Dry Spell

Readers, I am frustrated…

I have neglected my blogs for too long, for different reasons.

I have had a very challenging year or two, and it has most definitely impacted on my ability to get my thoughts straight in my mind, never mind getting them down in any coherent form that comes close to anything I would subject my followers to. (FYI: there is absolutely no guarantee that todays post will be any better, but my frustration and need to connect once again has overridden my internal quality control monitor.)

Health issues, both physical and mental, have plagued me and at several times have beaten me down to a point where some days getting dressed or showered has been a triumph. I am trying some new approaches which I hope will help me feel better and, fighting my realistic/fatalistic streak every day, I remind myself of the rewards to be gained from the changes, rather than dwell on how difficult they are to carry out. I have even, my lovely readers, made a chart that is stuck on my fridge! How very “self helpy” can you get?!

There have been days of wonderful positivity where I have wanted nothing more than to open my MacBook and write about all the good things I have in my life – a husband who is also my best friend, who knows all my darkest, ugliest secrets and loves me anyway, who makes me laugh til I cry, two beautiful dogs that bring me so much joy, a secure home to live in, enough money to always go to the ATM and not feel anxious, a garden built by myself and the OH which is peaceful and soul enriching to sit in… but I have not done so for fear of almost cursing my good fortune.

As for my fiction blog and my amateur photography, well, I have simply been feeling about as inspired as a used teabag. Walking used to be my therapy; ideas would come to me as I wandered through town, watching people and places, but I haven’t been out of the house much at all for quite a while, again for several reasons. Part of my new approach is to change this but it is proving more challenging than I thought it would be.

I read writing memes such as #Wicked Wednesday and #Kink of the Week but am left empty and frustrated at my complete writers block. I have entered the wonderful #Sinful Sunday, but only for the prompt weeks as I find right now I really need a push to produce anything.

Given my physical and mental health, I must admit that feeling sexy or sexual has been totally at the bottom of my list for a while now, which given that I am supposedly, (or at least, I once was), a sex blogger, is unhelpful to say the least.

I know it is a long process – lord, I have lived through 40-odd years of the fucking process. It is such a challenge to not get exhausted by it, by the fact that it never seems to have an end date in sight. They, whoever they are, say it’s not the destination that matters but the journey… easy to say when there is a sense that there is any realistic sense of ever reaching the destination, or when the journey is not constantly interrupted by obstacles and diversions. The OH, who I love more than anything, also has more than his fair share of stress and worry and believe me the only thing worse than one depressive is putting two together! He too had a run of bad luck healthwise this past year which has added to the stress and sense of fatigue.

I am hoping that by getting these, not so coherent, thoughts down today it will spur me on to return to writing.

I have found that blogging can be a two faced beast: recording how I feel can result in me reinforcing those feelings, and this is where the risk lies, depending on whether the feelings are positive or self-destructive.

Today I am feeling… ok. I have taken to playing positive music very loudly and it does help, although I am not sure the neighbours would agree.

Today is Friday and the weekend lies ahead and we plan on some serious rest time but I am hoping we will also get out walking, maybe even with my camera, maybe even lunch out.

As for writing… well, I will continue to look at prompts and memes and just hope that my voice comes back to me, (and as a certain quite dreadful writer puts it, “my inner goddess” finds her “salsa moves” again).

I feel a bit of a half person without her.

💋

Copyright, 2017, illicitthoughts.wordpress.com

All rights reserved.

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And Here We Go Again…

2016 was a horrible year. There I said it.

It took so many talented and wonderful people from us.

We had the appalling atrocities in Syria, the refugee crisis and the depressing lack of compassion displayed by people around the world. We had the rise of the far right across Europe. We saw devastating acts of terrorism against ordinary people just living their lives. We had Brexit and its horrendous aftermath which saw some parts of society seeming to think the decision made racism and bigotry a perfectly acceptable thing.

And then we had Trump… I cannot even go there. It still feels unreal.

I noticed so many of my friends struggle with their own physical and mental health and found it very hard to witness. It seemed this year got to everyone in one way or another.

Personally, I had a very rough year. My depression and anxiety peaked and I have yet to come out the other side. My self destructive behaviours hit an all time high; my health has suffered and I feel truly dreadful.

I can sum it up thus:img_7065

But today is the final day of this annus horribilis and we can only hope that 2017 is brighter.

I know I have a very steep mountain to climb in terms of self care and recovery and I am not looking forward to the challenges ahead. To be perfectly honest, it feels pretty impossible right now.

It will not be easy. But, unless I want to, literally, kill myself, I simply have to do it.

I truly hope next year brings you all, my readers and friends, only good things.

I wish you all good health, happiness, good fortune and good times. I know I can be a miserable old cow but underneath it all I really do care about y’all.

Here’s to better days ahead…

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Ciao

💋

Copyright, 2016, illicitthoughts.wordpress.com

All rights reserved

Gratitude

I am aware that my blogs appeal to quite different audiences, but I cannot decide where today’s entry should live… so I am posting it to both blogs.


The OH left for work this morning very tired and not in the best of health. But he went in to his office with a smile and hugs and kisses for the girls and myself.

His job is incredibly demanding and very, very stressful, (hence the recurrent bad health). He works with people who, and I am being generous when I say this, are less than cooperative and pleasant to be around. He works tirelessly every day, with very little recognition or support, and comes home to us three loony girls and whatever chaos is waiting for him here.

He is never too busy for us. His motto in life is, and has been since the day I met him, “there is always time for a hug”. I know, without doubt, that I am his top priority. I can call on him anytime for anything and he will deliver. Yes, I scold him for spending too much time playing games on his phone, but when the shit hits the fan he is there. Always.

I truly think I got the better end of the deal in this relationship. I have no idea how he puts up with me. He endures my endless chatter, my anxieties, my depressive dark thoughts, my hormonal moods. He laughs with me when I am silly and playful, he joins in singing in the car, he dances with me in the kitchen. He is generous, with his time and with material things. He is kind, funny and, (*although he does get it wrong sometimes), he always does his best.

I never feel I do enough to support him or show him how much he means to me. I do my best to make sure he comes home to a loving and happy home. When we hear him come in through the door every evening the girls and I literally run to greet him and I love to see how happy that makes him.

I take care of all the domestic tasks so that once he gets home he can relax and unwind, (ok, ok, he does take care of the bins!). I listen when he has a gripe or dilemma about work and try to help him work it out. I take great pride and pleasure in cooking his meals, making sure his shirts are washed and ironed, making good healthy lunches for him to take into work. It feels the very least I can do.

And yet I do not think I do enough. How can I?

As well as working so hard to keep us fed, watered and sheltered, he relieves me of the burden of things I find too stressful to deal with. He takes care of all the nasty financial jobs such as finding the best deals in insurance, utilities and general admin. I take an incredibly ‘ostrich with her head in the sand’ approach to such matters. I can hear my feminist sisters screaming at me now that I need to be more in control of these things. I know that if anything happened to him I would be very vulnerable and quite helpless. He is the grown up and I am the silly kid.

I felt the need to write this today to let him know that each and every little thing he does for me and our family is appreciated. I wanted to tell him, very publicly, how much I love him and how grateful I am to have met him all those years ago.

For the record, (and before you all throw up as a result of my sentimentality today), we have not always been happy. We had some very difficult times, and there were even points where we weren’t sure we would make it. But at the end of the day, neither of us could imagine life without our best friend.

I believe in soul mates… why? Because I met mine 25 years ago.

💋

Copyright, 2016, k1kat.com

All rights reserved.

*randomly pointing out that Lily has a shorter life expectancy than me, causing me to tear up was not your best moment babe…

Where I Am Now…

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Trigger warning: This post is about self/body image, eating disorders and depression. Please chose carefully whether to read or not.

Please know this writing reflects MY perceptions about ME and not my views on weight/appearance in general.

I have no intention of hurting or upsetting anyone. This post is about me, for me. 


I can’t do the “self love” thing.

I see positive quotes and affirmations everyday on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter and, although I think they are lovely sentiments, I simply cannot relate to them.

I do quite like myself… insofar as I think I’m a basically good person and I can be funny and smart and creative.

But love myself? No. That’s not a thing I can do.

I have an unhealthy relationship with my body.

I am not sure I was ever happy with it. No wait, that’s not true. As a young teen I was blissfully free of body issues. If anything, I was precociously aware of my sexuality and its power and I enjoyed dressing in a way that raised eyebrows or had some shock value. I could probably have been described as jailbait!

At 19 I settled into what has turned out to be my lifelong relationship. I was a normal, healthy weight for my height of 5′. I had curves in all the right places and was relaxed about diet and exercise. It simply wasn’t an issue.

Somewhere along the way, after getting married at 26, I gained a lot of weight. It happened to both of us, slowly but steadily until, one day, it hit me that I had reached the weight of 144lbs, which was, (for me), too heavy for my short height. I was physically tired from carrying the extra weight and felt bad in and about myself.

It was around this time that I also realised our relationship had been coasting along. We had grown into an “old married couple” that took each other for granted and lived a very ‘unconscious’ shared life.

This was when I entered what I called my “rage years”.

This is when everything changed.

I began to exercise with a furious energy and started to very carefully watch what I ate and drank. Food became a necessary evil… it was fuel I needed in order to function and nothing else. Food became the enemy. It had to be consumed in order to live so I consumed the bare minimum that I needed to exist.

Food was no longer about pleasure or comfort or enjoyment.

I hated, with a burning, raging passion what I had become. It symbolised to me how out of control I had ‘allowed’ my life to become. (In retrospect, it’s clear that, amongst other things, being diagnosed with a life changing and incurable illness must have played a massive part in my sudden need to rest establish control over something.)

I kept a strict daily journal of every single thing that I ate, complete with its calorific content, (which I still have to this day, as a reminder to myself of where I was at that time).

I woke early to exercise before breakfast, then I would walk for miles, return home and exercise again. I pushed myself to the extreme and beyond.

People asked me if I was anorexic and I scoffed at them. Me???? No! I was just being healthy!

I said this whereas, in reality, most days I didn’t reach anywhere near 1000 calories by bedtime, usually taking in between 600-800. Coupled with the intense activity I was doing I can’t imagine what my actual calorie intake was.

My periods stopped for three years.

I had to have bone density scans.

I was constantly cold. I wore jeans and a fleece whilst on holidays in The Canaries for three years in a row.

I had panic attacks at the thoughts of having to eat any food I did not have 100% control over, to the extent that it impacted on family gatherings and events. I recall clearly one day, feeling so incredibly hungry and craving something substantial so badly that I agreed to go for lunch with the OH. I ordered a burrito and, as it arrived, I began to hyperventilate and cry because I wanted it so badly but simultaneously felt completely disgusted at myself for wanting it. He was at a loss for what to do with me.

I reached my lowest weight of 88lbs.

I was always sporting bruises because my hipbones protruded to the extent that they constantly knocked off things. My stomach was concave. The bones of my spine, with no body fat to protect them, made sleeping on my back uncomfortable. Sleeping on my side required a pillow between my legs to prevent my knee bones grinding off each other.

Was I happy?

I never believed I was ‘slim’ enough! I looked at my profile in the mirror and saw my ribs and hipbones standing out but my eyes would wander to the area under my navel. I now know there was NOTHING there but I remember somehow seeing what I called a belly… I had no belly… I had internal organs, a digestive system and a uterus that had to go somewhere and my frame was so tiny I mistook them for a ‘belly’.

It is clear to me now that, although I thought I was exercising some form of self-love by ‘being healthy’, I had in fact simply found a new way to hate myself. I was punishing my body by denying it nourishment, pleasure and rest. Even as I achieved every weight loss goal I aimed for, I was never at peace. I saw an ugly, disgusting person in the mirror. One who would never be good enough.

I was referred to an endocrinologist to investigate my amenorrhea. My GP did her best to convince me I was underweight and in need of more food, “Ease up on yourself Kat, have a snack in the afternoon.”

I am not sure at what point I began to try to stop my rigorous regime. I can honestly say that period of my life is blurry at best. But, scared at the loss of my periods and the prospect of osteoporosis, I did relax my exercising and extreme calorie counting.

Last year I reached a happy weight of 98lbs.

Well, I say happy…

I understood, logically, that for my body to function I needed the extra pounds, but I still struggled with the idea of gaining weight and watched my intake very carefully and still worked out. I was still wearing clothes from H&M kids section. I could still wrap my fingers around my thigh with room to spare as it measured 12″ circumference in my age 11 jeans.

But…

Somewhere along the course of the past year I have… You guessed it…

I have found a NEW way to hate myself, yay!

I have been comfort eating and drinking more wine than I should. I eased up on myself gradually; allowing that extra glass of wine, that lunch out, that afternoon snack.

I noticed some weight creeping on…

My age 11 jeans were no longer comfortable. I, for the first time in years, had to shop in the adult sections and moved up to size 6.  (I can hear the pissed off groans now as people voice their scorn… Yes of course a size 6 is still small… but from my warped perspective I had failed.)

I am currently, in my opinion, carrying too much weight at 128lbs. I feel uncomfortable, unattractive and very unfit. I am breathless and overheated almost all the time.

Most of all I feel that I have let myself down. I feel disgust and shame about it.

I have been torturing myself by looking back at photos of when I was thinner… it is making me feel worse, like even more of a failure.

So… I need to finally address this.

Why do I hate myself?

Why do I find the concept of self-love so alien?

Why do I think I do not deserve inner peace, acceptance and happiness?

My self-hatred is deeply ingrained in me from an early age.

I can trace some of my unhappiness back to my childhood. Hang on, I can trace it all back there…  I never felt comfortable or relaxed as a kid. I toyed with some self-harm as a teen and made an unsuccessful suicide attempt at 17. I just didn’t want to be here.

I had what most people would consider a ‘good’ upbringing. I was never hungry, there was always food on the table, I was sent to very good schools. But there are other things a child needs beyond those.

I suspect I know where this self-hatred originates but to face that feels just too overwhelming.

What am I to do?

Will it ever change?

Do you hate me for writing this?

💋

Copyright, k1kat.com

All rights reserved.

TMI Tuesday… Flashback

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TMI Flashback

1. Which ONE do you wish you had more of in bed… romance, experimentation or foreplay?

I would never say no to more of all of the  above but really I can’t complain in this department!

I guess we both would like just MORE, but life gets in  the way. We are implementing strategies to improve this though!

2. What are three mistakes someone could make on the first date with you that would automatically make you turn down a second date with them?

Lack of manners… I can’t abide rudeness and impoliteness and would not wish to spend time with someone who was not considerate of others.

Bad personal hygiene… self explanatory isn’t it?

If they didn’t appear interested or engaged with me, didn’t enjoy the conversation, that would make for a very trying date.

3. Tell us something sexual you do not do anymore? Why?

Hmmm… What do I not do anymore? I guess I am past the early days of doing things I didn’t enjoy simply because I felt they were expected of me.

4. During sex would you rather have a lover: (pick only one)
a. pull your hair
b. scratch your back
c. spank your ass

All of the above! Ok, ok.. just one… It has to be spank me then doesn’t it?!

5. Foreplay: Is there such a thing as too much?

Not too much, but sometimes I am more eager for the ‘event’ to begin!

Bonus: What is the best thing about you?

Oh dear… I would like to think I am kind and hopefully good fun to be with. People do seem to find that I have an ability to make them feel at ease fairly quickly and that I am easy to talk to.

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How to play TMI Tuesday: Copy the above TMI Tuesday questions to your webspace (i.e., a blog). Answer the questions there, then leave a comment below, on this blog post, so we’ll all know where to read your responses. Please don’t forget to link to tmituesdayblog from your website!

Happy TMI Tuesday!

Copyright, 2015, illicitthoughts.wordpress.com

All rights reserved.

Bloody Hell!

I was going to write a post about hormones to join in this week’s Wicked Wednesday until I remembered a blog post I did back in January of this year. I was delighted when this post became my very first submission to The Huffington Post too!

While it isn’t directly about hormones, it is all about what it is like to be a woman.

I do hope it is ok to recycle an already existing post!

Click to see who else is playing Wicked Wednesday this week!


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Periods…

That time of joy in every woman’s month.

As I type, I sit with ibuprofen coursing through my bloodstream, heat pad nestled on my swollen tummy and a mood veering between wanting to punch someone or fuck their brains out.

I have had a tempestuous relationship with my frenemy, Mother Nature, ever since she paid me her first visit. Every girl remembers her first period. Mine was… awkward. My mother had never talked to me about the subject and neither had my older sister. So, that fateful morning, when I discovered what had happened overnight, I, (very unwillingly), approached my mother and told her. She promptly brought me back to the bathroom, handed me a pad the size of a super king mattress and left me to it, with the advice that I might feel unwell and sore and to take an aspirin if that happened.

From then on, whenever I required ‘supplies’, I would drop the code, (“I need more of those things…”) and a packet would appear in my bottom drawer by magic.

A child of the 70’s, I read Jackie magazine. I saw an advert for LilLets tampons and was intruiged and desperately wanted to try them, but I was much too shy to buy them myself.

(I was a bit of an early starter and younger than most girls, that’s all I’m saying!)

I read the advice in the Problem Pages about how to broach the delicate matter with your mother and took it on board. Summoning up all my tender courage, I sat next to her one day with the advert open and pointed to it and tentatively said, “I’d really like to try these please,” to which she raised her eyebrows skywards and replied, “You do know they go… inside you?!” I nodded, blushing and she sniffed and said fine, if that’s what I wanted.

Fast forward over the years and I got to the point where I started to buy my own tampons… the embarrassment passed down from my dear mother lingered.

My approach was akin to a spotty teenage boy buying condoms…

  1. grab the box
  2. try to shield it from the eyes of other shoppers
  3. place it on the counter, probably hidden under a magazine
  4. blush furiously as I pay for my shameful purchase

Now, people, I do know periods are a natural phenomenon and absolutely nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of. I hope any mothers of young girls out there reading this realise how crucial their handling of the whole menstruation subject is. My poor mother was obviously very uncomfortable with the topic and it effected my attitudes for many years.

I hang my head in shame as I admit this next morsel…

Some background first…

In Ireland, several years ago our government, in all their Nanny-state wisdom, changed the law regarding over-the-counter painkillers that contained codeine. In order to buy a packet of Solpadeine at a pharmacy now, us unfortunate customers must endure a third degree interrogation, the likes of which the KGB would be envious of.

A typical exchange goes along the lines of this…

“Can I have a box of Solpadeine please?” you shamefacedly whisper across the counter.

A concerned frown descends over the pharmacists face, “What pain are you taking them for?”

You point downwards and whisper again, “Period pain,” trying to look in as much agony as you can.

“Have you tried any other forms of pain relief?”

“Yes, everything but this works the best,” you reply.

“You are aware that they contain codeine? You know you MUST not take them for more than three days!” the assistant informs you, as if you were about to crush the pills and snort them off the counter like cocaine.

Once the “deal” has been done you gleefully exit the chemist, grasping the magic box close to your chest, a feeling of victory welling up inside you.

I am actually grateful that I am a woman… the poor OH has no hope of ever buying Solpadeine and, as a result, I have effectively become his supplier. I have been known to visit alternate chemists and have a month long period at times… As my own GP has said to me, “It’s easier to score fecking heroin these days than to buy Sopladeine!”

As for my shameful secret? If the assistant behind the pharmacy counter happens to be a man, I walk on by!

I still, at the ripe old age of 42, cannot divulge to a strange man that I am a normally functioning female human being that does indeed menstruate on a monthly basis. Pathetic or what?! Wow did my mother do a number on me!

I am learning to be less shy about the topic, obviously as I am spilling all my period related secrets here publically on my blog!

For example, my unfortunate, (male and female), twitter friends tend to be aware of my cycle, as I frequently tweet about my PMS-induced brain fog, sore boobs or bloating, alongside my monthly announcements that my uterus has declared war on me.

I no longer hide my tampon box underneath all my other shopping. I recently made a very typically female purchase of a box of tampons, a bottle of white wine, a packet of paracetemol and a bag of salad. All that was missing was a box of chocolates!

A friend of mine has recently told me she is a fan of the Moon Cup and when I shared this fact with the OH, as I write opposite him, his face drained of blood, (pardon the pun), and he looked ill.

I wonder if men had periods how different the world would be?

The OH just informed me that there would be a law passed that if anyone pissed you off as you bled from your genitals you would be allowed justifiable homicide. He also said that men would absolutely be allowed to remain home from work for one week a month. Before male readers attack me… this is coming from one of your own, not my words!

I personally think, if men had periods, major advances in pain relief and contraception would have been prioritized and made. As our government is vastly, predominantly male, I also think the ridiculous crack down on OTC codeine would never have been instigated. Furthermore, sanitary protection would be cheaper if not actually free.

And of course, men would be very loud about their pain and suffering… If you’ve ever experienced the Oscar-winning histrionics of man flu, can you imagine the wailing and moaning once blood, (sometimes serious quantities of it), begins to flow out of their penises. Add to that the excruciating cramps that will rip through their bodies, their man boobs so tender and sore that fabric touching them can make tears spring to the eyes. I won’t even go into the bathroom details… in case any of you are of a delicate disposition.

However, for all my whining about The Curse, these days, I tend to welcome Her as a sign that my body is healthy and working as it should be. After a hiccup years ago, where they completely disappeared for two years, I am now happy to feel that familiar heaviness in my stomach that indicates She is on the way.

Knowing that my next challenge will be the cessation of my monthly companion, and all that will bring with it, (vaginal dryness, hot flushes, weight gain, mood swings, tears, lack of sex drive, possibly a moustache), makes me ever more grateful when she arrives every month.

So women, embrace your femininity and all that goes with it.

Men, be extra sweet to the women in your lives when THAT time of month comes around and be bloody grateful that you got that Y chromosome… period!

Copyright, 2015, kittykatbitsandbobs.wordpress.com

All rights reserved.