Category Archives: parents

I Will Use My Voice

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My sexuality is not something I decided on. It’s not a lifestyle I chose. I was born this way. My parents embraced my sexuality. They never questioned my choice of gender I associated myself with or thought that the gender I chose to date was a phase I was going through. They let me be me. In fact no one ever blinked an eye when I held hands in public, kissed the person I loved, dressed like a woman, flaunted female assets or when I had a crush and when I wanted to marry someone. 

No one blinked an eye because I am a straight woman. I have the ‘luxury’ of being accepted by society for who I am, the body I am in and the gender I chose to be in love with. Sadly, a huge percentage of the world’s population doesn’t have this luxury. The LGBTQ community fights every day for acceptance, to be understood and viewed as ‘normal’. The fight for equality. They fight for rights. They fight to have their love officially recognized. They suffer persecution. Judgement, radical views, hatred and violence. 

I am lucky and fortunate to be raised by two humans who taught me that everyone was equal. No one was better than me. No one was worse than me. That you love with your full heart. You treat people with kindness. You understand differences in others as qualities not negatives. You learn from others, not destroy them. 

I cannot fathom the hatred that oozes from people – who speak with venom and act with ignorant rage. I cannot comprehend how people can draw a line at who is worthy of life and who isn’t based on how and who they love….. LOVE. People are being denied their rights, brutally and violently attacked – verbally and physically for love and at its very worst – killed, murdered, their life taken from them for who they love. How is this right? How can anyone make the decision for someone else? How can one person decide for a total stranger that they don’t get to live their life because they lust and love in a way that isn’t what they feel is right? How are we in a world that hates so passionately that they witness murder and are not just satisfied in the death but rejoice in it. 

I am not gay. I cannot fully understand how it feels. I cannot begin to pretend I know what it’s like to be judged, questioned, degraded, victimized, hated or murdered for my sexuality. What I can do is pledge to be humane. I will support. I will fly the flag. I will speak out against injustice. I will love. I will stand hand in hand with the LGBTQ community. I will be a voice for change. I will be all that I can be for those that have had their voice silenced. 

Love is love is love is love. And I choose love. 

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I’m not a “Mommy blogger” 

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When we told people I was pregnant, friends and family who were parents told us how amazing being a parent was. How fulfilling and incredible it is. I may have rolled my eyes at times. Cliché after cliché of parents lamenting about how great kids were. We wanted to create a human but I don’t think either Joel or I would say we were children people. We don’t dislike children. We just don’t gush. I didn’t get it. I knew instinct would kick in and I would love my own. But I couldn’t understand how sleepless nights, no down time. No quiet time, expenses, messy houses, messy children, human whirlwinds could make you happy – as in, gushy happy. I just knew everyone said it so it must be true. I was (kind of, somewhat) a believer. 
  
Flash forward to today. Liv is 20 months old. Her and I are in Miami. Mummy and Daughter trip. 

We have had a fun few days. She’s an incredible human to be around. Cliché bias but I love her company. When she takes her nap or goes to bed I’m happy for some ‘me’ time but I also can’t wait for her to wake up as I miss her. 

  

We had a few minutes of quiet time as we drove on the freeway and from the back seat… A sweet “Mummy?” I reply and she says “are you happy?” I don’t know why she asked or what made her ask but it was so sweet and thoughtful and it hit me how this baby that we created understands emotion and feelings and cares enough to ask me. A selfless question. Wise beyond her years. Actually. She’s too young for years. Wise beyond her 20 months. She goes on to tell me “Mummy makes me very, very happy”. 

And there you have it. Cliches backed up. 

Fulfilled. 

A love like no other. 

This tiny human. My best friend. My travel buddy. My heart. 
And with all the sickly sweet gush-iness in the world…. It’s time for me to go to bed because the sooner I sleep the faster it will be morning and I can hug her again. 

Being a parent is amazing. I’m in the gushing club with a life time subscription. 

 
  
 

How To Live In The Now – social media, content and unplugging

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We live in a world of now, now, now, gimme, gimme, gimme.

How did we become so obsessed with now. We don’t even have time to focus on the futuresome, it seems do not even care about the past, we just want it all and we want it now.

We are so in need, in lust for the now that anything else makes us impatient.

We are surrounded by the ‘instant’ – Twitter, Facebook. Vine. Insta(nt)gram

I primarily connected my figurative life line to social media in 2007 as a way to connect with my family and friends at home in London and across the globe, an easy way to share what I was doing and get the social reach easily to everyone I cared about when I was on the run and didn’t have time for a call or to write a letter  – technology has allowed me to face time with my Mum while I am out shopping to get her buy in on a dress I like or some shoes I’m contemplating adding to the collection. While I am connected to my family, I am also, now, so conditioned to getting everything out there right now – real time sharing, real time experiences.
I want to know if I’ve won – now. I want to know what people think – now. Who is liking my status, who is viewing my blog, what is my friend in another part of the world doing right now, I want my food order in 3 minutes.  I need the information and I need it now.

Capturing the moment

Capturing the moment

Don’t get me wrong – I love social media and what it has enabled us to do as individuals and as a global community, I like a fast pace, I like to have everything at my fingertips, but I’ve become so motivated by instant gratification that I’m not stopping to smell the flowers. I’m not taking in my life – the memories. Yes; every inch of the memory is captured in 140 characters or a heavily filtered and edited photo stored in a virtual cloud for the future, but am I living in that moment? Or am I merely capturing it?
Am I really listening or am I merely hearing?
Am I missing what’s really going on around me, now, because I’m so obsessed with the now.

My husband has created a social (media) experiment for us, mainly me, but us – can we, one day a week, tune out, shut down and turn off – can we leave our iphones, our ipad and our computer alone and just live in the moment, see the world through just one lens.

It’s time to take my moments. To realise that to really appreciate the now. I need to stop, inhale and absorb. Otherwise, my life will have flashed by in a series of uploads, tweets and posts.

Life is too short to not really LIVE in the now.

For more on our figurative life lines and our constant connection here is a great article on Huff Post – Disconnect: A New Movie Sounds the Alarm About Our Hyper-Connected Lives.

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The Party’s Over – My Special Guest Blogger

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My wonderful parents

I love my parents and have an amazing relationship with them – I feel so lucky to call my parents my friends, heroes and role models.

I’ve spoken before about how my parents never really understand social media or “this medium you choose to use” but they completely embrace my blogging – and as I mentioned yesterday, my Dad even joined Twitter ( @DW29660) and my Mum is beginning to realise that Facebook isn’t a tool for people to hunt you down and see into your life unless you actually let them.

My Parents

Mr & Mrs W

After I introduced you all to my Dad (aka Billy) over the past few blogs and informed you of his new title yesterday – his insistence that he is now called the Don…. my Dad – asked me today, if he could guest blog. My first reaction was ‘OF COURSE’ – my second reaction was – ‘wow, my Dad knows what guest blogging is.’

When my Dad sent me his blog this evening he said:

“Read it/change it/scrap it – whatever, it was good fun to try writing it. Dx”

There was absolutely no way I was changing a single thing. It gives me great pride to introduce David ‘The Don’ Williams – in his first ever blog (please feel free to leave your comments here for him – I know he will appreciate them):

My Parents

I love this couple
Photo Credit: David Toms Photography

The First Day of the Rest of the Year

Its Sunday night and just about midnight – it’s been a good weekend but I’m not looking forward to tomorrow morning or indeed the coming week – it’s not that I don’t like Monday’s… it’s just that tomorrow is the first day of the rest of the year!

I live in London and since the end of May, London has been like never before – at least not like I’ve ever known it before and just in case you hadn’t realised, I’ve been around for a while!

First we had the Diamond Jubilee of our Queen… it’s not that I am a huge royalist, but respect where it’s due – QE2 has had the same job for 60 years and has done it well. The country gave her a big party and London celebrated like only it can with all of its history and pageantry… shame about the weather.

Just as we were getting over the ‘Jubly’ it was time for our annual festival of hope, expectation and ultimate disappointment or Wimbledon as it is also known. I live near Wimbledon, I’m involved in a small way with Wimbledon and as a sports fan, there is a real buzz about being at the sporting epicentre of the world for two weeks – this year Andy Murray nearly won it… so near and yet so far!

Suddenly ‘they’ started putting up banners, and signs, and painting the roads with Olympic rings to show where I was not permitted to drive… in my own home town. Remember I’m a sports fan but I really was not looking forward to the Olympics, well not the disruption. Also I had this fear that ‘the Games’ would be well organised but rather dull. There was a feeling that the opening ceremony as a spectacle would be rather unspectacular – I feel bad now, because as a designer I should have had more faith in British creativity – WOW it was good, even if some didn’t understand it! It was ‘smart’ rather than ‘slapstick’ – there was a story to be told and you had to concentrate – ad breaks every few minutes would not have helped!

Anyway ‘the Games’ came and went with plenty of success for the hosts and generally a good time was had by all. The stadiums were full, the trains kept running, the drains didn’t block… even the weather behaved and the World saw London at its best – even us cynical Londoners saw our great city at its best. Then it was the closing… at least as good as the Opening and that was it. The London Olympics, the Greatest Show On Earth as the Olympics are known was over – just the aftershow to come – a two week break then the Paralympics, but really, that wouldn’t be very interesting.. would it, be honest?

Another Opening Ceremony, at least as good as we had seen a few weeks back and the ‘Paras’ started. It was a slow start… fewer well-known names but then OMG! We began to realise what it was all about. Olympians train for years then turn up and compete in the hope they will be winners or at least get a medal.

Paralympics

Be Amazed – The Paralympics

Paralympians train for years, overcome the forms of adversity that the rest of us would rather not talk about, let alone suffer, then they compete, they enjoy and they hope to win or at least get a medal – but best of all, they compete like the rest of us who have good sight, a full set of limbs, mobility and no problems with the ‘internal wiring’. A big difference when paralympians compete is that when they don’t quite reach their best, they don’t blame it on ‘bad winter training’ six months ago – many turn up and don’t know how their body will perform on the day!

In case you didn’t see much of the London 2012 ‘Paras’, let me tell you about just 2 of the 4000 plus competitors. One a swimmer, a Chinese guy, both legs amputated above the knee, just a pair of stumps, and both arms amputated, one above the elbow, the other at the shoulder – that doesn’t leave much to swim with… I think he won a ‘gold’ beating guys with longer stumps, even full limbs. AMAZING!

The inspirational Chinese Paralympian

The other competitor was in the Dressage… that’s where with perfect control and balance, you ride a horse, making it dance with control and discipline on a one-cent piece – hard enough to control a human like that ( I couldn’t manage it with my children), to control horse is harder and when with Cerebral Palsy you can’t even control yourself, how do you maintain perfect balance to control the horse – our young rider won ‘gold’. AMAZING!

Natasha Baker

Natasha Baker – Wins 2nd Gold Medal
Image from: Daily Mail Online

But now the ParaGames are all over, the performances are over, the medals have all been awarded and (Coldplay, RiRi and JayZ were wonderful at the Closing) tomorrow the athletes go home but if you have an open mind, the thinking is just beginning! Never again will I look at an amputee or a person in a wheelchair, or a person with cerebral palsy and think of what they can’t do – I will think of what they can do or could do. Often after competing, they cried tears of joy and as a country we cried with them – they had shared the same stage as the ‘normal’ athletes and that made them feel ‘normal’, equal, the same.

The Olympics were the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ but the Paralympics were (and please excuse my grammar), the ‘EVEN Greater Show on Earth’, but for now it’s over, London will never be the same again, anyone who watched will never be the same again.

Better go to bed now, work tomorrow, my greatest ever summer is over – hope to see you in Rio in 2016!

Thanks to my very special Guest blogger. Billy, I love you.

American TV networks – you have 4 years to make it happen – Let’s hope by 2016 – we can celebrate and cheer for our fellow men and women. Our #SuperHumans

A Day in the Life of The Men in My Life

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Right:The Don – Naughty Billy    Left: The Don & Mr K

In other news– my father has now joined twitter and in the same 24 hour period has requested that as the eldest man in the family, he is now referred to as The *Don/ Don Billy. We shall see which new interest lasts longer. My money is on the new nickname rather than twitter. Although learning that he can vent and complain at companies in just 140 characters has provided him with a new challenge in his nonexistent workaholic down time.

*Side note – when I retold this story to a friend of ours – she asked why my dad wanted to be the Dom of the family.  Apparently her reading Fifty Shades of Grey has really had an effect on her hearing.

The Don & Mr K

In more ‘other news’ – my husband has a new toy – a food saver – the joy – we have everything you could possibly think of in its own little pouch – herbs, melon, fish, cherries, energy bars, reindeer all with the life sucked out of them and stored in the freezer. My father’s comment in relation to learning that Mr K is vacuum packing anything he can get his hands on…. “Well if we come over and we can’t find you darling – we will look to see if he’s vacuum packed you and stored you in the freezer”. Sigh. 

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My Dad and I at my wedding – one of the many life changing events this year.
Photo credit to: David Toms Photography

My father, calls me and asks “why haven’t you blogged in a while….I want to read your blog”. This is coming from the man who thinks I’m an over-sharer and can’t understand why everything has to be on social media these days. So I find it ironic that he is asking me to put more of me and my personal life out in to the social universe for him to read and proudly share with his friends and in some cases, his clients, but like the dutiful daughter that I am, I aim to comply and promise I will.

Four months have gone by since then and many, many, life changing events and still I haven’t been inspired to write, I don’t know why, I suppose it’s writers block, or lack of confidence, or ego, that my life isn’t that exciting, that other people want to read about it. But my Dad does and that’s what boosts me to lie awake on a Monday night until 5am writing.

I start writing about something completely ridiculous – my thoughts on the Kardashians. Mr. K tells me it’s a shallow topic (my thought – well that’s the point of them isn’t it?) and one that he doesn’t think really puts me in a good light, so I hit delete and go back to sleep.

I feel like I’m having a crisis of confidence, a lack of clear creative thought – why do I blog? What is the point? Who cares what I think?

I take another few days to think and then decide that I would go by my own blogging rules, my 3 rules that go against the blogging grain:

1)      I have to be an established writer:

False – Did Picasso or Van Gogh worry; did they care if everyone loved their work?

You write in the way you want and people will come to you. Writing is an art. A form of expression, Some people will love it. Others will hate it – be ok with that.

2)      You need a huge audience:

False – It doesn’t matter if you have 3 views or 30,000 views, this is what you want to write about. It’s your outlet. Are your writing for money and fame or to express yourself? It’s not a failure to only have 4 views in a week and one of them is your Mum, or in my case, my Dad.

3)      You must blog each week:

False – A lot of people carve out time. Force themselves or commit to blogging once a week. I don’t agree. Forcing yourself to write by a particular time is like asking someone to be innovative on a timer. Creativity, innovation and art come to you when you’re ready. They cannot be forced so don’t push yourself in to something that isn’t ready yet.

There are no ‘one size fits all’ rules for blogging, these may work for me, but not for everyone. Find what works for you and don’t panic when it isn’t working – take time out, breath and the words will flow.

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Blogging: Going Against The Grain