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Archive for the ‘Wtf’ Category

I am not responsible for your newsfeed

I’ve recently had a ‘Facebook purge.’ This is not something I’m particularly good at, for two reasons. Firstly, I don’t like upsetting people, despite having a temper and occasionally going on an offensive rampage; I really don’t like the idea that what I say or do, could hurt someone. Secondly, I like to keep in touch with people from my past and I love Facebook for that specific reason.

Most would think my purge was due to the Parisian crisis and the ‘anti-refugee’ nonsense that is spreading through most of our newsfeeds. In truth, I was hurt a few days prior by someone, whom I had considered a friend. She posted a rather nasty and hurtful article about parents ‘arrogantly’ posting photos of their children.*

Now, I’m no fool. I don’t expect everyone to enjoy the constant stream of baby photos, to like every one of them or even to give to give them a second glance. What I do expect, however, is for my ‘friends’ to show a modicum of respect and intelligence.

Who the fuck are you to insist that I stop posting photos of my son, on my Facebook profile, because you don’t want children? Well, whoop for you. My posts in no way suggest that you should jump on the breeding bandwagon. In fact, by the sounds of it, you probably shouldn’t. I post stuff about my child, on my newsfeed, for my enjoyment, not yours.

Facebook has these fancy features, called ‘hiding,’ ‘unfollowing,’ ‘blocking’ and ‘unfriending.’ It may be hard for you to understand, but:

I am not responsible for your newsfeed and I do not expect you to be responsible for mine.

I have often been annoyed by people’s incessant posts of their children (21 photos showing a child holding a dead bird) or photos of their pets’ poop and so I have simply unfollowed them. Facebook has made it really simple for me to decide what appears on my newsfeed and so I choose to use these features – why is it so hard for you to do the same?

If you don’t like something that I post then hide it, unfollow me, block me or unfriend me. Frankly, I don’t care either way. It’s been a long time since those actions offended me. I understand that you’re not keen on your newsfeed being filled with photos of children, but understand that, whilst I have other aspects of life that interest me and I don’t define my personality by motherhood, nothing is more important to me than my son. My partner and my child are my everything and I love posting about them.

I post for other reasons – I have family and friends in South Africa that love to see photos of my son’s development and I love to have these memories pop up on my feed a year later – but mostly, I post because I want to.

*For my hypocrite and irony seekers out there (and there are many), I am aware that this too is a nasty and hurtful article.

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How to speak to expectant mums – a guide for existing mothers

Following on from my previous post, I have decided to do a list of advice for mums on how to deal with pregnant women.

I’ve only been a mum for 9.5 weeks, so I claim no expertise, but I do understand where a lot of you come from. I’m not berating you, but just hoping that this post will help you to help others through their first pregnancies.  I’ll try make this as succinct as possible.

1. Listen.

Pregnancy to a first-time mum, is an incredible experience. Some may find it terrible, some may find it amazing, but most of us find it a roller-coaster of new experiences. A friend’s response to my pregnancy announcement was ‘congratulations on becoming a living science experiment,’ which is absolutely true. Every pregnancy is different and most women want to share that experience. It’s the biggest thing that’s happening in our lives at that time (if we’re lucky) and we may find it difficult to talk about anything else.

Expectant mums know that you know better, but what’s happening inside of us is huge. Let us experience that and tell you. I found it increasingly difficult to finish a sentence after announcing I was pregnant. I was constantly interrupted with unwanted advice or someone else’s pregnancy story. I remember one morning announcing that I felt like death. I wasn’t able to continue because I was interrupted with a lecture that started off with “Hah!  You think you feel bad now, wait until you’re 9 months pregnant.” I’m not exaggerating when I say that only a half hour later was I able to interrupt the tirade with ‘I feel like death…because I have a cold.’ 

It had nothing to do with pregnancy. Try to realise that you may know more about pregnancy and childbirth, but that sometimes, we just need to talk and you may not know what we’re about to say.

2. Wait until…

These words were incessant throughout my pregnancy. As I mentioned in the first post, you have experienced your first pregnancy, let us have ours. The tiny flutters you first feel when you start to feel your baby moving are possibly the most exciting thing that has ever happened to you. The last thing we want to hear is “wait until the kicks start, then you won’t be smiling.”

Some women experience intense round ligament pain. The appropriate response to this is not “wait until you give birth, then you’ll know what pain is like.”

Likewise for new mothers: what we feel when our little human grabs our fingers for the first time is indescribable. We don’t want to hear “Awww, wait until s/he gives you their first smile, then your heart will melt!” It’s melting now. Let us experience every second of this amazing journey, in the moment – not waiting for the next milestone to amaze us.

3. Horror stories (expectant mums please skip ahead)

Come on, guys. You know the drill – don’t bombard pregnant women with horrific child birth stories. You all know this, and yet, that’s all I seemed to hear when pregnant. We know it’ll be bad, we know we are completely unprepared, but your stories certainly won’t help us sleep at night.

I heard some doozies during pregnancy: blood on the ceiling, near-death experiences, stillbirths (Seriously? Mentioning miscarriages or stillborn babies around a pregnant women is completely unacceptable. I shouldn’t have to tell you this) and botched c-sections. I heard one positive birth story in the whole ten months.

I now understand where you’re coming from, having my own horror story. Part of healing after a trauma is talking it out of your system and birth can be extremely traumatic. Mine was and I talk about it all the time…to people who have been there before, or people who were there. I found myself retelling the story to a friend who hasn’t any children yet and I really regret this. She did ask and she was well aware it was a bad birth, but it’s still not something she should know. There are plenty of easy births that happen. On the day I gave birth, there were two women that I know well who gave birth to two healthy little boys, in under three hours. It’s not uncommon.

So, quit using pregnant women as your psychologists. Seek counselling and heal yourself properly – don’t spread the fear.

4. It’s still early

Three of the harshest words you could say to a pregnant woman. Does the fact that I’m only 7 weeks pregnant make my pregnancy null and void?

You are basically telling me that there is a high probability of me losing my child.

Don’t.

5. Sympathy goes a long way

As aforementioned, every pregnancy is different. Your round ligament pain could have been a light ache, whereas another women’s could land them in hospital. Don’t assume that the woman complaining about pain at 7 weeks pregnant is experiencing the same pain you experienced. Try to sympathise with her and realise that she isn’t being a hypochondriac; she, quite possibly, is in agony. I felt like I was being split in two when John started to move, as the adhesions caused by my endometriosis were literally tearing.

Morning sickness is not amusing. I remember rushing to the bathroom every hour and when  I returned with mascara running down my face and blood-red eyes, people would laugh. And yet, when someone came down with a bug and vomited once, there was endless parade of people ‘checking up’ on them. I felt isolated and as if my pain and discomfort were somehow less important than that of a non-pregnant woman.

Pregnancy doesn’t make it easier to deal with sickness, pain or discomfort.

Perhaps this wasn’t as succinct as I’d hoped. There are many other snippets of advice given to pregnant women (sleep while you can? What a joke.), but, in short, just try for a little compassion and put yourself in her shoes.

It is simultaneously the worst and most wonderful time in a woman’s life and it’s okay for her to feel that way.

The idiots guide to pregnancy advice

It’s been some time since I’ve posted a blog, whether interesting or not and I’ve just had a good giggle going through the search terms that have made you land upon Up a Mammoth’s Nostril.

Things have changed significantly since the last time we touched base. Firstly, I moved to the UK for (god forbid) a man and it proved to be a wonderful decision. Secondly, I found the balls to enter a profession I actually love: working with children. I’m now an EYE, looking after children under three years old. My life was about as happy as it could be and then, wham, I fell pregnant.

Having waited my entire life for this moment (and having almost planned it – read: having planned it to happen in 6 months and well overestimating my fertility issues), I was and still am, ecstatic.

There shouldn’t be an ‘however’ after that statement, but sadly there is. I’ve since had quite a large culture shock. In South Africa, pregnant women are treated like royalty. Everyone is happy for them, everyone is excited about it on your behalf and almost everyone asks questions constantly. Here, however, you’re lucky if you get the obligatory ‘congratulations’ from most. If you are lucky enough to be congratulated, it’s almost always followed by a long lecture on how you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing.

Whilst I appreciate the gesture behind the lectures – I realise it’s not malicious and merely an attempt to help and educate – I’m finding it increasingly difficult to deal with. So, I thought I’d post this blog to help future mums (and remind myself in the future) to deliver advice in a slightly easier way.

Fifty years ago, delivering advice that leant upon the idea that pregnant women think they know what they’re about to experience was acceptable. We didn’t have the resources we have now and women, perhaps, had actual expectations from motherhood. However, we now find ourselves in the 21st century and this is no longer relevant.

We have the internet, forums, reality TV and lots and lots of books and the only common denominator they all have is publicising the fact that, no matter what we think, we’ll never have an idea of what pregnancy, child birth and motherhood are really like.

Show me an expectant first-time mum who claims she knows what motherhood is like and I’ll show you someone whose synapses are failing to fire. We are doused in quotes, such as ‘wait until you see what’s it’s really like,’ ‘you have no idea what to expect’ and my personal favourite, ‘you don’t know, you’re not a mum’ well before we even start trying to conceive.

I’m pretty sure that none of us assume we have the foggiest idea how our lives are about to change. I know that pregnancy holds unknown challenges, experiences and horrors. I’m refusing to even think about childbirth because of the endless barrage of women who tell the expectant population that we’ll never be ready, so why prepare so early on. I’ll leave the horror until later, thank you.

And, I most definitely do not assume I have that magical connection with my child yet. I am over the moon with my pregnancy and love my unborn child as much as possible at present, but I have no doubt that this will seem insignificant after it’s born.

While advice almost always comes from a happy and good place, please remember that as an expectant mum, we have already been inundated with lectures and information. We appreciate the advice and the sentiment, but what would be absolutely wonderful would be if you could stop for a minute and listen. I have yet to finish a sentence about my pregnancy without someone interrupting to tell me that ‘well, it’s just going to get worse’ (even when I’m not complaining), ‘ohhh…you just wait and see’ or ‘that’s nothing, wait until….’

If I’m not feeling well, it’s not necessarily to do my pregnancy. It could be that I’m actually not well.  It’s not a polite time to tell me how bad pregnancy gets or act like I’m being a hypochondriac. Alternatively, it could be due to my morning sickness, which so many people manage to avoid, but sadly I did not. I hate to tell you, but no amount of knowledge or advice is going to make my hugging the toilet bowl (whilst my 2 year old charge asks me if  ‘Sawah need a wee wee’) any better. If you haven’t spent weeks of vomiting 5 times a day, then twice a week and now blissfully down to once a week, then please don’t tell me it will get worse. That’s not something I need to hear.

You had your first pregnancy. You learnt through your own experiences. Please let me have mine. It’s hard to enjoy your pregnancy when you’re unable to talk of it without having opinions (often literally) shouted at you. If your advice is relevant and helpful (ginger biscuit suggesters….thank you!) then I will happily listen, but if your intention is just to remind me that I have no idea what I’m doing or what I’m getting into – please don’t bother. I’m already well aware of it.

 

Poetry for potatoes

We’re all aware that in the desperate process of trying to be unique and original, we become sheep.

Take Emos: Their lives are an endless fight against the crowd, the normal, feeling sorry for themselves, having a good ol’ suicide chat and vehemently hating the world and most of all, themselves.

In my day we called them Goths, they just didn’t have floppy girl-hair.

In some way, we’re all sheep. The pseudo-intellectual has something going for them, thinking out of the box…but they never seem to stop and enjoy life (how many of these do we know?). The narcissistic actor/journalist/presenter that does nothing but tell the world how amazing they are, through what they incorrectly assume are subtle techniques. And then there are those of us who desperately don’t want to grow up, they still want to keep going against the flow.

That’s me. I’ve always thought finances overrated. If we could go back to bartering days, I’d be as happy as a pig in poo. I’d trade poetry for potatoes and enjoy every moment of my life. I started my own business, not because I didn’t want to make money for someone else, but because each day, travelling back and forth to work, a sharp thought twisted and plunged:  So this is how we humans decided to spend our lives? Bugger that.

The bigger picture is a curse. I could be happily working in some investment (okay, I’m fucking terrible with numbers) media company, working my way up, meeting people, meeting someone, settling down and living my ‘life.’ I don’t judge people like that, I envy them.

Now my company is a year old, I’m going on 30, my friends have all risen high up in their respective companies and are raking it in. They’re no longer getting  married, they are married, or they’re getting divorced. They’re on their 2nd and 3rd child. They’ve bought houses, sold houses, bought and sold cars (I’ve bought one, but was saved the ‘selling’ bit by a friendly security company turning my little Uno into scrap metal), they’ve been given promotion after promotion and almost all of them have a pension.

I’m not doing badly, I’m earning more than I did in my last salary, which wasn’t bad, and this is after only a year of being in business. I’m pretty darned proud of myself, but I’ve started to realise that I have no investment, apart from my car. If something should happen, I’m screwed.

So now I find myself considering buying property. The thought scares the bejesus out of me. How grown up is that? Owning something as big as a tiny flat? Probably another copy & paste job? Only because I want some form of safety net. I’d do it wisely, keep a cheap ass rental for me and rent out the bought flat for an exorbitant amount of money that only barely covers the monthly installments.  I spoke to a bond guy, and I need to earn slightly more to apply for a bond. It’s easily done, I only need to make one more monthly sale.

But I don’t want to. I’m happy earning what I’m earning. I’m happy clinging desperately to my youth. I’m happy being transient and not being responsible.

This sucks.

So, my little sheep friends, what made you grow up and how hard did you fight it?

Return of the Grammar Nazi

After scrolling through some related sites, I came across this. I don’t think it needs any explanation. Suffice to say, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably been there.

 

 

 

A little bit of me

I’ve been struggling over whether to write this post or not, but as yesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day and bloggers like  The Bloggess and Wil Wheaton have been open and honest about their depression, I think it’s only right that a little person like me does it too.

This isn’t really about depression, though, but it is about mental illness, mental stability and well, whether I belong in the looney bin.

This isn’t an easy post to write, but this past week has been pretty intense for me and it’s certainly been a mark on the memory bank (excuse the pun you’ll get later).

I have suffered on and off with depression. I’m lucky enough for it not to have been a major influence in my life, just a month or two every now and then, when I feel like shit, hate the world and myself and only ever want to sleep. Depression isn’t an issue for me, but it’s a serious  issue for many of my friends. If your friend has depression, let them know you’re there for them. It’s not something small and it’s not something that they can just turn off. It’s a serious illness and they need your support.

Mine stems from a trauma that happened when I was young. The problem is, I only remembered this trauma when I became an adult. Until then, I remembered enough to know I had a close call and in fact spent 4 years assuming that’s all it was, until the memories started.

My looney bin moment resides in the fact that I don’t know if these memories are real or false. I’ve been to shrinks, who can’t really help me if I can’t remember, and almost went to a hypnowhatsit, but that went belly up when she decided (incorrectly) that I had epilepsy and couldn’t help me.

I don’t have full recollections, only flashbacks, which, according to most of what I’ve read up about, imply that this is more real than false. After reading up on false memories of trauma, I find more often they occurred after hypnosis and not before (created through badly phrased questions by hypnowhatsits) and also that those that fabricated memories before hypnosis may be wrong about small things (the colour of the curtains) or big things (the perpetrator), but rarely about the act. It doesn’t quell my uncertainty though. My heart says it happened, my brain says it probably happened and my body has said PTSD for as long as I can remember, but I need to know.

The point I want to make here today is: Talk about it.

Last weekend, in a fit of fury and rage over something as inconsequential as spilt wine (ok, that’s not inconsequential, it’s a bloody terrible loss), I let loose my feelings and unloaded on someone close to me. I didn’t do it spectacularly well…or even in a dignified way (a screaming car ride is always the best way to deal with your issues, I think), but I did it. And then I went home and I wrote. I told them of my rage, my sorrow, my hurt, my confusion and above all my fear.

Writing about it didn’t take the fear away, but when I showed them the letter, part of my anger and pain melted away. The next morning, I woke up and I just lay in bed for hours (thank god I’m self-employed), because it felt so damned good. The tightness in my chest that had been sitting there for over a year, and probably longer, was finally gone. It was (and still is) like I’m finally free.

I’m still terrified. I’m not terrified of remembering, I’m terrified of not remembering or terrified of the reaction of my friends and family. Most of all, I’m terrified that my brain concocted this story, for whatever warped reason it would have, but I’m better now and able to take steps to deal with it… I hope.

This post is only to urge you to talk. Talk to your friends and family, write anonymously, even talk it out in the room on your tod. Trust me, it feels better.

 

Gallery

15 Grammar Goofs and the Urge to Maim

This is the first time I’m reblogging another’s infographic. A friend found it on StumbleUpon and I just had to steal it.

As most of you know, I’m a bit of a Grammar Nazi. It’s not something I’m proud of, as I tend to insult people or patronise them unintentionally. It’s not purposeful, it’s more a of a …tick. I can’t help it.

I have a long list of pet peeves, including dolphins, touchy-feely people,  maggots and men who spend more time on their hair than I do. The below 15 Grammar Goofs are well up there, but I also find my blood starts to boil when I see grammatical errors in corporate documents, emails or marketing material.

We all have some form of spell check on our emails; for God’s sake, even Hotmail has a our friendly little ABC (tick) button. How can we allow emails to go out to clients that are riddled with, not only grammatical errors such as the below, but smiley faces (punch me now), exclamation marks (really?) and (God forbid) quotes. You may need someone to tell you each day that obstacles are there to be overcome or that you’ll regret more the things you didn’t do, than those you did, but your clients don’t.

Personally, it makes me want to punch you in the face.

Wouldn’t you just love to respond to these people and show them the error of their ways? It’s my daily wish, but sadly, I’d have no money, as I’d spend all day correcting emails. On a side note: If there are any errors in this post, after I’ve pressed the button and read it through, it’s because I have a new keyboard, with an overly sensitive mouse that likes to type in random places.

May I burn in Grammar Nazi hell for all time.

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly

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