Forgiveness

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Acknowledge your pain
let it in so you can let it go
allow it to stay a while
so you will know what it feels like when it leaves
even if some questions remain – the unanswered and the unasked.

Take hold of your pain
wrap it up carefully in newspaper because it has sharp edges
which have cut you many times before
it has been with you so long that it is a part of you
but the longer you hold it the heavier it becomes.

Dispose of your pain
making sure it cannot find its way back
let it go with respect
for all the hurt there were also lessons
for all the battles there is now peace.

Forgiveness is not for you, it is for me.

©2017 Seetha Dodd

Whining, Dining & Finding Waldo

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The days between Christmas and mid-January feel like time has been frozen still. Which used to be fitting in Glasgow where it was actually freezing but a bit odd in 30ºC Sydney heat.

We fall into a comfortable bubble of eating, drinking and being merry. A parallel universe in which the weekly timetable does not include 6 different scheduled sporting activities, there is no set time for the preparation/eating of morning tea and childcare cannot be outsourced. It’s as if someone hit the Pause button, and I love it.

The days become all about family, holidays, family holidays, magical moments, friends, an excessive amount of chocolate, the perfect amount of cheese, a fair bit of whining, a fair bit of wondering when the daycare reopens and therefore inevitably: wine.

Along with all the whining, there are opportunities for discovery. With the gift of a fluid calendar and those beautiful words, Let’s play it by ear, there are limitless chances to create and wallow in magic.

The 3 year old’s new favourite book is Where’s Waldo. In the ‘normal’ world, this would be a nightmare of a bedtime story because there is no scheduled end. You can’t say The End – Night night! until you find all those elusive Waldos (Wally in most countries).

But in this period of limbo, as we sit snuggled up on the sofa searching for bespectacled Waldo, I find that I don’t want to spot him too quickly. I want us to take our time. Giggle over the decoys on the page. Swap places so we can each try the other half of the book. Pretend I haven’t already spotted him so we can prolong this bliss. Enjoy the 3 year old’s delight at my lack of needing to be somewhere else. Let’s do it again, Mummy! 

So as it turns out, I don’t just find Waldo. I find a reason to hit the Pause button. Even post- January.

© 2017 Seetha Dodd

I Shall Wear Purple*

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I read something the other day that both amused and alarmed me. It was an online article called ’17 Things Women Over 40 Should Stop Wearing’. Instinctively (and delusionally) my brain said Ah, this doesn’t apply to you but then I remembered that I will very soon no longer be able to tick the 30-39 box on online surveys. So once I accepted that the article was targeted at women like me, I was curious.

It started off with this introduction:

‘Avoid looking like you raided your daughter’s closet by not wearing these 17 things after age 40.’

As I clicked through the slideshow I had to laugh. But in a very irritated way. The offending items? Sheer shirts. Coloured jeans. Slogan t-shirts. Halter tops. Cartoon t-shirts. Fishnet stockings. Glitter heels. Studded pumps. Ridiculously long fake nails. My irritation was two-fold:

  1. Women telling women what they should and should not wear. Without being asked. I’m all for wardrobe-honesty. Tell me if my shorts make my bum look big(ger) but don’t tell me they make me look ‘desperate’ or like I’m ‘trying too hard’ – both complaints from the aforementioned Over-40 Fashion Police article.
  2. Should these items be considered appropriate for our daughters? If I ‘raided my daughter’s closet’ I would be wearing….nothing. Because she is 9 years old and I would have to sew two of her skirts together to make a pair of shorts to fit me. She does not own glitter heels. Or any heels. She does have some slogan t-shirts. My favourite is ‘Give Peas a Chance’.

Instead of persecuting adult women who have earned the right to wear whatever the hell we want, why don’t we focus on a much more important issue – the clothing  available to (and deemed appropriate for) young girls? Instead of shouting ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ to grown-ass women in mini skirts, why don’t we look at why our lambs have to sift through Daisy Duke shorts and ‘Pretty Princess’ t-shirts in department stores to find stuff they actually like? Is it more acceptable for an impressionable 13 year old to wear a halter top and studded pumps than it is for a self-assured 40+ woman?

The irritation grew into weariness. Are we still having this fight? Are girls still being presented with t-shirts that say ‘Allergic to Algebra’ and ‘I Need A Hero’?

Perhaps a fight for another day. In my indignation, I put on my Wonder Woman t-shirt, contemplate and then decide against pairing it with fishnet stockings and glitter heels (not because I am nearly 40 but because they are hard to put on with ridiculously long fake nails) and try to look for the positive in that article.

The author also disapproves of ripped jeans in the over 40s. Apparently, ‘intentionally wearing ripped jeans is only cute when you’re not old enough to know better.’ Intentionally wearing??? As though some of us might walk around blissfully unaware of the holes in our denim. But there it is. The beacon of light in this disheartening piece of journalism. She has completely missed the main point of ripped jeans especially in women over 40, which I get to reveal now. As shown to me recently by a girlfriend, it is a holder for your wine glass, people!!! Just ensure correct rip-placement and rip-length for maximum stability and minimal spillage.

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For now, if you are over 40, the only thing you should not be wearing: the weight of other people’s expectations and judgement.

*Inspired by Jenny Joseph’s poem: Warning

©2017 Seetha Dodd

The Fix

You could:

Fix a dated kitchen with new cupboard doors

Place a new rug over scratched wooden floors

Mask a tear-stained face with a freshly-bleached smile

Hide internal scars with Instagram style.

But you can’t:

Eliminate flaws from a dream you were sold

Brush Tippex over lies that were told

Use Botox on lines etched deep in the heart

Or trick the present into erasing the past.

©2017 Seetha Dodd