Wednesday, October 31, 2012

An honest RSVP

Thank you for the invitation to your party.

I was delighted to receive it and happy that you are celebrating.

Unfortunately I will not be able to make it.

I can make up an excuse, right now or nearer DDay. I usually do, though you may not know make us both feel better.

I'm hoping it won't matter hugely to you, I would have just been a face in the crowd. But I am touched I am part of your crowd, truly. If my presence really matters hugely to your enjoyment, I know you will try to convince me to come. This makes it even harder to say the following...

The truth is this. I am not good at parties. There I have said it.

The need to be "on good form" and "let my hair down" tends to induce the opposite feelings in me: stress, pressure and anxiety. It brings out my depressive demons in force.

Chances are I won't know what to wear. If it's fancy dress I'll feel twice a dick. I'll feel the fattest person there. Second I won't know what to say. I am not good at small talk. I feel I have nothing of value to contribute. Third I won't know what to do. That makes me really anxious. That's why at parties you will often find me in the kitchen, doing something practical, working, you'll tell me to relax, but in truth, this is how I can. Ha! I've just realised why I catered for my own wedding!

Then there'll be photographs. I hate being in photos. You may not know we didn't have a photographer at my own wedding for this reason.

Then there'll be lots of noise (my head starts to go all jangly) and dancing (and I won't know what to do with my body and I'll feel all self conscious again.) And lots of alcohol, which I can't do.

Hence why you tend to find me sitting quietly by myself at parties, or clinging for dear life to the conversation of one friend. And why I'll always leave early. And if I do these things, you'll worry that I'm not enjoying myself, that there's something wrong. And there's no need for that.

In truth my life is quite limited, the things I do, the social situations I go to. This works for me. I've learnt that pushing myself harder leads to meltdown.

The only parties I'm any good at involve spontaneity. Very small groups, where I know everyone. Outdoor gatherings. And are centred around food, sat down. You organise that, I'll be there. Promise.

So know that my refusal is nothing to do with my feelings for you. It's just my way of staying sane a little longer. And I know as a friend, you would want that for me too.

I hope you have a wonderful time.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Singing over the bones

The Day of the Dead is fast approaching. So are the Days of All Saints and All Souls. Around a large proportion of the world, the houses and shops are decorated with skulls and skeletons, ghosts and ghouls.  These are the days where the living welcome the dead into their lives. When we remember.

As I went to sleep a voice in my head said "Bones, bones. You have to sift over the bones, before you can walk fully over the Rainbow Bridge."
This was not the same voice that says, "I want a tub of chocolate ice cream." So I listened.

And as synchronicity has it, today's activity, for the art course I am following online at the moment, was, you guessed it - bones...

I don't like bones, they spook me. They speak of death and emptiness, they scare me. But yet they call... "don't forget us, come, come and pay your respects to your ancestors, to your past selves. For those who have the courage to look, to sift the bones and the sand through their fingers, to hold the possibility of death  in their living hands. They will find the possibility of richer life, of wisdom, of healing."

"Call your soul back from every place that you have left portions of it." Hiro Boga 

And so I find myself looking back, sifting through the bones, so that I might mourn and release what has past, so that I might fully embrace my present: the person I have become. I find myself paying my respects to my ancestors, my lineage of teachers and mentors, friends and family.

This is not emotional. At least at first. More a seeing and a naming. And yet I find as my list grows each of these selves still has a tug on my heart, a feeling of maybe, what if. When seen so starkly they represent the death of possibility. But they show where the river took a different course, because the rains fell heavier, or less that year.

If things we different, who would I be?

The child of happily married parents who fitted in, sounded right and knew she belonged.
A woman who travelled to hippy communities and founded her own
A woman with a PhD 
A mother of four children 
A carefree spirit, unencumbered by family or spouse
A well-known cookery writer with her own TV show... I practiced it in the playground for years!
An anxious, depressed wreck, hospitalised and heavily medicated
A perfect mother and domestic goddess.

At some point I, and fate, decided that these were not to be the roads I was to travel. Part of me thinks it might be like the film Sliding Doors where all these past selves actually exist, perhaps in tandem, perhaps in other dimensions. I might, without knowing it walk past another self as I walk down the street. How great that sounds.

And so, this year, I draw flowers on the skeletons, to show from the midst of death, from the jaws of the past, springs new life, new colour, new growth. There are flowers and rainbows where death once held sway with bleached bones and dry desert. The rains fall down. The river runs. I walk over the Rainbow Bridge.

Come join me. Do you have the courage to sift through the bones of your past, to see the selves you might have been, to sit and drink tea with them, and then let them go and paint flowers on their faces?
La Loba (Wolf Woman), the old one, the One Who Knows, is within us. She thrives in the deepest soul-psyche of women, the ancient and vital Wild Woman. She describes her home as that place in time where the spirit of women and the spirit of wolf meet —the place where her mind and her instincts mingle, where a woman's deep life funds her mundane life. It is the point where the I and the Thou kiss, the place where women run with the wolves. 
The Creation Mother is always the Death Mother and vice versa. Because of this dual nature, or double-tasking, the great work before us is to learn to understand what around and about us and what within us must live, and what must die. Our work is to apprehend the timing of both; to allow what must die to die, and what must live to live.
You can dent the soul and bend it. You can hurt it and scar it. You can leave the marks of illness upon it, and the scorch marks of fear.
But it does not die, for it is protected by La Loba in the underworld. She is both the finder and the incubator of the bones. 
People do meditation to find psychic alignment. That's why people do psychotherapy and analysis. That's why people analyze their dreams and make art. That is why many read Tarot cards, cast I Ching, dance, drum, make theater, pry out the poem, and fire up the prayer. That's why we do all the things we do. It is the work of gathering all the bones together. Then we must sit at the fire and think about which song we will use to sing over the bones, which creation hymn, which re-creation hymn. And the truths we tell will make the song. 
There are some good questions to ask till one decides on the song, one's true song:
What has happened to my soul-voice?What are the buried bones of my life?In what condition is my relationship to the instinctual Self?When was the last time I ran free?How do I make life come alive again?Where has La Loba gone to?
Go back and stand under that one red flower and walk straight ahead for that last hard mile. Go up and knock on the old weathered door. Climb up to the cave. Crawl through the window of a dream. Sift the desert and see what you can find. It is the only work we have to do.
From Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Joy Pockets

Little gratitudes in the midst of reality...

Sugar skulls for Dia de Los Muertos - I want to make some!
Cheese and ham toasties - with red onion and tomato - dipped in tomato chilli jam
Designing my own bookmarks - dead proud!
A shopping trolley laden with groceries, all the essentials, which this week included two child sized broomsticks and a bunch of flowers for myself.
Our four-year-old on seeing her school Principal in the shop: "Look Mummy, there's the bell ringer".
Supper cooked for me on work days
The new BBC3 comedy drama, Cuckoo about a hippy guy - it SO reminds me of my siblings!
Anticipating mid-term break - no early mornings, lunch boxes, fights over socks or tights and getting dirty looks when the kids walk in late, again...
A publishing contract
The smell of autumn
The blog's new look
Second book now being printed
Snuggling with my boy who's supposed to be asleep as he tells me about space rockets and oil tankers
Aisling, she just makes my heart sing.

Please do share yours below...

And link up over at

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

If I lived then...

Often, as I reflect on the life I live, the full, expressive, creative, glorious, self-determined, sensual life that I sometimes take for granted,  I am only too aware that...

If I lived in the Middle Ages I would be thought of as a witch, and probably burned at the stake.


If I lived in the 18th Century  I could be in the paintings or poems ... but not creating them.

Jupiter and Antiope - Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
Image: Ingres

If I lived in the Victorian era I would be hysterical as I squeezed myself into corsets, bit my tongue, had dainty conversation and no sexual satisfaction.


If I lived in Saudi Arabia/ Afghanistan/ Pakistan/ an American fundamentalist community today I would probably be stoned/ beaten/ silenced/ scorned/ condemned.

But I live here and now and so I get to be me - mother, painter, free-spirited, freelancing writer, free thinking woman. One who speaks what she wants from her heart. Who follows her soul's longing. Who foments dissent against the authorities. Who encourages and helps to empower other women. Who has equality with her partner. Who can choose how many children she has. Who has money in her own bank account, that she spends on what she pleases.

And for that I am eternally grateful.

PS You might have noticed I've had a little redesign (if not, are you BLIND??!) - it's going all Creative Rainbow mama - let me know what you think in the comments below - and you will be in with a chance to win a copy of my brand new book, Moods of Motherhood (which has just gone off to the printers!)

PPS. Big, big news about my third book, The Rainbow Way - have you heard? Head over to the Dreaming Aloud Facebook page and see! Or sign up to the mailing list to make sure you never miss out on big news and reader discounts...

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Thank fuck for school

Its Monday morning. The house is quiet. Our two older kids are at school.

And I think: thank fuck!

I bitch and whine and whinge and moan about school. About the amount of colouring in, religious dogma, early mornings, lack of creativity and imagination...

But here's what I love about it. Last week I was sick all week. And someone else had my kids all day. Took care of them and even taught them some stuff. For free. And I didn't have to feel guilty about asking favours or plonking them in front of the TV.

Do you remember my annual back to school jitters, which this year found us a hair's breadth from quitting and home schooling? Ironically, the thing that perhaps confirmed our need to continue with school was a post written by a home schooling friend about ten reasons you shouldn't home school. We fit 8 of them.

So in the spirit of joy pockets, I want to honour the good in our current educational choices.

1) My children can read, write, spell and add really well. In this world where even a basic education is still a luxury that so many children do not have access to, the fact that we get this for free is nothing to sniff at.
2) It gives us structure to our days, which I know would be lovely not to have some days. But being the structure setter every day is tiring. And if we don't have a plan my kids don't get dressed and we don't do anything. Which is not OK with me on a daily basis.
3) Someone else has responsibility for if my kid can read, count, recognise the flag of Namibia and speak pidgin Irish. And do cross country races. And algebra. Cos all these things are important, right?
4) The parents. What a wonderful, caring, supportive bunch they are at our school. Love 'em.
5)The garden - a strange one, but true. Gotta love a school with a veg garden, kid made scarecrows, hens and a compost heap. And fields to play in.
6) A school where big and little kids play together. Where everyone knows everyone else. Where the principal knows my daughter's name in the first two weeks. Where we all feel safe.
7) My children get to learn about and from other adults who have different strengths, skills, characters and knowledge to me.
8) The range of activities is so much larger than I can offer at home.
9) Very importantly for me and my cautious kiddies: they, and we, are stretched out of our comfort zones. We do stuff that we might not try at home, or that we might not persist with if we were following our own whims. This actually is a good thing.
10) School's so close. Less than five minutes walk. No car journeys, we walk thru the seasons. And I can pop in to see them at break time, just because I love them and they're mine. And that's OK.
11) They don't have to put up with me all day. And when we get together again in the afternoon we have more time, love and enthusiasm for each other.
12) I get my work days. I cannot tell you how important they are to me.
13) And I get lovely quiet one to one mornings with my little Ash. Which is especially important as she's the third child. So we get to do play group, play dough and nursery rhymes.

So I am grateful. Very grateful.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Joy Pockets

I haven't done Joy Pockets for ages. I miss my weekly doses of gratitude in the midst of mundanity. So here they are...

My mad, cute family...

My second book about to go to the printers - wahoo!
Holding my nose into touseled hair and breathing my children in
A four-year-old who says: "I'm sorry for ripping your skirt and screaming at you. I love you." Kiss.
Eating parsnip and bacon gratin as the wild wind blew outside
My two work days - never, ever, ever do I take them for granted
Another small leap for mankind in terms of my own technological proficiency (see that Pinterest symbol - I wired that up myself!!)
Children loving their letters from Granny
A secret hope
A four-year-old who can read more and more each day
Snuggling up with my family to watch the Great British Bake Off final
A lovely new network of feisty funny ladies over on the Irish Parenting Bloggers group - we started a revolution together before breakfast one day!
Re-reading Aphrodite's Daughters by Jalaja Bonheim 
Being on target with my earnings this year
Autumn leaves. Conkers. Acorns. Berries - how can you not love autumn?
 Almost 100,000 page views on this blog - wahoo - thank you one and all!
And this - I actually wet myself laughing when I first read it!

What are YOU grateful for this week? Please do share your own in the comments section below or link up your own joy pocket post.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

And the leaves fall down

The falling leaves drift by my window
The falling leaves of red and gold
Eva Cassidy

I am tired. Bone tired. Dead tired.

I feel about 150. On a good day. 

Dark moon, plus chesty cough, plus an end of a lot of demanding commitments find me dropping leaves as the season requires, lightening my load, hibernating. Early to bed. Resting all day. Doing minimum in the house, or with the kids, or friends.

I need to curl up in a ball under a blanket of dried leaves, at the roots of an old oak tree and feel myself held completely. To be rested, warm and quiet. The warmth of the earth like a cocoon.

I find myself digging down, deeper, deeper as the nights get longer, I find myself turning in. And in deepening I need to let go that which no longer serves, that which once was me, but no longer fits. 

I walk the spiral path, deeper, round and round it goes. I revisit states of being, passions, ideas. I have been here before, and yet I was not the me I now am. I have more perspective on the insight they offer. I collect their gems of wisdom like ripe apples, carrying them with me in my skirt. I see the spiders web, Indira's net, glistening with autumn dew. I smell the change of the seasons. The death that makes way for new life. The excesses of summer falling down to be subsumed into the earth once more.

I have given all I have, all I can. I am drained. 

And now I will rest. And nurture myself. And receive.

Falling, falling, but safe....

Where are you at, right now? 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Down to the Bare Bones - Cutting (the fat of) Child Benefit

Let us take care of our children, for they have a long way to go.
Let us take care of our elders, for they have come a long way. 
Let us take care of those of us in between, for we are doing the work.
(Traditional Blessing)

This is my hope: in a culture of austerity may we not have a poverty of vision.

May we hold our values above our economics.

May we respect each stage in the journey of life as having value and dignity, and offer the support it needs, rather than resent each penny that is required.

May we not turn against each other in trying to find solutions.

Let us stop for a minute and look beyond the numbers, to the ambitions and basic needs of every family. Let us nurture the creation of healthy families, support their aspirations, regardless of their parental financial situation. Let us give every child, the same basic funding so that we know their basic needs can and will be provided, come what may. Let us value the next generation financially. Let us value the parents who care for them.

A hopelessly idealistic plea, you might think. But one for which I make no apologies, nor take any credit.

This is the vision of Child Benefit.  A Universal financial payment which has been supporting families for decades. (for a great explanation of what Child Benefit is and what's happening to it, see yesterday's post in our BlogMarch.)

And yet at exactly the time we need Child Benefit like never before, we are being chastened for being greedy and unrealistic in valuing what we have. What (in a good economy)  was thought of as a vital support for parents and children is now seen as a luxury (in a flat-lining economy), and one to which the rich are not entitled .... so nor should the poor or the squeezed middle be. We soon will have to prove that we deserve it, that we are poor enough, and jump through the hoops of the already creaking Family Income Supplement system to get less than what we already have...

How fair is that?

I am not going to give you a sob story about the choices we as a family make or the details of our personal finances. They are truly not your problem. Because I do not expect you, or the State, to take financial responsibility for me and my children.

Just like I do not expect to have to pay to bail out the banks. Or repay bond holders. But I have. And my cost of living has shot through the roof, as our means have declined. But market forces only work one way, it seems.

I want to live in a society which values - financially and morally - the needs and contributions of each sector of society from youngest to oldest - at their time of need. 

I thought I did. But I was wrong. 

I understand something: money is all that matters right now. The money for the party (of which my generation and my children's were not part of) has to come from somewhere. The bill has to be paid.

But why from those of us who are under the most pressure? Who are working to build our careers, care for small children and pay off mortgages?These children are our country's future and we the current economic powerhouse. We do not feel very powerful.

On Monday, the IMF admitted it completely underestimated the effects of austerity on the Irish economy. A new report showed that for every €100 of cuts, a knock-on €50 loss to the economy had been expected - through loss of employment and reduced spending.The reality was two-three times this.  

Let us not keep making these mistakes. Let us learn from the evidence.

The argument goes that Child Benefit is a luxury. Or that it funds luxuries. In a tough economy we need to learn to "man up" and realise that life is hard, which means cutting back the fat. Child Benefit is fat. Some are even suggesting that children are luxuries (I thought in Catholic Ireland they were supposed to be blessings from God, but what would I know?).

I see Child Benefit like this: if you benefit the family, you benefit the child, and you invest in the future. Cut the investment, limit the potential, pay later for the consequences... 

But we are so worried about now. About what if we can't pay the Troika, that we forget our future. We forget the value of our children and the families that are nurturing the future.

Children are one third of our population and all of our future.  
~Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health, 1981

Meanwhile my children are aware that almost every time they ask for something the answer is always "sorry, no love, we just can't afford it right now." And so we focus on the luxuries that we can give them, the ones that money can't buy, and squash them into their shoes for a bit longer. And pray that no one gets sick in a way our skeletal medical insurance can't cover.

We are down to the bare bones. Our family. Our country. Where do we go now?

In the end it is down to numbers on a computer. Not lives or values
. Just economic survival. 

And computer says no. 

So the numbers must be made smaller. What these numbers represent does not matter so much. The impact on lives, the hardship, the anxiety, the loss of opportunity...

Well computer, you know what? 

We say NO too.

10 Irish parenting bloggers have joined forces in a “BlogMarch” to raise awareness of the crippling impact that cuts to child benefit will have on Irish families if introduced in December’s budget. The bloggers are publishing a blog post each over ten days to highlight the negative impact that child benefit cuts will have, as well as spearheading a nationwide media campaign. 

To find out more about the campaign, see my post here

You can join us on the new Irish Parenting Blogs Facebook page here

And on Twitter with the hash-tag #blogmarch 
You can contact Joan Burton, minister in charge of child benefit:
You can find the email addresses of all current TD’s and Senators here
You can sign the petition against Child Benefit Cuts here
There is a march organised against cuts to Child Benefit planned for November 3rd in Dublin. Starting at Parnell Square, D1 at 12 noon here
Read the other Blog March posts
The post that inspired me to start this whole campaign off: Ciara @Ouch My Fanny Hurts: Where her mother says we all need to speak up 
Day 1: 'Child Benefit Stole My Child's Allowance' at  
The Irish Rhymes
Day 2  (Tuesday 9th):          The Clothesline Blog    
'Stuck In The Middle- No To Child Benefit Cuts'

Day 3  (Wednesday 10th):   Mind The Baby  
Leave Child Benefit Alone, Tax Maternity Benefit Instead 

Day 4  (Thursday 11th):       Dreaming Aloud    
Down to the Bare Bones - Cutting (the fat out of) Child Benefit

Day 5  (Friday 12th):          The Daily Muttering

Day 6  (Saturday 13th):       Kate Takes 5       

Day 7  (Sunday 14th):         Wholesome Ireland

Day 8  (Monday 15th):        Ouch My Fanny Hurts

Day 9  (Tuesday 16th):        Wonderful Wagon

Day 10 (Wednesday 17th):          

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

BlogMarch against Child Benefit Cuts

We are on day 2 of the BlogMarch of 10 members of the Irish Parenting Bloggers group. A plan I dreamed up on the toilet last Friday morning and shared on the Irish Parenting Bloggers Facebook page. Over the next 48 hours magic happened through the incredible enthusiasm and hard work of all these incredible women involved - women who have full time work and parenting responsibilities - we now have a nationwide blog, media and social media campaign to make parents' voices heard on proposed changes in our economy.

To bring you up to speed on the issue:
Last week in anticipation of our (fifth) austerity budget, an Irish advisory group to Social Protection Minister, Joan Burton, recommended cuts to Child Benefit, a Universal social payment received by all Irish families. 
They propose cutting the rate from €140 to €100 per child and putting a system in place where by low-income families can apply for a top up (via the Family Income Supplement system (FIS) - which is currently running 9 month waiting lists.)
On the same day this happened, our government, paid €1 Billion to unsecured bondholders of AIB bank.
This was the last straw. For me. And thousands of parents around Ireland. It was the line in the sand that had been crossed. Something has to be said. Something needs to be done. Enough is enough. I will be blogging about our own personal experiences on Thursday. But before then you can see what the other bloggers involved have to say on the matter. (See below for the BlogMarch schedule and all the ways that you can get involved.)

The Irish Parenting Bloggers are great writers and each post on the BlogMarch is the blogger's own view. Enjoy! 

Read the other Blog March posts
The post that inspired me to start this whole campaign off: Ciara @Ouch My Fanny Hurts: Where her mother says we all need to speak up 
Day 1: 'Child Benefit Stole My Child's Allowance' at  
The Irish Rhymes
Day 2  (Tuesday 9th):          The Clothesline Blog    
'Stuck In The Middle- No To Child Benefit Cuts'

Day 3  (Wednesday 10th):   Mind The Baby  
Leave Child Benefit Alone, Tax Maternity Benefit Instead 

Day 4  (Thursday 11th):       Dreaming Aloud    
Down to the Bare Bones - Cutting (the fat out of) Child Benefit

Day 5  (Friday 12th):          The Daily Muttering

Day 6  (Saturday 13th):       Kate Takes 5       

Day 7  (Sunday 14th):         Wholesome Ireland

Day 8  (Monday 15th):        Ouch My Fanny Hurts

Day 9  (Tuesday 16th):        Wonderful Wagon

Day 10 (Wednesday 17th):          

  • You can sign the online petition here.
  • You can tweet at #BlogMarch.
  • You can contact Joan Burton at
  • You can find the email addresses of all current TD’s and Senators here
  • You can sign the petition against Child Benefit Cuts here
  • There is a march organised against cuts to Child Benefit planned for November 3rd in Dublin. Starting at Parnell Square, D1 at 12 noon - see here
  • You can join us on the new Irish Parenting Blogs Facebook page here
  • You can read, think, discuss anywhere

Monday, October 8, 2012

What's the hurry?

As I await the final proof of my second book this year, I am working on the second draft of my third book - The Rainbow Way - which you all very kindly helped me to name! It could potentially be three books published in 12 months. Which sounds crazy, even to me.

And you might think slow down, what's the hurry?

But you see I've been waiting my whole life to write books. Knowing that I would, but not knowing what they would be about. Another strange thing, I know, but there it is!

But now I do and I am and I can. And I know I have nothing to lose. And it's wonderful. I'm doing what I feel I'm meant to be doing. And that feel sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good. I have my voice. I have my message. I know what it feels like to be stuck, to be small, to be trapped in not going where or how to start.

And because I'm self publishing, nobody can stop me. Or tell me I need to do it this way, or not say that. And I don't have to wait for anyone's approval.

And that's extra wonderful.

The reason I'm getting these books out so fast is they've been brewing in my subconscious for so long. I have been researching them my whole adult life.

Though I am writing fast,more ideas are stacking up behind and I want to write them too whilst they're still fresh. Because you see there's four more books behind them. Begging to be written. Planned out and raring to go.

Perhaps I will have written all my books by 35. And I'll have to find a new job!

Ah well, that's a risk I'm willing to take!!!!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Dog's Vagina

Have you ever been hugged in your inbox?

I know, it sounds a bit dodgy. But it's wonderful.

You go to your inbox, expecting the usual deluge of penile enhancement...

(ASIDE) "Yo, mo-fo! I have a VAGINA! Get that, I don't need no enhancement. I have a dedicated pleasure organ all of my very own."

(I'm practicing vaginal liberation at the moment - well not ACTUAL liberation, cos I'd get arrested for that - but actually, you know, SAYING the word, out loud, so my heart doesn't race and I don't feel like puking in my bag and fainting, just because I named a body part. Seriously, my hands are shaking. VAGINA - ha! Take that!! Have you ever tried painting one. No, not your own - we're not talking vajazzles - we're talking actually taking a paint brush or a pen and doodling one - in a private note book - heart pounding at the thought? It's insane. I'm doodling a VAGINA a day to overcome the fear. Pink. Beautiful. Truly, nothing to be afraid of. Because seriously, teenage boys draw willies everywhere - on school desks, park benches, toilet doors and even on our village name sign - they OWN their magic wands. But us, we just cross our legs and keep up the pretense that there's nothing down there.)

So anyway, back to inboxes (getting my double-entendre there? Are ya? Are ya?)

You know when you go to your inbox - expecting the usual junk mail, Pay Pal receipts, round robin circulars and you wonder why you bother to check it anymore. And then, just as you're about to slash and burn your emails, you spot one from an unfamiliar name. And rather than trying to extort $10 million from you, they're saying wonderful, kind, appreciative loving things. Or perhaps it's your mum. Or your friend. Or an ex student (thank you Simon - see below!) And you go all warm and tingly and you think - ah! Lovely.

"Most impressed with 'Dreaming Aloud', I love both the concept and the design: it reaches out, gently takes you in for a hug and whispers in your ear! Ten out of Ten!"

Now, Simon would die if he read this (believe me, I know him, he would!), but this description of Dreaming Aloud is a bit like VAGINAs. According to Naomi Wolf's new book: VAGINA: a new biography,  VAGINAs do actually pull a man in to them when they are aroused and ready. Actively wanting to embrace their partner. 

So can I set you a challenge - go hug someone in their inbox right now. (Take that which ever way you want!) Go tell them how special they are. How much you appreciate their work. That you love them. That they, in your eyes, are the dog's VAGINA. (You see we don't even have a positive phrase with them in - so now it's coined!)

Because a woman, when she feels loved and appreciated, physically opens. Say a kind word and the VAGINA smiles. Her heart opens. The world is a better place. And all because of you.

And while you're at it, use the word VAGINA once today - with glowing eyes, knowing that truly there's nothing to be ashamed at and lots to love. (Go on, men folk, send your woman an email ode to her VAGINA - she will frame it in her heart for ever, and she will, no doubt, hug you with it later!)

For the record, this post was supposed to be about nice emails. But turned into a VAGINA liberation post - just in time for my appearance on the radio this evening!!!! Oh and the blogging course on Saturday - ah! wonderful!) I am the crazy VAGINA woman!

(How many times did I mention it? You don't think anybody noticed do you?!)


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