Wednesday, September 28

no more tears

I have oily hair - eww. The type of oily where if I don’t wash it for a couple of days, my hair changes from its normal dark blonde shade, to a slimy dark-brown. It’s shiny in all the wrong ways. I attempt to cover it up with a hat on the days I don’t wash it, but there’s this lurking fear: what if I have to take my hat off for some reason... terrifying. And if I do wash it every day, it has a squeaky clean quality to it, which doesn’t quite pull off the luscious, wavy look I am striving for. After experiments with various brands of shampoo (Herbal Essences, Tres Semme, Sunsilk, Sulkin), I discovered a substance which does the trick.

“We know how important it is to give (Danielle) the purest, gentlest and mildest care around.” Johnsons’s
-          No froth
-          Makes hair soft and silky
-          Mild scent
-          Doesn’t take all your natural oils
-          Pretty much the cheapest shampoo you’ll ever buy

Now here’s the pro to top them all – take a look at the red tear shape on the bottle. That says “No More Tears” .i.e. when you next rub shampoo in your eyes, you won’t be cursing, and wailing, and blind.  That feature really got me.
Moving on to the post-wash stage. Go to the cupboard, and retrieve your White Wine Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar. All our shampoos and conditioners leave a build-up on our hair, and the way to get rid of this and achieve shiny hair is to use a vinegar rinse once or twice a week. 

1 litre warm water
¼ cup Vinegar

It’s easy-peasy-japanesy (to use a forbidden rhyme). You just pour it over your head, and then rub it into your hair with your fingers. Leave on for 5 minutes – just enjoy the warm water trickling down your body, and forget the drought for this period of time. Then rinse it off and turn off the shower. 
Pretty sure I'll still be using this formula when I'm eighty years old, on my luscious white hair. Try it.

Sunday, September 25


 “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
~ Albus Dumbledore

According to my baby book, I was five when I decided I wanted to be a ballerina or a flautist. Dreamer. If I’d wanted to be a school teacher, or a florist, there would have been a lot more chance of achieving it. I realised that I would have to pour every bit of me into pursing my dream– and as nothing else in the world seemed to make me feel so alive and joyful, there was no question about giving myself wholly to it. Below are my two favourite quotes from the past, which are scented all over with determination to make my dreams come true:

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll still be among the stars.”

Dwelling on dreams is wonderful, but I did forget to live...a lot of the time. It’s odd to think that I learnt more about living during a year lying on my couch, than nineteen running around. What good is it to be a person of great wealth, but unable to enjoy your heated pool and gigantic TV because you’re too busy working? Or to be in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, but too stressed and fatigued to take joy in your rewarding profession? That’s not life. I think living is a rich diversity of experiences; living is loving, and giving, and exploring, and learning, and resting, and enjoying, and laughing....and not being a sickly hermit crab from workaholism. (Note: a year of enforced rest is an excellent cure for the latter condition)
I hope to be a flautist if I can do so whilst retaining health in mind & body: my dream hasn’t changed. But I don’t want to let myself get lost in a life not lived, my dream isn’t worth that cost – I need time with my husband, my family, my Maker, and lots of moments to smell the jasmine (as I don’t have any roses, and jasmine smells divine).
p.s. if you haven’t been alive of late, I suggest taking a day off work/uni to re-establish full existence.

Thursday, September 22

in my shoes

I doubt that I can do any justice in describing how strange it is to be an ‘invincible’ type of person one day, and the next to be setting off down the road of long-term illness. Perhaps the oddest thing about it is that I am used to deciding what happens next...and this time I was left out. All of us have had that beastly flu which shows up on the busiest week of our year - but try to imagine that untimely illness lasting that whole crucial year, and potentially many more. It feels unspeakably inconvenient.

As an aspiring flautist, it really didn’t seem to be an option to allow the beast to just move in just like that, with no warning or promises of recovery. I needed to practice for hours, to be mentally alert, to be fit for long days and rehearsals.  So initially, while feeling utterly wasted, gray, grumpy and ill – I pushed on. I mean, you can go to work with the flu; everything will just be utterly unpleasant. After a harrowing year, my summer did much to revive me and I ambitiously declared that I was well enough to move to Melbourne and begin uni at the con. But it took only five weeks for me to discover a truth I never want to forget: you can’t ignore your body.

You just can’t. Well, you can for a wee little while and that keeps you under the illusion that you have ultimate control. Sooner or later, that big beast pins you to the ground and you can’t fight back. By half way through the year, I was limping into practice rooms at lunch time, locking the door and lying down – guilty to be using someone’s practice space, but unable to get home unless I lay down first. Then it going home after one class and sleeping the rest of the day, trying to get in 30 mins practice before bed.
I would cry to this piece of music every single night – have a listen:
 Then it was conceding, and arranging not to return to uni the following year. I was at such a sick point that I was relieved to know that I could now rest. Just lie, not go out, not do things, not see people. Here began my journey of acceptance that I am not in control of my life, that tough things can teach lessons you can’t learn another way, that being successful is not the most important thing. Life is so much more wholesome than I ever realised before.