Olga Thompson

Olga Thompson
Big Fat Greek Mother

Monday, 30 January 2017

Get Happy.


Ok so shock revelation I found out yesterday a piece of information that has crippled my joy and CRUSHED my world. I am a glass half full kinda gal so it doesn't take much to tip me over the edge. Ok, you ready? Here it is: MY EYELASHES ARE AGEING! I kid you not. I read this in The Sunday Times Style mag, which is pretty much the Bible of all things fash' n beauty, so it is in fact FACT. So now as well as all the other 534 things I worry about, I also have to now face the reality that every nook and cranny of my bod is aging. Rats that's my modelling career over then.

So it got me thinking about all the other things I worry about. The worries that hound my chunk of peace and happiness and continually threaten it with jibes and recurring mind obsessive chit-chat; in a nutshell, that I am failure basically. This is a dirty deep rooted fear from my childhood for lots of different reasons. Every time I think I have shrugged it off it follows me up the stairs or attaches itself to my leg and wont let go. I am a worrier just like my dad and the trouble is that the worries always take bed in that fundamental damaged foundation of my girlhood where they lounge and grow. I know I'm not alone.

Here's some worries right now from my worry pot; Son number 1 is turning into a grunting man-boy whose phone has become an extension of his nose and I just don't want to lose him!!! My firstborn!!! NOT EVER!!!  Son number two is disturbingly calculating in a (Crimewatch kind of way) and doesn't eat anything unless its a plate of sweets. Also son number two is saving up for a tortoise may I add. Yes I just wrote that. Yes it's happening in my life.  Son number three has been so mollycoddled and over-fed by me (but he's the baby!!!) that I worry he might end up living with us forever.  But now here's the rub, the biggun' the humungazoid of worries; I walked out of a job that made me so miserable and ill four months ago without having anything else to go on to. Stupido? Much? Well I don't regret leaving, no not ever, but financially it really aint fine n' dandy for us right now.

I worry so so much about the 'me' word.  What am I now? (what have I done eek no job!!!) I know I'm a mum, tick. I know I'm a wife, tick. But what else? Whats is my title/job/box now?. Our family calender goes like this, in columns: 'Harrison', 'Marcus', 'Pierce', 'Paul' (the hubster) and then 'Mummy'. No name, just 'Mummy'.  Whats is 'the mummy?' Who is 'the mummy?' I realize that I am at a point in my life where I am coming to my mothering senses so to speak. My boys are all at school and I walked out of job that was breaking my heart and killing my insides, yeah just left y'know. Life has slowed down and I am a now a very healthy and happy (poor) person.  Before me I have a blank canvas to sprawl myself on and stamp my big fat Greek ass logo on. Yeah, I'll do that.  In a minute. Maybe tomorrow. Ok today. Maybe.

You see its hard to know who you are sometimes when you have devoted your whole life to your kids. When you have put them and their needs first and suddenly someone shouts that your on stage to perform in a production of 'Your Own Life' in like FIVE MINUTES!!!!!! Oh and you are naked by the way. (or was that a dream I had? Well anyways you get the gist) That's how I feel, Maybe if we are honest how a lot of us women feel. Happiness was once just about if my kids were happy. Period. Listen I still want that but I want the 'me' to be happy too y'know  'the mummy'. (not sure that's grammatically correct but lets just go with it for now shall we.) Y'know I lost myself when I had my three boys, mostly due to PND which I spoke about in my first blog, I remember the days of pushing a double buggy with a buggy board attached (yes there is such a contraption of torture for mothers would you believe it!) like totally in a fog! I knew I was pushing the buggy but I wasn't really present. I felt lost. I had three boys under four (WHAT THE!!!??? I know, I know) and I did a good job but all the while felt I was drowning. I loved those three boys like nothing else (I still do before you call social services) but I wasn't really there y'know. Present. My body did the work but my head was 'out to lunch' so to speak. Even when I look back now there is a numb patch of motherhood. I thank God I got well and that we have all come through miraculously unscathed as a family. I am grateful, so grateful that and I am whole again. But I am left with the question, now what?

What's gonna make me happy? What were the dreams I had and shelved, neigh buried in fact. BB as I call it: Before Boys. What about you? What are your dreams my darling? Yes, you, reading this now.
I think we are all searching for happiness aren't we. Aren't we? The dreams you had haven't gone away. Dormant doesn't mean dead. The happiness you long for is right there with you, in your hands sugar. Sometimes we strive for something beyond when all the grace and joy we need is right in front of us, around us, in us. The person you lost is still there, I promise.  The dreams you had. you still have. It's all there don't worry. I actually feel that I am 'thawing out' from mothering if that makes sense? I am still a loving devoted mum but I am coming round so to speak and remembering the things I once loved to do. The person I used to be.

How do you get the happiness? Like actually physically get it, grab it then eh? Well I think as a woman, as a mum it's by making and creating space in your life (I know how ridiculous and impossible this sounds.) But sometimes, especially as mums, we think if we aren't running around (headless chicken stylee) doing everything at once then that is resting. But its not. Not doing is not resting. Not doing doesn't amount to stillness. Not doing doesn't mean you are giving yourself the space to find your happy and figure out your girl thang. Is your mind at peace? What is the cost you are willing to pay for happiness? Oh its going to cost. I think for me its letting go of perfection and the need to have it all well, perfect. The perfect house, the perfect made beds, the perfect folded washing, the perfect folded kids. Sometimes you need to let things go for a bit to look after you. To find you. Right now as I tap away at the lap top I sit with a wet crotch from spilling my coffee all over myself. But its okay I'm going to keep going, keep writing. Whatever you need to do pretty mama do it. I like saying pretty mama by the way. Is it taking time in a coffee shop to reconnect with yourself with a notebook, is it a long walk or exercise, or a piece of music. Find it and do it and be. We never just 'be' as women, as mums.

All I ever wanted to be was an actress. Aged 5 I began playing different characters, different imagined people each day to deal with a trauma that had happened to me growing up. At junior school they thought I was deaf, but that's only because I chose to play at being deaf. Aged 11 I wanted to audition for The Going Live Talent Contest with Philip Schofield (man now you know how ancient I am) but my dad wouldn't take me all the way to Birmingham and I sobbed. Shame. My Cilla Black impersonation was the bomb. Still is actually if you are asking.

I want to act and make people laugh and 'do the funny' as my Greek mama says. I am pursuing my comedy career and I am scared, like poo my pants scared. I still feel like a bit of a fraud at the school gates talking myself down. "Like really? Who do you think you are? You a mum of  three? Really at this stage in life? Aren't you going to be 42?" Self-talk sucks and it ain't real. Just coz your mind says something to you Mrs it doesn't make it real, did you know that?. I have paid a lot in tears to learn the truth I am telling you now. I am pursuing my dream even though it feels 'wrong' because I know in my gut, not my head, that it's right. What about you? Whats your dream? What did you like to play when you were five little lady? I don't want to come over all 'cheesy-fluffy-cutesy cat picture' (cant bear those) with you,  I am being real with you. We try so hard to be mum-woman sensible and tick life's big boxes but what about taking time out to be happy, to actually figure out what that means to you. Time out to play and dream again?. Go on dream again I dare you. Go get you some happy. Don't put it off till tomorrow. Now, is the best moment of your life.

Monday, 23 January 2017

My Big Fat Greek Visitor

I got a Big Fat Greek slap in the face aged 11 when I got my first Big Fat Greek Visitor. Now by visitor I mean (get ready for it): Time of the month/Aunt Flo/Code Red or Monthly visitor as it is universally known.  In Germany its called 'strawberry week' how charming! Denmark is rather inventive with "There are communists in the funhouse". There are none of those in my funhouse I can tell you! Why are there are so many euphemisms BTW for this lady time? (see I did it too) There are over 5,000 slang terms for 'period'. Rats I said the P word! Why can't we say the P word? Its made out to be so taboo and dirty and messy and covered up by adverts showing pretty girls running in into the ocean/sunset/woodland, who appear to be just oh so delighted that they are bleeding to death. My experience was as far away as you can get from this squeaky clean wholesome 'womanhoodness' thing I saw on the telly.

Because like I said I was E-L-E-V-E-N just 11...and the slappee you ask? Well none other than my Big fat Greek mumma. Why? Because its an old Greek wives tale that when you get your first period (shizzz I said it again!) you need that whack on the chops to draw the blood to your face. That smack is an old Greek rite of passage that supposedly buffers the shock of that very first menstruation. A girl got slapped in order to stop her fainting, logical innt?. Er ok...IT HURT!!!!! Was I subliminally being punished for becoming a woman? Is that what society does to us girls?  Be a girl and do your girl ting but slop up your woman-mess while you do it, because nobody wants to see it. I'm afraid its too primal my dear put it away!. Hmmmm.  Here's another slap to the face, my mumma-yiayia-aunts (Greek women are a kind of matriarchal she-beast hybrid by the way, they merge together over time) told me to never ever wash my hair when I had my period coz I would go blind. BLIND!??!  Let me tell you the trauma I went though as an 11 year old girlwoman!!!! I was having a shower once when some water tricked into my eyes and I screeeeeeeaaamed the house down. I remember having my eyes shut tight, terrified and panic stricken thinking I was blind?. Well, until I opened my eyes that is and checked that I still had the 20:20 vision thing going on.

Here's another blow; you cant go get Holy Communion in the Greek Church, I was told as a young girl, coz you just aren't 'deemed' clean. Does that mean you are unclean when you become a woman? Deemed? Deemed by who?  I did wonder standing in front of those Icons as a chubby little Greek girl all those years ago, that if this Greek God did in fact make me and all the inner workings of my body then why would He choose to banish me at a certain time of the month, a time He created right? Right? I realise now on my own journey in life that the God know now doesn't see me as dirty. Not on any given day of any given month. Society has lied to us.  It still does. Old wives tales are man-made (yes pun intended there). Being a woman is an incredible wonder. The workings of the female body are a miracle; a messy, bloody life-giving miracle and we should celebrate that. We cant all be a wipe clean Madonna (no not the Papa don't Preach one) and we shouldn't have to be.

Are you still with me? That was slap in the face phase one.  Now let me tell you about slap in the face phase two. What happens to 'da little lady' when she ain't got no more monthly visitor knocking at her door? When the bits start to sag and her blossom ain't in bloom so to speak? Eh? What happens to her then? Well....about 6 months ago I popped into my local branch of Holland and Barratt just for a browse and my habitual purchase of soya milk when the manager bloke in there (now I ssssskid you not) asked me if I was looking for something for the "mature lady coming into the change of her life". These were the very words what he spoketh. No, I didn't lynch him. I was actually really taken aback, shocked and did the only sensible mature thing I should do. I lied. I told him I was actually only 32 and that I was no where near that 'change' in life. Yes reader I lied. I told a porky. A fib. I think I was just too taken aback y'know. First of all sod off little Holland and Barratt man and secondly I am not someone who will ever go through the menopause OK. OOOOOOOOKAAAAAAAAAY! I am not defunct mister and my flower can still flower. Sort of. Coz in my head you see I am still only 24, no wait I think more like 18.

Two things. One: so what if a woman gets older. Two: its none of anybody's darned business if she gets older. Ok actually three things: so three, here it is: I was really irritated by the whole 'woman getting older' experience, ney, narked. Why isn't there a forensic examination of a 'mans getting older' experience? We don't hear diddly squat about dat and we don't excommunicate the boys (in church, school, the workplace-oh don't get me started on the workplace) when their bodies go through change or (drum roll) 'the change'. For example "I'm afraid Johnny's developed four pubes today therefore he wont be allowed to attend Sunday school"

Ladies somewhere between your first 'code read' and my own term 'code dead'; that is to say, the latter part of femalehood - when you aren't/stopped having kids, aren't having periods, haven't met your 'the one' yet, have to tick the 40-100 age box on forms and have lost that perky karadashian wannabe bum (I never had it as its a recent phenomenon)- Life happens, good and bad that takes its toll on our bodies, our emotions our Spirits. This journey is both wonderful and terrifying, passionate and barren, life-changing and body-changing. Why do we not celebrate the changes of the female form? Why is it that the start and end of a woman's menstrual cycle is taboo? I hate the term 'life begins at forty!' Whoever coined that should be shot. IMMEDIATELY. Bugger off I was enjoying life before the big 4-0 thanks. Now listen, girl, woman, yes you, thou art baddass and beautiful. Yes you. Miss 22 year old. Miss 43. Miss 52. Miss 60 and all the other ladies yes all the ladies!

Your life is in cycles, a cycle. Its changing all the time and that's good.  A woman goes through a passage of love, blood, birth, death, tears and laughter. Its messy yes, but it is precious. I am not coming out and saying I have hit menopause, I am not quite there-yet. But you know something, something true, my body is changing. I am changing, I feel it. After checking out three boys outta my downstairs hotel I am a little battered to be honest. I am an older but content wildly hormonal, savage, beast-mother who loves her cubs to death but has been left with the soft bumpy remains of a body she used to have. A person she used to be but isn't anymore. But that's ok.

I don't do a pert bum anymore. I don't do pert boobs. I got hairs in places where hairs shouldn't be and wrinkly bits where the land was smooth. I don't want to be the younger me though anymore because I didn't have my children then, my experiences and my life. My mum tells me its going to be ok, all of it. She means this new phase. Yes my boys are getting older and so am I but there is so much to be thankful for. Life, God, whatever you believe in or wish to call yours, has been good to me.  My husband tells me I am beautiful even though I cant see it when I look in the mirror. Aren't mirrors a bitch ladies? Coz they deceive you, yes? Because in the eyes of those who truly love you, you are still you, beautiful and unchanged. We don't always see this about ourselves that's why mirrors are useless for that, we need our loved ones to show us.  I know I'm on another curve of the journey, finding out who I am again "the forty plus me" "the forty plus mother/sister/friend". But you know what I think I am in need of another wake up call, a reality check, a good old-fashioned slap in the face. I think older women are beautiful because of their experiences and what they have overcome. Think of the women you admire and now think of how beautiful their eyes are because of the story they tell. It's been said 'rage, rage against the dying of the light', but you know what there is actually such incredible beauty in accepting the shading that hits us all as women, the changes and the growths, that is the sunset of girlhood and the strength we find as women in the dark.

I play a comedy character on my channel Alexia Stifado & Friends called Alexia; a washed up has been ex-Eurovision star who tours kebab houses as a singer. She wears outrageous clothes and likes younger men. She is outlandish and rude and I think she is a little bit (ok a lot) of me. Check out Alexias frank talk about the menopause or as she puts it wrongly, but rightly so, "the mentalpause"

 This is Alexia. She is 40plus. But she is fierce.
"Alexia does the Mentalpause"

Monday, 16 January 2017

Hello I am the Big Fat Greek Mother. I am Greek. So so Greek. Oh and I am a mother. The fat bit is a bit more like phat you get me bruv? Like I sooooo badly want to me in the cool mum gang hence: phat. I have three (count em) boys and I love them all like a hot moussakka on a cold rainy day. Actually I probably should love them a bit more than that.... hmmmm.

I like to think of myself as a funny lady and my job is to make people laugh, 'to make the joke' as my little Greek mother says. So for some reason on this very first post (soz) I am going to go in the opposite direction to sadsville. Now listen up, yes they say its Blue Monday, yes-yes its like the mother Armageddon (Ar-MUM-geddon get it?) of all days according to some scientist somewhere in the world (was he a man) who was feeling down in the dumps and so decided to lumber us all with a miserable title/self fulfilling prophecy/ depressing stamp on a day.

BUT this is just a day and tomorrow is another. There will be good days and bad days all the time pretty mama but do you know how awesome you actually are? Do you know how fantabulous you are? For a start if you are a mama and you are reading this you are pretty frickin special! Are you raising little people? Have you kept them alive?....(go check) Well?  There you go girl!!! Don't tell me you messed up today coz so did I!  I do this most days and I struggle not to feel like a mom-turd, especially on the school run when I turn into a banshee and lose all control of my boys. Listen you are okay and you are good enough and guess what you are loved. So SO loved. You got this and you are doing great.

I am not making light of those dark feelings or being flippant about mental health or being seriously low because I have been there and actually am still there on some bad days. With the births of each of my boys I had severe post natal depression which resulted in a breakdown after the birth of my third child. This is the first time I am saying this publicly because I want someone to read this and catch some loving, catch some hope. I haven't got it all sussed out and I am not preaching at you mama but I do want  to tell you this; you will come through. I want you to know that these low feelings wont last forever and that what you do for your kids is good enough. YOU are good enough. Don't suffer in silence if you are struggling, don't soldier on and pretend, find that person you love and trust and talk. Sometimes just admitting to someone about how low you are is the first step up through that dark stairwell. We all have a responsibility as mothers to love and support one another and to be on the lookout if one of our sisters aint feeling right, yes? Motherhood isn't a competition about who mothers the best. It's about loving others when it costs. Its about making someone a cup of tea and reaching out to someone who needs it. That someone was once me.

You are not alone pretty mama. Other mothers have been where you are, are going through the same pain right now. Don't hide, don't blame yourself and don't beat yourself up. Depression is taboo for a mum. Why? I will tell you why, because we assume a depressed mother cant be a good mother. Well I was depressed for so many years when my boys were small but I never failed them as a mother. If truth be told when I finally went for help a few years ago to my doctor my breakthrough came. I enjoy motherhood now more than I ever dreamed I could. Perhaps this is a cheesy cheese-on-toast way to end but as a comedy insta-mumma person type person I only got to the place where I could be truly funny when I gave myself the right to be sad. Just to be.

So pretty mama this time will pass. You are not alone don't stay silent, come out from your hiding place. You will come through and you are awesome and loved. Did I not mention that earlier? Oh so so loved.