Blog Archives

Running Away: A Rant, a Revelation, and a Reawakening

runningawayImage Credit

Running away seems to be a survival instinct for me. I’m feisty, but when it comes down to the choice of fight or flight, I’m cashing in my frequent flyer points and getting the hell out of wherever. So I’ve been away for a while because I’ve been on the run again. Not literally; I didn’t actually go anywhere, but a section of my brain (officially named The Blog Cortex), packed its bags and hoofed it. I’ve attempted to come back a few times, but discovered The Blog Cortex was only interested in phoning it in from an area with dodgy reception. But today, its back, the bags are unpacked, and the shiny distractions have all been put away.

I think the initial trigger for my vacay from blog land was politics. Australia is in an election year, and quite honestly it’s depressing. That I do mean literally. It’s actually made it hard for me to get up sometimes (hello black dog, my old friend). I’m a deeply political person. I believe in human rights, caring for the environment, compassion, equal access to services etc. You might rightly get the sense I’m a bit left-wing. So political causes, I’m on board with. But I hate politics. Perhaps that’s not strong enough. I detest politics. In Australia at least, our current political landscape consists of posers and bullies, often within the same person. It’s a whole lot of arguing about nothing, calling each other names, clichés, and meaningless diatribe, no policies, and punishing our most vulnerable people in the name of political point scoring. Oh, and senseless bribery. Let’s not forget buying people’s votes with nonsensical incentives. Our politics is sexist, racist, ageist, homophobic, xenophobic and every other form of prejudice you can think of. And at times, downright idiotic. So I hate election years, witnessing billions of dollars are spent achieving nothing but some ego stroking and catchphrase generating.

At the time The Blog Cortex ran for the hills, our then Prime Minister Julia Gillard, was copping a battering from the opposition and her own party for, well, being female. She was then ousted by our Former Prime Minister (who she had ousted earlier), the election was recalled, and the idiocy continued. It was too much. I’m a political person, but I have always wanted this blog to be apolitical. I am known to have the odd rant about politics, but this blog is intended as a sacred, idiot-politician-free zone. But I became so surrounded by idiocy, and so completely and utterly pissed off and depressed by it all, that I couldn’t continue to write about other things when all I wanted to do was scream at these dickheads ruining my country. So The Blog Cortex ran. And kept running.

Then being away from here became a kind of blessing. I decided to take the time out to refocus on why I was here in the first place. What did I want? Why was I blogging? And why, as a self-confessed recovering perfectionist, did I still find fronting up to the page and spewing out my imperfections so scary? I had started to feel inadequate, comparing myself to people who have been blogging for years, and becoming terrified I was just copying every other blogger out there. What was the point of blogging if I wasn’t being original? Except I was. I’ve always written authentically. My blogging voice is still finding and defining itself, but it has been my voice on the page every time. I care about health, the environment, living simply, and ‘finding myself’. So do many other bloggers, so it’s inevitable I’ll write about the same topics as them now and then. But getting it into my head that this was ok was a bit tricky. That it’s ok to be imperfect. That it’s ok to be a beginner. I’ve always felt this need to be the best at everything I do, and being a beginner at things has always been more challenging for me because of it. So I took a bit of time to get the hell over myself, and just be me. The real me, not the perfect me. Read the rest of this entry

Back (again) and Thanks

Dear Readers, I disappeared (again!). I know it wasn’t that long ago I wrote a post just like this one, but I’ve been in the same guilt zone lately. I had some really shitty days with my illness where my brain had enough trouble remembering my name, let alone writing blog posts. I also had a few things to get sorted out in my head before I returned to the keyboard. So (once again) I’m back. I can now happily guarantee that these disappearances will happen from time to time. Between lupus, ME etc, depression and anxiety, the rest of my life, and those moments where I just need to shut out the world, I’m gonna have to take time out now and then. I’m sure none of you could care less, but as a recovering perfectionist, I’ve had some struggles with not facing up to the screen every day. But, I can finally say I’m now ok with it (I think!).

image by tanahelene

image by tanahelene

I have also been touched by some gestures made by a couple of lovely bloggers and readers.

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LITTLE STEPS: Down The Drain

Today I thought I’d take a look at something that I think all of us are guilty of doing at some time or another. How often do you contemplate your pipes? Ever wondered about the journey your dish water takes once you pull that plug? Ever stopped to consider exactly how many drops of used cooking oil it takes to kill a fish? Or an ecosystem? This post could be accompanied by some graphic and horrible images, but I thought I’d post photos of some creatures I’ve met on my travels instead. Creatures who can remind us just how important it is to take the extra effort at home to protect our waterways.

A tiny crab we discovered in Fiji

A tiny crab we discovered in Fiji

We use water in diverse ways in our homes: cooking, cleaning, washing, playing, soothing, nourishing, drinking, and of course, flushing. But whatever the reason, all the water we use, whether at home or out and about, makes its way via drains to the sewerage system. Still with me? Not the most fascinating topic, I know. But our lack of interest in our drains is causing damage to our waterways, and the ecosystems they support. What goes down the plug hole, also has to come out somewhere, and for most homes it’s the sewerage system. After treatment, this water then rejoins the water supply for reuse, or is released into creeks, rivers, and oceans. When we don’t pay attention to what we’re putting down the drains, the entire system is affected, which can: Read the rest of this entry

Crazy Things I Do When Insomnia Strikes

I’ve written before about being an insomniac. Insomni-maniac is probably closer to the truth. If there’s anyone out there not sleeping like crazy, it’s usually me.

Photo credit: Nizaad

Photo credit: Nizaad

There’s a number of reasons:

  • My autoimmune conditions can have insomnia as a bonus
  • Most of my medications for aforementioned conditions come with built-in insomnia
  • I’ve had depression on and off for a lot of my life, but have had a very bad episode for the last fifteen months: depression causes insomnia
  • I keep replaying events and conversations in my head at bed time which one day I’m just going to have to finally deal with
  • And finally, that Type A, achievement-driven, million ideas per second, perfectionist personality of mine that I’m trying to control. It likes to spend bedtime planning, evaluating, regrouping, debriefing.

So all in all, sleep is like an exotic destination I dream of visiting one day, and no matter how much work I do to try to get there, I just don’t seem to mange it. Except at about 7 am. I can sleep through the days like a champion, but unfortunately society at large doesn’t really cater for people who function that way. And what makes it more frustrating is that Mr Raw could win gold in the Sleep Olympics – he’s asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. Or even beforehand.

As I found myself getting up to my usual crazy insomniac antics at 4am I decided to keep a list of them: Read the rest of this entry

Mother of All Days

It’s Mothers’ Day in Australia today, so I hope all the mums out there are getting some relaxation and being shown just how much they’re appreciated. If not, go kick some offspring butt and make them give you the respect you deserve!

retro card

Mothers’ Day is a bit of a tricky one for me. It carries a lot of emotion. I guess the primary reason is that despite wanting to, Mr Raw and I are unable to have children because of my autoimmune conditions. It’s something we’ve mostly come to terms with, and we’ve celebrated other joys in our life that may not have been possible if we had become parents. But seeing friends my age and younger, enjoying parenthood so much, can still sometimes cause some sadness and longing for ‘what could have been’. Mind you, we’re not alone. I have a few friends who have also been unable to have children. Some are still struggling through IVF, and others have accepted that it won’t happen but are yet to come to terms with the emotions and finality involved. There are many reasons among us, but Mothers’ Day is somewhat of a torment for us all. However, that being said, I love watching my friends who are parents, especially the mums. Seeing these women I’ve known from school, or who I’ve employed, or who have employed me, watching them grow and become strong, nurturing goddesses, giving more love than they ever thought possible to their beautiful children.

My own mother and I have had a strained relationship at times, so it hasn’t always been happy in that sense either. Actually, strained is an understatement. I have issues, she has issues, and together we have more issues. We spent several years estranged. But we have a good relationship again now, and I see her regularly. In fact, I lived with her last year, for the first time since I was 16. So today’s not negative in that sense this year, but it definitely has been in the past.

The pond section of my mum's garden. She made it all herself!

The pond section of my mum’s garden. She made it all herself!

We also had a family tragedy last year when Mr Raw’s young cousin died from suicide. She chose to take her life on Mothers’ Day. To dramatically understate (because words just aren’t enough), her mother is devastated. Her life now revolves around grief and trying to raise awareness for suicide, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder, in her daughter’s name. This year’s Mothers’ Day is one of grieving for our family, and of course, it will always be so.

garden waterfall

And one of the waterfall sections

I’ve decided to also write about something else for Mothers’ Day, the effect a mother’s influence and bond has on her daughter’s health. Read the rest of this entry

Make Your Own Yogurt: a cheap, easy, delicious party in your mouth

Whoooooo likes yoghurt*? (This is your cue: Weeeee love yoghurt!) Who consumes so much yoghurt that if they poured their weekly yoghurt consumption on the floor instead of down their throats, they’d end up with enough white goodness to build yoghurt-people and walk in a yoghurt wonderland? Just me? Didn’t think so (I hear ya!) *For the purpose of correct spelling according to my country, and the country my country’s language originated in, I will be using the word ‘yoghurt’ in this post. For the purposes of being an attention seeker and making it easy for everyone on the www to find me, I’ll use the word ‘yogurt’ in the title 😉

Why Eat Yoghurt?

I am addicted to yoghurt, and this is a good thing. Yoghurt is a super food and extremely beneficial to those of us who have digestive issues.  The Weston A. Price Foundation states:

Yogurt and kefir are lacto-fermented products that can aid digestion. They may be the only dairy products that some people will be able to tolerate well.

This is definitely true for me. I love cheese but it does not love me. Milk is a liquid laxative to me, and I may as well scoop ice cream straight into the toilet bowl (TMI? You’re reading the wrong blog!). However I can eat yoghurt endlessly. Kefir we’ll come back to another day.

A review by the Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University found that pro-biotic yoghurt can provide assistance to a number of gastrointestinal disorders including: lactose intolerance, constipation, diarrhoea, colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and H. pylori infection. However, please note that these beneficial effects don’t necessarily apply to the sugary dairy confections which a lot of big companies plug in the supermarkets. Real yoghurt is pro-biotic – it contains live cultures – and is made through lacto-fermentation. It does not contain sugar, and has no need for gelatin or gluten. Yep, that’s right, wondering why you’re avoiding gluten but still feeling bloated after breakfast? Read the label the next time you buy a big name sweetened supermarket yoghurt.
Real yogurt can also help stabalise vaginal flora (ie prevent yeasty infections ladies), and as it contains all of the nutrients of milk, it has all of the health benefits of milk, including helping to prevent osteoporosis. For someone like me who has to take calcium-depleting steroidal immune suppressants, high levels of calcium in the diet are absolutely vital.

Let’s make it! Read the rest of this entry

Make Your Own! Save money, the planet, and feel like a rockstar!

Years ago my passion for environmental sustainability meant I started making my own, well, lots of things. Washing powder, shampoo, conditioner, lip balm… It was fun. It was novel. It was too time consuming. Well, actually it wasn’t, but I moved on to other things and just told myself it was too hard. Truthfully it was mainly because my, ahem, ‘partner’ at the time was an asshole and complained about my homemade goodies, constantly moaned and groaned about them being stupid. And I was too weak and co-dependent to stand up to him. I did eventually, and kicked him straight. to. the. restraining order. But I digress. That’s another tale for another day.

Fast forward to the present. The now. Now I’m…

  • caring about my health and determined to get rid of as many nasties from my life as I can.
  • unapologetically a crunchy greenie, and determined to help rid as many nasties from the Earth’s environment as I can.
  • angry at our capitalist society which brainwashes us to consume constantly whilst our health and the planet suffer.
  • broke and needing to introduce a whole lotta frugality into our lives.
  • in a healthy, supportive relationship with a man who shares my ideals and ethics. Although, even if I wasn’t in that relationship, I’m strong enough in myself now to do whatever the hell I want!
  • excited to show y’all how freaking easy it is to make your own… lots of things! Cleaning products, personal products, homewares, gifts, unprocessed healthy ingredients and meals.

But it’s not only easy. It’s fun! It’s quick (don’t believe me? Just wait). It’s empowering. It’s healthy. Food tastes better. Cleaners perform better. No more nasties! And if none of that floats your boat, it’s CHEAP! By making them myself, I now spend less than 5c on some products that used to cost me up to $15 at the supermarket. My friends, those were some very appealing numbers when they boogied onto my brain’s dance floor. Read the rest of this entry

Finally Standing Up To Myself

So, after making a commitment to write every day, I didn’t post yesterday. I was hoping it wouldn’t be quite so soon before I broke my promise to myself, but I’m proud that I did.  It wasn’t due to lack of motivation, procrastination, or even because I was off having a fantastic time somewhere. No. Unfortunately, it was because of my old nemesis; an enemy that likes to regularly interfere with my plans. You see, I am chronically ill. My body wages war on itself. I have several autoimmune conditions, like a warped lottery list of free gifts you hope never to win: SLE (lupus), sjogrens, fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, vasculitis. There’s more, but that’s enough of a list for one post!

I try to live as normal a life as possible. Sometimes I manage, sometimes I don’t. In the past I’ve fought it. I’ve refused to give into my illness and rampaged through life, in denial and determined to show my body who’s boss. Touring the world for a year, working up to 16 hours a day, seven days a week, comes to mind as a clear example (and a VERY dumb thing to do!! OK doctors, you were right!). The problem with trying to outrun autoimmune conditions (or any chronic illness) and refusing to adjust your lifestyle, is that these behaviours can only have a limited time frame. And, if you’re as bloody stubborn as I have been, so can your life. A positive attitude is one thing, but denial is another.  The media is always throwing stories at us about ‘real life heroes’ who battle their illness and refuse to give up, but there’s a big difference between refusing to give up, and refusing to help yourself. I’ve never denied being ill, just that it effected me.

this isn't me, but it's an accurate impersonation!

this isn’t me, but it’s an accurate impersonation!

Read the rest of this entry

Earth Day and an Announcement

I’m feeling some joyous synchronicity because the day after I publish my first post and commit to writing daily, it’s Earth Day! And if there’s one thing I do love to bang on about it’s this beautiful planet of ours. We live in a wonderous place which provides everything we need, if only we let it. But in typical human fashion we’re abusing this relationship and taking a lot more than we give, ie we are screwing up the joint.

But why should we care? Because we have to. We don’t get another chance folks, this is it! Economic rationalization, ignorance and apathy won’t save us when entire nations are wiped out due to climate change. The latest resource-sucking electronic gadget won’t be much use to you if you can’t afford to eat due to world-wide food shortages. That’s the hard-line. But it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s also about looking around and realizing just how lucky we are to be here, in this beautiful place. Open your window, go for a walk, Google ‘nature’. To get you inspired, I’m going to post a few photos of my latest home on the planet: the NSW South Coast. When deciding to embark on a journey of healing and wholeness, location was important. Because I was starting over again (again!), I had the option to go anywhere (we didn’t exactly have the bank balance to go anywhere, but we’ve never let that stand in the way before!). We chose this area for several reasons. We have been fortunate enough to live in many beautiful locations throughout the world, and coastal areas have always felt most like home to us. Immediately prior to moving here we were living ‘out west’ in Australia, surrounded by beautiful bush, mountains, valleys, and sunsets that reach forever. It was gorgeous, but it wasn’t ‘our place’. I believe everyone has a ‘soul home’, the place that makes you feel most alive, that makes your heart sing. This is it for us. The climate here is also the most conducive to my health: not too hot, not too cold; not too humid, not too dry; clean fresh sea air; peaceful and quiet; unpolluted, and still close enough to capital cities to visit doctors and get a taste of city life and ‘culture’ (though our desire to take these visits is almost non-existent these days). It was also a location where we really could practice being locovores, thinking globally and acting locally. This region is full of gorgeous fresh food of all varieties. Read the rest of this entry

Finally I Write!

I’ve finally done it! I’ve created a blog, and here I am (admittedly a few days later) making my first post. This is a very.big.deal. This blog has been in my head for about a year now, simmering away, bursting to be free, but being held back by my protective, over-reactive perfectionist brain. There’s a lot of other ideas and projects still stuck in there, straining against the deadlocked door, but somehow Raw Once More slipped through the keyhole and made it onto the page.

And here it is. But what is it? That’s a long way from being clear, and of course that’s one of the reasons why my perfectionist brain didn’t want to release it – it wasn’t fully formed. As in it wasn’t finished. That’s kind of the only way to know exactly what something like this IS – to see it when it’s finished. Logically I know this, but that doesn’t stop Little Miss Perfectionist having her way. So no, I don’t know what it IS, but finally, after all this time, I’m doing it anyway! Read the rest of this entry