Bypassing the Open Windows

I’ve been meaning to write this post for months. Ever since I got back from Thailand, really. I just haven’t had the words. Or the heart. Passing the Open Windows has been a kind of mantra in my life for so long now. Silly, perhaps, to latch onto something that you read in a book once and make it your life.

It has been my life though. Keep passing the open windows. Basically it means don’t commit suicide. Not really something that’s socially acceptable to talk about. But that’s what it was for me. A place to record and celebrate all the reasons to keep passing the open windows. And sometimes a place to rage against the things that send you in the wrong direction.

Of course, last year, on the advice of someone who believes in niche blogging, I split my blog into two spaces. Here, a place where I can awkwardly tell you about my “real” life, and There, a place where I shared the travel life.

But the thing is this: It’s all my real life. And my life has no niche. It’s all just a glorious and beautiful and hideous messed up jumble.

And so I have decided to let Passing the Open Windows go. This is a small bit sad for few reasons. One is that I did really liked the idea of being “a travel blogger” and living a glorious life of travel “one day”. Another is because the windows have been part of my identity for so long. A few plans ands ideas are being let go as well. That’s ok though. It happens.

Stephen Fry said something very interesting once that has stuck with me ever since. If you will forgive my paraphrasing (I don’t know how to Google this and find the correct wording) he said don’t label yourself as any one thing. If you call yourself a “writer” then that is all you will be. Rather be “a person who writes” because then you can do many other things as well. Mr. Fry has been and done many things. And I like to think that idea fits with me.

I am a person who travels.

I am a person who loves motherhood.

I am a person who writes.

I am a person who takes photographs.

I am a person who owns a bookshop.

I am Nadine Rose Larter.

So, the Open Windows will still be found here even though there are no travel plans in our near future. I knew as soon as I booked our Thailand tickets this year that they would be the last plane tickets in my life for probably a very long time and I have made my reluctant peace with it. Travel will always be in my heart and hopefully always accessible to me in one way or another. I might not be able to afford to fly for now but I can still walk. Exploration is accessible.

A few other adventures await.

I’ll just be telling you about all of them here from now on.

 

 

The Stranger on the Internet

I’m having a small giggle to myself right now. As I said yesterday, I started admitting that I’m in the middle of attempting to start my little bookshop business this week and the response has been so heartwarming. But yesterday I got a message from a stranger on the Facebook page that I created for a business that doesn’t not technically exist yet.

Where is your store located?

Uhm…? Enter the panic! It’s all very well and fine when you tell your friends you’re stepping out of the mom life and moving into the business world but it’s very different when strangers stumble upon your business and ASK QUESTIONS! Because oh my goodness. This woman doesn’t know me from Adam. She doesn’t know I’m a blocked writer homeschool mom of three. She doesn’t know I’m a disaster in harem pants with a headband addiction. She doesn’t know I own several hats with ears on them. She doesn’t know that I often wear my fuzzy teddybear pyjama hoodie during the day because it’s warmer than my other stuff. She doesn’t know that I legitimately consider my cats to be my friends. She doesn’t know that I regularly poke myself in the eye with my eyeliner and that stuff that you use under your eyes to make people stop asking you if you’re tired. She’s a stranger. So she doesn’t know!

All my friends at least know all that stuff. There’s a comfort in that.

And now I must….what? Impress her surely with my business savvy?

Nadine, you have no business savvy… You’re not even sure you spelled savvy correctly… Computer says it’s fine but it looks wrong, man.

Thankfully my penchant for radical honesty took over so I just told her honestly that my “store” doesn’t technically exist yet and that I’m busy cataloging and will hopefully soon be able to share some of my gems (and there are gems) on my Facebook Page.

And you know what she said? She said things like “you go girl” and “dream big” and “follow your instincts” and it all just reminded me that there is nothing more beautiful than kindness. Because probably she doesn’t care that I can’t remember when last I brushed my hair. Because guys, I don’t remember. Projects make me a little one track minded…

Wait… where was I?

Oh yes.

Thank you, Pam. I was afraid of making a fool of myself in front of you but what I got instead was a warm fuzzy feeling and a smile to carry me through the rest of today. You reminded me that even though “strangers on the internet” have this scary power to make you feel small, they also wield the power to make you feel big and kind of badass. I hope that I am like you when I am a stranger on other people’s internet.

You inspired me today. Thank you for being so beautiful.

The Littlest Bookshop

Hello, it’s me again…

I kind of just wanted to say thank you. In the last little while as I have been burrowing my way through trying to figure this all out, so many of you have been kind and supportive and it is everything. My heart is so full that I don’t even feel embarrassed to say corny things like “my heart is so full”.

I cannot believe how many messages of encouragement and enthusiasm I have received. Thank you. I cannot believe how many offers of help with books I have received. Thank you. I cannot believe all the kindness. Such a beautiful reminder of how we should be in this world. Thank you.

I have spent my last pennies. I have no real plan. I might have to sell books out of the boot of my car.

But my heart is so full.

Thank you.

Yes, I’m Starting a Bookshop.

The last six weeks or so have a been a little chaotic. Sometimes, when you’re just sitting quietly minding your business, thought worms wriggle into your head out of nowhere and suddenly everything changes. Does that ever happen to you? (if this is weird please note I’m totally kidding it never happens to me)

The thing is, I’ve kind of always wanted to do this, and with a few impending changes in our lives, I sort of thought: well we might as well just add another “crazy thing” to the mix, right? Well, possibly I could be very very wrong, but for now I’m kind of just going with it. Sometimes you just have to ask yourself: why am I not doing those things that I want to do? And take steps to make the necessary changes.

So I’m opening a bookshop. A secondhand bookshop, of course, because these are my safe places. My glorious portals of potential. My source of joy in times of pretty much anything. And so I have determined that I should take the steps to become one of these places myself.

As of yet, I have no premises. I have no website (don’t really want one). I have no solid plan.

I do, however, have a dining room table full of stock. And a a dining room floor full of stock. And an entryway full of stock. And a personal library that I have finally made peace with disseminating. I have a start.

So even though I have nothing figured out yet, I am starting with what I have. And from there I will have to see what happens.

I won’t lie. I’m a little terrified. But also kind of excited.

You’ll have to excuse me for now though, I have piles and piles of books to sort through…

A weird update on my health…

This is another short post but something health related happened last night which I personally found to be quite profound. You may find it a little strange, I suppose. I don’t know. I got quite excited about it though.

Around this time last year was pretty much when my health was at its worst. And at the time a friend gave me tickets to another friend’s charity function. I’ll be honest: I did NOT want to go. But I did. With two other friends, and my unfortunate husband who I think might have been one of only two men there.

Anyway. At this function I nearly lost my mind because it was an introvert’s nightmare, and I was experiencing some serious sensitivity issues with pretty much all of my senses, so that made it about a thousand times worse that it normally would have been. I laughed my way through it (quite literally – there was a section on laughter therapy – it was the least funny thing I have ever experienced) and then I took a week to recover from it afterwards.

At that event though, we were given a goodie bag that contained a huge jar of a very rich body lotion. It was a really good lotion. One that was worth quite a bit more than I usually spend on lotion from Clicks. And guys, the smell of that lotion literally offended me. It made me so angry. And I knew it was irrational to feel angry about a lotion, but oh my gosh that stuff just pissed me off so much. Now, understand that even regularly I have a very keen sense of smell and taste, but during that time all of my senses felt like they were in overdrive. Bright light was too much. Too much sound would make me cry. Even being touched was too much at one point. Luckily I have very understanding family members! Anyway, the point it that I couldn’t stand the smell of the scary body lotion that came from the scary event. I couldn’t even bare the smell of it on my husband. It had a very particular smell. A rich smell, perhaps. I can’t explain it. But that smell. It made me angry. And quite frantic if I’m to be honest.

But this was like R400’s worth of lotion. You don’t throw that away because you’re a bit nuts…

Well, last night I got out of the shower and because of who I am as a person I couldn’t immediately find the body lotions that I’ve been using for the last while. So I picked up the terrifying event lotion. And you know what? It doesn’t actually smell bad at all. I remember exactly what it smelled like at the time and it actually doesn’t smell like that at all now. I used it all over and it didn’t bother me at all.

It’s just weird. I know that the sensitivity I was experiencing back then has calmed a LOT in the last 6 to 8 months, but even now I find it fascinating how different this particular experience is compared to how it was back then. And all because of a mineral imbalance.

Gosh… I started by saying this was a short post…

Sorry about that.

Thank God For My Parents

I am spoilt in the most privileged way that one can be spoilt: I have great parents. I’m sitting here, on this rainy afternoon, wondering what the hell I would do without them. Because I really have no clue. And so in this moment I want to do nothing more than acknowledge my blessings.

There are some big changes happening in the background of our lives at the moment. The last 6 weeks or so have been quite intense emotionally. I am not one who deals with emotions well. Unfortunately my runaway emotions can often lead to a severe breakdown in my health. And then my failing health in turn impacts my emotions even more negatively. It’s an overwhelming circle sometimes, to say the least. And yet they have been here for me in ways that I can never express how much I appreciate.

In the last little while I have made some pretty crazy plans, which I will disclose more officially at a later stage. But the support I have received from these two has been so unwavering. I cannot believe how I can take an idea  to them, go “this might sound a bit mad but…” and then have them back me completely. Thats pretty friggen amazing, actually.

Thank you, parents. Thank you that I am safe with you. Not all children are this lucky. The older I get and the more I interact with the world the more I learn this sad fact. But Noah and I, and the Adams family through us, are so very lucky to have you. Thank you for letting us be a little bit odd and being ok with it. Thank you for making space for us to be unconventional in our dreams. Thank you for always reminding me of the value I bring to the table, especially when I am struggling to remember. Thank you for understanding my need to parent Noah in such a strange way, because strange children sometimes need stranger parents. Thank you for all of it.

I love you more than I can ever express.

Sidenote: I struggled to find pics of my folks for this post so seriously it’s time for another photoshoot!

So I’ve been a little quiet lately…

Yes, quiet. I’d say it’s unlike me to be so silent but that might not be strictly true. I have my moments. Since getting back from Thailand in June I suppose I’ve been kind of meditative on the “what next?” question. Before we left I knew that it could very well be that Thailand would have to be our last travel indulgence for a while. This part I do tend to struggle with a lot. Having travel plans actually occupies my mind in this positive way that kind of keeps the other brain worms at arm’s length. This is a good thing for a million reasons. But obviously I can’t always have travel plans to distract myself with. And that’s where I am right now: undistracted and overwhelmed.

I suppose that’s a bit strange. Most people seem to be on a mission to clear their heads, while I prefer that mine be preoccupied with anything I can deem to be harmless.  (more…)

The Pokémon Life

Good afternoon all! This is me typing to you from the warmth of my bed because even though I can see that the sun out there is shining, my house has NOT gotten the memo to stop being cold yet. Probably I should go for a walk…

I’ve been wanting to do a little follow-up on the post I shared last week about why we as women (and some men, of course, but seemingly to a quieter degree) find rape jokes to be problematic.

Now I mentioned in my post that I’ve been playing a bit of Pokémon Go lately and that I came across some guys making rape jokes in one of the groups that I had been chatting in. I was very taken aback, of course, but then I did remind myself that sexism within gaming communities is known to be rife. Why should I be so surprised by a cliché that is so obviously a cliché for a reason?  It’s just that… Well… Pokémon (Or Pokey Mans as my mother likes to call them) are these cute little animated creatures, man. Like for reals. It’s so tame. You catch them with little balls and the cute ones make you go aaaahhhhh cute and there’s nothing particularly “bro-ish” about any of it. A PoGo chatroom feels like it should be the last place one would expect to find rape jokes. Right?

Yes. Right… (more…)

Dear Boys: About Those Rape Jokes

I didn’t expect my first post since returning from Thailand to be about rape jokes, but something happened last night and it has been bugging me all day so here we are.

To cut a long story short, while I was away on my trip I started playing Pokémon Go again. And since I was kind of enjoying it I started playing again here. I got the kids involved as well and to be honest riding around spinning stops and hunting magicarp has felt like quality time. This lead to me being invited to a bunch of Whatsapp groups for players in Port Elizabeth. I sort of interacted a bit on the first day but honestly it was all a little Serious Gamer for me (which seems hilarious: we’re catching little cartoon creatures, how seriously should we be taking this?) and a whole lot of jargon I didn’t understand was being used so I faded quickly. But I still thought I might be keen to play with other people sometime, and I thought Noah especially might enjoy something like that, so I stayed in the groups.

Then last night I opened up one of the chats and was scrolling through it when I came upon this:  (more…)

Build Me Up, Body20

Not so long ago someone gave me a gift which I can now quite confidently claim to be one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. I sound hyperbolic, surely, but please don’t doubt my sincerity. I’ve been speaking about my health a lot more than I am usually comfortable with lately. Catharsis is a strange thing, perhaps. But something I have not yet mentioned is that for the last 6 weeks or so I’ve been doing something called Body20. This came to be in the most random way you can imagine.

Bare with me, this might get long-winded.

My husband’s boss and his new wife own the Body20 business in Walmer. When they got married Ty’s boss asked Ty if he would mind taking some pics for them at their wedding. I was then asked to come too. I was so nervous! I didn’t know these people and I was terrified I was going to mess up their wedding pics! I still don’t know what I’m doing when I have a camera in my hands. But I met Rachelle, and she was so sweet, and she handed me a calming glass of champagne, and soon I was quite content with these lovely strangers. (more…)