonsense Cookbook'.
I thought I'd share it with you here, so you too may experience the deliciousness that is the Sugar Free Banana Cake. Although in the interests of proper food labelling and Giving Our Healthy Diets A Particular Slant, I present to you...

Sugar Free Banana Cake

aka the Refined Sugar Free But Includes Dates Which Have Natural Sugars In Them And Oh Yes, There'sBananas In There Too Which Are Also A Naturally Sweetened Food Banana Cake. Milk Also Has Sugars In It. Then There's The Carbs In Flour.
F**k it. It's Cake and It's Good.

Ingredients

1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp mixed spice
60g butter
1 egg
1/2 cup finely chopped dates
4 ripened mashed bananas
1/3 cup milk

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180oC.
  2. Grease two bar pans well. (I use a loaf tin and a mini muffin pan)
  3. Sift wholemeal flour, plain flour, baking powder, soda and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl.
  4. In another mixing bowl cream butter, egg and 1 tbsp of dry ingredients. Beat well, then stir in dates and bananas.
  5. Fold in remaining flour mixture alternately with milk.
  6. Spread mix into pans bake for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, let cool in pan for half an hour, then turn out. I like it with butter on top. Oh yum!

I don't have a picture for this one, you'll have to trust me. It's delicious!

A Note About Slowing Down, Keeping Calm.

A Catch Up

This past few weeks have been a blur of kid snot, my snot, visiting in laws and a roof that suddenly, DIRELY needing replacing.

image from http://thelamppostproject.weebly.com/blog/once-upon-an-alphabet-oliver-jeffers This is from my favourite kid's book, 'Once Upon An Alphabet' by Oliver Jeffers.

image from http://thelamppostproject.weebly.com/blog/once-upon-an-alphabet-oliver-jeffers
This is from my favourite kid's book, 'Once Upon An Alphabet' by Oliver Jeffers.

Those events barged into my life, and my Mojo bustled past everybody muttering:
'Sorry, so sorry, just, uh, need some time, no one reads this anyway, so, uh, I'll, uh, be back soon. Popping out for some milk.'

Thanks a bunch Mojo. Inspiration nicked off with you, perhaps for a dirty weekend in the city? EXCEPT YOU GUYS NEVER CAME BACK.

Sheesh.

We finished the never-ending dining room renovation, and the next week we had an epic hailstorm, complete with rain for hours on end. I went out for a coffee after dropping the girls at school and came home to this.

dining room1.jpg

No power, and a water feature in the dining room. My neighbour answered my calls to come over PLEASE and got in the roof cavity with towels. I called an electrician who came fairly immediately to disconnect the light, so we had power again.

The roof needed replacing. It transpires that the people who built our house used second hand bits of tin that didn't span the entire roof height and therefore sucked the water into it's joins, rusted through and ruined everything. By everything, I mean our bank account, my day off and Mr S' three day weekend. Mr S is a super-handy Andy (everyone needs one) and has spent the better part of this month on our roof replacing tin, altering the roof pitch (you read that correctly) and learning mad skillz like replacing roofing tin and altering roof pitch.

That's as far up a ladder as I care to go. The condition of my roof terrified me as much as the height.

That's as far up a ladder as I care to go. The condition of my roof terrified me as much as the height.

'Uh, Dad, I think we've got a problem.'

'Uh, Dad, I think we've got a problem.'

However, whilst he was completing the tin replacement, he mis-stepped on a beam and BAM! VOILA! INSTANT SKYLIGHT.

It's cool because this is the roof ceiling that we replaced.

In the middle of all of these shenanigans, the girls developed a monster cold/flu, complete with body aches and endless snot. M also got a middle ear infection and a cool viral rash. The day before my in-laws arrived, I awoke feeling a bit funny in the head. And my skin hurt. Then my ear hurt. And oh yes, my nose was running. My neighbour's wife pumped me full of cold and flu tablets and sent me on my way to continue moving rusty roofing tin from one end of my yard to the other.

Once the in-laws left the girls were at a loose end and recovering from both daily sugar hits with Nanny and Poppy and their colds. Suffice to say their manners were less than ideal and after a day in town where I spent a LOT of time being that mother who yells 'MILLIE ALICE SMYTH WHERE ARE YOU?' in the shops, I was done.

I remember the ever brilliant Stacey saying that she was So Done. And MAN, this past week, I was done. I couldn't handle another day of a 2 year old screaming at me and everyone for every little thing we did/did not do. I couldn't handle another day of a 4 year old refusing to sit in a trolley, promising she she'd stay with me then nicking off into another aisle and refusing to answer me. I got sick of both of them demanding endless Netflix, then STILL talking my ear off or standing next to me saying 'Mum. MUM MUM MUM.' 'Yes?' 'MUM.' 'Yes?' 'MUM.' 'YES! WHAT?' 'Don't YELL AT ME.' I got sick of cooking dinner every night that no one ate, no one said 'Thank you' for and no one sleeping all night. Look, that last one is part and parcel of the job, but it makes the other things so much harder on the nerves.

So the next day, we slowed our roll. We went to the shops and did our errands early. We came home and began to craft. I set up my sewing machine on the dining table and just went like blazes all afternoon. M sat opposite me and cut, glued and glittered to her heart's content. I felt my shoulders uncurl a little bit and there was a tiny ray of sunshine on my horizon.

I also worked out that my epic cold that wasn't shifting was perhaps a tiny bit different to my real cold and was in fact the mysterious cold that hits me for approximately two months every year at the same time. In other words, it's hayfever again. Every year I forget. Most years I go to my GP who sits me down and says slowly, looking deep into my eyes 'You have hayfever again.' This year I took some tablets and got on with it.

I cooked and made dips. I made tahini* from scratch. I dried coffee grounds for my face scrub. I made pear butter. I made SkinnyMixer's wraps (without a thermomix omg). No one eats the dinner I cook for them, but they do say thank you more frequently now. We've got some reward charts back in action now, which pretty much translates to 'I know this is bribery but for f**ks sakes, let's do this.'

I was still feeling pretty blah blah blah-di blah, and then I dragged my pity party butt to my computer and did a Skype interview with the glorious Rach from BarefootCrafter.com. An interview for what? For my podcast silly. That's the other thing I've been beavering away on quietly behind the scenes. Speaking with with Rach made me laugh the entire time because she's not only crafty and gorgeous, she's hilarious. I told her that we have to be friends now. That's not scary and stalkerish at all, right?

In closing, today I also had a most excellent conversation with a lovely lady whom restored my confidence in my abilities, and left me wanting to go on out there and just DO IT! Thanks Al.

We're on the improve over here, and I feel much better for having cathartically spewing my woes out.

There's lots to be grateful about here. It is indeed a very good day.

* PS. I was washing the Tahini jar for re-use, read the ingredient label and felt like slapping myself across my forehead. Ingredients: sesame seeds. I promptly roasted some sesame seeds, threw them in my every trusty will not die so I can buy a fake Thermomix food processor, added a drop of liquid and bam. Tahini. Apparently it's not the same because it's not slow stone ground, but I'll take it.

My Sugar Free Minimal Waste or... My Life.

mylife

I've been meaning to write this post for a few days, but I couldn't think of a fetching title that didn't sound preposterous.

My Sugar Free Minimal Waste Life

I mean, I want to punch me in the face.

But... it's true. Just not in a smug internet kind of way. You won't find me wearing a flowing tunic with Birkinstocks and a beatific smile.

Let's call it:

My Eating Real Food Life. Or, more simply: My Life.

Wait. Shouldn't that be normal?

Less clickbait and sexy, but also less likely to get me eyerolled and rickrolled Foo Fighters-style in the street.

We stopped eating refined sugars four weeks ago, and truly, I've never felt better. My head is clear. My skin is better, I sleep much more soundly and shopping is WAY easier. The first few weeks were absolutely not easier, but I cut myself a break and reintroduced dates into my life and things were a lot better. The girls are coping pretty well too, Millie had a week of asking for toast with honey, or bread and jam every waking moment, but she's moved past that now. Pip couldn't really care less.

Re the minimal waste... well that's a work in progress. We have an elderly septic tank that copes perfectly 99% of the time. The 1% is truly something. Two weeks ago I was out in the rain in my gumboots and work clothes, crowbar-ing the lids off septic access points, washing 'septic scum' off the workshop floor, and poking the innards of my septic tank with a crowbar to see if it was full or simply the victim of a toddler toilet paper incident. It turns out it's a much larger problem than those two involving an overflow pipe connecting to another pipe connecting to another pipe that does not drain into the drainage pit on the road. No one knows where it goes. Then the roof leaked and we kind of forgot about the septic pipe to nowhere.

Since then I have been washing my dishes in a small tub in my kitchen sink and tipping that water out in the paddock or the garden. That works fine for me and I don't worry about kitchen things going down the pipes.

It was also at this time that I listened to The Lively Show episode with Bea Johnson and it got me to thinking about our waste. When we moved to our house in 2009 our municipality had no recycling collection. Once a month we'd load our bins into the car and drive them to the nearest recycling depot. Then we got kerbside recycling pickup and it became easier to put things in the recycling bin and forget about it. We only have a small-ish general waste bin and it's usually full by pick up day.

So, how could I make a change at my end? I already frequent a bulk food shop in my town, the sugar free life meant that we pretty much don't buy pre-prepared packaged food but even sugar free things come in packages. Pasta, cereals, milk - the list goes on.

 I gathered all my jars together and went for an expedition to the bulk food shop. After a few mishaps we got the jars weighed and goods paid for. It was so much easier to bring my containers home and put them in the cupboard. There's a larger bulk food shop in the city that I'll investigate to see if I can get things like coffee and cereals too. They have a website but no product list, which is infuriating for a country dweller like myself who has to travel with two small people.

Before...

Before...

We still use disposable nappies for P's one sleep per day and overnight. That's not too many and I lessen my guilt by remembering how many years I cloth nappied for. Right? I ran out of paper towels and I just didn't buy any more. I have a container of old rags (facewashers, cut up microfibre cloths) that we use as paper towels. Clean up a spill, wash. Dry some spinach, wash. Wipe the bench, wash. Cover up a pineapple in the fridge, wash. It's been effortless so far.

After... 

After... 

I'm stuck at shampoo and conditioner. I'm intending to purchase Dr Bronner's liquid castile soap (sensitive skin, liquid soap is cleaner for showers and septic systems) for handwashing, dishwashing, hair shampooing, body washing and basic spray and wipe cleaner. After years of having a differently scented awesome product for every occasion, I've infuriated Mr S by declaring 'Soap is soap is soap.' He muttered 'I've been SAYING THAT FOR YEARS.' But conditioner? Everything I've googled is either vinegar or eggs or BOTH. Yikes. Ideas?

Toilet paper we will still purchase. I don't wear makeup so that's not a concern (#makeupfreeselfie EVERY DAAAY), and I'll not be investing in a Diva Cup anytime soon.

I'm googling compostable toothbrushes (YESSSSS I GOT SOME AT EUMARRAH!), but you will need to pry my electric toothbrush from my cold, dead hand. Toothpaste? I'm not terribly keen on bicarb soda mixed with peppermint oil. Again, ideas?**

**I made a mix of 50:50 Bicarb/Coconut Oil with a dash of peppermint oil. There's a chance I might have almost cried whilst brushing my teeth with it, followed by rocking back and forth in the corner. I have purchased another tube of toothpaste and gone back to the drawing board.

Terracycle have some awesome programs that we'll be playing along with, namely the bathroom waste one. I'm hoping Mr S will be able to get on board with the plastic gloves one for his workplace. I'm impressed that there's a Nespresso one too, as Nespresso pods account for a massive amount of coffee related waste.

You may call me bag lady. 

You may call me bag lady. 

I've been saving the bags that our bread comes in to take to the local bakery and ask them kindly to put my bread in. My butcher is happy to put meat in whatever I bring to put it in. There's a greengrocer nearby but my local supermarket doesn't have plastic bags so you need to bring your own carry bags regardless.

When I empty my SealPods of their coffee I dry the coffee grounds on baking paper in the oven until they're toasty and dry. Then I use them as a face scrub/wash. It depends on how firm you rub your face with it! BAKING PAPER? It's the staple of my kitchen... I reuse it as much as possible. Do I need to invest in some more SilPats?

It's an interesting journey to think about, and I when I pause I have a highlight reel of my childhood. I realise that my mother with her awesome perm was the original earth saving hipster. She took her shampoo bottles back to the hairdresser for refilling, we didn't have prepackaged snacks for school (I desperately wanted chips like the other kids. BBQ Shapes were a treat!) and was composting well before it was cool. Rock on, Mothership.

It's now Friday as I'm typing this and our general waste bin was picked up this morning. I was very proud of the Smyth household, we produced ONE bag of general rubbish + nappies for the entire week. I'm pretty sure that's a record for us. We didn't recycle any more than normal, nor burn any more paper in our fire. We just consumed less. High five!

It's a work in progress. This week we are trialling using no garbage bag in our bin under the idea that if it's wet, we can compost it. If it's not compostable we can put it in a paper bag and then put it in our bin, or straight in the outside bin. So far, not so bad. I'm keen to see how the next few weeks roll out - I'll keep you posted.

Letters from long ago

beasmile

It's no secret that I'm a bit of sentimentalist. I used to be a hoarder, but I'm working on that. I have a box of cards from friends and family and a scrapbook my sister gave me for my birthday.

Today I was thinking about a card I found last week. When I worked at a bookshop with a super talented writer she and I shared a mutual love of great music. Her Dad is also a huge musicophile, and I would receive these parcels every few weeks of his current favourite CDs. I can't actually remember if I returned the favour, but given that I was in the throes of infertility woes and treatment I suspect I didn't. I did however give my friend my latest EP to pass on to her Dad as thanks for his kind packages that kept me somewhat sane.

I received this card in the post after he'd listened to my CD.

As I re-read it I was once again touched by his kindness. I'm pretty I've met Steve once, maybe twice. Yet the kindness with which he took the time to write me a card, put it in an envelope and post it still floors me.

It makes me tear up a little and miss my own Dad tremendously when I read the tenderness conveyed as he mentions driving down to see his special lady - his daughter, Kate. That special bond between a father and daughter is what every mother wants for her family, I'm sure.

I kept this letter because it made me feel happy to read someone saying nice things about my music, and taking the time to go out of their way to share their thoughts. It also made me feel like I borrowed Steve as my Dad for the five minutes it took me to read his card, as I'd like to imagine they're the things my own Dad would have said to me.

The lesson? Take the time and write a nice letter to someone. Call your supermarket and tell them about the great service you had, not just the crap service. Smile at strangers. Be a smile in someone's day. Five years later, they might just remember it and write a highly embarrassing blog post about it.

 

Darkness and The Light

I'd like to think I'm a fairly positive person, but man. This last week kicked my butt good and proper. 

It's been a week of wakeups averaging 3am, 4am and often being out of bed and ready to roll by 5am. Which is not neccessarily a bad thing, but continually so? No early night seemed to prepare me for this. By Thursday I was officially Not Coping With Life. We set off to playgroup with a grumpy two year old and a yawning four year old. P (2) was hollering after half an hour but we persevered. 

All was going ok until I suggested we go to the toilets. P jumped up and down screaming 'NO I NOT GO TO THE TOILET', and I'm not quite sure how it happened. Her head met with my lip and chin and I saw stars. And tears. I realised that P was now crying and screaming, but I was concerned that I'd heard an almighty crack when she made contact. My teeth were thankfully intact but my lip was bleeding and I was crying and furious all at once.  

Last night it was still hurting and when I took a good peer in the mirror I saw that two of my bottom teeth now have hairline cracks in them. FFS. The next morning I also had a bruise under my bottom lip. 

I took myself to bed last night vowing that no small people would enter my bed. And so the stars and moons aligned, I had a decent sleep and I feel human again.

My point? Happiness is awesome. Positivity is the best. But how do you have these things without the flip side? I've always been terrified of not Being Happy, because did that mean I was depressed again?  

Thursday was a huge turning point for me. The thought crept into my mind in the afternoon afternoon. I feel depressed. Ugh. The best bit was that I was able to honestly say 'Nope. I'm literally just so tired I can't feel my toes anymore. This too shall mo********ing pass.'  And it has.

A few years ago one of Mr S' besties was staying with us after the boys had been on a huge hike. High on endorphins he commented 'I love feeling like this. You've got to have the lows to have the highs. It makes it all worth it.' I remembered this a few years later and it's always stuck with me.

I guess the difference is knowing how to navigate the lows so they don't feel all consuming, like a black hole threatening to suck you in. 

Simple Ways to Not Let The Lows Bring You Down

  • Perspective. It's a tough one I know. When you're feeling shoddy it can be hard to find, but search deep, take a deep breath and tell yourself that this is not forever.
  • Acceptance and planning. Sometimes it's best to accept your mood and say 'It's okay, today I feel like this. But Imma be like Kanye and not let these MTV awards bring me down and Imma still come to the party. First, I need to have a sulk. Just like Kanye.' Translation: feel the mood. Let it happen. Then get fantasical.
  • Make Believe. Feeling crappy? Pretend it's your birthday and do all the things that make you feel awesome. Go Shorty, it's your (kind of) birthday. 
  • Quadrants. Divide your day into four. Right now, I feel awful. Buuuut by 11am it's the next bit of the day, so I'll be awesome then.  
  • Connect. Call a special friend, pat the cat, lie in the sun with your kids. I find building the most awesome lego towers with my girls to be the best remedy for me. 

Once upon a time an awesome counsellor I saw told me something super awesome and important. She said: 'Amy, it's okay to feel sorry for yourself. Have a pity party by all means. But here's the rules. You can't invite anyone else and it can't last for longer than a few hours. How many great parties last forever? Get it done and get it done quickly. Then move on.' So true.  

There's a great article on Psychology Today titled '10 Quick Ways to Get Out Of a Bad Mood' and it's awesome. Go and check it out. 

Sometimes these things can help. When they still don't seem to help I remind myself that SOON it will be bedtime and SOON it will be tomorrow. Everything always seems to look better in the light of a new day. 

If you're feeling like you might need to speak to someone call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or check out Beyond Blue  for strategies to cope and more contact details.

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