June 2012


by Lori Dwyer on June 29, 2012 · 17 comments

Take me away from here for a night… I’ll tell you the basics of who I am, but other than that, I can play pretend…

(Pretend I’m OK, pretend I’m just fine. Pretend my life is secular and I need no one. Shut myself off from the screaming five year old in my mind who will, if I allow her to, burst into sobs and beg to be held…. I’m not her, we don’t even share the same name. I am separate from myself, separate from my responsibilities, separate from my life… tonight I am a painting of myself, I am a filigreed version of my nightmare… I can’t do this for long, it’s a heavy mask to wear and it feels as if it will send me insane…. but while I can hold reality at the length of a tight skirt and heels, I will).

Lay me down and make me purr. As a lover I am submissive in a way I never used to be– the effort is yours, the seduction on your part– that is why I am here. I am strength personified, sun rise to sunset, every day I live now in the After… instruct me, make me feel vulnerable and feminine, lush and objectified; and we’ll play.

Run your hands down the length of the skin I wear like a coat of steel, remind me it’s soft and it can feel sensation as light and pleasant. As a lover I am selfish… I will lay down, smile on my face, and languish in sweeping waves of pleasure for as long as you’ll allow me to. I feel no obligation toward the other psychical being I am clasped with– their pleasure is derived from mine or not at all, and I’ll admit that, gluttonous.

I will lay for hours in the warmth of touch and anonymity… I’ll be a pussy cat stretched out, limbs flayed and vulnerable, stomach warmed by bright morning sunshine and taking warmth greedily; no shadow of guilt, without the slightest inclintative thought of giving any touch, any kiss or caress of my lips, in return.

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A Thousand Words

by Lori Dwyer on June 28, 2012 · 20 comments

Please don’t underestimate the intrinsic, irreplaceable value of family photographs. And I tell you this from heart breaking experience.

One of the only photos I have of all four of us, my whole family together, is this one here– and I’ve Photoshopped it to within an inch of it’s pixelated life, because it wasn’t a great picture to begin with.

You know how it is, I’m sure– you’re always behind the lens of the camera; and if you’re not, your husband is. And you have all the time in the world– you don’t need to get a professional shoot done now, not just yet, not until your youngest grows out of that baby phase and looks a bit more like herself…

And then your husband dies, or God forbid you lose one of your children, or maybe they lose you… and you curse yourself for not investing the time and money in something so ridiculously simple that has so much lifelong potential.

Kristen Cox Photography

When Kirsten, one of my readers, offered to immortalize the new shape of my family– just the three of us– I couldn’t say no. I’ll confess my anxiety peaked at the thought of trying to control my two little darlings while they run absolutely feral (“Chop!! Do not strangle your sister!! Bump– put that studio umbrella down, now!!!”), I still couldn’t say no… because I know, now, exactly how much I may regret that choice later.

I needn’t have worried so much. My kids did run absolutely feral, as per their usual dispositions. And rather than curbing that, Kirstin worked with it. Knowing that we spend a lot of time in our garden, that’s where she led us; and then she let us do our thing. We checked on our chooks, played and chatted, patted our cats, had a tea party in our fairy garden.

The story of on our days, just an average day, what we do every day. A story of a mum an two kids and their lush green backyard, captured in frame after frame of unique photos that don’t feel posed or forced…. because they’re not. Kirsten specialises in telling stories and making whole families comfortable– as you can see, she manages to photograph the very essence of human relationships, without leaving the slightest ripple on their usual balance- you tend to forget she’s there as she snaps away, and- as you can see- you end up having fun.

I love these shots. They’re backed up on my PC, Cloud and external hard drive, and the CD is stored in the box–of–things–to–grab–in–case–of–fire; so we don’t need to worry about the Internet eating them. And I’ve added a liberal amount of op–shopped frames to the already overstocked walls of my TinyTrainHouse.

I know it’s strange, difficult to understand, but this feels like proof in full colour– proof that we are surviving, rebuilding, that you can’t spot that big hole my husband left… because we’re filling it with ourselves all the time.

In honor of family photos being one of those that are so important but not a priority when really, there’s grocery shopping and daycare and blogging to think about; Kirsten Cox Photography is giving away one family, kids or newborn photo shoot, plus ten 5 x7.5 prints from the session; to one lucky RSSAHM reader. Based in Byron, Kirstin visits Sydney every three months to do photo shoots. she focuses on telling a story and capturing natural moments; rather than posed, stiff, uncomfortable studio shots.

Due to obvious geographical constraints, the t’s and c’s here a little different than usual– look sharp.

To enter, upload your favorite picture– of you, your kids, your dog, a tree, whatever– to the RRSAHM FaceBook page, then leave a comment on this post saying you’ve done so, with a valid email address attached.

Entry is open to Australian residents who live within the Sydney, Northern Rivers or Brisbane regions. If you are outside these reasons but would like to win the package for a friend who resides within these areas, feel free to enter.

Kirsten will be given the winners details and contact will be between the winner and the photographer from that point. The shoot must be arranged within six months of winning the prize.

The photo on the FB page that amazes, amuses, bemuses or confuses me most wins. My decision is final and no discussion will be entered into.

Opens Friday 22nd June and closes midnight AEST Friday 6th July.

The winner will be announced via RRSAHM’s FaceBook page and Twitter feed, and probably in the newsletter as well. Winners will be emailed and have 48 hours to respond to that email with their postal address, or the prize will be redrawn.

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by Lori Dwyer on June 27, 2012 · 6 comments

Charlie the wonder shrink seems to come through with the goods every time, and this time is no exception.

After missing three scheduled appointments due to sick children with screaming temperatures and aching ears, I fall into the big white chair in Charlie’s office with a valid sense of relief. I talk for the next twenty minutes, unravelling for him what my life has become over the last six months or so.

I cry occasionally, silently, and I wipe the tears away quickly while I’m looking over into a corner of the small office, unable to look at people directly when I cry for the fear that I will see pity on their eyes; and that will break whatever strength I have remaining.

I tell the truth, that I sometimes sleep with random people purely for the thrill of it; and I can’t look him in the eyes then either.

I confess that I am afraid of myself, afraid of what I will become… whatever I seem to be manifesting into.

And I walk away feeling somewhat normal in spite of my self; somewhat reassured that I have not yet reached the limits of human endurance, of our natural capability to cope… people’s minds survive much worse than this.

It’s still the smoke alarm, explains Charlie, the same one the PSTD made faulty. It’s been shrieking at everything for a long time now. Perhaps it is something with limits, and they have been reached– the batteries drained. Desensitized, so to speak.

And, in turn, from one extremity to the other; the malfunctioning smoke alarm that is my brain no longer goes off at the mere suggestion of smoke.

It takes a whole fucking bonfire.

Small amounts of stimulation– the kind ‘regular’ people live on, thrive on, day to day; they are no longer enough to penetrate my psyche. My emotional self is a body part with the blood flow restricted– poke me with a pin, I’ll feel nothing at all except perhaps the slightest pressure, the slightest knowledge of something on my skin.

Hack at me with a machete… I’m guaranteed to feel that.

That’s why it takes so much to feel alive… why I’m walking around seeking something, something real, even in my sleep.

There’s more, of course– if only it were that simple– but I’m exhausted just writing that out, never mind thinking too hard about it.

I need a vacation from my head, just for a moment… sometime to release the pressure before I have to jump back into my own mind again.


There is nothing like being very, very sick and in charge of two small children to make you feel more terrifyingly vulnerable and perfectly mortal than you ever imagined possible.

Charlie the shrink tells me that, in it’s essence, the safety net that protects most people from the world has, for me, been stretched so far and hangs so loosely around reality that it’s not surprising I am hyper aware of potential consequences, potentials risks and possible flow on effects.

People can’t die like that, in front of you, right there.

That would never happen to me.
Yes, it would.

With those truths in place in my psyche; leave me fevered and sick, unable to move from my bed with my tiny daughter burning up beside me, and when my subconscious whispers…

“She could die..”

There is no resounding voice to say “Don’t be silly.”

It’s the inherent fragility of myself, worn down and exhausted and sicker, now, three times in the last year, than I have been in my life; that beats at the back of mine and taunts me in fevered dreams. It’s the aloneness of it, the fact that the only person I can call right now for real, psychical help is my mother, and she should be with my gran, and can’t afford to catch a virus for that very reason…

What would happen to us, without her? I have morbid visions of waking near dusk from a fever–induced coma and finding my daughter still and dehydrated beside me.

It’s not as dramatic as that, of course. But we sleep for nearly forty eight hours straight, waking only once so my mum can drive us to the local doctors, falling asleep in the waiting room with my daughter on my lap.

I hate this. I hate that the responsibility always falls on my mum, not that she ever complains, but I am continually overflowing with gratitude for her– she does so much, picks up so much of the slack that I unintentionally leave laying around, for others to trip and fall on.

I hate this constant, grinding illness my body seems to be working itself through– a grief sickness, a mourning illness, the toll that trauma has taken…

The loneliness is sharper, when I’m sick– all I want is to be wrapped up, to not be the one in charge. I spent a night at a man’s place not long ago, and the essence of it’s comfort was this– if someone came into that building, in the ink of night, with a darkness or threat in their intent; I wouldn’t be the one who would have to get up swinging, grit my teeth against the shaking fear and face that threat.

Laying there, in that dark… someone else would have done it for me.

It’s not a lot, it’s nothing at all. But the weight of responsibility is so much heavier when I can’t stand up without feeling faint, when moving my muscles hurts enough to make me cry.

* Kids and I are on the up and up… slowly. My Gran is still well and truly hanging in there– reports tell me my uncle snuck her in Macca’s for lunch on Friday, which was exceptionally well received.

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