I got into a fight with a water aerobics instructor.

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.

 

Mood.

 

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!

Also mood.

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..

Serene leopard queen

And sometimes it looks like this..

Shut up YOU’RE eating ice-cream in your PJ’s at 2pm!

Thanks for listening, guys. Deep breaths.

Em X

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.


Death, Australian Idol and time.

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.

Mum, Me, Aunty Jo & Uncle Haydn, Aus Idol Live show 2005.
Nana and Marty Worrall! A true highlight for her.

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.”

The glorious Denise Arline Spence.

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,

Speak soon.


10 Tips for teenage girls.

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.

www.Valfre.com

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.

5. If you’re on the precipice of a complete emotional breakdown and feeling REALLY shitty, ask yourself the following questions:
  • 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.

6. Consent – SAY IT WITH ME! Listen to that inner voice. If a situation feels dangerous or uncomfortable and your boundaries are not being respected  – SPEAK UP. If you’re with a person who is trying to be sexual with you, I mean kiss, touch, hug or something more, and you don’t want them to, say so. Their feelings may be hurt for a few minutes but that is preferable to you being forced to do something you don’t want to do. The reverse is also true, if someone says no to you, respect that and them.
Photo by Cecile Hoodie

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.

Yeah, puberty was TOUGH for me y’all. I feel you.

 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.

My contribution to the next generation!

Love your pal,

P.S – I was lucky enough to record an episode of the ABC’s Fierce Girls podcast. You can listen to it here.

The truth about being a pregnant person in your late 30’s

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.

Fashion Icon Grandma Yetta
I do love a sassy senior!

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.

Velvet leopard print fixes everything.

I see you preggos, I feel you, I am you.

Much love,

 

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.

 


Your lady parts had a HUGE win today!

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.)

 


I was banned from the internet last week.

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.

Preach.

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.

I won’t get into the science of it because… I can’t. BUT, YOU SKEPTICS, LISTEN TO THIS: It was the most accurate description of me anyone has ever made.
Are you having nightmares yet?

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. 

Woah.

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’m going to be a better person.

Well, this week I’m off to a health retreat, because that’s definitely going to undo the block of mozzarella cheese I’m currently sitting here eating as though it’s an apple. It also brings me one step closer to my ultimate life goal, which I only found out was my ultimate life goal after reading a Harper’s Bazaar profile called “A Day In The Life Of Oprah”.


Ultimate life goal? Oprah’s life.
Let’s unpack this article, shall we?


“7:10 am : This morning, when I hit the blackout shades just after seven, the light was casting its golden glow over the green lawn, with the clouds and ocean in the distance. I watched three geese fly over the backyard and land in the pond. I hadn’t even had a sip of coffee, but it was already a perfect day.”

Oh, Oprah. What a morning you’ve had already. Am I the only one imagining Stedman up at the crack of dawn, wrangling the chosen geese, holding them under a tarp, sweaty and stressed, just waiting for the clock to tick over to 7:10am so that they land at exactly the right time each morning for the sole delight of Queen Oprah’s delicate oiyes? “RELEASE THE GEESE!”

“8:00 A.M. First thing in the morning, I brush my teeth and take the dogs out. There are five of them and everybody’s ready to get out, but I make them wait while I brush my teeth.”

I have to admit – I was surprised she cleans her own teeth. I thought she’d have an offical teeth brusher, like Prince Nazeem of Zamunda (the royal penis is clean your highness). Also, bloody impressive effort by her dogs, waiting to go outside until her oral hygiene routine is complete. Oprah waits for no man, nor canine bowel movement.

She then reads a card from her the 365 grateful truths box today’s one is: ‘Wealth is not measured in dollars and cents, but by the love we make, the laughter we enjoy, the meals we share, the dreams we experience, in the hopes we create.’  Which is fine if you’re a fucking millionaire. P.S. Forbes reported this year, Oprah is worth a casual 2.8 BILLION. So something is getting measured in dollars and cents!

Last week, I was told I had thrown away my career. Read here…

“9:00 A.M. After my meditation, I work out for an hour. I do resistance flexibility, a low-impact strength-training program that involves two, sometimes three, people pushing against you as you push against them. I have stretchers come to my house to help me do it. 

Let’s take a second to reflect on this flexibility regime. The stretchers come to her house and move her limbs for her. She’s so rich, she literally will not lift a finger. Three men pushing against her as she lies on the ground, gently moaning…. I’ve got a name for that sex tape. The Colour Purple…Headed Warrior…

Next, an international designer has a trunk show in her lounge room as she picks her favourite things in their upcoming range. It’s sort of like online shopping, but richer and with less fucks given. Then, lunch time. Oprah and Stedman “always try to eat lunch in the garden. We have a rule: If we cannot find it in our garden, then we cannot eat it. Today was an exception; we had fabulous crab cakes flown in from Pappas in Baltimore.” You reaaally blew up your own rule there, Winfrey. Screw the supermarket. If you can’t find it in your own garden, then get it flown in on a private jet. #environment.

After lunch, she takes care of business. “I personally sign all checks over 100 grand. Even on a perfect day, I want to do it. Having grown up poor, I can never completely turn over all my money matters to anyone else. It’s important for me to know how much the electricity bill is, to know what’s coming in, what’s going out.” Good on you, doll. I mean, anything worth under $99,999 is petty cash anyway, so don’t waste your time. (Also, is her electricity bill over $100k? Maybe the geese require extra heating.)

“My perfect evening involves sitting around the fire with family, reading a novel, and drinking herbal tea. I generally prefer reading a novel to watching a movie. I can go for weeks without turning on the TV.” Probs not a good PR move for someone with her own television network, but please, go on, doll. “In the evening, I have a bath before bed; it’s a ritual. I’m a bathing professional—I have different bubble baths, salts, beads, and oils. I was in Provence a couple of summers ago, and I got this pure lavender oil.”

The best part about this article is that she has just flat out said ‘FUCK IT. I’m rich and I’m better than all of you.’ She’s not even pretending to be an everyday woman. I wouldn’t either, I respect that. I’m an everyday woman, and I can tell you: it’s fucking shit some of the time.

I’ve started a cult. Wanna join? Read about it here.

For me now, a perfect day is not just one thing; it’s a series of small things. It’s the crisp air on your face when you open the door in the morning, the reflection of mountains and clouds in a crystal lake. It’s paying attention: What does the sky look like? Where’s the sun? When you’re walking down a path, how do your feet feel when they touch the grass? I know what people will say, “Well, Oprah, if I were you, I’d have a perfect day too.” But I’ve earned it: I’ve earned the ability to pay attention to every aspect and detail of the day. I have a great appreciation for the little things that add up to that big thing called a meaningful life.

You fucking have earned it, O. You lap that shit up. You snuggle your geese and your crab cakes tight, because you have worked your tits off for them.

Now I’m off to meditate and shit, because that’ll make up for the second doughnut I’m planning on having after the cheese is done.

It’s a new me, guys!

 


I did not ‘throw it all away’, thank you very much.

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! 

Em Rusciano Community Pins
BEST CULT EVER.

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.)


Do you wanna be in my cult?

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,

 

 


First day back in the land of the living!

Hello!

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.

 

Pregnancy pillow or pale patterned poo?

“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.

NO MORE!

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.