And just like that, she was back.

It’s been a month between posts. I’m sorry.

I wish I could say I’ve been sunning myself on the decks of a luxury yacht (except I get seasick so scrap that). I wish I could say I’ve been rescuing orphaned baby orangutans from the depths of the Bornean forests. Frankly, I’d be happy if all I could say was that I’ve been mucking manure out of a stable for the past 30 days.

Yes, we all wish that things were different sometimes.

Here’s the thing;  it’s been a rough month.

I have spent an inordinate amount of my waking time debating whether to tell you this or not. I mean, should I just pop back with a jaunty post and a pretty picture with nary a word to explain my absence?

Perhaps no one even noticed a month has passed between posts. So then it just seems kind of self-indulgent to talk about it as if you, my dear readers, have been talking of nothing else but where I might have scampered off to. Which I know you haven’t. Well, I hope you haven’t. If you have, email me privately and we can discuss the type of therapy you might need.

Aaaaaaanyhoo, I’ve decided to follow up on a promise I made to myself a few months ago. I promised to bring more honesty to my blog. Not that I’ve been lying to you. Except for that bit about me being a supermodel.

But seriously, when I say honesty I’m referring more the fact that what you have seen of twirling betty so far is just the good stuff. The really good stuff.

Sometimes when I scroll back through posts I am filled with wonder at the crafty, food-filled, fun-filled seemingly near-perfect life of twirling betty. She’s quite the woman you know. When she’s not doing tutorials on fabric height charts, she’s distilling fennel pollen or throwing formal tea parties.

I wish I could be her. All the time. Apart from the fennel pollen bit – that’s just a little bit too far I feel.

Yes, we do wish things were different sometimes.

But if they were then I wouldn’t be who I am. Which is a harried mother of two small kids with a tiny and disproportionately time-consuming embryonic business who spends an inordinate amount of time worrying that the kids are having baked-beans on toast with frozen vegetables on the side (well, they start out frozen – I do actually cook them before I serve them…sometimes) for dinner again while trying keep the house clean, have some vague semblance of a social life (yes, I do believe one night out a month constitutes a social life) and engage with my handsome husband. And when I say “engage” it’s not what you are thinking, you cheeky monkeys. I simply mean having an uninterrupted adult conversation on a daily basis. About us. Or something else. Anything but the kids.

Add on my sudden and overwhelming desire to totally refresh our house for the first since we moved in here 4 years ago and you arrive at the sad fact that over the last 3 weekends I’ve only averaged one of the 2 days out of my pyjamas because I’ve been cleaning, scrubbing and re-organising from 7am to 7pm. Yep, the fun times sure have been rolling.

I’ve also had a wholesale order from  a lovely soon-to-be-open online shop (more on that later) that has been keeping me busy.

But I could probably have managed to fit a few blog posts in around that stuff. Afterall, that’s really not that abnormally busy for me.

What’s really hit me for a six and sent me off-line for a bit is something I’ve struggled with for a long time. It’s one of those things that is attendant on trying to do too many things too perfectly. It’s my old friend: anxiety.

I suffered from some pretty yukky post-natal anxiety about 6 months after I had Olive and I didn’t really deal with it properly because…I was too busy. I just kind of put up with it and figured, after a while, it would dissipate. Well, it didn’t. It got worse. Slowly it built and built – almost without me realising – and then one extraordinary (not in a good sense) day  it overwhelmed me. I will spare you the gory details suffice to say I thought my next stop was the hospital in an ambulance. Which, thankfully, it wasn’t. But yes, it was quite the relaxing Saturday morning as you can imagine.

I have always been a slightly anxious person. Most serial perfectionists are. But a few things have happened in my life that have taken my anxiety to new levels.  Serious things that I am still working through.

The first was being in Bali when the bombs exploded in 2002. We weren’t in any of the nightclubs, thank God, but I did think we were going to die because the Indonesian media kept reporting there were possibly more bombs set to explode all over the island and at the airport. That was the one and only time I’ve experienced a downside to speaking a foreign language. Speaking Bahasa Indonesia meant I learned far more than I needed to know from the uncensored (and, as it turned out completely inaccurate) Indonesian coverage on tv that morning.

We were on the first Qantas flight out of Bali to Sydney. It was an emotional, eerie and hushed trip and we were accompanied on all sides by the injured who, in all other circumstances, would have been medically evacuated out. Except the Hercules planes sent by the Australian government for that very purpose were full with even more horrifically injured people.

Across the aisle from us was one young-ish teenage girl who began to rock back and forth keening as they armed the doors and prepared for take-off. I will never ever forget her. She had lost her mother.

Despite having loved Indonesia more than any other country on earth, learned the language, worked there and even married there the year before the bombings, I have never been able to go back. The terror still runs deep and strong inside me. And I miss it like sleep. Physically.

I had another pretty scary experience in Italy.  Shortly after Sophia was born, there was an earthquake and our whole apartment began to shake and shudder. Books and pictures began to fall from the bookshelves and as Andrew yelled at me to grab Sophia and get under the door frame, I thought, again,  we were possibly going to die. Can you imagine how that felt with a 2 week old baby, with your protective maternal instinct in full swing for the first time ever? Not good.  I slept in my clothes for a week in case it happened again in the middle of the night.

Yes, we desperately wish things were different sometimes.

Those are the two main things that have kind of rocked me in the last decade but there have been a couple of other serious events that have shaped me too.

A few weeks ago my GP told me to bear in mind I had experienced a series of difficult things that many people, including him, have never experienced and will never experience even one of over their whole life. That made feel a little better about not always being able to keep my anxiety in check.  A little better.

But most of the time I am extremely grateful for things just the way they are. Struggles and all. And part of that gratitude extends to you, my readers. And if any of you still there after all that I want you to know that it means a lot to me that you like (well, have liked to this point anyway) to hear what I have to say.

So there you have it folks. The less-than-perfect life of twirling betty. Hopefully you’ll be just as happy to keep reading after all that honesty. If you hang around you’ll probably see a few more of the messier and less-than-perfect aspects of my life in the future.

Anyway, that’s that.

For those of you who are feeling really uncomfortable about my sudden sharing and really would have just preferred a pretty picture and a crafty idea, I do truly apologise for that break in transmission and hope you’ll keep twirling along with me as we return to our normal programming.

And if I disappear again in the future…you’ll know I’m probably just off somewhere doing some deep breathing. And necking a bottle of red wine. But I’ll always be back. Sooner or later.

15 thoughts on “And just like that, she was back.

  1. i have always loved your posts but none more than this! great genuine stuff.

    2 things:
    1) thank you so much for inspiring me to tackle embroidery. totally new to me, but your height chart made me write on my pocket organisers and i love the result. (but still practising)
    2) a shrink once told me that all the anxiety ridden clients she meets are undoubtedly always ridiculously fun, creative and huge personalities. (anxiety is just another thing we’re good at!)

    oh and 3) don’t let anybody tell you that necking wine is not the answer. IT IS!!!

  2. I just wanted to tell you that I think it was pretty brave to write that post!!!! I think we – bloggers – all have the same “problem”. On our blogs we are those great, capable, always-in-a-good-mood people. No-one is like that! At least no-one who is not on some medication or drugs. 🙂 And even though we KNOW no-one really is just like it might seem on the blog – we still feel easily intimidated by it. Well, or maybe that’s just me?

    I loved reading about the “real twirling betty” and to be honest – to me this blog just became more meaningful in a way. (I guess that sounds odd somehow … but I don’t know how to rephrase it …)
    And I wish you all the best and lots of strengths to deal with your anxiety!!! You know your doctor is totally right. Many people never experienced something remotely like what you have experienced! And you definitely should NEVER feel bad about having that anxiety! It’s not your fault or anything! Just remember that you should take good care of yourself!

  3. Hi Betty. It’s fine to be honest and just makes you all the more loveable and human. You’ve been through some really scary stuff. I think any of us would have some after effects from that lot. Lots of love, Amanda xxx

  4. thanks betty, feeling better doesn’t always mean feeling best…
    I love your honesty and the wonderful way you put words together… your creations are the icing of course but its you we are after… erin

  5. Thanks for sharing. I often find that I have ‘life envy’ (is that a real term?) of the bloggers I follow, yours included. How do they keep it all together and still manage to produce amazing stuff with kids, husbands and the constant demands of a house and a job?

    But posts like yours makes me realise that I’m not the only one that often doesn’t get out of my PJs on the weekend when there’s a million and one things I *should* be doing!

    Hope you’re feeling better soon.

  6. You are still an inspiration even more so with a few imperfections ! I do believe you to be a creative genius and a wonderful writer. AND THANK YOU! your blog is a lovely piece of escapism for me – though I would like to be reading this blog on an ipad whilst sitting on a picnic blanket in an olive grove in italy with a lovely glass of red and the sun warming me while my angelic children quietly play around me, all of us dressed in white of course. Next time you are anxious please put down a blanket near mine and we’ll ride it out together! Welcome back! Oh and LOVE the heart clip your new creative assistant is cute! xx

  7. Hello lovely lady. First of all thank you for sharing. I hope typing it all out helped lighten your load a little and please remember you are not alone out here. And second of all, it is nice to have you back;)


  8. I hope reading all these comments from your followers has helped you feel a little less crazy and a little more understood, supported, and loved unconditionally.

    I’m a firm disliker of those “super mum/crafter bloggers” (you know the type – we were talking about them that day in your living room!) that blog every day and bake every day and share gorgeous house pictures and pictures of their perfect children and they’re on the school parent committee and no thank you!

    It’s ok to feel a bit crap sometimes, and it’s ok to not feel strong enough to get out of your PJs sometimes. But don’t ever feel alone – cause look we’re all here! 🙂

    You’re very brave to share and I hope you feel better for it and seeing such a nice response from everyone. xxox

  9. that is some heavy stuff, mama. i am in awe of your worldly travels, experiences, and the sheer range of emotional profundity you have witnessed and felt. i love the fennel pollen bit, and this too is very brave and heartfull. thanks for sharing. xoxoxox

  10. Funny thing was, I was thinking of you in the morning of the day I received this post. I am glad to see you back. Your voice is one of pure genuineness anyway. I see your sharing as just more insight to who I had a feeling you were ~ real, true and warm.
    Those were some very, very scary incidences. Fear peaks with children, doesn’t it? I sheepishly admit I am a perfectionist, unable to sometimes take the next step forward, fearing the unknown. So I give you mounds of credit for enjoying the beauty of countries other than your own.
    I suppose, as it is in life, there is the good and the bad in all things. May we have the wisdom to notice and appreciate the good, and the support and fortitude to see us through the bad.

  11. Hi,

    I’ve just found your blog and have been voraciously reading – I love it!! I love the crafty things that you blog about, but more than that I love your honesty. Yes you could have had a month off without explanation – ‘busyness’ would have been readily accepted, but I want to thank you for sharing. My best friend suffers from anxiety too – she is much much better having had treatment over the past few years. But it’s nice to know that others are out there too sharing about their experiences but also having other facets to their lives, that aren’t controlled by the anxiety.

    Just wanted to briefly encourage you, but now I want to get back to reading!

  12. Hi, just discovered your blog today and I’ve really enjoyed reading through it. This post struck a chord with me because I too am in the midst of a post natal “thing”. My little one is now 7 months and I’ve been struggling to hold it all together with caring for a baby, going back to work part time, marriage problems and anxious/perfectionist tendencies. I’m working on trying to rebalance my life and cut myself a little slack and I’m starting to slowly feel better. As daggy as this sounds, the highlight of my day at the moment is reading the amazing blogs that I’ve discovered since the birth of my son. All the best to you and your family.

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