Following what feels like the gestation period of an African elephant, I’m ripe and ready for birthing!
After my miscarriage in 2016 I couldn’t see a way through to where I am now, I was lost in a fog of grief with seemingly no end in sight. Now, at nine months pregnant and content with a son moving around in my belly, I look back and wish I could grab that sad lady by the shoulders, and tell her she’ll feel alive on the inside once again. In truth I spent the first few months of this pregnancy swinging from joy and elation to sadness and paralysing fear. I desperately tried not to become too attached to the idea of another baby, just in case. I smiled and made the appropriate noises when I spoke about it, but on the inside was a cold determination to protect my heart. You see, no one really speaks about the emotions that come with the pregnancy after the one that ended without a baby.
I know that I’m lucky to be here, about to give birth, but the truth is: this pregnancy has taken it’s toll on me in so many ways. And while I am grateful, I’m also worn out. Which almost feels like a betrayal to my baby to say out loud, but there you have it.
I’ve been challenged many times on how I see myself as a woman and a Mother.
I like to be in control, that’s no secret to anyone. I like to know what’s going to happen and when, so that I can brace myself for the fallout, be it good or bad. It’s an anxiety coping mechanism, I know that. When you’re pregnant your body goes completely rogue. It assumes the biological autopilot position and you’re left clinging on for dear life. You’re reduced to being a passenger on board your own body, with nothing left to do but sit and stare out the window as each change occurs:
“Oh look – another stretch mark!”
“Someone pass me the nail clippers, I’ve got thirteen new skin tags between my thighs!”
“Over there, a haemorrhoid is squeezing it’s way out of my anus – STUNNING!”
All the while, people expect you to smile and wave because that’s what us preggos are meant to do. It makes others uncomfortable if we’re not happily nesting, rubbing our growing stomachs and generally being maternal as fuck.
I’ve had to stop doing a lot of the things I love and have become a low-key hermit. My friends haven’t seen me in months, and I’ve stopped performing and working as my body wasn’t coping with my lifestyle. In other words, I’ve had to hand my entire person over to this pregnancy, and that has challenged the ambitious, sassy business lady in me enormously.
I’m both terrified and in awe of the ways in which my body has changed and adapted over the past thirty seven weeks. Women’s bodies are miraculous things. There have been times where I’ve caught myself feeling worried or repulsed by what’s occurred to me physically. It’s hard not to when your previously B cup breasts now nestle themselves snuggly inside a D cup, and when set free, rest atop your growing stomach like two giant, mono-nippled Jabba The Huts. And when lifted for aeration, they have the surface temperature of ‘centre court at the Australian Open’ degrees celsius underneath. On these occasions, I’ve mostly been able to remind myself that there’s a human life growing inside of me. A whole new person to come into the world, created by the factory of my body… and then I just worry about that instead of the cellulite on the side of my knees.
I wanted to say to any woman who is pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or may one day want to be pregnant; it’s okay at times to feel stress, anger and pain when you’re up the duff. Society is really only comfortable with us pretending that this is the happiest time of our lives when sometimes, it’s not! I mean, I was promised there would be ‘glowing’, and yet the only sheen coming off me has been sweat.
That all being said, as I head into my final weeks of pregnancy, I say thank you to my body for what it has achieved. I’ve been hard on her more times than I care to admit, but what a bloody marvel it is to have done this thing. Instead of criticising my thighs, skin and everything in between, I say thank you for growing thighs, skin and everything in between. I say in my best Osher Günsberg voice: We’re at the pointy end of the competition, the summit of the mountain, the finish line of the marathon and now more than ever you need to go softly into each day.
Most days, I sit in the nursery imagining what’s to come. I’m bursting to meet this child and once again experience those magical first few days that only a newborn can bring. I let that warm feeling spread through my bones, and it feels good to allow that to happen.
Thanks for coming on the journey with me friends, I feel like this has been a communal pregnancy of sorts. Your words of encouragement, gifts and well wishes have kept me going.
Let the next chapter begin: Current day Em with a baby!
What does that look like? I have no idea but I know there will be plenty of tears, bodily fluid and some bad behaviour – and that’s obviously just me.
Where did 2018 go?
May I remind you that the winter Olympics were this year? I mean we had a whole Olympics and I can’t even remember it. Not one thing. Not one chilly backflip. Also: Katy Perry and Taylor Swift made-up, we got yet another new PM and Barbra Streisand cloned her dead dog Daisy – what a time to be alive!
2018 has been a strange old ride for me. I can safely say that I experienced all the emotions on the menu.
The great news is that I’m finishing it in a much healthier and happier place than where I started. If you’d told me in January that come December, I’d no longer be working in breakfast radio, I’d be eight months pregnant and writing my first fiction novel – I would’ve slapped your sassy mouth and then totally made out with you because that’s secretly what I’d wanted! How did you know?! Did you steal my dream diary?!
Looking back on my year the standout events were:
Starting a new radio show
My Evil Queen National tour
Recording the Wil Anderson ‘Wilosophy’ podcast
Media shitstorm: “Em Rusciano is a difficult, volcanic bitch!”
Performing my ‘Difficult Woman’ show with Chong Lim and John Peter Farnham’s band in the Adelaide Cabaret festival
Finding out I was pregnant
My best friend Michael getting married.
Signing my new book deal
Leaving breakfast radio
All of these events were life changing in different ways. Some were traumatic and some fantastically wonderful – I’ll leave you to decide which is which! I’m now able to look back at each of these moments and see how they contributed to the fat and happy person sitting here typing these words. They all needed to happen for me to be in the position I’m now in. I wish I’d known that, during some of the more trying events; the times when I felt as though I’d never see the sun again, when I felt misunderstood, ripped off and like I was slowly being poisoned by the rage I was trying to keep on the down-low (I was failing miserably at that).
Finding out I was pregnant cleared the decks for me. It put into perspective what was important and what things I needed to change in order to be the best version of myself. (Yes, I will now go and punch myself square in the vag for writing that last sentence.) Because I was the very worst version of myself earlier this year. I look back on photos and text messages and marvel at the fact I’m not locked up somewhere. I believe people are capable of change, if they give themselves the chance to do so. It’s fucking hard shining the light inwards and seeing all the dark places. Acknowledging your deficiencies, your fuck-ups and short-comings is shithouse too. Putting in boundaries, saying ‘no’ and cutting certain people from your life is tough work, but ultimately worth it, I promise.
Look, I’ve always got a shit tonne of work to do on myself, but looking back on this year I’ve realised that I’ve already come such a long way. I’m still learning to check myself and my judgement – ALL THE FUCKING TIME. Like when this blogger recently posted about how one of her children doesn’t get enough likes on Instagram. I judged her. I was so judgey, I was Judge Judy. I’m supposed to now say some moral like “but then I checked myself and stopped judging her”… but to be honest, I’m still not over it. Just when I thought I was done judging, the internet drags me back in.
But I’m getting better.
So I now invite you to write your top three highlights and lowlights below, get it off your chest and perhaps bask in the distance you have come. I’m going to be taking break for a little while so that I can prepare for the prodigal sons’ arrival. I’ll still be around on Instagram and Facebook, because I’m a needy performer who needs constant reassurance that she’s still relevant.
I can’t thank you enough for reading my words and being invested in the things that I make. I love our community and I wish you all a fabulous Christmas and new year.
(On that note we’ve found a few more Christmas packs. For $35 you get a signed book, a shopping tote, some community pins and a couple of other treats. Give the gift of Em for Christmas! They sold out in 12 hours last week so get in quickly!)
See you in 2019 legends!
All my love,
I received an email late last week from a member of our community who has just recently left a violent home situation. Not only is she starting a new life for herself, she’s also decided to help other women in a similar situation. She asked the following question of me:
I am looking for any tips you may have that can help me embody a fraction of your strength and honesty, but more importantly, help me not chicken out.
First of all, I’ll tell you what I told her: she’s already done the bravest thing I can think of in actually leaving the environment she was in. Anything else from there is a bonus. She’s also putting herself in the service of others, which is another strong and selfless thing to do. I truly believe she’s going to go on and do rad things (I can’t tell your her name for obvious reasons, but just know that she’s glorious).
I get asked a lot about being brave. I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly brave person – put me in a small space with a moth, and you’ll see exactly what I mean. I’ve a complicated relationship with my self esteem: there are certain facets of myself and my life in which I have a quiet, unrelenting self-belief (my parenting skills, my marriage, my ability to prance on a stage in a leotard), but there are other areas of my life that may cause me to implode from anxiety and self-doubt (literally everything else).
However, it would seem a lot of you do see me as brave, which means I am a) eternally grateful and b) an excellent magician. So I sat down and thought about how I could help you guys find your inner iron, resilience and strength. I’m not an expert in any way (unless we are talking about Ru Paul’s Drag race, the early years of Madonna, or how to tell the time without looking at a watch), but I can talk you through my iron-clad thought process when dealing with the issues that I feel particularly vulnerable about.
The one that’s keeping me up most at night (besides the impending arrival of my son) is my career.
While half of my time is spent creating shows, books, merch and experiences for my community to love and enjoy, the other half is spent reminding, hustling and convincing them to consume the things I’ve made – or my family won’t eat! I left the security of a very high paying job because it stopped me from being able to do the things I love. For two glorious years I didn’t have to worry about people still liking me enough to show up for the art I made. I just made it with reckless abandon (and of course you all came anyway because you’re fabulous like that). Now it’s all on me. I’m in the middle of writing my first fiction novel and next year’s live show, and I swing between creative ecstasy and crippling fear. I have to constantly coach myself (even right now – this is like a live counselling session) to Take The Pressure Down* a notch. I desperately want my new book to out-sell my best-selling last book, so that I can compete with myself. Healthy? No. The birth of an amazingly hilarious fiction novel that definitely isn’t based on all the stories of my life that I can’t sell as a biography or I’d be sued? Yes.
The live show is flowing directly from my soul at this point in time. It’s about female rage and how we need to embrace it – Kate Miller-Heidke and I are working on the original songs, I have an all-female band, and hopefully there’ll be a dragon on stage – ’nuff said. History has shown me that if I put in real, honest and heartfelt work, you guys will show up – and that’s what makes me brave.
“Okay, Em…” I hear you fuming at the screen. “Besides this being a way for you to FLOG your wares to us, what is my take-away? You promised me bravery!”
Fair call, my love. Fair call.
Here is your take-away: Remember the times you rose like a phoenix, during the times you feel like a flaccid penis.
I mean if that’s not a fucking song lyric in the making, I don’t know what is. I should’ve put it on a picture of a sunrise, or some puppies, or a waterfall. Wait a minute:
You can’t be brave and fearless all the time, but at some point in your life you have been. That’s how I do it. If I’m feeling unsure, I reach back in for an occasion when I was owning life. When that annoying voice in my head says “you can’t”, I hit her with “yeah, but I have before and I will again”.
My all time favourite quote that doesn’t involve the cast of Steel Magnolias (honestly that film should just be made into an extra volume of the encyclopaedia Britannica) is the one I put in my book. It’s called ‘The Man in the Arena’… I just change the man bit…
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who never know victory or defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Whatever or wherever your arena is, get in it bitches. You’ve got this. (I just said that out loud to myself as well! I feel so much better, don’t you?!)
By the by this week is “bring a friend week” to my blog, so your job now is to send my words to a mate who may need a bit of steel in their veins at the moment.
*Yes, you spotted a subtle John Peter Farnham reference. We stick together like honey and the bee, okay?!
P.S I had a HUGE response to my top 5 newborn baby products blog. THANK YOU for your hundreds of comments and recommendations. Lucy and I will go through them this week and compose a helpful list for any other preggos feeling overwhelmed by all the new info out there!
With the force of a runaway freight train coming straight from hell, it hit me yesterday that I would soon be in charge of a newborn human. Up until that moment I’d been living in a euphoric bubble, a hazy, soft cocoon of excitement and denial. For some reason my brain had not fully penetrated the reality of the situation and only been surface diving on the topic.
The catalyst for my realisation was going shopping for a cot.
The last time I gave birth, John Howard was Prime Minister, the very first iPhone was announced, and Avril Lavigne was still a thing. If I’m being honest, I’m completely bewildered with the new equipment, lotions and rules that seem to have sprung up in the past twelve years. So as Scott and I were trying to pick a cot that was safe – one with non-toxic paint, correct spacing between the railings and without the appearance of a glamorous Scandinavian jail cell – it hit me: I don’t think I remember how to fucking do this. I turned to my husband, wildly gestured to the all of breast pumps, muslin wraps and baby carriers in front of us, and said: “Scotty, I don’t think I remember how to fucking do this.” Suddenly I wanted to seal the opening to my womb and have my son live in there until he was at least five.
Last night when I attempted to fall asleep, my mild panic converted itself into three hours worth of sticky thoughts and worries. It was a conscious stream of mental vomit. Here is a disturbing breakdown of the things that were going on in my head at 3am.
On the topic of a newborn:
They’re so tiny, I can’t remember how to do it, the newborn thing. Do you still wrap them like a human burrito or is that a no-no now? Do I need white noise? Where do I buy white noise from?! Will I be able to get anything else done or am I in for a complete handover of my life?
On the topic of Breast Feeding:
Will breastfeeding be as hard as it was with Chella and Odie? Will my tits ever recover? Are there new pumps and storing techniques I should be aware of? Is it every two hours or three? Can you even still get formula? I remember reading about a baby formula black market situation! How do I find the black market? Is it on Google Maps?
On the topic of parenting:
What the fuck am I going to do with a boy?! A BOY! We need to make sure he is a good human, we need him to be who he is, place no expectations on him. Barbies, trucks, ballet, footy – WHATEVER! He needs to respect women and also himself. Em, relax. The kid is still a foetus and the other two have turned out pretty great so far. THE OTHER TWO! Will I still be able to be a good Mum to them? Probably not! Fuck. Fuck. Fuuuuuuuck.
That’s only a sample. Some of the other things should never be put in writing. I woke my husband up and told him of my fears and he said ‘Why don’t you ask your people?’. He meant YOU GUYS! Yes Scotty! Yes I will! I remembered that I have hundreds of thousands of Mothers who follow me online! You lot are wise, fabulous and full of new information.
So what I want from you is your TOP FIVE products that you couldn’t live without when your baby came. I need the new school info y’all, I will carefully scroll the comments section over the weekend and hopefully come out the other side feeling a little more prepared.
At the very least, I may be able to decide on one fucking cot.
Go forth and impart your wisdom!
P.S Speaking of comments section, if you’re yet to read the comments from Monday’s blog (relationship commandments) you need to settle down with a nice wine and do yourself a favour. It’s some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever read. Seriously, well done to all who contributed.
P.P.S My community pins are back in stock and selling fast – this will be the last run of them for a while so get in quick!
P.P.P.S I wrote the opening number for next year’s live show this week, I WISH I could play it for you… The show is going to be my finest work, the tour will be the first thing I do after having the baby so I’ll be ready and raring to go. All I’m saying is: keep August free!
A very ‘brave’ woman on Facebook has posted a list of ’10 commandments’ her husband must abide by to keep her happy in their relationship… and look, it would be accurate to say she raised all the eyebrows. In fact, I’m betting there was probably a collective WHAT THE FUCK from every person who belongs to the members only “Get It Off Your Chest” Facebook group. As the name encourages, a lot of the group members did then proceed to get off their chests how CRAZY BA-NAY-NAY they thought her demands were. It’s also important to note that this was a revised list, as apparently her first crack was a little too harsh!
Yes, of course I have a copy of them, thank you very much.
I feel as though she’d be better off with a nice house plant than an actual human. Obviously this list is completely unreasonable, and good lord – if she’s found a partner to follow them, then I pity the fool.
It did, however, make me think about the things I expect of my husband Scotty, and so I thought I’d write my own ‘commandments’ and put them to you lot to see what you think. Truth be told, I could only come up with five – it may shock you to know that I trust my husband and don’t feel the need to control his every move.
Em’s Five Relationship Commandments
1. Thou shalt not destroy the ensuite toilet in the morning. All bowel-emptying must be done in the upstairs toilet. (Scott showers after he toilets and if does his business in our ensuite, the result is a warm poo waft and it’s horrendous.)
2. Thou shalt clean as you go when you cook dinner. (Scott sometimes leaves the kitchen looking like the cast of Masterchef had an orgy in there. I half expect Matt Preston to show up, wearing his cravat as a loin cloth, asking where his lube is – which I also imagine is duck fat, not KY.)
3. Thou shalt not pick your earwax and wipe it on the side of the drivers seat in my car. (I mean this one is self-explanatory. Really. Do I really have to ask you not to do that?)
4. Thou shall refrain from the five minutes of phlegmy throat-clearing in the morning that sounds like an elderly goat is being drowned in a vat of chocolate, especially when we have overnight guests.
5. Thou shall allocate one morning a week to snuggling for ten minutes in bed after the alarm goes off instead of leaping up at 6am to go for a bike ride.
In the spirit of fairness, I thought I’d ask Scotty what his relationship commandments are. At first he thought it was a trap. He stared at me with squinty eyes for a good two minutes before agreeing to list them, and even then he said them as though he was approaching an angry bear.
Scott’s Five Relationship Commandments
1. Thou shall limit the number of cushions to four on the bed. (We’ve compromised, I have ten.)
2. Thou shall not wake me up in the middle of the night because you’ve decided you want to put a tile mosaic in the bathroom. (To be fair, the banksia-and-wattle print is going to look amazing and I needed to share my Australian native theme with someone when it came to me at 3am on Saturday night.)
3. Thou shall tell me EXACTLY what you want instead of hinting at it or expecting me to ‘get the vibe’.
4. Thou shall stop using my FUCKING towel. (He was super aggressive about this one guys…)
5. Thou shall stop referring to thou-self as ‘hungry hungry hippo’ or ‘tubby’ – you’re pregnant and you look beautiful. (I expect he just threw that one on the end to soften the other four)
So there you have it: mine involve a lot of bodily functions and his involve home-decorating and vibes – seems about right!
Please feel free to pop yours in the comments section below, I look forward to reading them at length later today.
Have a great week,
And scroll down for a full list of nation-wide resources. Feature image: by Jordan Tarrant.
Hello my lovely community of most excellent humans,
As some of you are aware, last week I put the call-out to anyone who could help me do something about the current domestic violence epidemic gripping our country. I received thousands of responses. Some were from outreach programs, some were from survivors of domestic violence, and some were from people who felt as helpless as I do about the situation.
Domestic violence is a complicated, big, raw and nuanced issue. It’s not something that can be solved easily, quickly or simply. It requires a huge cultural shift in behaviour and attitude, and that kind of thing takes years. I think that’s why so many of us feel overwhelmed about how to possibly help the situation, because there is no short term solution. However after spending the week researching and talking to experts, I know that there are tangible ways to help the people affected by domestic violence in this country.
I’m going to give you the three I think will be most effective, so we can start making a difference right now.
- One: Contact your local MP and let her or him know that you’re a voter and this is an issue you care about.
- Two: Have conversations with your friends and family about subtle behaviours that disrespect women.
- Three: Get involved in the movement – be it marching, donating or raising awareness.
One of the main things I’ve taken away from this week is that we need to involve men in this conversation. It’s not about men vs women, I’ve witnessed various factions from each side blaming the other for too long and what I know is, that’s not working. We need to find a middle road to walk down, no sides, just all of us coming together, to do what we can to prevent women and children dying. The simple fact is men listen to other men, and if they’re in a social setting and a mate makes a disrespectful comment about a female patron or waitress and they pick him up on it gently, in the moment – that will have an impact. That is changing the behaviour at it’s genesis, and that is the type of conversations we need to be having with all the people in our life. If you’re sitting there thinking “how the hell do I even start that conversation with my kids, family and friends?” I’ve got you: click here for a fantastic resource that answers that very question.
One of the experts I spoke to was Fiona McCormack (pictured), the CEO of Domestic Violence Victoria. Fiona has spent most of her working life focussing on issues that affect women. She was generous and helpful during our chat and I walked away from it feeling a renewed sense of understanding and purpose. We spoke for quite a while, and some of the things she said really stuck with me, so I want to give them to you straight up.
Fiona, what is something tangible we can do?
“Send an email or a letter or call up your local politician, no matter who you’re voting for, and just let them know: ‘this is what I care about as a voter’. That’s how things get up, if enough people call out about an issue. If you’re saying to your political party ‘this should not be a fringe issue, this is a core value. You need evidence-based approach, funding, and policies’, they will listen to your needs because they want your vote.
It’s important that Government follows an evidence-based approach on why violence is happening in the first place, and how they can respond better. For example, the Royal Commission into Family Violence. The Government committed to all 227 recommendations.
We didn’t change the rates of smoking overnight, it took an evidence-based and long-term plan, and concerted effort. Domestic violence is a deeply entrenched issue culturally so it’s not going to be addressed overnight, but we do need Government to take approach.”
How can we involve men in the solution?
“Importantly: talk to them. The men in your life. This is a time we really need men to step-up and challenge one another. Men are not the villains, they are the key to turning this around. They influence each other’s attitudes. They are part of the solution.
What we know about the types of men who are likely to perpetrate is they have certain attitudes towards women and towards violence. Attitudes that women are less than men, that they can be joked about and talked about in a hurtful or sexist way – it’s really critical. There’s a link between racism and race-related violence, and homophobia and homosexual-related violence, and so on. So attitudes about men vs women can play such an important role. It’s awkward in a social situation to call it out, but it’s important.
Talking about those attitudes with friends – those certain awkward social circumstances, how they handle it – that’s a really powerful thing.”
This is about gender, but not in the way we think it is…
“As a mother of two sons, the facts about the gendered nature of violence against women really confronted me. What does it mean? Is there something inherently evil in men? Is this biological? Is there nothing we can do about it? But the more I learned about it, the more I learned about gender itself. We tend to use gender to describe the physiological differences between men and women, but academically speaking, it relates to the way in which the social norms surround masculinity and femininity.
But when masculinity is tied up with the hatred of women, that’s when it’s problematic. When we’ve got concepts of masculinity where they resolve disagreements through anger and fighting, that’s where it’s problematic. When a man gets punched outside of a nightclub, we talk about alcohol, we talk about venues, and gangs, and curfews. We don’t talk about gender. And the ways in which our culture means that masculinity needs to be proved over and over again. How much you drink, how much you fight, how strong you are. That’s the element of masculinity that we have to shed. And also the stuff around femininity – where they are the main carer of the kids, where they don’t have any value unless they’re sexually available… This issue is not about a critiscim of men – it’s about changing our culture. These things can be so much a part of our culture, it’s like we’re fish but we don’t see the water.”
Isn’t she brilliant? So, just like Fiona said, make sure you contact your local MP with a simple email stating that this is something you care about. It’s easy. I know it sounds exhausting and time-consuming, but it’s something physical you can do RIGHT NOW and it will help. This link may help you to find your local MP, but if not, do a quick google. Write a short, passionate email about how pissed off and helpless you feel because 68 women and 19 children have been killed so far this year. Then tell your MP that you want this to be a core issue, and you want them to have an evidence-based, funded plan on how to fix it.
It will take you five minutes. Do it for the women in your life.
Finally, what am I doing? I want you to know that I’m getting my hands dirty, that this isn’t just something I’m going to write about once and pat myself on the back about, and walk away. I’m invested, I’m passionate and I want to energise you all to feel the same way. I’m going to be waddling (I’ll be 30 weeks preggo) in the “Walk against Family Violence” march happening in Melbourne on November 23rd which is being run by Safe steps. I’m teaming up with the Dangerous Female girls to fundraise and I’m looking into how I can help various shelters (which is something that needs to be confidential for safety reasons). It is my sincerest hope that you leave this blog committed to taking action. I hope you feel as though I’ve provided you with the tools to do so, as that was my number one goal: to empower you guys to help women and children affected by domestic violence.
If you are in a domestic violence situation, or if you fear for a friend or loved one, these are the important steps:
First and foremost, call 000 if you are ever in immediate danger.
Secondly, talk to someone you trust. A friend, a family member, an outside party. Talk to counsellors and professionals and hotlines.
Thirdly, know your options. Legally, financially, and logistically. As told to us by Elena Rosenman, Executive Director of the Women’s Legal centre in Canberra (who provide assistance to women experiencing domestic violence and need help with their legal problems); “One of the most effective tactics abusive partners use is to isolate women from their support networks, their friends or families, and suggest that people can’t help and or won’t help. If you are experiencing domestic violence, try and talk to people you trust and services that can give you information about your legal options, finances, housing, and counselling. The more information and support you have, the more options you might be able to see.”
Here is a list of resources for anyone needing help. Also, if you’d like to help in another way, many of these resources are drastically underfunded – we encourage you to donate directly to their services if you can.
National sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.
1800 737 732
Will put you in contact with your States crisis service.
13 11 14
Kids Help Line
This is a great service for kids to talk to counsellors. The trained professionals at Kids Help Line will talk to anyone between the ages of 5 – 25 years old.
1800 551 800
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Offers online chat, video phone, instant messenger and TTY for the Deaf community.
For our future Men:
Respect.gov.au is a great resource for conversations about respect.
For men and boys who are affected by DV there are people you can talk to:
Men’s Line Australia
1300 78 99 78
DV Resources & Services:
Australia Capital Territory
Women’s Legal Centre ACT
(02) 6257 4377
Women’s Legal Centre also have the Mulleun Mura Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Access to Justice Program. (Aboriginal woman-led service offering culturally appropriate support with justice issues). Call the Women’s Legal Centre on (02) 6257 4499 to speak with the Mulleun Mura team.
Counselling: (02) 6122 7070 (or www.toora.org.au/contacts.html)
Domestic Violence Crisis Service
(02) 6280 0900
1800 176 468
New South Wales
1800 938 227
(02) 9698 9777
Womens’ Legal Service NSW
1800 801 501
(08) 8945 1388
Ruby Gaea Darwin Centre
(08) 8945 0155
Top End Women’s Legal Services
1800 234 441
DV Connect Crisis Support Qld
1800 811 811
Domestic Violence Prevention Centre
Women’s Legal Service QLD
(07) 3392 0644
(08) 8203 5700
WSSSA (Woman’s Safety Services)
1800 800 098
Women’s Legal Service SA
(08) 8231 8929
(03) 6278 8292
Huon Domestic Violence Service
03 6264 2222
Women’s Legal Service Tasmania
(03) 6231 9466
1800 015 188
(03) 9259 4200
Women’s Legal Service Victoria
(03) 8622 0600
1800 755 988
Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services
(08) 9420 7264
Women’s health & family services
1800 998 399
Women’s Law Centre
1800 625 122
Thanks again to Fiona McCormack from Domestic Violence Victoria and Bethany Hender and Elena Rosenman from the Women’s Legal Centre in Canberra for their guidance in creating this article and resource list. Wonderful women doing great work.
Share this with anyone who might need it, and look after each other.
You know a sentence I never thought I’d say?
Thank you, David Beckham, for those words of truth and wisdom.
Ol’ Becks has been somewhat dragged through the media this week (Ooof. What must THAT be like?!) for admitting that marriage is hard work. And if you’re to believe said media, his wife isn’t too happy about it either.
“I think marriage, marriage is always about hard work,” he said to Lisa Wilkinson on the Sunday Project. “To have been married for the amount of time that we have, it’s always hard work, everybody knows that, but you make it work, you make difficult situations like travelling away, being away from each other, you make it work.”
Apparently this has sent Posh into fits of rage, blah blah blah ‘sources say’ blah blah ‘divorce is imminent’ etc.
Firstly: bullshit. If the media says anything about ‘a close friend has admitted…’ then we can guarantee the story is about as reliable as Samantha Markle.
Secondly: OF COURSE their marriage is hard work. They’ve been married for nineteen years, which is about 18.5 years longer than any of us expected (I mean, do you remember their wedding? His & Hers thrones and matching purple outfits does not often longevity make). I think we can also assume that neither of them are low-maintenance kind of spouses, given that Becks was recently sent into a Sydney cafe to fetch a SINGLE, PEELED CARROT for his wife’s lunch. Really. That happened. Last night I asked Scott to get me some toilet paper (while sitting waiting on the toilet, trapped, with not a square to spare) and it took him 5 minutes and one lecture about “checking before you sit down” to carry that task out!
So how come, when Becks states the bleeding obvious in an interview that marriage takes work, everyone assumes it’s the birth place of their future divorce?
If your long term marriage/relationship isn’t ‘work’ then I salute you. If you have found someone that makes everything easier all the time then you, my friend, are in possession of an actual albino unicorn, a.k.a strap that s**t down yesterday. But I suspect that all marriages worth fighting for, take a whole lot of work.
Why does admitting uncertainty in a relationship make everyone nervous? Will some of you read this and think that, because I’m admitting this, my relationship is doomed? The thing is, I feel an overwhelming compulsion to admit instability in my relationship. To claim anything else would be untrue and it also gives me a nice buffer zone for if/when things go to shit.
A few years ago, my husband and I were done. We called it quits on 12 tumultuous years and went our separate ways. We were broken and I thought completely unfixable. Then after a year apart we decided to work on our relationship and managed to put the pieces back together. It’s not perfect, but it’s getting there; ultimately we are stronger together, and making something strong usually takes, say it with me, oh yeah you know what’s coming: Hard. Work.
Marriage/long term relationships are fucking hard work!
It is hinted at, written about, studied and mumbled but I don’t think enough married people are saying to other married people: “My relationship can be a clusterfuck of disappointment, frustration and finger pointing.”
Which reminds me. Hey, you guys: Sometimes my realtionship is a clusterfuck of disappointment, frustration and finger pointing.
There are thousands upon thousands of experts giving us unsolicited advice on how to spice up our unions, but no one mentions what to do when you’re in an epic stand-off with your other half over whose turn it is to clean up the dog’s spew.
You both declare – so the aforementioned spew sits for days, congealing on the bathroom floor into a circle of stiffened yellow stomach lining.
That is the shit that tests marriages more than anything. At least it is in my house, the battle over whose turn is it to do the crappy menial every day tasks. Add some kids, and your life becomes about existing not living – you just “get through” days rather than experience them.
I share this with you because I want you to know that my marriage can be hard work. I feel that if more of us admitted that to each other, there’d be less pressure to be in a perfect relationship to begin with. We’d stop holding each other to unrealistic standards. Maybe you aren’t going on romantic date nights like so many therapists recommend, but maybe you got through the day without flipping the love of your life your middle finger while silently mouthing “go fuck yourself sideways” and you’re both laying silently on the couch together holding hands.
My relationship can also be the bedrock upon which I build my emotional foundations. I love him, he loves me, we love our kids and sometimes that breaks my balls and sometimes it makes my heart burst with joy.
It’s not always bad, but it can be. And that’s all I really wanted to say. I reckon Becks did Vicky a favour, I think he was trying to soften everyones expectations of them – it made me look at him and them in a whole new light. Instead of scheduling an emergency Vogue cover shoot to dispel divorce rumours, I reckon they should just tell the truth. ‘Hey, we’re a couple with four kids, busy lives, a billion dollar empire and unprecedented media attention trying to get through like anyone else…’ Ok, so they’re not entirely relatable, but you get it; admit your flaws and people will be far more forgiving and maybe less interested when shit blows up.
I asked my husband what he would say if Wilko were to ask him that same question.
Scotty: “Yes our marriage is hard word sometimes, however hard work usually leads to something great. Hard work can be viewed as something negative I suppose, if there’s no end goal. But my end goal is a more harmonious existence with my family, so I am happy to put it in.”
What a guy! I almost forgive him for leaving me hanging like a naughty toddler who’d shat their pants on the toot last night.
Have a great week,
PS. I’ve got new merch dropping soon, so make sure you sign up to the subscriber link at the bottom so you’re the first to hear about my brand new earrings, pins and maternity dresses… I may burst with excitement.
It’s fair to say that the wheels have well and truly fallen off this pregnant, sweaty, emotional horse.
YES I KNOW THAT HORSES DON’T HAVE WHEELS, HOW DARE YOU POINT THAT OUT. But the other analogy was that the wheels have fallen off this pregnant, sweaty, emotional bus, and I burst into tears at the insult of referring to myself as a bus. (Perhaps left over emotion from yesterday, when my husband told me I look like Humpty Dumpty…) So shut up and accept me as a beautiful, majestic horse with fallen wheels.
Ahem. Where was I? Right…
The wheels have fallen off. I have severe Carpel Tunnel syndrome on the right side of my body, a massive hole in my tooth, and my comfy undies no longer fit. The only joy in my life right now (besides children and family, but even that’s a stretch) is my daily sojourn to the local swimming pool.
I like to go in the morning, so I share the pool with the Very, Very Old, and the Very, Very Young (which is Russian roulette because both, I suspect, have trouble controlling their bowels).
I like to swim ten laps with a noodle (which always has bite marks on it, who is doing that?! ) and I don’t put my head under, because I like to think I look like a glamorous women in a fifties movie swimming across to her beau. Please never tell me what I actually look like, or I will beat you with the noodle. So I do my laps, then I go over to the hydro-pool and do my stretches at the bar.
But this morning, there was an incident. Involving the geriatric water aerobics class and myself.
I already have a long standing issue with water aerobics. It’s super easy to cheat. The instructors at my pool seem to all look like Madge from Neighbours meets the matron from A Country Practice. And they stand outside the pool, yelling at all of those bobbing around inside of it. “Get in the pool, Madge!” I want to shout. “Do the bloody work!”
This morning, post-noodle-laps, I went to move into the hydro-pool. I noticed there was a water aerobics class going on so I took myself to the other end of the pool, and I slid in, barely taking up any room in the corner. I was practically invisible. But then Madge (that’s not her real name, obvi) spotted me, and loudly called into her Madonna headset over the loudspeaker, “Excuse me, are you doing this class?”
Clearly not, Madge.
I turned, slowly. “Clearly not.” I said. She barrelled on, relishing in her power trip, her amplified voice echoing around the leisure centre. “Then you’ll have to move to the other end of the pool.” I looked at her witheringly, picked up my noodle, and without breaking eye contact, slowly walked to the other end of the hydro pool. Into her headset, she tut-tutted me. I WASN’T EVEN NEAR THE CLASS.
So then, as I stood glowering in a sanctioned, ten centimetre spot of water, a lifeguard came up to me. Another power trip. “This area is reserved”, she said to me bossily. I took a deep breath; “I am pregnant. I have paid to swim. The only way I am leaving this pool, is if you physically carry me out.” And then I dared her with my eyes.
THEN… THEN, MY FRIENDS.
The lifeguard goes off and gets one of those triangle signs that says ‘area reserved’ and puts it directly in front of me. I mean, the pettiness! If I wasn’t so pissed off, I would have been impressed.
So did I leave the pool, and acquiesce the requests of the power trippers?
Of course I fucking didn’t. I did not leave. I stayed for 35 extra minutes, doing some angry spite swimming. And as I left, I did the pathetic pregnancy walk – hand on lower back, legs spread wide – riiiiight past Madge.
The final straw was that after I’d changed out of my bathers, and was exiting the leisure centre, the lifeguard came up to me and said “You should get the timetable for the group classes so you know when the pool is unavailable”. So I said “I will come WHENEVER I like, thank you very much!” turned on my heel and left.
Yes my level of pettiness was HIGH, yes the participants of the class had paid extra to be there, I am in NO WAY a victim here, I was badly behaved and belligerent but in the moment I felt VERY hardly done by. My safe, warm, zero gravity space was threatened and I did not take it well!
As you can see, I’ve reached the phase in my pregnancy where I feel like I’ve lost control of my body. As we speak, I am screaming this at Lucy from my couch, as she types the words for me. (It’s true. Help me. – Lucy) I can’t type because of my carpel tunnel, and I can barely talk because I’m so tired. Why did NO ONE tell me that carpal tunnel was a fucking side affect of pregnancy? Why don’t the Madges and lifeguards of the world understand, I do not… have… the energy.
Anyway. I’m fine. My arms in a sling. My family’s helping. And I have every intention of getting back in the pool tomorrow.
I guess sometimes pregnancy looks like this..
And sometimes it looks like this..
Thanks for listening, guys. Deep breaths.
PS don’t bother complaining about how good water aerobics is and what the benefits are. I’m not in the mood. You’re definitely right, but I’m in a fight with a leisure centre right now, so I don’t have any energy left. Let’s all just snuggle our pool noodles and have a nap.
Hi gang, first up I want to say a gigantic THANK YOU to the many thousands of you who read and enjoyed my ten tips for teenage girls last week. I’ve never had a response quite like it, especially from said teenage girls. It truly warmed my black heart reading your messages and knowing that my words had somehow helped you.
This week I’ve just got some quiet words about loss, you see four years ago this week my family went through the wringer. Those of you who’ve read my book will know what I’m referring to, if you haven’t read it; on October 18th 2014 my uncle Haydn passed away after being involved in a car accident. Ten weeks later, his Mother (my Nana) also left us. I wasn’t going to write about it, in fact I had another blog ready to go about making my kids watch Beaches; but lately I’ve been feeling the weight of their loss, and I find that when my thoughts are sticky, it helps to write them out.
On Saturday it was my Dad’s birthday and while we were at his place, my Mum gave my eldest daughter a hard drive full of memories. Later that evening the girls and I sat on the couch and laughed at my Australian Idol photos and all the unfortunate hair choices, make-up mistakes and our many abuses of denim. My whole family had come to see the Australian Idol live tour in Melbourne, and everyone had taken photos with the cast, including Uncle Hayd. A photo of him, my Mum, my Aunty and I flashed up and my daughter quickly clicked passed the photo (knowing what this week was and not wanting to upset me) but and as she did a video of my Grandmother appeared. She was giving my Mum a guided tour of her bedroom. She was putting on her ‘posh voice’ and pointing with flourish to her new curtains, bedhead and beloved blanket box.
I’ve seen the video a hundred times, but I haven’t watched it since she’s been gone. It was like looking at it for the first time again with fresh eyes. I took in every detail, wishing I could dive into the computer screen and stand beside her. Her bedroom always smelled of perfume; Elizabeth Arden’s Red door, and I could almost smell it as I watched her. Then she laughed and I realised how much my own cackle sounded like hers (think Mary Poppins meets Cruella DeVille and you’ve nailed it.)
As I watched her I remembered our weekly conversations and smiled. I wished I could tell her I am having a son, I could imagine her response. She’d be beside herself and a blanket would be ordered and embroidered with his name, as she did for both of my daughters.
I went to bed last night and read the letter she sent me after my wedding, it’s the first time in a long time I’ve been able to do that without crying. In fact imagining her making mental notes on the day to write down later, made me laugh to myself. After she and Haydn died the grief came in steady, consistent waves. Four years on and I can report that the waves are much further apart and I don’t feel as though they’re going to drown me when they hit. When this type of thing happens to you, the phrase “It’s going to take time” gets thrown around and you feel like punching the person who says it in the throat, but it’s true. However the passing of time doesn’t make you miss them any less, it just allows the acute sadness you feel when you think of them to make way for a dull ache.
That will make way for bittersweet memories.
That will eventually become happy and precious ones.
What I mean to say is that your first thought isn’t: “They’re gone.”
Its: “They were here.”
This week if you could think loving and slightly inappropriate thoughts about Eddie McGuire for Nana and toast Haydn with a can of diet coke, I’d appreciate it.
Thanks for letting me write it out,
Today is International Day of The Girl. Well done you all get ponies! Ok you don’t but it is an important day, and to mark it I thought I’d put together a handy list, I’m not an expert – I’m probably the opposite of that. You can try some of these things or none of them, but I hope it helps you in some small way.
1. Be kind and don’t take shit from anyone. If you hear someone say something offensive, sexist, racist or just plain gross to you or someone you care about, don’t laugh it off, tell them off. My darlings, we must stop casual, low lying sexism/racism where it starts.
2. Be brave with your self, say YES to LIFE! Back yourself in, take chances and try rad things way out of your comfort zone.
(I’m talking art classes, travel, music, mountain biking, dancing, singing, painting, acting and building. Not… you know… Animal sacrifice, straight vodka and illegal street racing.)
3. Pick great friends, avoid drama queens and drainers. Pick mates who cheer you on and fill you with energy, not suck it out of you. Also, BE a great friend. Don’t ever set out to make someone feel less than, add to people’s lives.
4. Look after your body. Nourish it, water it and exercise it. I get how much of your brain space is taken up worrying about how you look. The message I should be giving you is that it’s really only your magnificent brain that counts, and it is; but I’m also realistic and I know how much pressure you may feel to look a certain way. So give yourself the best shot and be kind to your bod – it’ll be kind right back, I promise.
- Am I tired?
- Have I eaten enough?
- Am I thirsty?
- When did I last exercise?
- What is coming up for me that I’m worried about?
Then sit down and have a hot drink. There’s a 90% chance you’ll feel better, but if you don’t, tell someone. Tell a trusted friend or adult; it’s not a weakness to ask for help, it’s about the strongest and most brave thing you can do. Your mental health is so important, look after it.
7. Remember to look up, not through. Viewing the world through your social media can narrow it to a point where you may start to feel suffocated by it. Don’t believe the hype, people only put their highlight reels online. Look up more than you look down, and figure things out for yourself.
8. Avoid plastic bra straps and wear underwear that breathes, your vagina deserves love and care. While we’re down there, get to know your vagina! It’s not some unspoken, mystical dark place. If things aren’t right with it, tell your Mum, Dad, Sister, a trusted relative or go to a doctor. Also, don’t mess too much with your pubic hair or eyebrows.
9. Try not to spend too much time watching boys do stuff – make sure you get out and do it yourself. Make music, play sport, build things, write; do it yourself. Don’t be relegated to a spectator.
10. Who you are is exactly right. That includes who you’re attracted to. If you like girls: great, boys: great, both: great, no-one: great. It’s all good, don’t let other people’s hang-ups and issues with sexuality mess with your sense of self.
Ladies, I remember how tough it was being a teenage human person. I think now with social media you have it even tougher than I did in the 90’s. But I do remember feeling as though the whole world was against me, like my heart may explode from pain and that no-one understood who I really was or wanted to be. If you only take one piece of advice from me it’s this: Trust your gut, it’s the first voice you hear and it’s usually right.
I love the next generation of girls, I have two of them and I’m excited about what’s coming for you. But I just wanted you to know that I’m here and happy to help, should you need me.
Love your pal,