Searching

I desperately need to find something to do with my life. As wonderful and exhausting and important as raising a child is, as much as I would happily be a stay-at-home-parent forever – it doesn’t pay bills. (Not that we have many bills at the moment. Because we live with my parents. Because we have no money.)
My work options are limited because I’m inexperienced, unskilled and I didn’t even finish the degree that I wasted all that time on.
I even applied for a job doing stock replenishment at a supermarket, and did not get it. Not even an interview.

I don’t know what to do. No clue. So I’m going to follow this guide for Finding Your Passion.

1. What are you good at?
Writing. I’ve always been good at writing. But I do not like it. It doesn’t excite me. I mainly do it because I know I’m good at it.
Art? I guess. Not really. There’s potential, but jeez, I can’t make a living from it.
Editing video.
Putting way too much effort in things that don’t need it, and not enough into things that do… ?

2. What excites you?
Uhhhh.
Hm.
A stretch of time to relax by myself?

3. What do you read about?
Fantasy/science fiction worlds
Home DIY
Sewing
Science
Psychology
Pregnancy/babies/kids
Photography
Toned-down living

4. What have you secretly dreamed of?
Being a pyrotechnist (that’s someone who makes firework displays, yo.)
Owning my own store
Being a draughtsperson or a scientific illustrator
Being a midwife
Living self-sustainably
Being a massage therapist

Ok, let’s stop there. You see how unfocused and haphazard my brain is. (Although I think this entire blog is already evidence of that.)
I have to admit, I have spent years thinking very hard on this topic, and I have actually finally honed in on something.
My current desire is to become a qualified massage therapist. Then, I would work in that field while, eventually, studying to get a Diploma of Naturopathy. (This is a very long-term plan – the diploma alone takes six years of part-time study.)
Ignoring the logistical and time-management issues of working, studying, and having kids, there’s one major roadblock on that path: I need $3,000 upfront for the massage therapy course. Basically, I need a job so I can study to get a better job, so I can study to get an even better job.
Life is delightful, isn’t it?

Nevertheless, it’s nice to have some kind of tangible goal in mind. And, stay tuned – I have another reason for really needing someone to pay me money in exchange for services. (Spoiler alert – it’s not another baby.)

Some words: Christmas blear

Today I’m pretending it’s not the H-word. I’ve spent the last two weeks trying to ignore it. Soon, I will be busy ignoring the ridiculous lead-up to the C-word. (Not that one.) Although to be honest, I’ve been doing that since mid-September. Yep. That early.

I’m tired of it all. I’ve said before that, having no beliefs in these areas, holidays mean nothing to me. They’re gaudy, drawn-out, over-commercialised circuses of mass consumption, and they make me horribly uncomfortable.
I know it doesn’t have to be that way for the individual, but being inescapably surrounded by it for months of the year makes me want to avoid all of it altogether. It’s, like, celebration fatigue. There are so many ‘special’ occasions, and they’re made into such productions, that I just don’t want any of it any more.
Maybe I need to start thinking of my own celebrations.

Yogging

I’ve been jogging and doing yoga sessions regularly for two months now. That doesn’t sound very impressive, but it’s the longest I’ve ever stuck with an exercise routine. I use Podrunner Intervals and RunKeeper for jogging, and Simply Yoga for a long stretch afterwards (or a longer routine for rainy/hot days when I can’t jog). I also occasionally use Daily Cardio, but… well, I suck at that one.

So two months isn’t a long time, but I have learned some things…
1. I cannot go for a jog in the middle of the day in 30-degree-C heat. I just can’t. Others might be able to, but my body is terrible at temperature regulation. I’ve fainted once before from heat exhaustion, years ago, and it’s not something I want to relive on a sparsely-trafficked residential road. (This was after the jog that finally made me learn my lesson – usually I would be outside doing a yoga session, but I couldn’t even manage that.)


2. I often have to repeat to myself, “You don’t need to stop, you want to stop – keep going.” At the beginning I would slow to a walk when it started hurting; now I only walk when my legs or lungs can’t keep up the pace.
3. Running on bitumen is so much easier than running on uneven, overgrown dirt paths. Seems obvious, but it took me a few weeks to figure out…
4. Who cares what people driving past you think? I had been a little self-conscious of my bright red face and my jiggly butt, but I’m really too focused on what I’m doing to care now. Besides, when I drive past someone jogging, all I’m thinking is, “Man, I should be doing that…”
5. If I can do it without wishing it were over, it’s time to level up.
6. Friendship-bracelet your headphones to stop them getting tangled.

7. Flies will drive me to insanity one day. So will flyaway hairs, which leads me to-
8. I need a freaking headband.
9. If I’m not progressing, I need to slow down.
10. It’s probably a good idea to have at least a couple of differently-cut tops, lest you end up with an awkward tan line before summer has even begun…


11. Do not yoga on that ant highway on the lawn. Wait, did you hear me? Do not… oh, you’re doing it again! Stop that! I know it’s shady, but honestly. Oh look at that, you’re doing it yet again. Pick a different spot!

As for the results of this new routine… Well, I am fitter and more flexible than when I began, which is something.

Misophonia

I have always been irritated by people making noises. Eating, breathing, sniffing, tapping… even talking.
Now, I think at this early point, most people would say, “Oh, yes, me too!” No one wants to listen to someone loudly chomping away on a bag of chips, or constantly sniff rather than get a damn tissue.
But I need to be clear – I am practically enraged by certain sounds. I become filled with such bone-deep, skin-crawling anxiety and frustration that I cannot focus on anything else. I can’t be distracted. My brain becomes locked, clicking over and over like a scratched record. My heart beats faster, my limbs feel restless, my jaw clenches, and in particularly bad moments I even break out in a cold sweat. If it’s something like, for example, someone eating chips, I want to snatch the bag violently from them, throw it on the ground and stomp on it.

So, eating is a major one. I also can’t stand certain people’s voices (Julia Gillard is one); humming; whistling; finger-tapping; repetitive noises like dripping taps, doors being moved by draughts, or bird calls (especially if they come in a predictable pattern); the sound of muffled conversation; the sound of loud, bass music from a distance; repetitive movement like someone absently tapping their foot in the air… I mean, I could go on.
I can’t remember not being like this. I remember dreading family trips away, because not only would I be trapped in the car for hours with four other people and their noises, I would also have to sleep in the same room as some or all of them. When watching TV with my sisters, I’d constantly swat their legs because their fidgeting in my field of vision would drive me nuts.

And you know all I’ve ever been told?
“Just ignore it.”
“Everyone is annoyed by those things, you just have to learn to block them out.”
“You’re too sensitive, why can’t you just ignore it?”
I mean, for reals, guys! Don’t you think that if I could ‘just ignore’ something that was making me crazy, I would? I am not an overly-dramatic person in any aspect of my life, so why would this be any different?
I’ve cried, many times, because I can never make anyone understand how much these things affect me.

And then.
About three months ago, I found something. A word.
Misophonia.
It is a real thing – a sensory processing disorder – that causes some people to be uncontrollably sensitive to trigger sounds. They become extremely agitated and stressed by certain noises (or movements), and can be driven to fits of rage by their triggers. Apparently, it is similar in symptom and treatment to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I almost cried again when I discovered this, but this time from relief.
There’s no ‘cure’ for it, but the mere knowledge that this is a legitimate sensory disorder has made me feel so much better. I have, for the past few years, suspected that I have some sensory issues (I also have a low tolerance for loud noises, bright lights, crowds, and touching), and though I am admittedly self-diagnosing, I at least now have an answer that is satisfactory to me.

Now, Devin… Devin is adverse to certain loud sounds, too. He hates the vacuum cleaner, blender and kitchen mixer (actually, my mum told me today that I was much the same at his age). If he does hang around while they’re on, he insists on wearing ear muffs. He uses public restrooms only after clarifying, several times, that we aren’t going to use the hand dryers.


We recently went to the airport to watch the planes arriving and departing. The aeroplanes that service our town, though certainly not quiet, are small and it’s not uncomfortable to be right next to the runway when they land and take off – but I still had to keep my hands firmly over Devin’s ears, at his behest.


This was after the plane had turned around, so the engines weren’t quite so loud, but he still only let me take one quick photo with one hand removed.

Even this evening when I was playing with him, pretending an old McDonald’s Transformers toy was an ambulance and pushing the button to activate the ‘siren’, he told me to stop it because the noise was “too loud.” (Which made me very glad that Jene and I are very against toys with automatic sounds.)

As you might imagine, having such adverse reactions to such common noises isn’t going to win me any popularity contests. I try hard to tolerate things, but there comes a point where I can’t hide my discomfort and eventually I have to admit, “Well, your humming/breathing/eating/general movement is driving me nuts.” And that’s not the kind of statement people generally take well. Especially not the people who have heard it from you before. Many times. (Hi, Jene.)

I learn to deal the best I can, and if Devin’s aversion develops into something similar to mine, at least I have the personal experience to be empathetic and considerate towards his frustrations. I’ve never had a violent outburst as a reaction, but the irritation and suppression can cause lingering bad moods, and that’s something I really need to control.
White noise and noise-cancelling headphones are my two best friends. I have an app called Relax Melodies, which can loop a huge variety of sounds including rain, waves, wind, clocks, birds, city noise, a fan, music… there’s even one called ‘womb’.  When I’m on the computer, I usually have Rainy Mood open in a tab, and I find it very difficult to sleep at night without the ceiling fan on – even in winter.

So, if ever I ask you to stop breathing, please don’t take it personally. It’s just my brain being incapable of dealing with such complex, strange sounds… (According to my brain.)

Slope

Do you ever have a run of being relatively content and calm with life, and think, ‘This isn’t so bad. What was ever so bad about the bad moments? I can handle this.’ ?
… Perhaps it’s an anxiety thing.

Well, I’m going through a bad moment. It’s the culmination of many factors, and the kind of mood where I find myself attributing my current situation to the entirety of my life up to this point. I know things will improve.
Eventually.
But now… is not awesome.

Devin is not a part of the bad. Have I mentioned undies are now his butt-wear of choice? Yep. Most of the credit for that goes to Jene and Devin. I just crossed my arms and said, “I am SICK of buying nappies.”

A few days ago, with a bottle of juice in hand, he told me, “I love juice, Mummy. For all of my life.”

Today, as we were playing with Ruby (our dog), Devin said he could feel her heart beat. Then he said what I had told him, that Taz’s heart had stopped. I said yes, that’s right. He struggled for words for a moment, and eventually asked, “Maybe Taz’s heart will start beating again soon?”
Oh, I had to swallow a lump at that.
He also asked later, after his nap, if we could play in the backyard, “where Ruby is, and where Tazy is buried.” I’ve been fine about it for the last two weeks, but those two sentences today…

The hardest moments with him lately are the times he is being… well, opinionated, for want of a better word. I will tell him it’s time to get ready for bed, and he will look at me and say, “No.” I know the word is nothing new, but the way he says it is as if he has the final say on the matter. I told him today to not tip the cloud dough in to the sandpit (after he had done it), so of course, he scooped more up and dumped it in. It wasn’t that he was testing me or being deliberately defiant – he just wanted to do it. So he did.

He is also developing some not-so-subtle persuasion techniques. Phrases along the lines of the juice comment, for example, are often used when he wants something…
“Mummy, what you got on your toast?”
“Vegemite.”
“Hm. I like Vegemite, Mummy. I do.”

And he whispers questions that he thinks will receive an answer he doesn’t like…
Tan I have something?
“Pardon, Devy?”
“Tan I have something to eat?”
As if we will say yes because we can’t hear him?

That’s all for now, it’s later than I realised. I hope life is kind to you this week.

She speaks.

This thing was floating around blogs almost a year ago where people recorded themselves as a demonstration of their accents and dialects… I did it but never posted it, possibly because I didn’t like my hair. Or the way my voice sounded. Or my answers. Or the inflection of my voice. I don’t know. Now I just think it’s really funny – mostly for the last ten seconds. It also serves to remind me how much Devin’s speech has progressed within the last year.

In case you can’t understand my lazy Australian accent, the words are – aunt, route, wash, oil, theatre, iron, salmon, caramel, fire, water, sure, data, ruin, crayon, toilet, New Orleans, pecan, both, again, probably, spitting image, Alabama, lawyer, coupon, mayonnaise, syrup, pyjamas, caught.
What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called? (I said fizzy drink, but soft drink would have been more accurate. Also, the only thing we call Coke is Coke.)
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls when the sun is shining? (Yeah, I really didn’t stress enough how much I don’t like sun showers.)
What is the thing you use to change the TV channel?