Unspecial

I’ve been glued to Twitter for the past couple of days. I’m not ashamed to admit it – I’ve been enthralled by the Royal Birth. I can’t explain why. I wasn’t this fascinated when the miracle of Kimye Junior was bestowed upon the world. Perhaps it’s because I’m a die-hard Monarchist? Perhaps it’s because I had a crush on Prince William for 3 weeks when I was 15? Perhaps there’s another reason I haven’t yet figured out yet? (My mind is a very cluttered place right now – seriously, a thought couldn’t move in there without bumping some dusty old memory off a table and breaking it.)

There has been a lot of talk (mainly from my Husband, the evil Republican who believes that Australia’s Head of State should be a president) that the Royal Baby is no more special than any other baby. I have to say, I kinda agree with him. (But not about the whole “Australian President” thing.)

Call me cold-hearted, unsentimental, uncaring or just really fucking weird – but I don’t think any baby or child is special. Special to their parents and loved ones, absolutely. But not special-special. (You know what I mean, don’t you?)

If Husband and I have a baby, I don’t expect it to be a huge event. I don’t expect to be showered with gifts. I don’t expect my own Twitter hashtag. I don’t actually expect anyone to care (apart from Husband, obviously). Having a baby is nothing special. It’s a biological function. It happens thousands of times a day in Australia.

I’ve been noticing, as more and more people I know have children, that many parents are trying to make their children special. Not just special to them, but special to everyone. A baby is no longer called by it’s name – it’s Princess Georgia or Prince Joshua. The baby gets its own (very expensive) photoshoot with its own designer wardrobe. (And don’t get me started on the quarterly professional photoshoots many children now get!) Birthday cakes are elaborate affairs involving at least six layers, two different kinds of frosting and a three-figure pricetag and the associated birthday party has its own party-planner. The child has a FaceBook page, a blog and a brand before it can even talk.

Why? Why are parents trying to make their children super-special? Is it a need for attention? A desire to be seen as being a better mum or dad than other parents they know? Maybe a need to have a child who is popular or perfect or both? Or is it simply to give their child a better childhood than they had? (And if that’s the case, I don’t think throwing more money at a child means they have a better childhood.)

If we have a baby, I don’t want the child to be special to anyone except those that love it and want it to be special to them. Perhaps I really am unsentimental or cold-hearted. Or perhaps pregnancy hormones haven’t kicked in and marinated my brain to the point where I believe my child will grow up to become a super-popular super-star super-special kid?

If kids are in our future, then we plan on giving our child a fairly normal (to us) childhood – I plan on baking unelaborate birthday cakes myself. I plan on us using our trusty old camera to capture the candid moments of our child’s life. I don’t plan on allowing them to have a FaceBook account until they are well into their teenage years. I definitely don’t have a logo and brand in mind for them.

Parental love and affection aside, a child is not special simply because they were born. A person becomes special by doing something special with their life.

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PS: Did anyone else find the Duchess of Cambridge’s choice of frock as she left the hospital slightly eerie?

Don’t Assume

Lately there has been a lot of crap floating about the tabloids and across Twitter. None of it good, useful or kind. I’ve seen women tearing shreds off other women for not doing what they think is “right”. It’s not “right” for Lisa Curry to have a baby at 51. It’s not “right” for Taylor Swift to have lots of boyfriends. It’s not “right” that Nigella Lawson is letting her husband get away with physically abusing her in public.

Don’t assume you know what’s going on in other people’s lives.

Don’t assume Lisa Curry is using someone else’s eggs to have a child at 51. She could be using her own. After all, women MUCH older than 51 have fallen pregnant naturally. A family friend got pregnant naturally at 49 last year. She spent the entire 9 months in a state of shock and she was very uncertain and scared about having a child so late in life. But she did, the baby is perfect and she is in love with a gorgeous little girl.

Don’t assume Taylor Swift is a “slut” (damn I hate that word!) simply because she’s had more than 3 boyfriends in her 22 years. Has it occurred to people that maybe blokes don’t stick around because maybe she doesn’t give them what they want? Maybe she loves being in love? Maybe she just likes sex? None of that is a crime and none of it deserves judgement.

Don’t assume that Nigella Lawson hasn’t filed a police report after the weekend’s horrific events. If you were famous, would you want the whole world to know that you were in a violent marriage? Would you announce to the paparazzi that you were just popping down to the police station to file a report? Whilst there are NO excuses for violence, there are (very occasionally) reasons – perhaps he has dementia or a mental illness and she feels it’s her duty to stick by him? Or perhaps she feels compelled to make the marriage work no matter what?

These statements aren’t necessarily my personal opinions or thoughts. I’m just trying to say – don’t believe everything you read, don’t assume you know the intimate details of other peoples lives and don’t assume it’s okay to perpetuate rumours.

Celebrities live under a microscope. There are thousands, sometimes even millions, of people just watching and waiting for them to do something “exciting” like hook up with an A-grade celebrity, go through a nasty break-up, have a baby out of wedlock (oh the horror!) or leave the house without knickers on.

Let’s put me under the microscope: Husband has physically manhandled me out of a cafe when I was having a panic attack – it looked pretty brutal to other people, but I need to get out of there and I could barely move. If I’d been stalked by the paparazzi, then I’m sure the headlines would’ve read “PerthWife in abusive marriage!” Husband and I have also had a fight in public. It didn’t turn physical, but we didn’t like each other very much at the time. We’ve also had some uh… quality married time in a semi-public place. I regularly leave the house with no knickers on. Then there have been my weight issues where I got fat, lost weight then got fat again (thank you insomnia meds!) Very exciting stuff if I was Kim Kardashian. Not so much because I’m just a dull overweight wife from the suburbs.

I guess my point is, nobody looks good under a microscope. And you know what, most of the time it’s none of our goddamn business what other people get up to.

As my grandmother always used to say, if you don’t have anything nice to say then keep your lips zipped.

Belonging

Belonging (v) Be rightly classified in or assigned to a specific category.

I’m one of those weird blogging creatures that doesn’t really fit in. There are the food bloggers who collectively eat at the most “in” cafes (when they aren’t at home just whipping up stuff like confit alpaca with an organic swede puree and a truffle foam for a casual Sunday lunch). Then there are the parenting bloggers with their own exclusive online communities, events and conferences ; the tech bloggers who are often gifted the latest gadgets ; the super-enthusiastic organic veggie growers who speak in Latin ; and the industry bloggers who appear to know every acronym under the sun.

Instead, (due to my lack of children, cooking talent and knowledge of a foreign language) I’m lumped in with “personal blogger”, which apparently has the connotation of a whinging, pimply-faced, horny teenager who hates with their parents.

That couldn’t be less me! (Well, apart from the whinging bit which I’m actually quite good at.) There are no offers of paid advertising, no conferences just for me and my kind, no breakfast clubs, no free ipads. Nothing.

[Note: To be honest even if I was offered these things I’m not sure I’d take them up on the offer, unless Cadbury wanted to give me chocolate in exchange for blog space – then I’d practically throw myself at their feet and would give them anything they asked for.]

But it does hurt to be constantly left out. It hurts to not be invited anywhere or to anything because I don’t (in the words of one well-known Perth blogger) “have anything to offer our unique group of talented individuals”.

Ouch.

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that the blogging scene is really quite insular – unless you are clearly defined as a tech-blogger/food blogger/parent blogger/fitness blogger/whatever, then people don’t really want to know you. If you don’t fit into a certain box then they assume you have nothing to say, nothing to offer and no talent of any kind. You’re nothing if you can’t be clearly defined. In this way, it seems that real life and digital life unfortunately aren’t too dissimilar. I feel I feel a bit like I’m outside the Big Bloggy House looking in at all the bloggers who’ve found their tribe and are having a grand old time talking about how to child-wrangle one-handed or cook chicken liver and gooseberry cupcakes.

From my position outside the BBH (Big Bloggy House) and with my nose pressed up against the window (I like to see what I’m missing out on), I have witnessed some strange trends emerging. The food bloggers are often keen to support any over-priced and mediocre business simply because it’s the “in” thing at the moment. The tech bloggers are constantly bickering with each other over the latest i-product and how brilliant/shit/innovative/useless it is (they seem to change their minds on a weekly basis). The industry bloggers appear to be developing their own language. Meanwhile the parent bloggers are just trying to make it through the next two hours without mopping up some more vomit or being at the centre of a supermarket melt-down of epic proportions thanks to an over-tired toddler.

I suppose I’m jealous – it would be lovely to be able to talk about a shared passion or experience with a group of people from all walks of life. But I’m still looking for my tribe, my place to belong. I hope I find it soon – and I hope they don’t all talk in Latin!

Stop The Bitchiness

I’m tired.

I’m tired of all the bitchiness that’s going around at the moment.

This bitchiness is sometimes disguised as humour in the popular news websites and blogs of the interwebs, although sometimes writers don’t even bother to hide the cruel words amongst a few jokes. And to be honest, all this bitchiness is turning me away from those sites and those writers. We’re told “Don’t judge, be kind!” on one site, but a few days later a nasty and disdainful piece of writing comes out disguised as a humorous opinion piece and the “no judging” concept has flown out the window.

Yes, Lara Bingle has done some dumb things in her time, but haven’t we all? There’s no need to write condescending articles about her. And perhaps the gold frock Delta wore at the final show of The Voice was not her best fashion choice (although I actually quite liked it), but instead of calling her brain-dead can’t we just embrace the fact that we all have different tastes when it comes to fashion? And don’t even get me started on the nastiness that surrounded Chrissie Swan and THAT women’s magazine article.

We’re women! (Okay, only about 50% of us, but I’m hazarding a guess that most readers here are women – feel free to correct me if I’m wrong though.) Whatever happened to the sisterhood? What happened to sticking up for each other and supporting each other? What happened to embracing differences and realizing that none of us are perfect and make brilliant decisions 100% of the time?

I’m guilty of being bitchy at times. It’s a fine line between trying to be honest and tell it how it is in that blunt and slightly sarcastic way I’m known for amongst family and friends and crossing the line into downright bitchiness just for the sake of it.

So I’m going to try and stop being bitchy. It’s juvenile and there are better ways to get my point across.

I’m not perfect, I know I’ll cross that line every now and then. But I’ll try not to, because words can hurt just as much as a slap in the face. Now if only other writers and social commentators could try and join in my “Stop the bitchiness” pledge….