Category Archives: Family

Being Brave – My body

Being Brave

This is me – part naked, exposed and posting this before I chicken out – this is in response the BBC article – Are women’s bodies still beautiful after pregnancy? I read and subsequently shared it on Facebook  and it led to a really refreshing conversation with a group of my friends – all  mothers – about their feelings about their bodies.

Stretch marks, cesarean scars, weight gain, between us we had all felt that something was at fault with our bodies. It made me feel – for want of a better expression. Less alone.

I was stupid while pregnant I ate and ate and ate, young and niave so thought “it’s baby weight – it’ll come off”. I was a size 10 -12 when I fell pregnant yet came out of the hospital a size 16 with added stretch marks and flabby bits. The only time I’ve fit into a 12 since was when I was on antidepressants – I got better then my back and hip problems started and the weight piled back on.

Oftentimes I hate my body – I have no real hang ups on how other people view me,  But I really do have issues with how I FEEL and I how I view myself and that feeling is compounded by the heatwave we’re currently experiencing.  Spring, Autumn, Winter – hell even in the last few summers I’ve been able to hide behind jeans, jumpers and shirts, I can dress and pretend, but in this heat there is nowhere to so.

It’s uncomfortable to be fat. Clothes don’t fit – summer clothes are designed for waifs and in shorts and vests everything is on show. The fat on my thighs – because WHY DO THEY MAKE WOMENS SHORTS SO SHORT, the stretch marks on my arms, the creases on my back, it’s all there for the world to see  – and I feel uncomfortable, so very uncomfortable and exposed.

Some one sent a card into postsecret:

Being Fat Is like having your most humiliating "secret" visible for the world to see and JUDGE

 

And they hit the nail on the head. While in reality I don’t care what YOU think of me, it only takes one story in media, one television programme about thin being beautiful, one stupid stupid facebook post or hurtful remark in the street to reinforce my feelings about myself. And I shouldn’t feel this bad about being me.

I’m 32, a Mom of one, recently married with a great job. I’ve overcome homelessness, selfishness of others and health issues to be where I am today and here isn’t such a bad place…

…So I’ve been brave and taken this photo. This is me laid bare, I can look at this and see the back fat and the split ends or I can look at this and see history. Every ounce of that weight has been on a journey with me and I need to be grateful for who I am and what I have, and so should all of the other ladies who were talking to me today. I have the greatest of respect for you my friends. You exude confidence and are so much fun to be around from the exterior no one would know of the body issues beneath.

It has taken so much courage for me to take and post this photo ( no really there was nearly tears and I’m home alone) but you’re WE’RE  all beautiful and think we just need to believe that of ourselves.

Arbor Lights – Hatherton Lake: A review (of sorts)

Arbor Lights debut album came out yesterday and today Matt Elton – guitarist in the band tweeted:

So I thought I’d oblige. Now there are some things you should know first.

  1. I’m biased (I’m related to exactly half the members, in fact recently married to one)
  2. I’m not really a review writer, or a writer of any kind for that matter
  3. I don’t like Post Rock as a rule (give me something I can sing along to any day)

Point 3 may negate point one, we’ll see.

Hatherton Lake

Arbor Lights are a band of 4 named after the bar they first met in, which in turn was named after the Arboretum it was situated down the road from. Hatherton Lake, Arbor Lights debut album offering continues the theme, titled after the lake situated within the Arboretum.

Recorded and mixed by Michael Clarke at his studio in Hockley, Birmingham, the industrial backdrop of the area lends itself well to the tracks on this album. The opening track The Silent City could almost be a sound track to that area, reverberating guitars into uplifting melodies and a beat to nod your head to, in fact intended or otherwise the inner sleeves art work, the city skyline features the dominating BT tower synonymous with the area.

The other four tracks that make up this album Interstellar, Damascus, Sillohettes & The Mayor and the Diver all take you on a journey that the more musical aficionados amongst you will understand (I’ve read that in enough reviews to know that’s a good thing to say, yes?). Differing from other Post Rock albums 4 of the 5 tracks come in under the 10 minutes mark – which trust me is a good thing – The reason I don’t like Post Rock as a rule is I get bored part way through, by 12 minutes in I’m all yes, yes, move along next track please…. The shorter length and the clear melodies of the tracks mean I can listen and enjoy, although in truth I much prefer to see them live…..and seriously boys, Where’s the singer??  😉

 Listen for yourself and make up your own mind

Playground Talk – Random Thoughts

Last week I was walking down the road with a friend of mine who’s daughter is at the same school as TBK  we were talking about how they were getting on with them both being  in year 7  when she announced and went into great details about her daughter starting her periods.

I’m not bothered that she told me, dammit I felt sorry for the girl by the sounds of it was hardly a gentle introduction into the monthly merry-go-round of PMS and stomach cramps but it did make me stop and think – I would have been mortified as an early teen if I’d have found out my Mom was walking down the street casually discussing what was going on in my pants with her friends – So what exactly compels us to share so much intimate information about our children with other parents?

As babies we’d discuss sleep patterns and the consistency and texture of poo, in mother and toddler classes it would be first words and and first steps. In nursery and then into school every milestone would be celebrated with clucking and cooing on the playground, the more competitive parents (mothers usually) exaggerating their children’s achievements, the quieter ones ducking the playground politics by discreetly bowing out of my child’s better than yours conversations and now here we are,me and my parent friends in the brink of those dreaded teenage years discussing puberty, periods and mood swings.

So why do we share so much? Are we telling each other all these things to gain reassurance from each other that were doing it right? To get an opinion on things we feel were doing wrong? Are we showing off? Living vicariously through out children, bragging about there progress and achievements, Or are we pre programmed as humans to share things and as parents our children are one of the biggest things in our lives so it’s only natural that these details get shared.

Or is it at as feel some of all of the above?

Starting the year with a sniff

On my way to work this morning I caught my reflection in a shop window , I looked awful, I’m exhausted, it’s four days into the new year and I’m only on my second day back at work and  I look like I’ve been dragged through an hedge backwards.

I am ill, I have had the beginnings of a cold since some time mid October and finally broke on December 27th leaving me a snotty wretched mess for most of the new year celebrations and is still dragging on.  I had no time to be ill. What with the new job and commute to get used to, the being a Mom and a cook and all round domestic goddess*  and then that Christmas thing right in the middle of it all.

Christmas the time of good will to all men. The time off to relax and just enjoy each others company. Christmas the time my brother chose to declare to the whole family I was a fat slut across the dinner table  (no really), the time my sister ends up with hypochondria an ear infection at the emergency doctors with me in tow , James gets manflu  after playing a  gig, the time for present shopping, food shopping, medicine shopping, gift wrapping, visiting relations, forced merriment and  no time to look after myself so just make myself steadily worse.

I returned to work to hear of glorious tales of Christmas afternoon beach walks, mad uncles playing charades and country get away’s. and all I had to share is a runny nose, annoying cough, slightly depressing tales of a half hearted family get together and a desperate need for more sleep.

I knew it was sleep I craved when I got off the train this morning I looked at the tracks and thought “I could use that pile of gravel as a pillow” while my inner monologue was telling me that the train on the platform 4b is heading straight back to Wolverhampton, so go on, get on it no one will miss you for just one day. But I didn’t I continued on my not so merry way convinced the walk into Digbeth would clear my head and I’d feel better after a hot Lemsip.

It didn’t and all the cup full of liquid paracetamol succeeded in was giving me something to cough into. Thankfully I have a pretty awesome boss and when he arrived this morning to find a sniffling mess choking at the desk  he said I could just go home – just like that – “You don’t need to be here” and I don’t know who was more relieved when he dropped me off at the train station, me as I could, you know, go home, or the him as he didn’t have to listen to my self pitying sighs and hacking cough all day.

So now here I am just before 7pm sitting in the arm chair I haven’t left since getting here shortly before 2, waiting for my dinner, central heating on as I just can’t get warm, tissues on one side, lemsip on the other smelling of Boots own brand vapour rub and feeling sorry for myself. Christmas a distant memory other than the rack full of wine we were too ill to drink, trying not to annoy James too much as he attempts to get some work done at the desk behind me, wanting to sleep but exploding in coughing fits every time I lie down, limping into 2012 in the most lacklustre style!

Happy New Year!

 

*I am only a part time cook and cleaner James does his fair share around the house too but for the purposes of this post and gaining the most amount of sympathy possible I do it all myself

A slice of history.

I posted this previously on my (now much neglected) Moblog but after visiting my grandparents tonight I wanted to share it here too.

My Grandad is really poorly again, I live in fear of the day he will no longer be around – he was is and always will be one of the main men in my life and I love him lots.

A Family Photo

This photo was taken before I was born, we think around 1978/79. It has all the most important men from my childhood included in it, It’s like a capsule containing my whole life history!

This man is Pete. He’s my Dad….

….He died suddenly in 1985, I was only 4. One day he was here, the next he was gone – I don’t miss him all the time – that sounds harsh but it’s true – I was too young to really appreciate what I had and then it was gone.  I never had the chance to get to know the man my dad was growing up and only really started questioning my roots as I got older. I missed having a Dad and the paternal side to my family more than I missed the man that was Peter Jennings – I just wasn’t given the opportunity to know him and I think I grieve for that more than I do for him at times.

This man is Tony, my maternal Grandad….

..My sister and I went with my Mom and lived with my grandparents for a short while after my Dad passed away.  My Mom needed the space and a chance to grieve and recover from the shock of becoming a widow and single parent overnight. We were only there for a couple of months but the effects lasted a lifetime.

While everyone else was pushing their luck and hearing “You just wait until you father gets home!!” This is the man I was I had to wait to get home, I adored him as a child, he was my Grandad, my stand in father figure and my friend, as a small girl I would often climb the tree by the bus stop and wait for him to get home from work when he’d scoop me up and carry me home on his shoulders, as a teen he had the best technique for help towel dry hair and as a young adult, pregnant and suffering from morning sickness he made the only thing I could stomache, the most divine poached egg on toast!

He was, and still is my rock and I know I could still go to him for anything! He’s been with me FOREVER!

Now this man is Dave, he was one of Dad’s very good friends before his death and now he is now my Stepdad!

My Mom and Dave got together when I was 14 and married in 2001 when I was 20. When he moved in we were going through my Dads vinyl record collection together and Dave pulled our a couple of records that had actually belonged to him.

I truly would not wish for her to be with anyone else! He is a fantastic Dad to me, my sister and brother and a devoted Grandad to Jordan.  He’s supported my Mom through thick and thin and cared for us all for years and I’m glad it was him my mom married!

The $1,000,000 House

The $1,000,000 House by Steph Jennings
The $1,000,000 House, a photo by Steph Jennings on Flickr.

For Sale, Historic Earthquake Site, River View, Portaloos coming. $1,000,000.

Taken cycling through Avonside one of the worst effected areas in the February 22nd quake, today’s picture isn’t about the image it’s about the message.

Today (June 13th) Christchurch was rocked by another series of large aftershocks, thankfully this time only a few were injured and there were no fatalities, but there has been yet more extensive damage to the infrastructure.

Houses fallen, businesses closed and roads, sewers, power lines and water mains “munted” – yet more uncertainty and testing times for the residents but this image shows that after the worst of experiences you can still see the bright side and maintain a sense of humour.

Stay strong Christchurch, or Kia Kaha as the locals would say, keep your heads up and you’ll come through this again!