Tan Lines

While I was living at sea last year I never sunbathed in a bikini. By August I had an excellent tan, especially considering how fair my skin is. I was particularly proud of having no tan lines. Coming out of the Southern Hemisphere winter I am lamenting the loss of colour on the parts of my body that are normally covered. I am also struggling to get enough time in the sun to rejuvenate my tan. Over this weekend there was ample opportunity for sunbathing but the presence of families with children required a certain level of modesty. And now I have tan lines.

Sinful Sunday

Size 16 and Beyond

I have always thought I had problems with my weight. One of the legacies of my upbringing. My mother is obsessed with how much other people weigh. She isn’t overweight herself but not really because she eats a healthy diet or exercises regularly she is just one of those fortunate individuals who seems to be able keep on top of her weight.

It doesn’t stop her from judging others. One of the first things she observes about a curvy woman is her size. “Look at the size of her!” Is a statement she makes frequently. She has directed a similar sentiment at me most of my life. Ever since I can remember I have been subject to comments about how much I eat and the size of my body. Even as a child I was criticised for how much I ate and made to feel self conscious about my weight. When I look back at photos I can see that even though I felt I was fat and bigger than other people my age I actually wasn’t. I was perhaps curvier but that meant that I had boobs when a lot of girls didn’t. My bum wasn’t fashionable then but these days it would have been the pick of the bunch.

I always found it difficult to buy clothing. Curves had no place in the fashions of the 1980’s and 1990s where lean supermodels and the “waif” look were the epitome of fashion. Booty was still at least twenty years away. Clothing was made accordingly and girls with curves, like myself, struggled to fit our lumps and bumps into suitable clothing. Jeans were particularly bad. If they fitted my bum the legs were too long and the waist was enormous. With tops and dresses my boobs always seemed to pop out in an undesirable way. I resisted the idea of simply buying a bigger size and altering it. I had a mental barrier that prevented me from selecting anything above Australian size 14.

These days when I look at old photos I can’t understand how thought I was fat. I feel I wasted those years hiding myself just because of something someone who didn’t really have my best interest in mind told me I was unattractive. Sometime last year I got past this mental hurdle. Probably more from necessity than anything else but there I was. I was able to go into stores and ask for size 16. I looked in the plus section and found clothing that made me feel attractive and happy. I progressed down the path of being happy in my own skin. Then I went on my voyage and lost a significant amount of weight. A year ago I was the happiest I had ever been with my body. I felt slim, I was tanned and I fitted into all my clothes really well. I was comfortable and truly happy.

Fast forward to now and all that weight is back. I am resisting obsessing about it but I know I need to do something to reverse the trend. Buying bigger clothes is one thing and not really the problem but I also need to make healthier eating choices. Coming down from celebrating my birthday hard I am looking in the face of cutting back on alcohol and high calorie junk food. It is hard. The journey is going to be long but my experience last year taught me I can still have chocolate and alcohol and lose weight. I just need to include a lot of vegetables and smaller portions as well.

I have recently watched some friends undergo weight reduction surgery. Many people would think this approach is a cop out but after watching the preparation and the immediate aftermath of surgery I am here to say it definitely is not. I have reaffirmed my feelings that this is not for me. For some the surgery is life saving. Their journey, while difficult, leads to a much longer and healthier life than they would have otherwise had. For some it is a struggle. The after effects are long term, sometimes debilitating, and irreversible. I know people who have had this surgery and if they had their time over would not do it again. It is not for me.

And so here I go on another day of trying to eat cleaner, less processed and smaller amounts of food. Wish me luck.

TMI Tuesday – Only Boring People Get Bored

1. When was the last time you Ate Vanilla Slice ? (Now answer your question).

It has been a couple of weeks. I do love a good vanilla slice. Recently I shared one with a Twitter follower. This innocent coffee morning turned into an unexpected embrace and kiss in the carpark and some “relax time” together. I have enjoyed my time with him since then.

2. I’m bored, what should I do?

Only boring people get bored. So get your shit together and find something to entertain yourself or I will give you a menial task like cleaning the bathroom or re-folding the contents of my linen closet.

3. Who is the smartest person you know? Why do you say this?

The pharmacist is a pretty smart guy. He is fond of a pun and also a corny one liner. But in all seriousness the amount of random information he spouts blows my mind sometimes. I am grateful it is usually stuff I am interested in like biology and stuff. I am glad it isn’t physics or politics.

4. Are you awesome?

Of course! My list of talents is long but includes giving amazing blow jobs and being a firecracker in bed. Plus I have awesome boobs and an amazing arse. I am the complete package!

5. If you could take any reality show off the air, which one would it be?

All of them! Life is too short to spend much of it watching other people in contrived “reality” situations. Get out there and live people!

Bonus: After making a claim like the one above I guess I have to prove my point.

Boobs and arse. Two for one!

Fifty and Fabulous

I was born on 23 September 1972. On September 23 September 2022 I said goodbye to my forties and hello to my fifties. I started thinking about this milestone a year ago when I returned from our voyage. At the time I thought the idea of a year of “Being Fabulous” sounded good. but when I sat down to actually think about what that would look like I realised that my life, for the most part, was fabulous. I get to go places that are amazing regularly. I get to dress up and be as sexy as I like regularly. I fuck like a goddess as often as I want so what other fabulousness do I need in my life?

Having said that I planned a weekend of fabulousness to celebrate. And it was fabulous. There was cocktails, an great dinner, an amazing stage show, conversations, a spa and some amazing company with some very good friends. Oh and there was cake. Multiple cakes. A triple decker caramel mud cake with chocolate ganache and strawberries, A decadent chocolate cake shaped like a naked female torso and finally, possibly the best of them all a human decorated as a cake.

Thought the weekend I was constantly amazed by how generous people were with their time and in other ways. I am truly fortunate to have some very kind and beautiful people in my life. It was definitely a fabulous way to celebrate and is easily one of my best birthdays ever.

My Shussy is What?????

I fell into the world of burlesque kind of by accident. A few years ago I started attending a pole dance studio that also taught burlesque. Well actually it was the other way around. A burlesque teacher who dabbled in pole-fit. It was here that I learned about the glitter filled world of burlesque and places where dancers who didn’t look like mainstream dancers went to shine.

I made friends with women who were destined to be these kinds of dancers. Carving their way into the world to shine their own light in their own way. It was through them that I attended some shows and was fascinated by this world of feathers, silk fans, and nipple tassels. Modern burlesque is a reflection of American Burlesque of the late 1800’s. But there are many twists and turns. Every performer has their own personal style and signature way of performing. In 2020 I was excited to attend one of the first incarnations of “Shreklesque”. Put simply this was a Shrek themed show featuring some burlesque performers that I knew and others that I had seen and heard of. Not all were burlesque performers. Some were drag queens and some were “boylesque” performers; Males that danced in burlesque style and costumes but did not present as female.

At the time Brisbane was just emerging from the first panicked Covid – 19 lockdown. We were nervous about gathering in large groups but we were excited to purchase our tickets and head to a small theatre that was used predominantly for community theatre events to support this little group of performers trying to keep their art alive. Fast forward two years and I was just as excited to see the show again after two years of development and in a bigger, more professional venue.

I was not disappointed. I was treated to dance, drag queens, weird parodies of Shrek characters and a mound of green pubic hair among other things. All of the performers pushed gender norms in some way. Men dressed as women. Women performing as male characters from the movie although not disguising their femininity. A gingerbread man that was more sexual than any baked good should be. The “normal” standard for body shape was either parodied in the form of fake six packs or completely ignored in the form of larger than life performers.

None of this made the performances less. In fact it made for a richer, more diverse show. Everyone on that stage was just living their best life. Audience members did not judge anyone be it performers or each other. You want to wear a lime green outfit and bright purple hair? Go you! The show’s creator Trigger Happy has danced for most of his life. An injury prevented him from making it into the mainstream world of broadway but it doesn’t stop him from kicking high and dropping into the splits in a way no man feels comfortable watching.

There are those people in the world that would not be able to see past his size to appreciate his athleticism. People who think athletic = skinny. There are people who think that larger, less pert breasts have no place in public viewing. They are wrong. Humans come in all shapes and sizes. And some of us are born to entertain no matter what shape or size we are.

Every Damn Day in June

In the Dark

A few months ago, when it was warmer, I was sunbathing on the front deck as we sailed to Moreton Island. A friend, we shall call him the Party Boat Man, went past with a raging party happening on deck. Most of the party people were young men. I covered up because I didn’t really want THAT much attention but as they went past I saw Party Boat Man on deck and I flashed him.

Honestly, I didn’t think it was that much of a big deal. But apparently it was. He didn’t believe that these boobs are completely natural and surgically unaltered. It has become a bit of a thing. Yesterday we saw him in the distance and there was a flurry of text messages with a few moments of him trying to chase us down to get another flash.

Then at 1.30am I get a message; “Titties??” In the dark I took this shot.

I was surprised at how well it came out given I had no idea what the camera was seeing.

Of course he was not happy with just one but that is a story for another day.

Boob Day
Every Damn Day in June

Bloopers

I took this image just after we returned from our voyage last year At the time I was uncertain of my direction with Sinful Sunday and I didn’t post it. Reviewing it tonight I liked it.

Until I noticed the unfortunate placement of a handle on a kitchen cupboard!!!!

The arse is still good though.

Sinful Sunday

Hello 3am

Image by Elf-Moondance from Pixabay

Earlier in the year I was chatting with a much younger work colleague about being awake at 3am. She was horrified that I seemed so casual about it until I assured her that 3am and I were old friends. I told her that a lot of the time it doesn’t bother me but sometimes stuff happens at 3am that keeps me awake for quite a long time and that can be a bit problematic the next day when people are expecting me to be functional. 

My journey to menopause was a little different from some people’s in that a lot of peri menopause symptoms were neatly masked by the contraceptive pill. In addition, I was quite young when I became menopausal (46 years old) so a lot of peri menopause symptoms that I experienced were not recognised as such. I was diagnosed with depression by my General Practitioner in my late thirties. He never even mentioned the possibility that it was probably linked to peri menopause. He probably didn’t even consider it. For several years I took the antidepressant Pristiq which is a desvenlafaxine class of drug and works by balancing the way your body processes serotonin. At the time when my GP diagnosed me an older friend who had experienced menopause told me that the symptoms I was experiencing could be related to pre or peri menopause. I didn’t talk to my GP about this and because he never mentioned it I just accepted his diagnosis. 

Insomnia has been a feature of my life for so long I can’t remember when it started. There seems to be this blur between having a toddler who didn’t sleep all night and dealing with young children who were ill during the night. Once the children were a bit older and sleeping better the snoring started. Mr Jones suffers from sleep apnoea. The snoring wasn’t loud but what was distressing was listening for his breathing to stop so I could jolt him back to breathing again. All in all I have had many reasons not to sleep well for so long that changes in sleep patterns as a result of peri- and post menopause were difficult to identify. 

While I was taking Pristiq I insomnia was an issue. If for whatever reason I was awake at 3am and didn’t go immediately back to sleep I would toss and turn sometimes for two or three hours only to doze for a short while before the alarm went at 5am to start the day. These sessions of wakefulness were made worse because I would worry the whole time because I knew I would feel like rubbish the next day. Sometimes I would make myself get up and do some kind of task, planning a lesson, ironing even writing. Often this would be enough to settle my mind and sleep would be easier. A lot of times I didn’t have the mental power to get myself out of a warm bed, dress and begin the task. These were the times I would toss and turn and ultimately be a mess the next day. Even while all this was happening I was blaming the depression. There was never any consideration that it could be my hormones.

After several years I went back to the same GP (doctor choice in my area is not great) and asked to change medication. Not because of the sleep but that is another story. He changed me to a medication called Valdoxan which works by mimicking the pattern of melatonin. Almost immediately I noticed some changes. I still had my eyes open to say hi to 3am regularly but it didn’t bother me as much as it used to. The small amount of sleep I sometimes got was enough. Around the same time I stopped taking the contraceptive pill and have not had a period since. A hormone screen confirmed that I am post- menopausal. 

Is the change in my sleeping due to the medication or the change in my hormones or a combination of both? Even if I stop taking this medication I will likely never know. My journey to menopause was unconventional and clouded by other issues. I was 46 when the GP confirmed my menopausal status which is quite young. This is probably why my doctor didn’t really discuss menopause as a contributor to my depression or sleep issues. Additionally, as I said earlier the area I live in is not populated well with affordable high quality doctors. Often a woman has to deal with being treated by a male doctor from a very conservative cultural background. This means discussing issues like reproductive health can be awkward. Mentioning unconventional lifestyles like non-monogamy can lead to some prejudice. 

It is unlikely that I will ever really be sure if my relationship with 3am is a result of a mental health condition or if it is related to menopause. I don’t know if my mental health condition is related to menopause. I don’t think I will ever get answers because the time for seeking them has passed. What I do know is that women sharing their stories in an honest open forum is probably the best way for us to learn about this issue and become empowered. By creating the menopause diaries Marie has given women a space to share their experiences and possibly learn from each other. 

The Menopause Diaries

Blending In

We spent the night in a bay of an island we had visited on our way north about four months ago. Like most of the thousands of islands that dot the Queensland coast this one is dominated by Granite and other volcanic rock forms. Once in pre-history they were part of the mainland. Once in the pre-history of THAT they were formed by volcanoes. The science teacher in me is loves to tell people about all that Mr Jones is often bemused by my fascination with rocks.

As we walked on the beach I was attracted to a boulder that looked like a sugar skull. As happens with so many places frequented by people the rock had smaller rocks placed in cavities formed by volcanic gas all those millennia ago (Did I mention that I love rocks?). This decoration is part of what made it look like a sugar skull.

As Mr Jones snapped he commented that I was blending in with the rock. I guess I am at the stage of my journey where I am starting to become part of the landscape.

Sinful Sunday