Baby girl says the darndest things #12

I’m in the toilet.

Baby girl comes to check up on me.

“Mama! Are you ok?”

“Yes honey.” (I’m just pregnant) 🤦‍♀️😆

“Has the baby come out yet?”

😆😆

“No honey, not yet.”

Oh man. If only it were that easy. 🤣🤣

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Snippets of Conversation #5

This snippet comes to me courtesy of Hubbie, who heard this a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday afternoon, Chadstone Shopping Centre.

Near Coles.

A woman and her partner (presumably) walk past him.

Woman: “I just walked into a fart… Con, did you hear me?”

LOL LOL LOL.

Lady, are you sure it wasn’t Con who farted?

😂😂

Patience for the New Year

I have a strong inclination to post something reflective as we say goodbye to 2022 and look towards 2023.

And this time, it’s different. Not novel, but different.

For me anyway. Because for the last few years, it’s been a variety of sentiments from me when it comes to looking towards the new year.

“Happy New Whatever-You-Want-It-To-Be!”

“It’s ok to not be excited.”

“Tomorrow is just another day.”

The last few years my feelings towards New Years and all the promise and opportunity it embodies have kinda fallen flat for me. I’ve been very easy come, easy go. Make the new year/month/week/day, what you will.

I’ve fallen on many hard times in recent years, so much so that my hope and faith have been completely tested… and restored, once again.

Because you see, this year was different. I got what I wanted, in a BIG way.

Life can have so many ups and downs. It is a guessing game and you never can know what is around the corner. It keeps you humble: amazing and uplifted one time, frustrating and despondent the next.

That’s why sometimes it can be very hard to look forward to a ‘new year, new you’ promise, when nothing has really been promising for you at all recently… the last few months… the last few years.

Trust me, I know. I have been there. I have a daily gratitude blog, and I think perhaps one of my major lessons was learning to find something ever so small to be grateful for when I was secretly hurting so much inside, for so long.

I don’t have the answers to life.

Sometimes, you get what you want.

Sometimes, you get what you want, after a really, really, long time.

Sometimes you don’t get what you want at all.

Sometimes you get presented an entirely new path, and realise this was the one meant for you all along.

Something that helped me surprisingly, was music. 🎶🎵

I found solace and comfort in words that touched and moved me to tears with their profound insight, love and strength and sense of hope that matched my own.

Words that spoke of difficulty and heartache, but that presented a sense of… “let’s see.”

One such song was Guns n’ Roses Patience.

This was a key theme of mine as we were in quite possibly the hardest and most uncertain struggle of our lives… trying for another baby.

I can’t pretend everything was alright. It wasn’t. I was upset and cried a lot. I shut myself off from people. I grew very uncertain about everything, questioned life, my existence, my past actions, the future, my body… EVERYTHING.

I put on a smiling face and went into social situations tentatively, praying that no one would ask or make a joke with some insensitive second baby comment… sometimes I was lucky.

Many times I wasn’t.

The only thing I knew how to do, was get by, moment by moment.

Day by day.

Month by month.

And that’s how many several years passed before our miracle happened. 🙏

So from someone who’s been there, and done that, I have some thoughts as we enter the new year…

It’s not so much about “smash out your top 5 goals!” or “keep consistent, chip away every day.”

It’s to think about what you really want. If in your heart of hearts there is something you want, a goal you wish to achieve, question, do you really want it, that bad?

If so, keep going. Keep your mind and heart open to new experiences, people, things, as any one of them, or a combination, may just be the key to getting what you want. Try not to listen to others, this will confuse you. Learn the lesson yourself.

You don’t know where the answer, the breakthrough will lie. It may lie on the first day of the new year. It may lie somewhere far down the track. It may lie, in Winter.

You just don’t know. Try not to guess or assume too much.

If you discover you really don’t know if you want what you want… letting go can be the most liberating experience. It takes great strength to say, ‘hold on, I’ve had enough. This is not for me.’

Remember you are in charge. You can decide to let go, and then decide you want to hold on to hope! Or you can hold on some more, and then say, I’m done, I’m finished.

Patience, overall, is key. It is the worst answer I know, and I know because I didn’t feel patient, I didn’t want to be patient anymore, but I had no choice in the matter.

I did it step by step. Moment by moment. Day by day. And I got there. I’m here. 🙏

I have one more thought for the New Year… so many people focus on the body and exercising more… saving up and travelling more… learning a new skill to move to a better life path… and while these are all good and honourable pursuits, here’s a different one for you.

Training your mind, so you can be a better YOU.

In amongst all these big, momentous things happening for me this year, something else clicked in my life.

It was something truly unexpected, and yet if I hadn’t been open to it, it never would have entered my life.

FORGIVENESS.

Learning from the past and deciding to try and be a better person is a valid and very honest goal that all should aspire to, at many points in their life.

I do question though… did I learn, and allow forgiveness into my life because other things were falling into place? Was it because I was in a happier state, that allowed me the strength to not only see the good in my life, but in others?

Quite possibly. My reflections remain…

Be patient.

Try to better your mind.

That is it. No time frame. No “let’s be consistent every day with this” bullshit. Know that some days you will fall down, others you will climb the mountain.

It’s all part of the journey.

As you head into 2023, know only this… anything can happen, at any time.

And sometimes, nothing will happen, no matter how hard you try.

Just do what you can, if you want to, if it feels right.

That’s all. 🙏💖

“If I can’t have you right now, I’ll wait here.”

🙏🤰🎶💖

Photo by Tairon Fernandez on Pexels.com

My favourite Christmas poem

No one can ever tell your story, or share your feelings, or speak your soul, just like you can.

Which is why this Christmas poem I penned 7 years ago remains my favourite of all time. Nothing to do with ego, it’s simply a window into my world, of my Aussie Christmas, and the memories that I hold so dear.

And the memories we keep adding on.

So I will reshare for you, because it’s a Christmas countdown, so why not?

Something Christmas every day I say. 😁

What (Aussie) Christmas means to me, my love

Sunny days and leafy trees

sprawled out in the yard on lounge chairs

squeals of laughter from the park children

the squeak of Mum and Dad’s backyard swing.

Prawn platters, Fruit pavlova

three courses and constant food in between

Ham is not the star – everything is

and it all goes down well with a glass (or few) of champers.

Flowy dresses and bows in tresses

the kids run barefoot on the grass

we can show some leg and we don’t care

Summer, holidays, carefree, go together.

Annoying things too, like crawling ants and invading-space flies

tightly-wound presents with ribbon, all screwed up

but this is the miniscule list I hold

for this oh-so-Merry day.

Balmy nights, revved up cars

light until past 9pm

cannot sleep, but not just for Santa

for waiting ain’t easy when it’s pushing 20 at midnight.

Eating drinking memory making

What do you talk about with those you love?

Why everything! And now let’s make some plans

about how we’ll take on the world together.

Hot sand replaces stinging ice

sunnies sit meandering instead of wrapped-around scarves

we still rug up on Christmas Eve

to our loved ones for warmth, but not heat.

Carols may sing of snow,

Santa may be in his jolly suit,

cards will show reindeer, eggnog, fireplaces

and the pine trees are not native at this time of year.

But those are idealistic visions

of a Faraway Place

a dream where one day I will be, and see, and touch

and live in reality.

My memories here are of sun, of outdoor fun,

sitting outside and making memories with loved ones

My Aussie Christmas

is the one I love the most.

Copyright SmikG 2015

A touch of Christmas, a lot of love

There is a house I pass on my way home from my usual grocery shop, that I’ve noticed for its decorations.

I’ve noticed it, because it stands out in a street where quite a few neighbours have gone to some kind of effort in decorating their front of house for Christmas. Matching red bows on the fence. Perfect lights hung across the roof. Festive Christmas characters on the lawn.

This house, has none of those. It has tinsel – two colours – green and red, and they’ve been strung throughout the beige picket fence.

Not in a perfect, deliberate, every 5th stump kind of way. More in a mismatched, let’s put it here, let’s put it there… maybe there, kinda way.

I noticed this house early on. And then, something about it, HIT ME.

It made me teary.

This house, this home, the people within it… I can guarantee you without knowing them personally, that these people are the embodiment of what Christmas is about.

Because the extent or magnitude of your Christmas decorations has nothing to do with how much you love it. Whether you spent $1000 in flashing lights, and 6 hours of your Sunday putting things up…

It actually means nothing. Sure, it does mean you love Christmas.

It also means you have two things. Time, and money.

The person who spent $5 on tinsel and 10 minutes on a Tuesday night to put it up, they ALSO, love Christmas.

And it tugs my heart so much, because they either don’t have the time, they don’t have the money, or maybe even both, and yet despite this, in a street full of so many perfectly placed and prettied Christmas decorations, they still put up their tinsel.

They still showcase their love for Christmas, with what little they have.

THAT is true love. That there, is what it’s all about.

I still smile at the fancy lights and decorations I come across at night, as baby girl wows in the car.

But this house right here…

It hits different. It hits in the heart. 💖

Don’t lose sight of what’s important at Christmas time. 🙏🎄

Snippets of Conversation #4

I haven’t done one of these for a while. I gotta start paying more attention again.

I was driving with the window down today, slowing down as I approached a round-a-bout.

Two elderly people, a man and a woman, were about to cross the road after I passed. As I drove by them slowly, I heard from the woman –

“Like I said to you before, there’s someone up there looking out for me…”

Boy would I love to hear the story behind why she thought that.

But I like where she’s going. I too believe there are people up there, looking out for us.

Some days it may feel like they’ve gone on holiday… but other days, I swear you can feel them.

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

Quickie book review #6 Rainbows with Park

RAINBOW ROWELL – Eleanor and Park

“What are the chances you’d ever meet someone like that… someone you could love forever, someone who would forever love you back?”

Eleanor is the new girl at school. She can’t really fit in and blend into the background, what with her crazy red hair, mismatched fashion sense spanning old mens shirts and patches of coloured material covering the holes in her pants, and her curvaceous figure.

Park wears black, and tries to ignore the idiots at the back of the bus, but it’s hard when one of them is his neighbour. His home life is actually happy and normal, and his family stick out majorly in a town where broken marriages are the accepted norm.

Then one day, Eleanor sits down on the bus next to Park… and the rest is history.

So let me first say this… Eleanor and Park… oh, my heart. 💖

If you had told me that the blooming love story of an out-of-control red-haired scarf wrist-wearing girl and a half-Korean all black wearing eye-lined teenage boy would make me cry, I would have laughed out loud and suggested you go back to listening to your Joy Division, or something. 😉

But oh God, Rowell does good here, like REALLY good.

This immediately grabbed me from the first two pages, and had me dissecting and planning how I would reconstruct my own YA with odd clarity. It’s sharp, so honest and raw, while oddly maintaining a beautiful sense of naivety and sweetness when it comes to their blossoming relationship. I loved how the music was a soundtrack for their journey, and the references to uniquely high school things (being embarrassed for the over-the-top teacher’s antics) took me back in time and made me LOL.

Pros: Everything. Emptying out all your batteries in the 90s so that you can give them to your almost girlfriend who doesn’t have batteries for her Walkman, well if that isn’t love, then I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS.

Cons: I wanted more! I totally got the ending though. I cried happy and sad tears (note, not bittersweet) because the ending was so perfectly imperfect, it’s kind of exactly what I want to emulate repeatedly with my own work, and for that I 100% respect it… but I still want more!

This is a beautiful coming-of-age novel, and balances the real with the raw, so, so well.

‘Need to know where the characters are’ rating system: 10/10.

This, is YA “with the volume turned way up.” 😊

What I would say

I did something similar many years ago. I wrote an open letter to those that I loved, or at least that was the heading.

This one is a bit different. These are just random thoughts I have many times a day, some less frequent, but nonetheless they inhabit my brain.

Some thoughts have permanent seats in there.

These thoughts are for the everyones in my life.

And they are things I think of saying… and one day, I plan to say…

But for now, I DON’T.

For whatever reasons. It’s not the right time. I’m not ready. It’s still too close to me.

Some things I may never say, and you can rightly guess at those from the list below… they are more a fantasy, like the things you wish you could say without consequence.

So, without revealing too much, here goes…

“You have no idea.”

“I’ve had more pain than you can imagine.”

“Just fuck off already… and don’t come back.”

“Are you going to care already, or do you not realise other people exist?”

“I will not chase you.”

“I’ve been waiting a long time to tell you this.”

“I am so sorry I didn’t include you all those years ago. I hope you can forgive me.”

“I so wish it was you instead of her.”

“Run while you can.”

“All those years ago when we suddenly got weird with each other, I always cared about you. I was never upset.”

“Sit down… I have a story to tell.”

“Stop sticking up for them.”

“I wish I could tell you, but it’s not my business to say anything. But what you suspect, is ALL TRUE. And I 100% support you.”

“Don’t be nosy… your life isn’t perfect either.”

“Your friendship fills me up.”

“Thank you for not asking me about it. From the bottom of my heart (😢😢😢) thank you.” 💖🙏

What are some things you wish you could say, but feel you can’t for whatever reason?

Photo by lilartsy on Pexels.com

Things that shit me… #20

OMG, this is the worst one yet.

Get ready, hold your horses…

Things that shit me…

Cafes that stop making coffee, WAY before their closing time.

This one is WAY serious, more so because we are still in lockdown.

We have a local cafe that we go to, and we love it because all we need to do is walk there. There is a park nearby as well, and if you go a tiny bit further, you can even see the water.

But ever since lockdowns began last year, their trading hours have permanently changed to the closing time of 2pm.

That is such a sad thing for us, because we have our afternoon coffee at 3pm. Sigh. 😒

Anyway. The other day we noticed the signs out the front from the new kids on the block. Not even a year old, there’s a new cafe, just doors down from our dependable one. Its sign says, it closes at 3pm.

GREAT!

We headed on down the other weekend, all 3 of us, to grab an arvo coffee and try out these new guys.

We would give them a shot.

The whole time, Hubbie was like, “let’s get there quick, they’re gonna close soon.”

We were minutes away at 2:30pm. “No way!” I said.

We walked in literally at 2:33pm.

It was open! There were cakes and really delicious pastries and pies. We got excited ordering, and then another woman came over to the coffee machine right up behind the front counter, and removed the tray from it.

Hubbie was immediate. “Oh, are you not making coffees anymore?”

Their faces told us EVERYTHING.

But we had just chosen sweet things. There was silence. The coffee machine woman paused. Then after what seemed like an eternity of nobody saying anything, she said with extreme reluctance.

“Ok. I’ll make the coffees.”

WHAT THE ACTUAL F$#K????

It was probably 2:35pm at that stage. A full 25 minutes before closing time. The lady who had been getting our treats tried to smooth things over, saying “oh, we’ve had a quiet afternoon which is why we cleaned up earlier…”

Yeah, sure lady, then change your sign if you wanna do that. Don’t advertise ‘closing time at 3pm.’

Instead try a sign that says ‘closing and cleaning the coffee machine whenever the hell we feel like it.’

I tell you, the anger was rife and growing the more time wore on. That day. The next day. Throughout the week. Every time I thought of that coffee lady’s face as she begrudgingly decided to grant us some caffeine and provide us the opportunity to give them a chance, I just wanted to scream.

We will not be going back.

You know this happens a lot. So many times, if a cafe is closing, they will make it their mission to make you feel as uncomfortable as possible if you decide to order a coffee (takeaway remember!) in their last 30 minutes of operating time.

This isn’t the first time it’s happened to us. In fact, it is so common, that when we ordered coffee at The Butchers Daughter Cafe in Mornington within the last 15 minutes of their day, the girl there told us so surprisingly:

“We are closing soon so don’t mind the tables and chairs, but please take your time and enjoy the coffee.”

OMG, what? Massive points earned, MASSIVE!

I recently came across a social media post displaying another cafe’s opening hours during lockdown. Have a look:

Note, coffee off at 1:55. 5 minutes before closing time! What a realistic time to stop making coffees! I don’t expect them to take my order at closing time, hell no… but 25 minutes earlier?

HELL YES!

A coffee does not take long to make as these guys know, yet begrudged face lady can’t put on a smile long enough to make an impression on new customers!

Tsk tsk tsk. I am so angry, woof, I could name and shame SO easily.

But I won’t. Instead if you DM me, I’ll tell you that way. 😉

Mornington Peninsula cafes, you have been warned!

A photo of a coffee that wasn’t made begrudgingly

50 Shades of Everything

EL JAMES – Fifty Shades Darker

“… I don’t know if it’s the momentary distraction of his perfect looks or the knowledge that he loves me, but his threat no longer fills me with dread. This is my Fifty Shades; this is the way he is.”

I must start by saying, I never intended on writing a review on the Fifty Shades series. I was only going to devote my time to serious and literary pursuits, honourable mentions and worthy endeavours…

I had read the first book in the series, Fifty Shades of Grey, some years back… yes, it was addictive reading. And with the latest movie version hitting the big screens, I got that familiar itch again…

That Christian Grey itch.

Ok so I am messing with you. But what I want to explore here in my review of the ‘middle’ book, the second in the Grey series, is… what makes it such a world-wide success, a phenomenon with women from all corners of the earth? Why is it such a page-turner? How does it have the female sex swooning and wishing for their own Christian Grey lover? And simultaneously, why do so many people slam the book, calling it filth and rubbish, a poorly written novel, as well as all other manner of negative things?

“He breaks off the kiss, panting. His eyes are luminous with desire, firing the already heated blood that is pounding through my body. My mouth is slack as I try to drag precious air into my lungs.

‘You. Are. Mine,’ he snarls, emphasizing each word. He pushes away from me and bends, hands on his knees as if he’s run a marathon. ‘For the love of God, Ana.’”

And so there it is, page 27 into the book, and already we have a passionate and sexually-charged scene.

And they come a plenty. Them, and the scenes (ok I will stop now).

So, why does Fifty Shades work so well? It taps into the forbidden and hidden female fantasy AND insecurity, that an amazingly wealthy, sexy, enigmatic, striking and passionate man will fall in love with old average us, and want to give it to us every day in ALL MANNER OF WAYS.

It is formulaic in its approach. It works, so why not go there?

Step 1: Create the perfect man. Make him rich, unbelievably so, and so powerful as to be able to make things happen at the drop of a hat – tell his right-side man to get it done, or pick up the phone and !bing! things happen.

(Make him fierce, fit, healthy, and competent, to the point where he can fly a small aircraft, navigate a boat, know how to hang-glide – basically a superbly accomplished man in ALL endeavours).

Step 2: And this incredibly gifted, sexy and superior man, is WILD… for YOU.

You. The average girl, the every day woman, who captures the attentions of this fantastical man… and suddenly he cannot live without you. He must have YOU at all costs, despite your differing backgrounds and lifestyles.

He can’t get enough of you. Something about you, sends him, insane. It’s hot, it’s fiery, it’s wild…

…And then you find out he has a sexual fetish, diplomatically speaking. This fetish is actually not just a fetish, but a way of life for him, and it is BDSM – and we are talking bondage, whips, dominant and submissive relationships, contracts, and sadomasochistic sexual activities.

That’s a lot to take on for a virgin.

But she wants him, and he is insatiated by her… sound familiar?

Well, that’s because it is. The Fifty Shades series started out as Twilight fan fiction. EL James felt unsatisfied with Edward and Bella’s lack of intimate portrayal in the Twilight series, especially as it was so much a focal point and intensity-building structure of much of the books, that she created her own universe where the similar lead characters got it on… A LOT.

Dark and Brooding? Edward and Christian.

Shy and insecure, unable to see their own beauty? Bella and Ana. What do you know, both girls names even sound the same.

The impressive and perfect man with a dark past, and the innocent, average girl-next-door type, who gets swept up in it all and hypnotised by the arrival of a mysterious man, falling hopelessly in love with him and trying to make him a better man, is a well-done formula. It works, because it feeds on fantasy and insecurity. Fantasy in the perfect male archetype, one that feeds both the physical and sexual fantasy, and insecurity in that it taps into that inner voice within us that identifies with not feeling good enough, not feeling pretty enough, not feeling, ENOUGH.

“Do you have any idea how exquisite your scent is, Ana? It’s irresistible.”

In Twilight it was Edward being a 100 year-old vampire who drank the blood of animals, yet went insane when he was near Bella. In the Fifty Shades series, it is a sex-maniacal BDSM player who gains pleasure from inflicting pain on his submissives. And of course, she is a virgin at the onset, who happens to experience her first mind-blowing orgasm with him, so of course she will hang around. She doesn’t know any better, does she?

And there my friends, we have PLOT. That is the crunch, STEP 3.

Christian’s fetish, can hurt Ana. And that is where the fine balance between pleasure and fear, implemented by author, comes in. As readers, we have to want Christian, not fear him… but for the sake of mystery and the unknown and danger, a little fear is also necessary for the excitement factor.

Insert – a dark past. He was abused as a child and so this is why he does what he does. Even though in the first book he makes a contract with Ana about the BDSM rules of their relationship, the dos and don’ts and hard limits, his image is made softer to us in other ways: although domineering and bossy, he is concerned about Ana’s diet, constantly ensuring she eats. He organises birth control precautions and makes her take the pill so as not to fall pregnant. He tells her “Dry your hair… I don’t want you sick,” after she comes out of the shower. It’s not a request though. He holds the door open for her, and instructs her where and when they will eat. He takes charge, in many ways, and although frustrating for our leading lady, it’s a part of him she has to learn to adjust and mould to, just as every new romantic partnership is a testing and experimental stage. Christian even instructs his security hang out at her workplace, as well as take her to and from work, when there is a perceived threat against them.

He is a protector, supremely concerned about her welfare and well-being, and herein lies another fantasy – man as archetypal guardian. The bodyguard to shield you from the nasties of the world and keep you safe from danger. A prince charming, as it were.

A sadomasochistic one, but same same for our Ana.

And if that were not enough, and the BDSM is just too intense to handle, rest-assured this multi-millionaire CEO did not get to the top by swindling money and thinking only of the top dollar – though he admits to Ana at one point that he makes roughly one hundred thousand dollars AN HOUR – his work also involves him in charitable endeavours where he is passionate about educating and bringing much needed help and assistance to those less fortunate, with him not profiting from it in the slightest.

It has bad boy written all over it. The good girl turns the bad boy, well, good, or at least tries to, but we all know a good portion of bad boy remains inside. Isn’t that what excites us? The challenge, followed by the knowledge that we have succeeded in holding most of him down. The important bits anyway…

As readers we all feel as if we are that ordinary girl because at some stage we have ALL felt that way looking at someone – whether it was that hot guy at school, the boy next-door, your older brother’s spunky friend, or that office colleague you keep grinning bashfully at, we have all felt inadequate and quite ordinary in comparison to the object of our affections.

Ana and Christian both are insecure in themselves, and it is this setback that has them going to and fro throughout the book. In Fifty Shades Darker, the contract is gone. Christian has discovered there is no way he can live without Ana, and following on her walking out on him in the ‘playroom’ at the end of the first book, he discovered there is one thing more important to him than inflicting pain… and that is, Ana.

Does the sexual role-play border on violence? In the first book Christian does enjoy inflicting pain upon her, and we still swoon because she is the first who is making him feel more than just that sensation down below… he is feeling something in his chest, and no matter how hard he tries he can’t deny it. It is a very open and clear-cut contract, where the rules and limitations are listed early on. Ana is a willing participant, as were the other submissives before her, so… No. Yes, it is extreme, yes it is a niche activity, but as long as the two parties are in agreeance and willing, there isn’t an issue.

So becomes the challenge of this book. Ana worries she and her vanilla ways are not enough for Christian, whereas he says she is enough, and worries that he is unlovable, a ‘husk of a man.’ He has his own issues which led him to the sordid life he’s on, and together they face off, arguing, bouncing back against one another, coming together again, thrown apart by issues from his past, and then merging again as one.

THE ANNOYING.

It became frustrating reading about Ana’s insecurities in relation to Christian, as despite all of his assurances he wanted her and didn’t care for anything or anyone from his past, her uncertain thoughts still led her astray, to doubt, to constantly question, and she appeared to be shocked and baffled anytime he said he wanted her or loved her.

“’We leave. I believe you have certain expectations, Miss Steele. Which I intend to fulfil to the best of my ability.’”

‘The best … of your a… bil… ity?’ I stutter. Holy shit.

He grins and stands.”

Ana, he has been doing you every which way since the onset, don’t be surprised by that. Geez.

Her naivety means she is constantly surprised by everything. His bank account. How much he earns. The formal thousand-dollar dresses he fills her wardrobe with. She opens her own account and finds tens of thousands of dollars in there, and the ability he has to tap into emails and see what is going on, borders on stalking. Let’s just say that if this were a woman hell-bent on her freedom, this stuff wouldn’t go down too well.

Ana doesn’t care for his money, which is one of the reasons he loves her, and also a reason why we like our protagonist. Think of this too: she is unaware of her inner beauty, even to the detrimental and unhealthy thought of thinking

“If he wasn’t so… broken, would he want me?”

A really serious thought within a book that doesn’t provide a lot of realistic experiences. It’s a thought that is explored, and shows just how similar Ana and Christian are in their insecurities, despite their wide varying backgrounds, experiences, and lifestyle.

And if Ana were aware of her beauty, and knew she was worth it, and beautiful… would us as women readers still LIKE her? Food for thought.

Some of the lines are laughable and cringe-worthy. Ohhhh the list! Here are some beauties:

“’I like to come as I please,’ He smirks and cranks his glorious smile up another notch so it’s in full HD IMAX.”

Also: “‘You look good,’ Christian purrs from the bed. ‘You can call in sick, you know.’ He gives me his devastating, lopsided, 150 per-cent panty-busting smile. Oh, he’s so tempting. My inner goddess pouts provocatively at me.”

Panty-busting, I actually have to LAUGH OUT LOUD. Other notable mentions come from continuous use of words like “murmur;” the term “kinky-fuckery” (Which made me go what the?…) regarding all of his off-the-beaten track sexual pursuits and needs; his signature “Later’s baby” made me screw up my face in ‘WHY?’ How does a CEO say such a flimsy and dumbed-down empty goodbye?; and the other term, where Ana refers to her female glory as her “sex”…We are already being so forthright and upfront in practically everything, with even the sex scenes broken down and explained in every little detail…

“Grabbing the hem of his T-shirt, I tug and he helps me pull it off over his head. Kneeling between my legs, he hastily pulls me upright and drags my T-shirt off.”

…So why then do we need to be shy about the female anatomy? Does it sound better? Less clinical? Is that the best word? Are all erotic reads like this?

And the clincher “hotline to my groin.” I LOLed all the way home.

While trying to appear hot and heavy I am sure, the passion between them at times palpable, so too are they laughable in their attempt to be taken seriously. My favourite example which I cannot keep a straight face for, when Ana and Christian are in her kitchen and he cannot cook (the ONLY thing he is miserable at):

“I watch him, enthralled as slowly, like the predator he is, he stalks me in time to the slow sultry beat of the music. He’s barefoot, wearing just an untucked white shirt, jeans, and a smoldering look.”

But I DO give James credit for the small amount of realism she displayed in moments where we were reminded that Ana was, initially a virgin before she met Mr Grey.

“Moments later, he’s slamming into me. ‘Aagh! Gently,’ I cry.”

I particularly, for no other reason than WHY? did not like the references Ana constantly made to her ‘inner goddess’ and ‘subconscious,’ her own personal angel and devil mini me’s, where the inner goddess would revel in the attention and sexual desire bestowed upon her by Christian, whereas the subconscious was constantly doubting, criticising, or downplaying any positive event that transpired between the couple.

“My inner goddess is draped in a pink feather boa and diamonds, strutting her stuff in fuck-me shoes.”

“My inner goddess is down on bended knee with her hands clasped in supplication, begging me.”

“This is Christian we’re dealing with. My snarky subconscious is back, hatchet-mouthed, cardigan on, and purse in the crook of her arm.”

“Marry the gazillionaire, Ana! My subconscious has her snarky face on. I ignore her – rapacious bitch.”

I questioned that for someone as lovely as Ana, how she could have an inner voice, a subconscious as she says, who could be so rude, mean and bitchy. But is this just showing us the many sides to a person’s personality, and even, the darkest, disbelieving, and ambivalent side that exists within all of us?

Fifty Shades Darker, like its part protagonist and sometimes antagonist Christian Grey, also shows us many shades of storytelling. The writing itself is simple, yet done so well that often I couldn’t put down the book at the end of the chapter, for a sudden cliffhanger emerging. It works towards the fantasy formula for females, therefore insuring that they will keep reading, and want to keep reading, as their inner-most desires are played out before their eyes and in their minds.

It is a highly unrealistic tale. Here is a powerful and rich man who can do whatever he pleases, and since he wants Ana and no one else, she is the supreme benefactor of this. She is exposed to the high-life of luxury and comfort, and doesn’t even have to work, if she weren’t so determined to keep doing it. Even the journey itself is highly idealistic. Sure it is the first proper relationship for either of them, but what they do during the majority of it is just various positions of sex merged in with occasional fights regarding highly stressful and extraordinary circumstances concerning Grey’s past life and current motivations. The fact that they are even able to commit to each other so quickly considering all of this, just proves how unlikely this scenario is. But, it is fantasy: where the woman gets all her greatest wishes and desires tended to from her first and only lover. He dotes on her and gives her the world, and well, when the sex is mind-blowing, you can kind of see why she sticks around despite the graveyard of skeletons in his closet.

It is not the fame or the sex that make it unrealistic though – both great sex, and wealthy men, are a real thing. What isn’t real is the context the two characters are placed in, and how their relationship proceeds because of it. Having said that, it IS fantasy – it is meant to be an escape from reality, and therefore the series performs its erotic role to the highest grade. The book delivers, and isn’t that what books are all about? No matter what the naysayers say, James has created a series that has catered for and made curious a large majority of women… as a writer, isn’t that what you want? To reach out and affect people through your stories?

Miss Steele and Mr Grey’s exploits continue in the 3rd instalment of the series called Fifty Shades Freed, and I for one look forward to seeing how their relationship might mature. As Ana would say –

“…my inner goddess is incandescent with anticipation. Jeez, she could light up Seattle.”

Oh, hang on…

Steele, Grey… oh James, please stop. Stop with your synonyms, I just can’t!

Please let me know your thoughts on Fifty Shades Darker in the comments below, I would love to discuss with you. 🙂