09 Feb

The Illuminati Of The Peri-Menopausal

I’ve just read in the Sunday paper about this “new” phenomenon of the female mid-life crisis. Apparently, up until quite recently, middle-aged women didn’t actually have crises. Try telling that to past generations of women who had only Valium or insanity to retreat to when their husbands took up “working late” and heading off for “weekend conferences interstate”. If you ask me, the only precursor I know of for many of the crises women suffer from is having ever known or lived with men. But I digress.

There is something that happens to women when they leave their late thirties. It’s not so much a crisis, however, as it is a revelation. Unlike many men, women don’t wake up at the age of forty and wonder why the world doesn’t understand and appreciate them – they wake up and realise they don’t understand and appreciate themselves.

From the ages of about eighteen to thirty-eight, most women believe they will never be as good as everyone else in the world, including other women. We spend our teenage years unable to see our own inherent beauty and vitality. We try all through our twenties to be sexy as our duty to men, and at the same time smart and successful as our duty to our liberationist forebears. We enter our thirties believing that by this age, we should have the perfect body, children, husband, home and career because for crying out loud, we have been at it for about fifteen years and we should have gotten it right by now. Told in our childhoods we had the right never to be violated, oppressed or abused by anyone, by our late thirties we sadly discover most of us have been anyway. Then we reach our forties. Our husbands leave us, our children rebel against us, and our bodies betray us. The “all” we are supposed to have is divided up in court settlements, sent to family counseling and lopped off along with a course of chemotherapy.

In middle-age, many women realise they have expected too much from themselves. By this time we absolutely know that we can’t have everything. We have come to realise that what we have now will probably be what we have when we’re sixty, except it may all be closer to the ground. We’ve also learned that we can’t be all things to everyone else, so we stop trying. Most of us have had at least one health scare, or at least lost someone very close to us. Forced to change our view of life, we now accept we are not immortal or bulletproof. We know we’re not young any more, but we also know we’re not old…just yet. Middle-aged women don’t generally rush out and buy sports cars and get young lovers, although some do. More often, we simply take a look at what we do have, and decide to make the most of it in whatever time we think we have left.

Some decide that what they have at forty is a body they have kept cellulite-free and size double D for twenty years, and venture out to see how much trouble it can get them into. Others decide the reasons they didn’t write or paint or travel or study when they were younger no longer exist, i.e.: they no longer believe they are dull, stupid and responsible for the happiness of others, so they take the limitations off themselves and go for it. A woman’s mid-life realisations often are more of a crisis to others around them than they are to themselves. Some middle-aged women come to accept that they possibly only have a few years left with the capacity for cognitive and intelligent conversation, so they decide to leave their monosyllabic house-mate in his recliner with a TV dinner, and head off to a book club or lecture theatre instead. One could see how this might cause problems.

Unlike most men, women often have less to lose anyway. Middle-aged women are less likely to see their assets as an extension of their egos, because this generation of women are accustomed to earning less, and sacrificing what they do have for their families. Middle-aged women will fight as hard to keep her family together, seeing that as part of her identity, as a man might exert in leaving it to prove his.

Middle-aged women have been largely invisible in our society. It’s taken a re-emergence of us as a force – albeit in tattoo parlours and universities – for that society to even acknowledge we do exist. And then, they have the hide to dismiss us as menopausal shrews; as nothing more than the demographic responsible for the unhappiness of a whole generation of brilliant, misunderstood and apparently incredibly good-looking middle-aged men. May I point out that even the most successful Self-Made Man came out of a woman’s body at some point?

This female mid-life crisis thing they are trying to label us with is a ruse, a myth and a lie. There is something going on, but I can tell you, it’s no crisis – it’s more of an enlightenment. As for me, yes, I’ve had my nose pierced and got myself three large tattoos since I turned forty. Yes, I’ve dreadlocked my hair and bought skinny jeans – in a size 14. Yes, I went roller-skating last Sunday and I refuse to wear Cottontails. But let me tell you, if you don’t like the look of my cellulite, you’re standing way too close to my butt. Just hand over the pink slip to your V8 pal, and no one gets hurt.

 

08 Feb

My Darling, Your Arms Look Fine :)

I’m baffled by the practically universal belief of women that the top six inches of their arms, if exposed, will stop traffic, cause tsunamis, bring Satan screaming up from Hades or at the very least, elicit inevitable horror, judgement and disapproval from fellow human beings. Despite my honest and enthusiastic appraisal and encouragement, it seems impossible to convince many women their upper arms are anything less than hideous and they owe it to society to keep them hidden from sight.

I call bullshit.

Firstly, your arms look like arms. Everyone’s arms are different. Yours look like yours.

Secondly, what the hell is it with “flabby arms”? Why are these a problem? Why do women feel they owe society upper arms that don’t jiggle? I don’t get it.

Thirdly, nobody is looking at your upper arms. If you’re looking at other peoples upper arms and disapproving, that says everything about you and nothing about them. And vice versa. No one actually cares about your arms. No one.

Finally, arms are not decoration. They are for waving around when we talk and grabbing our kids and grandkids with so we can hug them, for wrapping around our lovers and swinging in the air when we dance. They are connected to our hands and those suckers are pretty much the most useful appendage we have. The tops of our arms are just below our shoulders, where we have carried every burden and concern and sorrow we’ve ever had, and where our children have sat and seen the big wide world ahead. Damn, girl, you need to be loving your arms, all of them. Your upper arms are wonderful, delicious, gorgeous and strong. Give them some sugar and don’t be ashamed of them. Wear less sleeves and show the world you are proud of your body and all its capable of. Here’s to upper arm love!!!!
????????????❤️??? #upperarms #flabbyarms #getyourarmsout #loveyourbody

07 Feb

Be By Yourself.

I like being by myself. It wasn’t always so. Once, I hated isolation. It seemed like evidence I was doing something wrong. I blame the “naughty corner” idea – not that my folks were big advocates of sending me to my room if I did something wrong, but I reckon the idea of using alone-time as a punishment has taught generations of us that our own company is shameful and punitive, rather than special and beneficial.

I know now I can’t function without large chunks of being by myself. I need time to think, to feel, to undo and do and wind and unwind. My best growth has occurred in my most silent, unseen moments. I once was a creature of being seen and heard, of attention and crowds and constant company. I craved the attention and affirmation and proximity of others. But now, I do my best work by myself.

I feel my feelings and think my thoughts. I ruminate, undoing the ways and beliefs of my past, holding myself with compassion and patience as I break apart my ideas and work at healing my wounds. Without aloneness, these actions can’t occur. I love my friends, I treasure my family, but I crave my own company most. To be best friends with oneself surely is one of life’s most beautiful reconciliations.

06 Feb

Do Awesome Broken

We hold the broken pieces in our hands and say to ourselves, well, dang. Assuming we need to put it all back together again the way it was makes us feel tired before we even begin. Plans, projects, ideas, relationships. All now lined up on a mental and emotional shelf we reserve for anything we feel we failed at and need to get around to fixing, a testament of shame, proof we still haven’t got our act together, still aren’t good enough, still can’t get it right even when we know it counts.

But what if we just sat with the broken pieces, just held them with compassion and love, and accepted them as things of beauty of themselves. What if we resisted the pull to work once again at everything that fell apart or failed? What if we simply accepted some things we loved and treasured are now in pieces? What if we just let it be?

Not everything we begin and which doesn’t last forever has lost its beauty and value. Not all our breakages and failures are evidence we are unworthy and not good enough. Not everything that’s broken needs to become a trophy of our shame.

Let it be.

Knowing how to give respect and honor to the things that broke, that didn’t last, which didn’t work or stay together or weather the storm is part of growing and knowing. Being at ease with the broken things is as important as believing we deserve all the goodness and abundance coming our way.

We can do awesome, and we can do it broken. We can be awesome broken.

Jo Hilder

02 Feb

The Literal and Digraceful Fallout Of The Marie Kondo Movement

This is a pic taken at my local favorite op shop yesterday morning. This has been a major issue for a while – the dump and run philosophy of middle class Australians to dealing with their excess household goods – but the escalation being seen can surely be linked to the Kondo craze sweeping Australia. I checked out this particular pile of refuse and it was broken toys, dirty clothing, and other unsaleable rubbish. If any of it was useful when it was dumped, exposure to the elements rendered it useless. This will all go in the rubbish. Maybe that’s where it belonged in the first place. I’m not drawing a direct correlation between this filthy act and the Kondo movement, however, I believe most people who decide to simplify and get rid of that which does not “spark joy” don’t give enough thought to where those objects will go or what good they might do if thoughtfully directed. The “out of sight, out of mind” mentality which leads people to behave like this is not sustainable, and is actually not legal either. NOTHING IS DISPOSABLE. And op shops are not receptacles for abandoned household goods, particularly those which are dirty, broken or useless.

THE CORRECT WAY TO DONATE YOUR GOODS IS TO SORT OUT THE RUBBISH AND DISPOSE OF IT PROPERLY. Then, wash and pack the suitable items, then bring to the charity during business hours. Preferably, hand the goods personally to a human being so you have to look them in the eye and hold your head up knowing you’ve done the right thing by donating appropriate goods in clean, suitable condition.

If you feel the compulsion to dump and run, you bloody well know you did the wrong thing way before you ever opened your car boot and threw that rubbish at the charity door.

Kondo your damn brains out for all I care – but make sure you’re paying some mind to where your unwanted and unneeded goods will go, and in what condition. Charities have enough to deal with. They’re meant to be supporting the less fortunate in society, not cleaning up after those of us who have more than enough.

31 Jan

Do You Love Your Micro-Business?

Oh look. Yet another self-meme with a smiling face appealing to your nagging doubts about whether your small business is the best it can be. I bet she’s rich as f__k, skinny as hell and spends eleven months of the year running her empire from a laptop while she reclines beside a pool in her villa in Bali?
Er, no.
I am not rich or skinny, and I’ve never been to Bali. Running my business from my laptop sounds about as boring as batsh$t.
I get out of bed every morning and it’s all I can do to remember to eat breakfast and shower so I can get to my business and start doing what I love.
I don’t even wear makeup because I don’t see the point – my pleasure and satisfaction at being able to be where I love doing what I’m passionate about makes me feel on the inside what makeup can only try to achieve on my outside.
It’s just a little shop in a little suburb of one place on a map most people have never heard of. I spend all day either sewing, or making jewelry, or writing, or keeping my little space enjoyable and tranquil for the people who come through my door.
And I am, in all the ways that matter, happy. Truly happy.
Money challenges will always be there, because no matter how much we have, it brings a set of problems as well as solutions. Things get me down, as unexpected factors and unpredictable people bring me new challenges. But I would not have it any other way.
Being happy is the point. I promise you this. Not money, not success. Both of these are alleged paths to what we really crave. Joy. Bliss. A sense of pride and ownership over our lives and achievements. Bringing others joy through giving of our gifts, talent and skills. Money, the villa in Bali, the admiration of your peers and the perks are really just sidelines to what is really, in the end, going to make it all worthwhile.
You knowing how to be happy, where you are, doing what you know and love, with what you have, making your corner of the world and the lives of people in it a little better.
If learning how by understanding your why sounds better than signing up to your twenty-hundredth six-step online program to six figures, let’s talk.

CONTACT JO

30 Jan

It’s Okay To Not Be Brave Today.

Hey there, I know you’ve been struggling in this rough patch right now. I know the thing that happened was horrible and unfair, and you’re not done dealing with it, not by a long shot. I want to give you the only thing I can think of that might help – permission to not be brave today.

Feel your feelings. Say your words. Everything is going to be okay. Not today. But it will be again. No need to prove you’re tough or be stoic so others don’t feel uncomfortable. It okay to not be brave today. xxx

12 Jun

Depression Doesn’t Care About Your First World Solutions

DEPRESSION DOESN’T CARE ABOUT WHERE OR HOW YOU LIVE. (**Trigger warning – discussion about suicide)

I think the world is messed up, big parts of it anyway. The bit I live in, however, is comparatively great. The problems I’m subject to by default of living here would be generally known as “first world problems”. So let’s be clear. The problems of the world, society or our immediate community, unless we live in conditions of considerable duress or oppression such as in detention or forced isolation, or subject to violence, are unlikely to make us suicidal.

Generally speaking, people in the Western world are not suffering from depression and wanting to harm themselves because life is hard and the world is or seems awful. They want to leave the world because that seems like a way of helping everyone else.

People say suicide is selfish. From my experience, when you’re having the thoughts, it seems like the most selfless thing in the world. It seems like the thing which will most better the lives of the people you care about. It’s the only way you can think of to give them relief from the fucked up waste of space that is you and all the shit that comes with you.

Depressed persons don’t end their lives because they are bored of their spoiled lives and success, or because they feel the world is awful and they want to leave. They do it because it seems like the most logical way to break through the dead end we reach every day, trying to come up with a solution for the way we think and feel about things, and about ourselves. It’s being unable to step outside ourselves and our thoughts any more, and becoming completely identified with our perceptions and responses. It’s being tired of waking up and thinking, I don’t think I can go around in this circle in my head again. I just can’t do it.

Ending ones own life is certainly a tragedy. It hurts others, which is not ever the intention of the one leaving. However, I want that we also honor the choice to leave. It took courage, and the best interests of those of us left behind were without doubt in mind. They did not believe there was any other option, and for that we may in time forgive them. As one who has felt those feelings and thought those thoughts, I can say it was the thought of what my actions would bring upon my family, and realizing I did in fact believe they loved me and would suffer loss, that gave me faith enough to wait it out. But I do not judge those who decide not to. We will all be together again in time.

Nothing that is loved ever dies.
Respectfully,
Jo xxx

11 Jun

When A Foot In The Door Isn’t Enough.

DON’T JUST AIM TO GET YOUR FOOT IN THE DOOR. YOU HAVE TWO FEET FOR A REASON.

I like to support local makers and artisans via my shop. I also know what it’s like trying to bridge the gap into retail and reach people with your goods when you don’t have a shop or market stall. That’s why when people come in and ask if they can show me what they make, depending on what it is, I will usually say yes. (Sorry to the lady who hoped last week I’d stock her State Of Origin cushions, but kudos for asking.)
I appreciate it takes courage to front up to a shop owner and ask for a foot in the door, that’s why I try to help by giving one. But here’s the surprise. For every one who comes back with their goods, one I never see again, even though I expressed positive interest in their product.
I believe for many of us, the hardest part isn’t breaking the ice, it’s actually following through. I think some people expect me to say no, and are so surprised I say yes that they don’t know, or aren’t ready to do, what comes next. So they do nothing.
I’ve been threatening to write a certain book for years now. I have drafts all over the place for if. It even has a great title. But all that stuff is easy. Saying “I am writing a book” and making a play at it, talking about it and even designing pretty covers for it is fun and easy. I could even sell that damn book right now just on the concept, I know it. It sounds like a breakthrough to say I know I can write that book. But that’s not the breakthrough. That will come when I actually do it.
I encourage you, you may be thinking appropriate your idea, or someone with your idea, is the hard part. It’s not. Get that over with, because it’s a breeze compared with what’s next. Following through. Now that takes some guts. Best get started now. ????? #smallbusinessadvice #footinthedoor #followthrough

10 Jun

Mindful Consumption

You know how you end up with a truckload of stuff you hate? Just buy because you like buying. Take stuff home because you like the feeling of stuffing your car with bags from posh shops. Go into that major chain department store and spend $300 on….argh, god knows how even happens. Buy what the influencer got for free. Or follow the red price stickers and convince yourself that retailer has actually marked stuff down. Go on, kid yourself.

Mindful stewardship of possessions means mindful choosing to begin with at every level, from the manufacturer, to the wholesaler, to the retailer, to the consumer. It means listening in as a consumer to your needs, and not using consumption of goods as self-medication. It’s recognising the messages coming from everywhere telling us we are what we own. We are not. We cannot become better, different or more worthy because of what we have.

Less is actually more when it comes to mindful consumption, and we need to reduce our need for goods to lessen impact on our environment and generally improve our emotional health. Take a thing in your hand when you’re thinking of buying it, and ask yourself if the joy it’s giving you now will be there in a month, a year? Did you know you wanted one of these way before this moment? Or did that price or red sticker make you believe it was a need, not a want?

My shop is a cacophony of colours and shapes and pieces from everywhere, each handpicked because of the vibe I got when I chose them. I want that each piece in my shop finds it’s owner, it’s curator, it’s proud wearer. Am I raving? It’s because I believe in the exchange of energy that goes on in trading as a business. I don’t want to just sell stuff. I want to support people’s healthy beliefs about themselves and the world around them. I want to operate on a deeper level than just making a pile of money out of a pile of stuff. It’s an energy thing. Join me.
????? #livewithless #curatedontclutter #energy

09 Jun

Influencer, Or Influence?

I am not aligned with the concept of the social media “influencer”. Whilst I appreciate it’s a legitimate profession, it is no more or less than garden variety sales. Maya Angelou is an influence. Oprah Winfrey is an influence. Brene Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert are influences – not “influencers”. We are impacted and inspired by who they are, by their risk-taking and their inroads into uncharted territory. We are empowered to rise, to venture, to grow. Yes, we buy their books or subscribe to their podcasts, but their influence is such that we need not be initiated into their tribes with pennies and pounds. Their voices ring truth inside us, call us out, draw us forward. That’s influence.
It’s fine to be influenced. It doesn’t make us gullible or stupid. There is however a difference between being an “influencer”, and being an influence. We are the difference. With one, we serve to empower her, and with the other, she serves to empower us. You choose which perspective resonates with your values. Because trust me – you know how to choose for yourself. ??? #influencer #influence #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship

08 Jun

Speak Of The Darkness, Live In The Light

WE MUST BEGIN TO TALK ABOUT THE DARKNESS IN OURSELVES, AS MUCH AS WE TALK ABOUT LIVING IN THE LIGHT.

Success does not cure the shadows. Money will not buy away the hopelessness. Moving to Bali to work from a laptop on the beach will not stop the thoughts of helplessness or self loathing or shame. I am broken hearted by this news. I truly was inspired by this man and his passion for his field. I call for more open, safe and authentic spaces where we can support one another to be as broken as we are awesome.

Oh, my heart. Thoughts with his family and friends.