How Trauma Messes With Your Brain

I had something pretty traumatic happen in my life late last year (after, and separate to, the nervous breakdown). I don't want to go into detail cause that's not really the point here, but let's just say it was a genuinely traumatic event that would be recognised as such by any psychiatric organisation, with my safety and sense of self at risk. It's been fixed now, mostly, but I'm still learning about the bloody annoying after effects.

(I've had other shit happen, but this was kind of last straw stuff).

My short term memory is shot. All my life I've had an intense memory for small details. I've always known what day and date it is, and on what day and date things are happening. That's gone now. I've become one of those people who say "huh? It's the 17th already?" which after the novelty wore off, is kind of scary. Yesterday I got a fright because I learned next month is May, when I thought it was March somehow, even though March…

Fear of Boys

At the park yesterday with G, one of those sparkling autumn days that makes you absolve Sydney of all its sins and renew your love forever. Despite the weather, he had the playground mostly to himself, but on two occasions toddler girls, apparently with their fathers, arrived to play. G loves other kids, and he approached each child in turn, once on the climbing frame and once on the roundabout, wanting to chat and play.
Each time - before Mister G actually did anything, and before I could explain that he's a gentle child used to playing with his younger cousins - the fathers of the little girls swooped in to protect their daughters from the threat. 
And I could suddenly see what they saw - not my sweet baby, but an older, school aged, boy. No doubt wild, rough, loud, and a threat to their child. 
Not this again.
My ex loves kids. And he's completely natural with them. He likes to play with them, talk to them, think Playschool presenter but with the messy, germy little things …

Remembering Mark Latham

Mark Latham just won't go away. Like a drunk that has been ejected from every pub in town - even the most disreputable of dives that'll take anyone - denied a chair on which to perch and share his incoherent ramblings, he's set up himself outside, regaling the public with his largely unwelcome rants.

And as this brave warrior of "free speech" spews forth his bile, bravely continuing his "important work" that largely consists of attacking women who've never harmed him or anyone else, people rightly condemn him - no Mark, the left is not "afraid of you", and no one is trying to silence you; even if we wish you would shut up, we can't and won't stop your tired, irrelevant whining. 
But there's a bit of historical revisionism in there, too. People wrongly remember the past. How did this guy ever get to be Labor leader, they wonder. Almost Prime Minister! Now we have two things to be grateful to John Howard for - the assault weapons…

Why I regret breastfeeding my son

If you're pregnant or a new mother, you can hardly miss the incessant message that "breast is best"; between "baby friendly" hospitals, medical advice and the ubiquitous parent forums and social media, the pressure to breastfeed can be overwhelming. Given how the breastfeeding message is pushed down our throats, what mother would do it for sixteen months - then wish she hadn't? This mother. I breastfed for over a year, and looking back now, I wish didn't bother.

 When I was expecting my long-awaited first child, I was determined that I was going to breastfeed. I followed all the advice, such as not having bottles or even dummies in the house; anything that might impede establishing breastfeeding. I went to classes run by the hospital. I’ve got this, I thought; I’ve followed all the advice, I really want it.

 The first trouble we ran into was when I was eleven days overdue and an attempt at induction failed. After it was decided I would have a caesarean …

New Blogger Templates

I've been on Blogger since - whew - January 2004, so long ago I was at least three or four years younger than I am now. The service had only just been bought out by Google, was still widely known as blog spot, and was so basic at the time it lacked a user interface for template design - you had to do so in HTML - and you had to use a third party service for comments. In May of that year, Google launched a major redesign, with lots of improvements to user functionality including comments and the ability to post by email. Further updates followed in 2006, including a WYSIWYG template editor.

And then that was pretty much it. Apart from some minor updates of functionality, Google has pretty much ignored Blogger since then. Whilst they haven't gone so far as to shelve the thing all together, like the much missed iGoogle, it's been abandoned so long, here are the up to the minute options for comment log in:

If that was anymore of a throwback, it'd be using a Razr and playin…

Want sympathy? You'd better be perfect then

There's a strange and awful trend, in Australia at least, when we see people going through a hard time in the media: what seems an insatiable desire to rip them to shreds for any perceived lack of purity in their victimhood.

This week, Australian actress Melissa George went public with her account of how she suffered domestic abuse at the hands of her former partner. Now, Ms George has a somewhat spotty relationship with the Australian media, with ill-advised comments she made a few years back complaining Australians were fixated on her turn two decades ago as a teenage soap star, making it too stressful to come home when she could live a much more exciting life in New York or Paris. There was a predictable backlash at the time - I wrote myself about how petty her claims of distress seemed - but this is different. There's nothing, certainly not being a bit of a snob, that causes a person to deserve abuse; surely we would overlook Ms George's comments of the past and extend…

Criminalising abortion hurts women who don't want one, too

The media has leapt on the story of "Miss X", the woman who became pregnant after a brief relationship with NRL player Bryce Cartwright, and was allegedly paid $50,000 to pressure her into having an abortion. No matter what your stance on a woman's right to choose, it must be a terribly difficult situation for the woman involved. Of course, the usual suspects of the "pro life" brigade have jumped on the story, eager to use it to push their line that abortion harms women and must be stopped. Now, I actually happen to agree with Ms Devine here; no woman should have to suffer this, being pressured into having an abortion she doesn't want. But criminalising abortion means there's no way to prevent it.

As with the legal status of abortion itself in NSW - with abortion still being technically a crime - women who are coerced, bullied or threatened into having an abortion against their wishes are in a grey area. The aforementioned pro-life campaigners use their…