Hunkering Down & Keeping It Real

I’m a Melbourne girl, so I have to start with the weather – it is super windy, rainy, and cold, and feels like winter has seriously landed! The solstice seems to have acted as a starting gun, not the midpoint of the cooler months. I’m hunkering down, grateful to have a fridge and pantry that can see me through many days too nasty to venture out into.

Now, to more interesting things (I hope).

I’ve been pondering something since I’ve started this blog, and though I don’t have a neat 3 step plan or solution worked out, I thought I’d write about it, and see what you think too. Here it is in a nutshell:

When people write blogs, or books, or magazines, or do interviews on TV; whenever people hit ‘Publish’, it puts a snapshot of who they are out into the world.

As a baby blogger, my snapshot is still in the dark room, developing and coming into focus. I can see the outline of what it can be, this blog, but it is very much still in its chemical bath, under red lights.

Since starting this blog I have been so encouraged by the amazingly community that has come from the awesome Blog With Pip groups I’m part of (next intake starts in July – sign up via the link!). Without this group of women around me, urging me on, I don’t know that I’d have any momentum, or readers! When people from outside that fabulous group read my blog and comment, it blows my mind… am I getting beyond reading my essay at the front of the classroom? Really? Amazing stuff.

I feel like somehow, virtually, and spilling over into the face-to-face world, I have stumbled upon a group people forming a really fun, cute cheer squad and doing amazing hand-clappy, robotic-arms, tumbling routines, and chanting “Go-oooo Verbs!”  That is some kind of feeling. Wow.

I’ve also seen a lot of us being challenged by the ideas we hold around being  ‘good enough’ and whether we have anything to add to the blogosphere (we do!), whether we’re delusional to think anyone will read our words (we’re not!), or appreciate our art, or crafty endeavours, or agree with our points of view. To all those questions, I say this, I’m hitting publish anyway! I hope you are too.

There are challenges a plenty, from coming up with something interesting to write about on a regular basis (or irregularly, there’s no ‘rule’), to the ways we engage on social media, how much of our lives we share, what we choose to share, how we deal with negative feedback, or no feedback (that’s the worst, so if you read a blog and enjoy it, please take a minute to leave a comment!).

Then there are technical challenges – coding, widgets, themes, gobbledeegook that I still don’t understand at all, but for me the main thing is to write. To sit here at my desk, type my words, read over them, give them a tidy, and then hit the publish button.

What I know for sure is that I don’t want to be a blogger that isn’t recognisable in the real world. I really, really don’t.

Here, and in my Blog With Pip community, people tell me I am encouraging and clever and lots of other lovely, blush-y things – things that I need to hear and that boost my confidence, especially in a season that’s peppered with struggle and rejection in finding paying work. I have needed this group so much. That’s why it gives me so much joy to encourage and cheer other Pipsters on. Go girls!

And I am those things, I love to encourage people, it is kind of my life’s mission I reckon, and I love that I can think creatively, and write, and engage with people online and make people laugh and ponder stuff. I love those aspects of my who and do.

BUT they are not the whole picture. They are the snapshot.

I can be cranky, judgey, too quick to speak (and definitely to quick to comment online), rude, impatient and well, frankly, unforgiving. I have issues! We all do. Some of us keep very short records, which is admirable, and some of us lug around our emotional baggage in tattered archive boxes or faded suitcases.

I want this place, where I give you the verbs (god I love my blog’s name), to be somewhere you can come for a laugh, to read something I’m thinking about and maybe think about it after you’ve read it, to see what I’m baking, to hear about my obsession with my #favouritehuman (my niece), and most of all, to have a chat about whatever is going on in your world.

What I don’t want is to build on online persona that is some kind of facade I have to remember to keep up. I’m not saying this as a way to duck my head, peep out from a Lady Di fringe and seek compliments, truly I’m not – I am saying that I am encouraging, and clever, and quick witted, and I can be a cranky pants and a person who has uttered mean words I wish I could take back. I am a single gal, a daughter, a sister and a friend – someone who has had ups and downs in life. I am all of the things. I am working actively on some of the less appealing qualities I have in my archive box, and some of them are marked ‘DO NOT DISTURB”.

So, whether you are an L-plates, still in development blogger like me, feeling your way, or an experienced and got-it-going-on blogger reading this (eep!), heck, basically, if you are a person in this world; juggling home life, work life, friendships, family dynamics, illness, relationships, finances, the highs and lows, I want you to know that you are welcome here, in whatever state you find yourself.

Drop in, leave a comment, hit me up on Facebook or Instagram and say hi, I’m having the best day ever, or just coasting, or I’m having an absolutely shit day. We’re in this together.

This is not my place, this is OUR place.

If it’s just me tap, tap, tapping and nothing else, the publish button becomes kinda redundant.


What’s on your mind today? Who do you want to be? What’s in your archive box? How’s the weather?

Let’s chat.


Annette xx


How an empty mayonnaise jar brought me undone….

Isn’t it funny how on a bad day, seemingly small things can send you into a tailspin?

When I used my last egg and scraped the last mayo out of the jar this week, the abyss opened up, and I was a mess.

Is my cupboard bare? No, it isn’t. There’s good stuff in there. Stuff I can easily turn into simple, tasty meals. But on Thursday, there were no more eggs, there was no more mayo – and I knew I did not have enough money to buy both, and wouldn’t have, for at least two weeks. I’m unemployed at the moment, so money is tight.

It is a confronting thing to realise you can’t afford basic things, items which Toby from The West Wing (god I love that show) calls ‘the everyday things, the 99 cent things’. The things we take for granted, like eggs, and mayonnaise.

As the last shell went in the bin, I cracked too.

People sometimes say that there’s no kindness left in the world, or that it is hard to come by. Some days that seems true, some of us just don’t have our eyes open to see it, but I can tell you, Thursday was not a kindness-free-day for me.

In my increasing agitation, I took to the keyboard, to vent about feeling sad, stuck and vulnerable. Not a public broadcast, a conversation in a group of people I felt pretty sure I could trust. The group I chose was the one I’ve been spending the most time in lately, my Pipsters. From here in Melbourne, and in far-flung places from Spain to England to America, these awesome ladies, my homies, my Pipsters PICKED ME UP with the tap, tap, tapping on their keyboards, and created a safe space where I could talk about feeling humiliated by my lack, and frightened of not getting through the next fortnight.

They encouraged me, empathised with me and didn’t gloss over what I was saying, which is so important when someone is having a shit day. Let the person in Shitsville say it is shitful. It is. Don’t rush to “the sun’ll come out tomorrow”. We all know it will.

What the temporary residents of Shitsville need, what I needed, was listening ears and compassionate hearts.

Boy was I in the right place. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

There were so many tears, and as I sat at my desk, talking in real time with people, feeling the support and solidarity, reading about how other people have been in my shoes, I was being broken open, my emotional pressure valve hissing and spluttering out the worries of the week.

It may sound utterly bizarre to you (it does to me) but blogging is bringing battered old passions to the surface, it is causing me to be more open, authentic and vulnerable, with the people I am creating an online community with, and with myself…. it is strange, and sometimes painful, but it feels exhilarating too. Being fully alive isn’t about feeling only good things. Neither is blogging!

After I’d been chatting with the Pipsters for a while, I felt a bit better, then a lot better, and so, so tired. All that crying takes it out of you. I woke up the next day feeling completely different. Nothing had changed, but I was no longer weighed down with worry. I was buoyed by people sharing ads for jobs they’d seen and thought I’d rock at, there were links to sites that might help, people shared mayo recipes requiring only two ingredients, people encouraged me, people SAW ME, unvarnished and broken, and not one person turned away, or blithely told me to ‘get a job’ or that what I was feeling was invalid. That’s priceless stuff. Human stuff. That’s community.

Today I can write this from a totally different mindset than the one I was stuck in two days ago. Today’s tears are of gratitude. I am not ashamed of my tears. They are softening me, inside and out.

This week I learned a new lesson about what I’d term humiliation – a feeling I despise with all my being.  Maybe what I know as humiliation – a deeply painful, confronting and devastating state of mind and soul, holds within it a chance to be more authentic with people, more vulnerable and ready to say, I need help. Try saying that, even in your mind, I need help. It’s not easy is it?

And yet, we all need it. I need help. You need it. Your sister, your dad, the guy on the bus, the shiny people on magazine covers, who we’re supposed to worship and believe ‘have it all’, the crafters, the ‘successful’ folks we admire and maybe envy a touch,  even them – we all need help every now and then. Maybe not every day, maybe not to buy eggs or mayonnaise, but sooner or later, Mayonnaise-Gate happens to all of us.

How GRATEFUL I am that when I was ready to say, even just from the ‘safety’ of my computer, that I needed help, that people were there to listen and to encourage me. That was the help I needed most on Thursday afternoon. Help to be honest, help to be vulnerable and let my emotions out.

Can I exist only in the virtual world? No I can’t. I need my flesh and blood friends too, I need to trust them when the chips are down (or gone!), as I do in the good times. I am undone by friends who demonstrate their love in ways that resonate.

Some cheer my efforts at blogging on, or remind me that Don’t Stop Believin is my ultimate theme song.

Some friends do this with their words, their care, their support and encouragement, their precious time.

Some do it with groceries, or a supermarket voucher.

Some  give me money that I know they could have used to buy their own eggs and mayonnaise.

I have friends that take the time to read and comment on my fledgling blog, or come over with pizza.

The yet-unmet-friends who spoke life into my situation this week, wow, thank you.

The pal who asked me how I was on Instagram, and I decided to tell her the truth, which resulted in us having a great chat, she’s sending help. I’ve never met her.

One yet-unmet-friend from Blog With Pip, who sent me a message on Friday asking me where I live, is dropping off help this afternoon.

A lovely friend took me to dinner, paid for my meal, and a second glass of wine, and helped me out, again.

The friend I met in a West Elm store, who I’m enjoying getting to know, said she’ll buy me a coffee next week.

There’s no hierarchy involved. The friends who offer practical support aren’t ‘better’ than the friends who offer a listening ear and words of encouragement. They know that, I certainly know it. We all play our part.

Sometimes we buy the eggs, sometimes we listen and send virtual hugs.

What I’ve learned this week is that kindness isn’t at all like mayonnaise – it doesn’t run out when the jar is empty.

In fact, sometimes that empty jar is a portal to an outpouring of kindness that lays you flat with gratitude.

That’s why I’m not about to stop believin’. Even when mayonnaise makes me cry.

mayo jar




Annette xx