Warning, this post will not be for the faint of heart. Look, I realise that that I could conceivably pop that precursor at the top of most things I write, however this week – we’ll be going deep. So strap in, the truth is out there and it’s something I didn’t know until my nipples began spreading like balsamic vinegar in a small dish of extra virgin olive oil.
I had my first child when I was twenty-two years old. My body was tight and hard, I was carefree, I wore strapless tops with reckless abandon and bras were optional. As my pregnancy progressed, my youthful body went through the normal changes one would expect from growing a human:
Spider Belly: The vexatious internal itching that happens around the middle of your bump.
Filthy pirate mouth: Bleeding gums.
Bong eyes: Blood vessels bursting in your eyeballs, due to extreme constipation.
Iron Vag: As though someone has literally sewn tiny weights into your flaps and you’re sure the baby may appear at any time just to say hello. (It tends to occur towards the end of the pregnancy.)
Fighter Pilot Chest Thumbs: Your once pert, pink, delicate nipples become giant flesh almonds.
Road Map Neck: Did you even KNOW you could get stretch marks under your chin? I DID NOT! YOU CAN!
When my pregnancy was first referred to as “geriatric”, I was deeply offended. How very dare anyone refer to any part of my person as “geriatric”? I’m still in my thirties for fuck’s sake! Yes it’s the very tippy-top of the decade and yes I dress like Grandma Yetta from the Nanny, however everything else is still young and vital! The term ‘geriatric pregnancy’ conjures up images of Dorothy from the Golden girls (if your brain didn’t immediately launch into ‘thank you for being a friend’ I don’t know if we can see each other anymore) waddling around in a pair of fetching maternity overalls.
FYI – Anyone over the age of thirty-five and pregnant is considered to be of ‘advanced maternal age’, because as we all know, after you turn thirty-five your vagina starts to grow cobwebs, develops a strange crush on Eddie McGuire and registers itself for the pension.
As I move further into this pregnancy, I now realise that I’m indeed an older pregnant person; my body is dealing with this spawning far differently from the other two times I was up the duff (in my twenties). What I’ve noticed this time is that EVERY CELL of my entire body is pregnant. My teeth, my eyes, my fingers my toes, my internal organs – they’re all feeling the fact that I have a baby in my guts. It’s permeating my every move, thought and feeling. Instead of it being a fun fact about me as it was the last time, it’s now all that I am. So here is a list of the symptoms I’m having as a mature age preggo. I’m not saying if you’re in your thirties you’ll definitely experience these side effects, but if on the off-chance you do, I want you to know that you’re not alone.
Get that thing away from me: You know how they say that in your second trimester, you just can’t get enough of the sex? The reason for this is that you’ve got more blood flow to your vag, more of the hormones that love bonking are present – and if you’re a fellow flat chester like me, you’ve got a brand new set of boobs to be flaunting. I certainly experienced that in my earlier pregnancies, but now… No. My husband is hot, fit and very good at the sex, but I’ve no interest in riding that cowboy currently. I’m tired, I’m more tired, my back hurts and I’m so tired.
NIPPLE SPREAD: You guys, they DO NOT stop growing. I stupidly thought my areolas reached peak spread with my last pregnancy. What a naive dickhead I was! I know that they need to be bigger and darker so that the baby can find them but I’m not giving birth to a fucking mole! At this rate, they could be found from the Mars space station without a telescope.
4WD Stretchies: You would think that the stretch marks you already have would be worn in enough to accomodate the changing of your body. Look, even if you’re having your first child, if you’re thirty-five and over you’ve accumulated some impressive tears to your skin that you’d think would leave enough grow room for what’s to come. Ha! No. Imagine a four-wheel drive track on some soft sand, then imagine that another four-wheel drive drives over that same track, and then four more of the bastards find their way there. The tracks get deeper, darker, and slightly wider. The same may happen to your stomach, hips, inner thigh, arms, chin – wherever these arseholes have managed to find themselves.
Side note: SPARE ME the ‘rub *insert oil/lotion name here* on your boobs and bump to avoid stretch marks’ – that shit is a fucking CON. I literally bathed in stretch mark cream for my first pregnancy. I walked around like an oiled up hippo for months and my tummy ended up looking like an elephant’s ear with a road map drawn on the inside of it. I reckon you’re genetically predisposed to that kind of thing, you’ve either got skin that will withstand stretching or you don’t.
My body is ruined forever: Real talk – my self-esteem has taken a smashing this time around. Things have felt more saggier and baggier than they previously were, I found myself not wanting to be in photos or look in the mirror. I even picked a fight with Scotty and cried when I saw that he’d followed a fitness model on Instagram (it turns out he works with her and she literally stood over him while he followed her because she’s trying to be an ‘influencer’). I’d convinced myself that he was gong to run away with her and do push ups by a pool and look at her perfect small nipples and upper arms that don’t wobble when she aggressively points at things. That was probably my low point. (Also, let’s just say that if my husband were to do a stocktake of the men I follow, he’d find A LOT of hard-bodied, tattooed blokes with beards that I most certainly do not work with!) After I confessed I was onto him and his imaginary fitness lover, my husband took both my hands into his and said: “I am not going anywhere – EVER! For fuck’s sake Emy, you’re growing our child. You’re incredible, you look fantastic, stop being so hard on yourself.” He was right of course, I’m a bloody WARRIOR! I’m literally making a whole person inside of my body! So anytime my thighs rub together or my bum cheeks stick to the top of the backs of my legs, or I have to change my underwear for the third time in one day – I remember that. And you should too.
Having said all of that, pregnancy is a tough gig no matter how old you are. It fucks with your biology, mental health, physical health and everything in-between. No one knows how your body is going to react, and it’s different for every woman. So be kind to yourself, look after your health and fuck any other chore that gets in the way of that. But if all else fails, strap yourself into some leopard print, gather the indoor plants, set the self timer on your kid’s camera and be fucking Beyonce for a few minutes.
I see you preggos, I feel you, I am you.
P.S Our second round of community pins SOLD OUT again, but don’t worry we’re onto it and getting a jumbo sized batch made! I’ve also signed a new load of my books, have you read it yet? You totally should. Don’t forget to sign up to my mailing list so you get my words first and any other goss before anyone else does (new merch, tour announcements, baby announcements!) just scroll to the bottom of the contact page.
Hey guess what!
You know that luxurious item you’ve been lashing out on once a month because you’re a total opulence slut, because you’re a lady who likes the finer things in life, because you buy what you want, when you want it? Great news, the government has made your naughty little indulgence cheaper by law today! Yep, the goods and services tax applied to female sanitary products (which were considered ‘luxury’ items – please feel my extreme eye roll through the screen) was abolished in parliament today – clot clot hooray!
Way back in 1999 when Ricky Martin was straight and Cher was having a career resurgence (do you believe in life after love?) the complete and utter geniuses in the liberal party who were drafting the GST laws (this is gonna shock you right down to your previously taxed flaps) were mostly men, from a mostly male cabinet (#MEN). Those men felt that female sanitary items should fall in the LUXURY category and slapped a 10% tax on our periods. Because, look I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell choose to get my period each month and HOW DARE anyone (science, biology, mother nature, anyone with a brain: I’m looking at you) suggest it’s an involuntary bodily function that can’t be controlled. You just don’t want it enough, where’s your willpower ladies?! Oh, and can I please regale you with the all-consuming JOY I experience when the crippling cramps, hunger and mood swings strike. Every twenty eight days I’m known to lean out my kitchen window and yell with reckless abandon: YASS! IT’S TIME FOR SOME GLAMOROUS BLEEDING!
These same idiots, in all their wisdom, felt that condoms, lube and viagra were definitely NOT luxury items, that they were actual necessities and should be tax free. I know: The bombshells just keep on dropping! Poor men, having sex is so out of their control, it’s not their choice or fault, you guys.
The thing is, the tax should never have been there in the first place. And dare I say it: If more women were included in the decision-making process, this would never have happened.
Liberal Party HQ
Barry: I reckon we should put tampons and pads in the luxury items category.
LITERALLY ANY FEMALE IN EARSHOT OF THIS POLICY MEETING: How about you go fuck yourself Barry?
Barry: So that’s a ‘no’ to the tampon tax then.
Do you know the government were making THIRTY MILLION DOLLARS a year from our menstrual blood? I hope you find that as outrageous as I do. After 18 years of campaigning, the announcement today that every single state and territory will make sanitary products exempt from the GST is a huge win for all Australian women and their vaginas.
Now go out and treat yo’ self ladies. Get some of those breast-feeding pads, pumps and nipple shields which are still on the luxury items list and get FUCKED UP y’all!
Speaking of luxury items: new community badges have come in! If you missed out last time, order now. QUICK. (And subscribe below to my newsletter to be the first people alerted for new merch.)
Last week I attended a health camp. A legit shine the light inward, chant around a fire, talk about bowel movements retreat. I was in dire need of some spiritual and physical healing, as those of you who follow my Instagram exploits know: due to my pregnancy I have been eating pretty much anything within a one-metre radius of my mouth. I’ve also been suffering from total and utter burnout and hanging on mentally by the slimmest of silken tendrils. So like Marge Simpson heading off to Rancho Relaxo, I said goodbye to my family for five nights and headed off to the mountains to hopefully find that elusive inner peace… or at the very least, lower my blood sugar levels so that I don’t get gestational diabetes again.
Upon arrival at the Gold Coast airport I stood at the luggage carousels and waited for my bag to appear, and I waited and waited until every last person on my flight had collected their belongings and the whole thing had physically stopped. That’s never a good sign is it? When the whole conveyer belt heaves to a grinding halt, and you’re yet to collect your belongings. I tried to remain calm. “Serenity now Em, serenity now,” I said to myself as I walked over to the baggage counter, and upon approach, was asked by the lady if I was SURE my luggage wasn’t there.
“The belt stopped, it physically STOPPED, and my bag wasn’t on it, so yes I’m pretty sure it’s not there, Sharon.” I answered in my most zen voice.
Serenity now, Em. Serenity fucking now.
Sharon took my details and told me they’d call when and IF the bag containing all my new maternity active wear, my runners, my toiletries and my undies – showed up. I took a few centering deep breaths and made my way up into the mountains to find a better me. Luckily upon arrival I noticed there was a large gift shop attached to the retreat, so I was able to stock up on organic, sourced-from-Narnia bamboo underwear, and some totally luxe but very expensive activewear (let’s just say this joint only stocked one type of brand. I won’t name names, but it rhymes with schmu schmu shmemon). Yes, I was already three hundred dollars poorer; but I knew that at the very least, my vagina was going to be a better person from being sheathed in such natural opulence.
Each morning, a well-meaning volunteer knocks on your door at 5:30am, acting as a knocking human alarm clock. You’re to be up and reporting to Qi Gong by 6am. Qi Gong is fancy breathing with interpretive dance moves – we stood on a hill facing the sunrise, and I cried the first time I did it – so I was off to a killer start, guys. You then have a morning full of activities (walking, yoga, pilates, dancing, spinning, deep water running, crying…) and healthy eating, and in the afternoon, you’re encouraged to nap and go to the day spa. This Hogwarts of health has every single service you can desire, from a mani/pedi to a colonic irrigation. My first session was with a holistic naturopath who was also trained in iridology. Iridology is where they can tell the inner workings of your body from zooming into your iris.
That’s right, a lady looked deep into my oiyes, and read my very soul.
Firstly, I was told that my eye colour means I have a predisposition to being angry, sad and vulnerable. Hello, me (although a quick Google search of my name might have given away a few indications, but let’s press on). My eye colour also says that I am a perfectionist with an analytical mind. And that I tend to not listen to people when they give me advice. Wow. Hazel eyes are a gossipy bitch.
And then it got even scarier.
The rings in my irises show I have a tendency to suffer anxiety and to be a workaholic. Holy Christ on a wheel, yes. “Tends to thrive on stress, generally being ambitious and highly motivated – the real self-starter. The type A personality can work on many things at the same time, rushing from one project to another and thriving off the stress caused by doing so.”
Gahhh. Get out of my brain.
My irises apparently also scream that I am prone to a “wide range of emotional mood swings leading to exhaustion: grief, fear, anger, pain, enthusiasm and unconscious behaviour.”
My pupils reveal that I’m adrenalised a lot. That I’m a ‘fight or flight’ person. And that I’m holding so much grief and sadness in my lungs, that even my eyes know it.
Lastly, there was advice bestowed upon me and my irises.
-Listen to your body – your greatest gift is intuition.
-Avoid eating while emotionally upset. (Lol. Good luck.)
-Don’t be ‘all or nothing’. Find balance, be gentle. (My youngest daughter isn’t speaking to me because upon my return I emptied the pantry and fridge of anything not organic or healthy. I don’t believe in ‘easy does it’, or this elusive BALANCE I hear so much about. RIP THAT BANDAID OFF!)
So if next time you see me, I have my eyes shut – it’s because they are revealing far too much of myself to strangers.
Oddly enough we ended the appointment talking about vaginal seeding, which obviously does not concern my pupils. I told her I was expecting to have a c-section and she said that I should make sure that my obstetrician gets my vaginal seeds to give to my baby to promote good gut health and something something less allergies…. I smiled and nodded, pretending to know what she was talking about, all the while picturing the horrified look on lovely Dr Llyod’s face when I informed him that after he delivers my son, he’ll need to pop on a pair of overalls and a head torch, and proceed to harvest my birth canal. I mean I assume that’s what that situation is, and NO I AM NOT GOOGLING IT!
Was it a helpful, life-changing week? Look yes, yes it most certainly was. I cried for the first twenty-four hours, I don’t know why. Perhaps because I gave myself permission to finally let go of all the crap I’d been holding onto just so I could survive day-to-day life. Over the past year or so I’ve also buried and swallowed an extremely unhealthy amount of rage and sadness which I believe was starting to poison me from the inside out. My overall internal monologue was that of a misunderstood, ripped-off angry person. I was tired of feeling half-broken all of the time, I was also exhausted from carrying unresolved grief and resentment. I confronted all the touchy raw spots I’d been protecting and I can report I came home feeling lighter.
I also learned humans are capable of foot-long turds… so you know, it was a BIG week guys.
I have so much more to tell you but you’ve already been here for 1200 odd words so I’ll save it for the next time I see you all in person. I guess what I really wanted to say is: if I can stare head-on into all my faults, hurts and anger, and survive it, then anyone can. I mean, I’m still a fucking lunatic, just not an unhappy one!
Yours in peace, love and vaginal seeds.
I’ve had some fairly eye-watering things written about me in my time. Once it was ‘reported’ that my life was so low, I was drinking wine at 4pm in my pyjamas – ignoring the fact that: a) when I’m not with child, that’s just a regular weekday activity, and b) it was a photo that I had shared on Instagram myself. Ground-breaking journalism, guys.
However. An article came out over the weekend that upset me so much, I need to put it into words.
I’m not going to link to the article as it was written by a woman I actually admire (which only compounds my disappointment) and I don’t want to send any ill will her way. I think her heart was in the right place and a lot of what she wrote was spot on. But she imposed her own theories onto my motivation for leaving my radio job, which were quite simply a complete load of bullshit. A quick perusal of this very blog would have given her all the facts she needed, but I fear that perhaps the facts may have gotten in the way of her already fixed narrative, so she didn’t bother.
The article was about how working mothers still don’t have enough support on the home and work fronts (agreed). As an example, she used me leaving my job, along with Jessica Rowe leaving Studio 10 and Maddi Wright leaving her job as a breakfast radio host.
“If working motherhood is too big an ask for polished pros like Jessica Rowe, Em Rusciano and Queensland breakfast host and former House Rules star Maddi Wright, who quit her job this week, then surely it raises the alarm that even after decades of employers talking about supporting mothers to come back to stimulating work, and stay, we are still failing women.”
Deep breaths, Em.
First of all, working motherhood is not ‘too big of an ask’ for me. I can’t speak for Jess or Maddi, but what the actual fuck? Sure it’s hard, but it’s also awesome. I LOVE that my daughters get to see me going after my professional dreams. I’ve always been completely transparent about my struggles and vulnerabilities in trying to find a balance between work and family life – I do that so that none of you are ever under the impression that I find it easy, because I don’t. But make no mistake: I’m not a victim here! My decision to leave was NOT a retreat, and I’m not quitting the role of ‘working mother’ by any stretch of the imagination. When I fell pregnant, it simply clarified what I actually wanted to focus on (making great shit for you lot to enjoy) which I wasn’t doing enough of because early morning radio made me a shell of a person.
“When three, enviably successful and vibrant working mothers with the kind of profiles many would kill for “throw it all away” for stay-at-home mothering, within the space of months, you’re left wondering what’s up.”
Throw it all away?! I have chosen to invest my time and money into my own business. I have a book coming out, a national tour, a podcast, a maternity line and a bajillion other projects in the works. I was just sick of making other people rich from my content. Why is it so hard to believe that I would leave a job in breakfast radio because I wanted to back my own shit in?! Is that such a stretch? Of course family played a part in my decision. I was sick of being tired all the time and as I’ve stated before: that job and I were no longer right for each other. I wasn’t doing what made me happy, and the breakfast radio environment brought out the worst in me.
Obviously it goes without saying that this is not an attack on stay-at-home mums. I’ve been you, I feel you, and I see you, sisters. Your job is tough, exhausting and under-appreciated. You deserve so much credit, and if you would prefer to be working but your work place isn’t supporting you enough, then I wish I could go and secretly poison each and every one of your bosses. But it wasn’t the case for me, so I feel like my name doesn’t belong in this article.
My husband asked me why I was so upset when the article was obviously written in support of me. I had to sit with that for 24 hours and this is where I landed: it felt like she was saying that leaving a high paying job in the media was some kind of a failure on my behalf. Like I was defined by that one role, and since I was no longer doing it, then I must be disappearing into oblivion. I’ve worked bloody hard over the past fifteen years, and despite commercial TV not wanting a bar of me, radio finding me hard to handle, the comedy world not accepting me and mainstream media wanting to find new and interesting ways to punish me for being a driven and ‘opinionated’ woman – I’ve pushed on and made my own magic. I don’t say that because I think I’m a hero, I say that because I want you all to know that nothing will stop this glittering, emotional, work-a-holic train wreck from doing what she loves! Look, she’ll be resting at the station for a bit come Jan 2019 when the prodigal son is born, but then she’ll be launching her new stand-up tour complete with breastfeeding-friendly leotard!
In conclusion: I didn’t feel defeated when I stepped away from my “enviable” job. I actually felt the exact opposite. I felt empowered and strong and like I was taking control of my life once more. Now excuse me while I go and do a million things.
Have a great week,
P.S We sold out of the Em Rusciano community pins in 24 hours! The first batch will be sent off today and we’re hoping to have more in stock next week. I’m touched that so many of you wanted to join my cult!
P.P.S If you’d like to know when my blog goes up, when new merch hits the site or when anything exciting is going on BEFORE ANYONE ELSE does, you can sign up to my pen-pal program here (it’s a mailing list guys but that sounds so corporate, just scroll to the bottom of the page and subscribe.)
As some of you know, I’ve always dreamed of starting my own cult. Not a religious-y, wear orange-y, sacrifice a goat-y kind of operation. More like a ‘getting a huge group of like-minded humans together and having good times without judgement’ scenario.
“BUT EM! SHOULD I CHOOSE TO JOIN SAID CULT, HOW WILL I EVER POSSIBLY BE ABLE TO IDENTIFY ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY IF I SEE THEM OUT AND ABOUT?!”
Great question unknown person who has somehow managed to hack my website and contribute to this blog without my knowledge!
I’ve come up with the Em Rusciano Community Pins. They come in a pack of three, and you can pin them anywhere. Get them here.
The disco owl is our offical community mascot because: obviously. As your offical cult leader, my head gets a look-in, and my last name is really hard to spell, so the badge makes it much easier for you all to remember (on that note, feel free to wear it as your name badge at work, should you be required to wear one).
If you choose to place them upon your breast, bag, hat or scarf, then you are making a solemn vow to be on the look out for other community members, and if you see them, you must acknowledge them in some way. It could be a tip of your real or imaginary hat, a high-five, a wave, a non-creepy wink, an unexpected shower of glitter, whatever takes your fancy. Just do something that says: hey, you’re one of us.
Yours in leopard print,
How are you?
Me? I’m great, thanks for asking!
What was that? Am I tired and emotional? NO I AM NOT!
Do I feel jet-lagged, completely overwhlemed and like the world may swallow me whole at any time?! NO I DO NOT!
You guys you may have noticed that the words you’re reading are flying into your eyes at a greater speed than usual. Can you feel them zinging and flinging off your retinas, leaving a trail of glitter and joy as they dance and prance between the screen and your head? Yeah, I thought so!
Friday was my last day on air and I spent it eating nutella donuts at a brunch full of pregnant women, crying and receiving gifts, and most satisfyingly, having a VERY stern chat with those three women from The Bachelor who were rather unkind to… look let’s be honest, most of the other contestants. We had Cat, Aleisha and Romy in the studio first thing, and I think it’s safe to say that I came in at a ten and maintained that intensity all the way through! (You can watch the video here.)
A few of you have noticed that I unfollowed the radio show on Instagram (have you also looked into getting a life?! Jokes guys… but seriously… WHO DOES THAT?!). I told everyone on the team that I’d be doing it; I need to wean myself off that whole situation and completely detach my brain from radio mode, so I’m going cold turkey. Plus, in some respects, it’s kind of like watching your ex move on without you.
So this morning I woke up at 4am on the dot and went to get up. But as I swung my baby-filled body over my pregnancy pillow (which BTW looks like a giant material turd) the wondrous realisation hit that I didn’t have to drive to the radio station.
“Lay back down, Emy. You don’t have to get up,” my husband soothed. And indeed he was right, so I proceeded to sleep until the luxurious hour of 7am. Drunk on slumber, I got up and went in to wake up my daughters for school – yes, it was half an hour earlier than they usually get up, but it’s a new day and a new regime bitches! They were told to make their beds, put their washing out, and report to the kitchen for dishwasher and lunch making duties. They’ve been getting themselves ready for the past year and a half, which usually resulted in me coming home to a bomb site of breakfast dishes, dinner mess, unmade beds and crap everywhere.
If I am going to be able to work from home, I need to be able to do just that – not spend the first two hours of my day cleaning up their crap. Look, I admit they weren’t exactly fans of the new system, but real talk: they don’t have a fucking choice. Firstly, there’s a baby coming (guys did you know I’m pregnant?! I know I really should mention it more). Secondly, I have a shit tonne to get done before the end of the year, and finally, because this is a dictatorship plain and simple! Just call me Emelia Berlusconi – only with less prostitutes, super yachts, embezzlement, and total and utter corruption. (Silvio Berlusconi is the former Italian PM who pretended he believed in the democratic system but really didn’t. Instead, he indulged in a glam rock star lifestyle at the expense of his long-suffering wife and the Italian people for many years. My assistant Lucy said I had to explain who he is to you as she’d never heard of him, but I assure you all it’s a hilarious and accurate reference, and it’s her fault for being culturally void.)
Now I must away, as I am a working-from-home Mother-type, so there are naps to be had and books to avoid writing.
Oh, by-the-by, my community pins go on sale tonight. You can read more about them here, but I thought it would be a cool way for you all to connect IN REAL LIFE. I know guys, it’s a revolutionary thought!
Have a great day you sexy jerks, and we’ll chat soon.
Casual bombshell alert: This Friday will be my last day on air for 2dayFm Breakfast.
Before anyone gets into a flap, let me make it crystal clear that this is entirely my decision and not one I made lightly. I appreciate how lucky I am to be in a position to leave on my own terms. Usually in radio, you are not afforded such a luxury.
The truth is when I found out I was pregnant, I made my mind up on the spot that this year would be my last year of breakfast radio. I had intended to work through until December, but as my pregnancy is progressing I’m finding it increasingly harder to fulfil the requirements of my job. So after talking it through with my family, and my boss Gemma, it was decided that I should finish up.
I must admit typing that feels strange, but if I’m being completely honest, it also fills me with relief.
Relief that I will no longer have to get up at 4am.
Relief that I will no longer have to come up with my share of three hours worth of content every single day.
Relief that my kids won’t just remember me as being tired and grumpy when they grow up.
I want to spend the next few months focussing on my family, eating, sleeping, possibly wearing overalls and attempting to grow some veggies. But most importantly, I want to properly prepare for the arrival of my new human early next year.
So I want to start by thanking the team behind 2DayFM Breakfast.
Thank you for your support, thank you for your hard work, thank you for your understanding and thank you for your encouragement. It’s a special kind of glorious hell, those first hours of the day; it’s when you’re at your most vulnerable. Coming in each day was made easier by the producers being so supportive. We will always have that bond – we have become a lovely, dysfunctional family and know more about each other’s lives than we do about some of our closest friends. I also want to thank my co-hosts Grant Denyer and Ed Kavalee for supporting my decision to leave, I wish them both all the best in their future endeavours and in Grant’s case: total TV domination.
My time at 2Day has been a mixed bag. I’d be flat out lying if I said any differently. It’s been heart-breaking, hilarious, soul-destroying, uplifting, disappointing and bloody hard a lot of the time. Thanks to radio I’ve learned so much about myself; it really puts a spotlight on your strengths and weaknesses like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. But the best thing to come out of it has been me rediscovering my sense of self. For a time I believed that being a strong, decisive and ambitious woman was something to hide. I must thank radio for reminding me that those are my greatest attributes, not my worst.
So what’s next?
Well, I plan on reacquainting myself with my family. I have recently signed on to write adult fiction with Harper Collins and I now owe them a book by April. I also have a line of maternity wear coming, and I’ve somehow tricked Kate Miller-Heidke into helping me write the music for my new stage show, which I’ll be touring at the end of next year. Kate wrote Muriel’s Wedding the Musical (and won a bloody Helpmann for it) so I felt my show was a natural fit for her genius.
I will also be starting a huge new podcast, and of course, there is the small business of giving birth!
I want to thank everyone who listened right from the Em Rusciano Radio Show days, however you consumed our show – be it podcast, Facebook videos or listening to us live, I appreciate it. I still marvel that people actively choose to let me into their lives for a small portion of their day. That’s my favourite part of this job, and I sometimes forget it’s even happening when I’m sitting in that small studio talking into a stick.
Thank you also to Gemma Fordham for believing in me, for supporting my decision to leave (even though it makes your life far more difficult for the foreseeable future) and most importantly, for being my friend and not just my boss.
Finally I want to thank my husband Scotty, my Mum and Dad and my kids Chella and Odie. You all allowed me to take this huge thing on. It has defined our lives for the past two years, and I could not have achieved all that I have without your love and support.
Think about the last time you genuinely felt rage.
White-knuckle, gut-churning, seething, stab-a-bitch anger. Now, like most women, you might have just silently mouthed to yourself ‘for fuck’s sake’ and then moved on, perhaps bottling up the anger and pushing it down, until it exploded in a wave of tears when your husband told you he’d lost the expensive maternity clothes you purchased online (because you’ve already put on 20kg and soon will just be sporting a fitted sheet with a head hole cut out) and all he needed to do was collect it from the post office and bring it home but instead he has a “black hole in his mind” when he tries to remember what he did with it. Just me? Anyway.
When women get angry, we often don’t express it. We joke about it, we lessen it, we lock it away. Or we eat and drink it with a cheese cracker dipped in red wine.
But imagine if, just once, you could let people know the depth of your anger. You could really let rip about how you were feeling, how deeply you were hating, in some kind of public meltdown of rage.
That kind of emotional release is rarely thought out well; it’s usually a bit blame-y and swear-y, bordering on a rant. If you get to the point of doing it, you haven’t really considered how much negativity YOU have contributed to the situation, you just wanted to yell and scream and call everyone a bunch of cunts.
Well, let me introduce you to Susan.
Susan let her rage out. And it’s so fucking beautiful, it’s hard to look away.
In a Facebook rant that was shared to Reddit, Susan started off by announcing with great sadness that her upcoming wedding will be cancelled, only four days out, and she will be leaving for South America for two months of ‘exploring my soul and ridding myself of toxic energy’. So don’t try calling Susan right now. She’s hugging monkeys in Guyana.
Then the rant begins in earnest.
“Before I begin this mini novel, I invite all of you (including the CUNTS who have ruined my marriage and life) to put yourselves in my shoes.”
Susan then goes on to tell her whole story. She had planned her dream ‘Kardashian’ wedding and asked all guests to pay a measly $1500 per head. She was horrified when most of them refused. So she handled everything really calmly by publicly calling them all cunts then leaving on a holiday.
So first and most obviously here, Susan is a tad unhinged. Okay, she’s flat out ba-nay-nay. She is most definitely the biggest cunt in her story full of cunt-calling.
But I kind of love her.
Don’t get me wrong, I am completely judging Susan every bit as much as you are. The actual genesis of her rage – asking everyone in her life to pay $1500 just for the privilege of attending her dream wedding, and then hating them all when they wouldn’t – is beyond ridiculous.
But she just scorched her own earth. She just threw a match at her whole life, and didn’t give a shit at what went up in flames. She is like Bruce Willis slowly walking away from an exploding truck without looking back (I don’t know what movie I’m referencing there. All of his movies? None of them? All of the ones where he’s not a ghost psychologist, at least.)
So even though I think Susan is off her rocker, the thing is, I get her. I can sit inside that level of rage with her. I’ve been that angry. In fact, I’m in awe of the bravery it would have taken for her to actually hit the share button on her outrageous rant. There is no coming back from what she wrote, no ‘oh sorry, that was just autocorrect’.
She’s out of her fucking mind… but she’s impressive. Imagine the cathartic relief she must have felt. The weight that tumbled off her shoulders as she shut her laptop and boarded the flight to Peru, ashes raining down behind her. She followed through. She set her rage free.
Female anger is finding it’s moment. Women are now starting to feel like they can speak up more about their grievances – from the big ones like equal opportunities, fair pay, domestic violence, housework expectations, to the more personal ones like wedding guests refusing to pay 1.5k for a shitty buffet dinner – women are giving themselves permission to get angry.
In the past, I’ve been called aggressive, unappealing, and scary, so I tried to ignore my anger as to make myself more palatable. But this year, with the uprise of women finally feeling safe to express their honest emotions, I’ve learned how to give myself permission to be pissed off.
Ladies, if you’re feeling like a shitstorm is brewing; I encourage you to get to know your anger. Acknowledge it, sit with it. Express it in a safe way. Wear it bravely when you feel it. But don’t bottle it up and don’t ignore it.
And probably don’t call all of your friends cunts on Facebook.
To my real Mother,
Firstly, happy 60th birthday.
Secondly, even though we’ve never met, your influence has permeated and directed my every move since I became aware that you were, in fact, my mum. When I saw you standing naked except for a pair of sky high stilettos and a cigarette dangling between your crimson lips on your Girlie show tour poster — the day I realised who you truly were – I knew that from afar, you would ensure my path in life, by setting a sterling example in your own.
Today I wish to thank you, Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone, for helping me to become the woman I am today.
Darling Mother, while there is no biological proof of our connection, in my heart I know that in 1978 you made a secret trip to Australia where you met and fell in love with a small, wiry, Italian guitarist named Vincenzo. You had a wild one night stand in a seedy motel room and then 9 months later gave birth to me in a public toilet.
Dad and I have never actually spoken about this, however I can tell by looking into his eyes that that’s EXACTLY what happened.
Mother Madonna, you were the first outspoken, short-haired, muscular Italian woman that I had ever encountered. You were just like me, only you touched your vagina in public way more than I did. You were fierce, unapologetic and didn’t give a f*** about what other people thought of you.
When I was 10-years-old you released Like A Prayer, and it resulted in me setting fire to the lounge room when I attempted to recreate your burning crucifix scene from the video clip. My other Mother was extremely upset with me but I knew that you would’ve approved of the green shag pile carpet being sacrificed for art.
As an 11-year-old, you were the reason I bonded with the AIDS patients at the infectious disease hospital my other Mother worked at. I would hang out with them in the hospice talking only of you. These glorious men of course believed me, and once I told them that you were my real Mother, they would immediately tell me how much we looked alike. See, Mother? We also share that in common; the gay community continue to lie to me, love me and hold my career up as well.
Now at 39, but still looking 29, I’m Australia’s Madonna. Don’t google it, just trust me.
Much like you, I have spent my career being told I am too everything. Too loud, too opinionated, too scary, too strong, too much. I was constantly told that who I was wasn’t right, that I needed to change in order for people to like me. That I was a diva and impossible to work with. I’ve hit rock bottom a few times, just like you, Mum.
But you’ve taught me how to reinvent myself. How to say ‘up yours’ to anyone who dared call you irrelevant. And now, in your 60th year, perhaps unbeknownst to you, you are pioneering how women are traditionally meant to age. I attended your Rebel Heart Tour, and saw you on stage at age 58 doing deep squats with aggressive pelvic thrusts to the beat. It made my knees ache watching (and I have reason to believe you were having your own fun with one of your 27 back-up dancers, you saucy minx). On Instagram I’ve seen you counting down every day to your 60th; you are completely embracing it, and it’s bloody amazing.
When I was a kid and my grandma was 60, she baked for the CWA and had a tight blue perm. I loved her like crazy, but I think your version of 60 is my true genetic calling. You’re not aging disgracefully, as people always joke, hurling comments like “It’s time to put it away love” and telling you to “dress your age”. But who decided that, at a certain point, women have to turn into Mrs Claus? Not you, long lost Mother. Not you.
So happy 60th, my Madonna mum.
Thank you for showing me that it is OK to be both a devoted Mother and on a podium drenched in glitter. That I can remain fiercely myself, and still raise impressive offspring. That women can be powerful, sexy and in control at every age.
Thank you for maintaining the rage you magnificent bitch. Here is to the next 60 years, and to our eventual emotional reunion.
Yours in loyalty, Lycra and love,
In this past week, I have done two interviews. I know, guys. Two whole interviews. I’m totes popular. One of them I did from home while wearing my pyjama bottoms and eating a packet of biscuits, and the other one involved a full photo shoot and stylist team, so I really covered all bases.
Both (female) interviewers asked me a question along the lines of: “You seem so busy, you’re hands on with your girls, you’re juggling life and a demanding job….. how do you do it all?”
Real talk: I don’t, not even close. I am the exact opposite of a successful juggler. I’m the drunk clown, with mascara streaming down her face, crying because she broke one of her eggs and the other two won’t put their fucking shoes on and get in the car… I don’t know how the fuck I managed to give off the impression to anyone that I am a woman who ‘does it all’ – I thought my vibe was the exact opposite. So you can imagine my horror when these two journalists went down that line of questioning.
So I wish to apologise to any of you that are under the impression that I am, in any way, handling my life. If I’m giving off the air of having my shit together, then you have been strongly mislead.
Some days I do. Some days I’m on top of the washing, a nutritious dinner is simmering on the stove, the kids are voluntarily doing their homework, the beds are made perfectly, and I’ve written a thesis on curing cancer in albino seals. (Okay, slight exaggeration. The beds are never made…)
And then other days, MOST days; my family are eating Weetbix for dinner, I’m wearing bathers for undies, and the girls will be lucky if they get peanut butter smeared on a credit card for lunch tomorrow.
I don’t ever want to give you the impression that I am doing it all, because I’m not. No one is. I have no interest in pretending to be that person. I don’t want you to ever look at me and think I’m some kind of expert domestic goddess. What I do want to do is inspire you to own your shit, encourage you to never duck your head, and empower you to stop apologising for things that aren’t your fault. I am the poster girl for imperfection and getting shit done. That’s it.
Let’s all agree to stop thinking that this ‘do it all’ concept is the ultimate goal. We’re just perpetuating the feeling of not being good enough. It makes women feel inadequate for having dirty dishes in the sink, or having kids who won’t do their homework, or for not having sex with their husbands in six months because they’re so bloody tired. Every time we read about some successful woman explaining how she has it all, it makes us feel like we’re failing.
I can honestly tell you that my life is a mess 95% of the time. I can also tell you I outsource stuff, and that’s okay. I’ve hired myself a wife. I have a lady who comes to my house twice a week and helps me to wife – she helps with the washing, she reminds me to pay invoices, she organises the girl’s uniforms, she makes sure there is food in the cupboard… I pay her to do all the things I just can’t physically fit in. I’m very grateful to be in the position where I can afford a housekeeper (grateful, but also with the knowledge that I worked my ass off to be in this position) but I also don’t want to take credit for her work – she keeps my house together, and I bloody love her for it.
So don’t worry if you ever feel like everyone else has their shit together more than you do. Because they don’t, and it doesn’t matter anyway. Stop focussing on what you haven’t done, and think about the shit that you did achieve. If you can get ONE win this week, that’s enough. Look for that one win, and hold on to it like gold dipped in diamonds.
Today I took the bins out. That will fucking do.
P.S. I’m going to be in Who magazine this Thursday, and I’m not telling you to inundate their social media with how wonderful it was to see me in their delightful magazine, but I’m not not telling you to do that either. Go out and immediately buy a copy. I know it seems retro, but do it.