I am the Queen of disjointed thinking. I like your hat! :-D

Just be kind

There’s something I think about sometimes; something that happened to me years ago. It was hurtful at the time, but I don’t think of it because it was hurtful, I think of it because I don’t understand.

It was when I was homeless and living on the Gold Coast. I had no stable income. None. No Centrelink. I was lucky in that sometimes my parents could give me some money for shelter so all I had to worry about was food. Every now and then I would get a shift here or there and I would save that money for “proper” food. I would search bus stops, phone booths and internet kiosks for dropped coins. When I had $2 in coins, if Mint Slice biscuits were on special, I’d buy myself a packet as a treat.

This story relates to that. I’d finally got $2 that I could spare, and my favourite treat was on special at the supermarket, so I walked over to get a pack. I lined up at the only open register with my single packet of Mint Slices, when I heard the cashier loudly whisper to the customer in front of me, “Ugh! I don’t wanna serve this girl!” and yeah, I was the girl she didn’t want to serve. The customer in front of me let out a sort of confused laugh, like maybe the cashier was joking and not being incredibly rude. She leaned in and asked the cashier, “Why? What’s wrong with her?” by now I’ve passed embarrassed and gone into humiliated. All I want to do is buy my packet of biscuits I’ve literally saved up for for weeks. “Nothing,” replies the cashier, “I just don’t like her”.

The customer in front of me collected her bags and left very quickly. I payed for my biscuits with my head down and said, “I hope you enjoy the rest of your night.”

I thought about reporting her, but I was concerned she might lose her job, and I knew how horrible not having a job could be.

I never bought another packet of biscuits from that supermarket again.

I really don’t understand.

Just be kind.

Signed with hope,

 

The Pretty Kitty.

I have been thinking about writing this post for a long time. I don’t want it to come across as bossy or preachy, it’s just some suggestions from my personal observations that would make life easier for early childhood educators, and in turn for children and parents.

I am an early childhood relief educator. I’ve worked in rooms in childcare as well, but at the moment I’m a relief educator. I’ll be in a room if a staff member is away, or I may be in every room at some point, covering lunches, cleaning, putting laundry away.

When you first put your precious family member into childcare, the centre director or manager will tell you basically everything you need to know. They will tell you if nappies and meals are provided or if you need to bring your own. They will introduce you to the educators that will be in the room with your child each day. They will give you a copy of the centre policies and procedures, or let you know where a copy is that you can read at the centre. There are a few little things they probably won’t go over with you, that I would like to share as a relief educator.

  1. Name everything! If something goes to childcare or kindy with your child, it should have their name on it somewhere, clearly. Please make sure you write your child’s first name on everything, also. While the regular educators in the room will know your son is Edward Smith and he has an older sister called Ramona, relief educators in the room will only know him as “Eddie” or “Edward”, and won’t know that things labelled “R. Smith” are his. Reusing things for younger children is fine, but please make sure you put their first name on it somewhere, too.
  2. Send nappies with tabs. If you provide nappies yourself, please send the kind with tabs rather than pull-ups. We have up to twelve nappies to change each time we do changes, and it goes much more quickly if we can keep every kids’ pants on. Pull-ups are fine for older children that just need them at sleep time, especially if they can put them on themselves or with just a bit of help, but if your child is in nappies full time, please send  the tab kind or cloth nappies. Speaking of cloth nappies, don’t feel like you can’t use them in childcare. Unless the centre has a policy against them for some reason, even if the centre provides nappies, it’s fine to choose not to use disposables. We’re usually not allowed to scrape or soak them though, so at the end of the day you will have to take home a bucket of gift wrapped poo.
  3. Relief educators may not know what’s normal for your child, so we may ask “silly” questions or tell you things that made us feel concerned that you may not even think about, like “Shirley didn’t eat much today and she had a runny nose. She might be coming down with something.” when actually Shirley just eats lightly all the time and gets a runny nose on rainy days. The more you can tell us, the more we know next time we’re in your child’s room. I know it’s frustrating since you’ve probably already told the regular room educators. It’s not that we don’t talk to each other, it’s just that these things get so routine and normal for the room educators that they don’t really think about it anymore.

If I think of something else, which I’m liable to do, I’ll come back and edit this post, but that’s it for now. Just three little pointers to help things run more smoothly.

Signed with love and care,

The Pretty Kitty.

Diagnosis

This post has a trigger warning for talk of suicide and suicide methods, and for poor treatment by medical professionals of persons with mental health conditions and undiagnosed illness.

For the second time in posting to this blog, if you are my mum, I need you to stop reading this one now and go have a cup of tea instead. Now. Shoo!

For everyone who’s not my mum, this is the story of when I couldn’t take my then-undiagnosed body pain anymore and decided my only choice was to die. I was 18 years old. I was sick of my father yelling at me, calling me lazy, calling me a liar. I was sick of people cutting contact with me because they thought I didn’t care about them when I cancelled plans. I locked myself in the bathroom and took every anti-depressant I had, and I’d just filled the script. I’m not sure what happened in the middle, but Mum called an ambulance. The paramedic had me sit up in the back and talk to her. I was crying. I told her I just wanted the pain to stop – the physical body pain, and the pain of not being believed.

Later, at the hospital, a doctor I’d obviously never seen before came to speak to me. Her opening line to me was, “Why do you feel the need to imagine you’re in pain?” I started to cry again. I was now sad and angry. “I’m not imagining. I want it to stop. I just want the pain to stop!” Then this doctor put her hand on my shoulder like we were friends, “I have read through your medical records. You have had all manner of tests and scans at this hospital and they have shown nothing wrong. You are obviously imagining you are in pain. I will discharge you today on the condition you agree to see a psychiatrist to help you stop imagining you are in pain when you obviously aren’t.”

The psychiatrist sent me to my GP, requesting more extensive tests as the cause for my very real and not imagined pain must be found. That psychiatrist gave me the little bit of hope I carried that I would be believed and an answer would be found. I finally got my fibromyalgia diagnosis six years later.

Signed with hope,

The Pretty Kitty 

Firstly, if you’re my mum, I need you to stop reading this one because it will make you sad and there’s nothing you can do. Go have a nice cup of tea instead. You know I’ll know if you read it, so just go have a tea. Thank you. x

For the rest of you that aren’t my mum, this story has a trigger warning for emotional abuse, emotional manipulation and body dysmorphia.

Many years ago, I was living in a storage space under a friend’s house and paying rent for the privilege, even though I couldn’t even lock the door behind me when I went out, so anyone that got in the backyard could go in my “room”. But this story isn’t about that, it just takes place there. I was living there with my then fiance. Sometimes he would very gently stroke my face for a while. If felt so nice, that sometimes I would almost fall asleep. One day, he was stroking my face when he suddenly stopped. “Wow!” he exclaimed. I opened one eye, “What? What’s wow?” I asked.

“You would be beautiful if you got those acne scars removed.” he said. I rolled over. I didn’t want him stroking my face anymore.

About a week later, he was stroking my face when he “wow”ed again. I opened my eyes and looked up at him. “What?” I asked, half asleep. he put his finger on my eyebrow and gently lifted it up, “You would be beautiful if you got this extra skin removed from your eyelid.” I got up and went for a walk, even though I was alone and it was dark. I prefered it to being there.

The next time he was stroking my face and “wow”ed, I shut my eyes tightly, afraid of the next thing he’d say, “You’d be beautiful if you got your nose straightened up!” I just pretended I hadn’t heard.

One night, he came home from work very late, sat on the bed beside me, reached over and started gently stroking my face. “You know,” he began, “you’d be beautiful if you got your teeth fixed up.” I pretended to be asleep as tears slowly made their way out of my eyes and into my ears.

Now? I hate everything about my face. I already hated it, and then somebody meant to love me told me everything that’s wrong with it. It’s been seven years and I still have trouble looking in the mirror.

My least favourite thing is, I did get my teeth fixed (they were so bad I couldn’t chew my food properly, so it was a health decision). I hate that I got my teeth fixed because now there’s part of me that he would find beautiful, and the thought of him finding me beautiful makes me feel sick.

I was thinking about all this when I woke up this morning, so I thought I’d get it out in case someone has had a simillar experience and needs to know they’re not alone.

Letter to the world signed with all the love I can muster,

The Pretty Kitty.

Let’s play a fun game:

It’s the renaissance, you’re rich and powerful and I’m a dirty, smelly artist. You can throw me a few coins for food and art supplies, and in exchange I will make beautiful works of art! Some of the art I make will be for the whole world, but some will be especially for you! Yes, you!

Does that sound like a fun game? If it does, pop over to my Patreon page and become my patron, just like in ye olde days. You can show off how kind you are and give me $100 per artwork, or you can cap your kindness at as little as $1 per month, so even if I post 60 pieces in a month, you still only give me $1 for the whole lot. Sometimes I will even surprise you with a present in your email inbox, or even in your real-life mailbox so we can play another game where we pretend it’s the ’90s. Yay!

Anyow, think about it, get back to me, give me $1.

Signed with great affection,

The Pretty Kitty.

DSCF1111

Well, obviously right now I’m wearing it, but I mean long term.

I’m entering an art comp. I figure 20 years of believing that my art is not as good as anyone else’s art is enough, and I’m entering an art comp.

I’ve always been especially hard on myself, even as a preschooler, but when I was eight years old it got really bad. When I was eight years old, with the help of my peers I decided I was ugly, worthless and stupid. I decided everyone must be right about my terrible art.

Well, now I’ve decided that my “terrible” art is just as worthy as anyone else’s “terrible” art, and I’ve also decided that all art is good. I work with children; how can I tell them that all art is good because it uses creativity and then not live by that rule myself? Ethically, I can’t, so I’m entering an art comp.

The competition closes in May next year, but I’m already making a start, gathering materials. I’ll be posting all future updates about my new project on my Patreon page for my supporters to see. If you’re interested in watching the story unfold, you can support me over on Patreon for anything from $1 (US)/month. All contributions will go towards art supplies and the entry fee for the comp. If you can’t or don’t want to support the project, that’s fine too and I’ll be sure to post the finished product here on the blog for everyone to see!

Always follow your dreams!

Signed with love,

The Pretty Kitty.

I am writing this post because last night, someone on my Facebook that calls themself an “LGBT ally” posted which was incredibly disparaging of a trans woman and not only said there’s nothing brave about coming out as trans but also implied she is just a man in a dress.

Here’s the truth: all trans women are women, all trans men are men. Some people in the trans community are neither men nor women, some are both men and women. All of these identities (and others which I don’t feel I know enough about to post any comment) are real identities. These are real people and they are all so, so brave!

Some people are so afraid to come out, they are trapped by depression and anxiety. These people may never come out as trans. They’ve seen what happens to others. These trans people are still brave. They are brave when people say negative things about trans people and they hold back tears. They are brave when LGB”T” allies don’t seem to realise what the T stands for and they gently remind them without starting a fight. They are brave.

Some trans people come out and are so lost and frightened, so trapped by depression and anxiety which is fed by a lack of support from the people they love most, the people they thought loved them, too. Some of these people battle through the storm. These people are so very brave. Some of these people can’t go on, they die from depression. They’re brave too.

Some “allies” say they support post-op trans people, because they’re now “real” men and women. That is not support. What if a trans person doesn’t experience body dysmorphia? They should be forced to undergo surgery that will make them unhappy before you accept them? That is not support, and you are part of the problem.

Here’s a fact: You have no way of knowing how many trans people you know in real life or online. There is no way to tell by looking at a person if they are trans. It’s not ok to ask a person you think might be trans if they are. When you post cruel and insensitive things about trans people online, or say them in person, even if you’re “joking”, you are part of the problem. You are contributing to the depression and anxiety of trans people. Some of these people may be your friends, you may not know they are trans. There is a good chance you know at least one trans person. If you call yourself an ally, and trans people think they can feel safe around you, you probably know more.

Please think before you tell these people their struggles aren’t real. There is more than one kind of bravery.

Signed with love and hope,

The Pretty Kitty.