Shapeshifters, Hairy Dancers and Things That Go Bump in The Night

The Myths, The Magical and Mysterious

 

words by Kirsten Macdonald 

 

Our modern-day screens are overwhelmed with creepy blood-curdling monsters.  

 

These frequently overtly sexualised characters who morph into werewolves and vampires, sirens singing sailors to their deaths or the deep blue seas. Supernaturally charged, they have evolved from the village fireside precautionary tales and spins of old to the pop culture halls of fame. 

 

Have you read the original Grimm brothers Fairy tales? I studied them at University at they are not for the faint of heart. Don’t even get me started on Little Red riding hood, because that story isn’t what you think it is…

 

But what about the monsters lurking around the world who haven’t had much love? Let’s give these ghastly Villians some attention! Mind you, after you are well informed, you may understand why they are not so popular, they’re not the kind you want to bring home to Mum. 

 

The Näkki

 

In Finnish mythology, a Näkki (Estonian: Näkk) is a Neck. This shape-shifting water spirit usually appears in human form, residing in darkened pools, wells, docks, piers and under bridges.

 

Notorious for yanking young children down into the depths, it is advised for our young ones not to look into the water or lean into the depths. 

 

Nordic mythology tells us Midsummer’s night is when Näkki rises from the water to dance with people celebrating. BEAutiful to look at from the front, their back is bewhiskered and uncomely. 

 

Näkki is also called Vetehinen or Vesihiisi (water fey, see Hiisi).

 

Nunyunuwi The Stone Man

 

Known to the Cherokee nation; the Stone Man or Nunyunuwi is a shuddersome character. 

A wicked cannibal, this flesh-eater prefers hunters for meals and takes on the disguise of an old man wearing a stone coat. Stories tell of his defeat and rising. There are many variations, but in all, he is dyspathetic when it comes to menstruating women. At that ‘time of the month, women became powerful allies in warding off the Stone monster and his enormous hunger for human flesh. 

 

Cuca   

 

From Brazilian folklore, Cuca is a diabolical female monster. She is a hideous witch, with some age, and who has an alligator head. Cuca kidnaps the naughty children who won’t go to sleep. She is a curmudgeonly and hellish hag that will commit evil deeds to those who don’t snooze: terrifying little ones everywhere and a fearsome ally to parents all over Brazil. Close your eyes, children! 

 

Although Cuca came from the Portuguese coca, in Tupi (an indigenous language of Brazil), Cuca means to swallow something with a single gulp.

Yikes. 

 

photo credit Real World Fatos

Grýla 

 

Iceland has its own Ogre, and it isn’t a green loveable Dreamworks character.   Grýla is a terrorizing giantess who dwells in the mountains of Iceland. She wears a prickly and hairy chin, has eyes in the back of her head and has a pet Christmas cat, a fearsome creature who eats people who don’t get clothes for Christmas. 

 

Again a tale told to frighten children (poor kids, really parents!) Gryla is known for her keen hearing, and she can smell a child from miles away. She too has a hankering for human flesh, particularly that of wicked children. She stores them away for a Christmas stew. She was so awful that in 1746 public decree prohibited parents from traumatising their kids with the tale any longer. Thank the heavens. This one is dreadful. 

 

Picture: Brian Pilkington from the book The Yule Lads

Draugen

Draugen is the sinister ghost of a man who died at sea terrifying Norweigiens. He is behemothic, coated in seaweed, and rows in half a boat. DRaugen’s trademark is an ear-piercing scream to announce his arrival, and he likes drowning sailors and those who want to fish. 

 

Weapons do not defeat him, only a warrior can wrestle him back to his gruesome cave, and this fiendish ghoul can enter the dreams of the living along with shapeshifting and future telling. According to the Function of the Living Dead in Medieval Norse and Celtic Literature, the mottled man is intelligent to boot; this Old Norse monster was undoubtedly worth a mention. 

photo credit listverse pictures

The Capitalismus

 

Finally we have the last one- the nastiest of them all- The Capitalismus. 

A fire breathing monstrous beast, this one devours Brazillian rainforests with licks of fire, riding large mechanical beasts and filling it’s belly with the fear of the people. A terrifying traveller, this fiend travels the globe seeking victims. Often seen as attractive and seductive, the Capitalismus cloaks itself in badges of honour and munches on sea dwellers, driving them out of their homes and lands. Particularly shifty, this insidious trickster is very troll like and keeps dungeons of gold and silver tucked away. Not for the faint, this monster can only be defeated by the bravery of those who believe in equality and protecting the tribes with truth and honour. 

 

You can read more about them here: https://www.britannica.com/topic/capitalism 

 

photo credit  Alexas Fotos

 

References and important notes for our Ponderers

 

The Cherokee Nation is a sovereign tribal government. Upon settling in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) after the Indian Removal Act, the Cherokee people established a new government in what is now the city of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. A constitution was adopted on September 6, 1839, 68 years before Oklahoma’s statehood. 

https://www.cherokee.org

 

The Sami are the indigenous peoples of the northern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula and much of the Kola Peninsula, and live in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. It is estimated that they represent between 50,000 and 100,000.

 

https://www.iwgia.org/en/sapmi.html

 

The Unknown Lore of Amexem’s Indigenous People: An Aboriginal Treatise

 

https://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/NunyunuwiTheStoneMan-Cherokee.html

 

http://nativeamericanantiquity.blogspot.com/2013/05/cherokee-witchcraft-conquering-stone.html

 

https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/the-legend-of-the-cuca/

 

https://guidetoiceland.is/connect-with-locals/regina/gryla-and-leppaludi-the-parents-of-the-icelandic-yule-lads

 

http://wayback.vefsafn.is/wayback/20130122160640/http://icelandreview.com/icelandreview/search/news/Default.asp?ew_0_a_id=317411

 

http://www.thjodminjasafn.is/jol/adrar-vaettir/nr/2983

 

https://izi.travel/en/b530-creatures-of-norwegian-mythology/en

 

The function of the living dead in medieval Norse and Celtic literature: death and desire. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press. 

 

Nordisk familjebok Linköping University

 

Old Norse: Draugr, plural draugar; modern Icelandic: draugur, Faroese: dreygur and Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian: draug) is an undead creature from Norse mythology, also called aptrganga or aptrgangr, literally “again-walker” (Icelandic: afturganga).

 

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/2020/04/in-brazil-indigenous-people-fighting-to-keep-children/

 

https://www.hs.fi/english/article/Uncovering+the+secrets+of+the+Sámi/1135218761063/

 

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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Look at Moi, Look at Moi, Look at Moi

Words by Cassidy Krygger

 

“Now I’ve got one word to say to you… ” 

 

There is a bit of Kath and Kim in all of us, and the iconic Aussie comedy series has fans all over the world even though it is uniquely Australian. 

 

Watching it is like putting on your favourite pair of ugg boots that are comfortable and familiar. And nearly 20 years after it was first released, the foxy morons from Fountain Lakes are still as popular as ever. So what is the secret behind the lasting success of Kath and Kim?

 

Kath and Kim follow the life of the always well presented and accessorised Kath, her only daughter, the slovenly Kim, their husbands Kel (Glenn Robbins) and Brett (Peter Rowsthorn) and Kim’s second-best friend Sharon (Magda Szubanski).

 

Created by Gina Riley and Jane Turner; the characters of Kath and Kim blossomed from the mid-90s in the comedy series Big Girls’ Blouse. 

 

The Head of Drama at the ABC in the early 2000s championed the idea of a full series, giving the show the unique distinction of being a comedy produced by the drama department. It lasted four seasons, with a telemovie and a feature film before being rested by Riley and Turner in 2012. 

 

Kath and Kim, along with Kel, Brett and Sharon have the unique capability of being loved by the people they are parodying. There is somebody in all of our lives who is just like them, or perhaps we can see a bit of the characters in ourselves. It’s unique Australian humour with references to the day to day life that we are all familiar with. But Kath and Kim also have International appeal with some big names making guest appearances including Kylie Minogue, Matt Lucas, Barry Humphries, Geoffrey Rush and Michael Buble. It also produced a short-lived American spinoff starring Selma Blair and Molly Shannon in 2008; cancelled after only one season. 

So, just how does Kath and Kim stand the test of time?

 

 I asked the question to over 60,000 members of the Facebook group ‘Da Kath and Kim Appreciation Society’ and received many interesting answers. 

 

The common theme? 

 

The show is familiar, funny and comfortable. 

 

It feels like you are visiting old friends every time you watch it. 

 

For me, whenever I watch it, I am instantly transported back to my childhood in the 2000s. 

 

And of course, the hilarious phrases and words that they use. 

 

Kath and Kim have inspired many quotes that have become a part of everyday Aussie vocabulary.

 

My top 5 favourite quotes:

 

“Does it make me a crim to keep myself trim?” – Kath

 

“I’m not criticizing you mum. I’m just saying you look bad.” – Kim

 

“No kiss. No coach.” – Brain (played by Tony Rickards)

 

“Things to see, people to do.” – Gary Poole (played by Mick Molloy)

 

“It’s noice. It’s different. It’s unusual.” – Kath and Kim

 

Kath and Kim is currently streaming on Netflix. If you are a BIG FAN and want to test your knowledge; check out the quiz from their website- https://kathandkim.com/kath-kim-quiz/

 

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/jan/18/how-kath-kim-became-style-icons-wed-end-up-in-tears-on-the-floor

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2205140465

 

https://www.nine.com.au/entertainment/latest/kath-and-kim-great-australian-comedy-reasons-nine-watch/95c2ab3b-c5c6-46c9-887d-1226bbc92f10

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The Darling World of Mr Darcy

Written by Cassidy Krygger

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that everybody swoons over Mr Darcy. 

 

He is the dashing romantic hero of Jane Austen’s most famous novel Pride and Prejudice, first published in 1813. The story has stood the test of time and has had a seemingly even more successful transition into the modern world of film and television. Handsome and arrogant Fitzwilliam Darcy, his leading lady Elizabeth Bennet and their slow-burning romance have inspired countless stories and romantic heroes since they were introduced to the world over 200 years ago.

There have been 12 film and television adaptations of Pride and Prejudice since it’s 1940 cinematic debut when Sir Laurence Olivier brought Mr Darcy to life. 

Each has a different view on Jane Austen’s world, responding to popular culture at the time of release and also the latest filming trends. But who donned Mr Darcy’s breeches best? I have narrowed the list down to the three most famous (and perhaps my three favourites). 

Laurence Olivier: Legendary British actor Laurence Olivier, who had brought another famous literary hero Heathcliff to life in the first-ever adaptation of Wuthering Heights the previous year, signed on to bring Mr Darcy into the moving picture world in 1940. 

The film is perhaps the loosest of all the adaptations with the hope of capitalizing on the success of Gone With The Wind which had swept the world the year before, by changing the period of the story from the 1810s to the 1830s. 

 

The chemistry between this Darcy and Elizabeth, played by Hollywood legend Greer Garson, can leave you wanting. 

 

Even Olivier agreed, “It was difficult to make Darcy into anything more than an unattractive-looking prig, and darling Greer seemed all wrong as Elizabeth.” The film came at a $241,000 loss to the studios, but Olivier’s portrayal of Darcy has seemingly influenced every other Darcy portrayal that has come after it. And perhaps this is its enduring legacy.

Colin Firth: When Colin Firth emerged from the lake as Mr Darcy in his wet shirt in the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice mini-series, hearts raced all over the world, and British critics called the moment “the most memorable moment in British television history.” He and the series became a phenomenon, with over 10 million UK viewers glued to the weekly 6 part series. 

 

The legacy Firth and Jennifer Ehle as his Elizabeth Bennet left behind is best described by Professor Deborah Cartmell of DeMontford University “It’s almost usurped the original novel in the minds of the public.” Firth and his wet shirt changed the way the viewing public related to Jane Austen and her novels, inspiring most period dramas that have emerged out of England since. 

 

Matthew MacFadyen: Only ten years after the 1995 mini-series, a young and relatively unknown actor by the name of Matthew Macfadyen filled the big shoes left by Colin Firth when he was cast in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie. 

 

This is a significant declaration for me to make, but Macfadyen’s portrayal of Mr Darcy is my favourite. He nails the aloofness of the character but injects a vulnerability that seems to have been missing from earlier performances (sorry!). The chemistry between this Darcy and his Miss Bennet played by Keira Knightley is electric. The film was a smash hit with Knightley earning her first Academy Award nomination. 

 

Austen scholars also approved with Professor Carol M. Dole of Ursinus College praising the filmmakers for the use of “youth-orientated filming techniques.” and consequently, opening up Mr Darcy and the world of Austen to a new and younger generation. 

 

Every version of Darcy mentioned in this article is different. 

 

A symbol of the time mixed in with the hero Jane Austen wrote over 200 years ago. Do you have a favourite Mr Darcy? Is it the originality of Olivier? The smouldering aloofness of Firth? Or the heart-pounding romanticism of Macfadyen? Or perhaps your heart lies with another actor not mentioned in this article. I’d love to know your thoughts! 

 

Also, side note for the diehard Pride and Prejudice fan, other Austen based worlds I love and recommend are; Lost in Austen, Death Comes to Pemberley and Austenland. 

 

Happy Swooning!

 

http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tv/id/465921/index.html

 

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2004/sep/29/books.gender 

 

http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/on-line/vol27no2/dole.htm

 

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Food Glorious Food – Autism and Eating

Written by Kate O’Donnell

“HERE COMES THE AEROPLANE…OKAY, THE TRUCK… THE MERMAID? JUST EAT IT!!!!”

 

– Parents Globally

 

Sensory sensitivities can involve taste and smell.

 

So when it comes to food, sometimes there can be little hurdles and sometimes epic ones. Often it comes back to the texture of the food in the mouth, which can create a gag reflex and vomiting. Sometimes eating food can even become a trigger, as I mentioned earlier. 

 

Given that food is both necessary for nourishment and life, this is an important one to try and overcome if you can. Food is also a very social event these days, so you have this impact as well.

 

In our house, planning meals for a family of four felt like preparing three different meals for a royal family. One person eats only soft food, the other only likes crunchy and don’t even think about mixing anything, or it’s over before it begins.

We can finally laugh now about the times we sat with Mister in his toy car to eat. 

The number of times we have watched and played games on the iPad just so we could spoon-feed with distraction.!

And yes I can hear the criticism, but when the other option is a feeding tube in hospital you don’t question the iPad! Sometimes you have to do what works. At times it felt mealtimes were like the story Green Eggs and Ham by Doctor Seuss… 

 

“Would you on a train, would you could you in a boat… and a whole lot of not in a boat, not with a goat, I will not eat there here nor there, I will not eat them anywhere. I will not eat them, Sam, I am I DO NOT LIKE GREEN EGGS AND HAM!” Insert tired, stressed parents, nutritional deficits and loads of worry.

Distractions are good, enticement, a reward system with the passion factor being used again. 

Trying to source some choices that can fit into your child’s likes, whether that is smell, texture, shape or colour. Go gently when introducing anything new, remember to use stories and habits. 

Never stop offering new foods. 

Food time should never become about a parent becoming angry or trying to ‘make’ the child eats. This is a sure path to disaster.

And again you may be faced with comments from those gorgeous helpful ‘others’ like: “Picky eater, fussy, choosey, spoilt… just make them eat it… they need to learn…back in my day…if they are hungry they’ll eat…” NO! Planet Spectrum doesn’t work this way!

Please know that if food/eating is an issue for your child, you are not alone. Our family worked with the OT and speech pathologist… There are thirty- two steps to eating…Who knew?! 

We worked on playing with food, sensory issues, no stress at mealtimes, modelling, and the importance of still offering a variety of foods. 

There are so many different areas to eating and food that your OT and speech pathologist can work on with you. Please refer to the resource section for helpful links.

TIP – If you are experiencing difficulty with your child’s eating, limited food choices and mealtime disarray- you need to seek help from your OT and speech pathologist. This is their area of expertise! 

For more information about the world of Autism CLICK HERE. 


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The Negative Thinkers Guide to The Galaxy

Written by Kirsten Macdonald.

Calling Alanis and her Jagged Little Pill… Warning: what you are about to read is a little bit of satire and irony, read if you dare!

ONE: Do you really need to talk about it? 

Wouldn’t it be better if you bottled all of those traumas up that had nothing to do with you as a child and wait for them to manifest like potatoes sprouting out your ears? Tough people fester and pop with emotion later—a bit like a volcano burp only more dramatic. Hold onto it, if you dare. 

TWO: Be a part of the problem; not the solution! 

Instead of wasting all that energy you have trying to understand a perspective different from yours; you could spend it coming up with a million reasons to defend an oppositional opinion that bears no assistance to anyone. So much less fun and helpful, and who wants to contribute in a positive way to society anyway? Geez.

THREE: Life only holds a certain amount of resources- surely there is not enough for everyone. 

If Jack has a better car than you do and makes more money but has the formal education of a gnat, it reinforces that adage- what’s the point? No use developing your own unique path in life and finding abundance or prosperity. Jack has it all. 

FOUR: You can’t get what you want when you want it.

You ask for it, and zilch. You have a plan, so why isn’t it happening? Ask Veruca Salt; or Augustus Gloop. I want it now! Roald had a few thoughts on this; it ended with rotten eggs and getting stuck in a pipe. Could be worse. So plan wisely and expect the worst in your time frame you made up and told the universe to deliver. Giving the “universe” a deadline makes complete sense, don’t you think? 

FIVE: Always be wary of politicians. 

No one ever grew up wanting to make a change in the world or aspired to stand up for the people. All snotty-nosed mean people just want to rule the whole planet, ruin it completely and get an excellent retirement package and make up taxes and legislation to make life difficult for everyone. We hear they have a secret handshake involving a pinky on the lip with a cackle. They eat criticism for breaky like cornflakes. Its new world order. 

SIX: Are addictions REALLY that bad?

If you are a high functioning addict, what is the worst that can happen? You only live once right, except when you don’t. 

SEVEN: Make sure you watch the news at LEAST three times a day. 

Get all the latest updates on your phone or any device you have. You must not miss a beat. That arrest in Brazil might impact the price of bricks in Tootgarook. Believe everything you watch, the world is a big bad place, and you must be on top of it, if not to think about but to cause you subconscious stress which is like salt and pepper for Number 5 and 6. 

EIGHT: Self-doubt: doing this before anyone else can certainly keep out the go-between. 

Why buy wholesale when you can make it your self? Doubting yourself at every turn is a sure way to stop worrying about doing anything new or exciting; both emotions that can induce feelings of joy, so TREAD CAREFULLY HERE PEOPLE!

NINE: Ruminate, ruminate and more rumination! 

Ruminate: mid 16th century: from Latin ruminat- ‘chewed over’, from the verb ruminari. To deeply think. 

Then get stuck ruminating. A hamster in a wheel springs to one’s mind, and why not? It’s not like your time can be spent doing something more constructive anyway. 10,000 mental steps in the reverse direction must be suitable for something surely. 

TEN: Don’t change. 

The only humans who like a change are babies. Change means different. Different is scary. Scary means no, right? Learning more about the world just makes life uncomfortable, undoubtedly it’s much better to sit in the proverbial and endure?

Endurance means a tough skill set, and if you pair this with bottling shit up, with a dash of self-doubt, a sprinkle of global suspicion and a ripper addiction you have my friends a brilliant cocktail called the Clusterf**k delight; shaken not stirred. It goes down a treat with a twist of impatience and a bowl of conspiracy theory. 

 

End note: please be advised this is satire and a tongue in cheek reflection. If feeling overly negative, please seek professional guidance.

See these helpful resources;

Beyond Blue 

Lifeline

Sane

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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Scar Tissue That I Wish You Saw

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

All over the world, scars are perceived as a trauma, a wound, and something to be repaired—damaged goods. 

Scars have been a big part of my life. Born without an eyelid, I had multiple surgeries from birth to teenager to repair this eyelid. This was vital to keep my eye viable. A country first; Prof Billson, a pioneer Ophthalmologist, did an excellent job saving that eye. 

However, there was noticeable scarring along with a distinct lack of eyelashes. People would ask me ‘What did you do to your eye? How did you hurt your eye? The best one was; She is such a pretty kid, shame about the eye. The ugly duckling was another, one day; you will be all fixed.  

 

When I slept, I slept with one eye partially open. 

 

This became a hilarious joke to those around me if I fell asleep first. I often stayed awake all night at birthday parties to avoid such a thing if I could. 

 

One bus trip in primary school, a fellow male student, whipped out a camera and took a photo of my eye, much to the amusement of others. Not sure what he did with the developed shots. No social media back then, thank goodness. 

 

High school bought an array of trouble in this area. Makeup became my best disguise. But my identity formed around being scarred and ‘unpretty.’ I developed other parts of my person, like humour and silliness to detract and distract, to amplify and make up for the broken bits. We adjust our sails. 

 

Reading and writing became an escape too. So Much to Tell You, by John Marsden, changed my life. Teenagers can be very cruel. 

 

Enter brain surgery in 2012 and neurosurgery meant a saw and drills were used to open my skull up like a coconut. There’s no way around scars, lumps and bumps when these pieces of nifty equipment are involved. People told me to cover it up with my hair. Or, ooooh that’s nasty swelling; will that go away? 

 

An aid came to our home and asked who the pretty lady was on the wall, I said; it is me. She said; “OMG that doesn’t look anything like you!” No kidding. Or what about the postman who asked where Kirsten was; it’s me, I said. “What a shame, you were so pretty.” Ouch. 

 

Once again reinforcing and validating the belief that I was very lucky to have my life, I was so pleased I had a great sense of humour and am a nice person because I was not considered pretty. Who cares? Other people care. 

 

My self-confidence plummeted all over again. 

 

The good old ego-self was attaching to the perception of others about how a body should appear, or when it is ‘broken.’ My sense of identity was internally associated with this.

I love a challenge, and this epiphany presented a big one, releasing the perception of others from my being. 

There are many incredible options now for non-invasive procedures for the assistance of healing and scar reduction. I had a wonky cheekbone repaired and some foundation work to help stop my face from dropping after severe stretching in my skull tissue. As a kid, the scar tissue on the inside of my new lid rubbed on my eye, often causing infections. So that person is not just dealing with a world who thinks beauty is symmetry, but they are often dealing with physical discomfort. Scar thickness, nerve damage and infection are only some aspects. 

This was just an eyelid. There are much larger scars out there. Fact; scars can cause big physical issues; it ain’t all about the pretty. 

I would have jumped rainbows not to have those experiences as a child. 

Traumas have the potential to form us positively. But I would be telling you porky pies if I said the psychological impact was positive. 

I am not alone. Acne scarring, burns and growth of scar tissue can create an array of problems. The Australian Journal of General Practice reports that scarring can have a negative impact on adolescent wellbeing leading to social isolation, a decrease in self-esteem and an increase in anger, and are significantly correlated with suicidal ideation. 

For kids and teens to have options available now is so positive and essential. One very cool breakthrough in the last decade was by NASA. They developed LED technology to help improve healing in space and for long-term human spaceflight. 

LED therapy is a multi-use therapy and can help heal surgical wounds post-op. Scars can get infected, become itchy, cause extreme skin conditions and problems of all kinds. Massage therapy is another, along with the brilliant progression of burn healing medicine. 

Identity of self is tricky business. 

 

We must do all we can to foster a sense of acceptance for children, and at the same time continue to develop technology and help make it accessible to everyone to help scar reduction for ease of pain and suffering. 

 

I no longer allow the identity association of others to rule me; enjoying “inside me” to shine brightly; as unencumbered as possible. 

 

With each grey hair, I have discovered I am not my body, not my face, not my eyelid, not my scars, not my lumps and bumps, not my even my humour or ability to moonwalk. (I can) This vehicle is the wonderful shell in which I reside, and it works for me. There’s a whole lot more going on behind that driver’s seat. 

 

I enjoy getting dressed up (maybe too much? lol), like makeup and love feeling good, but this comes from a place of fun and impermanence. They no longer stem from a “self” belief based on fear or worry. Do you know how much joy can come through without the worry of appearance?

 

Some boundaries remain; photos continue to bring me extreme discomfort; I only take them for my family and the odd one or two for Ponderings when I have to. Selfies are occasional; with sunglasses on, and I don’t look at them again. I am a work in progress. 

 

To this day if I don’t wear makeup, I always get comments from new people or strangers. 

 

A fascinating insight into human behaviour is the response to appearances. Those not fixated on finding faults in others never notice, and those who have known me a long time don’t see it either. But there is a shift; I don’t get embarrassed or ashamed, and I don’t feel less than. 

 

While you can “own your scars”, until we live in an emotionally intelligent Utopia, scars can and do profoundly impact the psyche of a growing child. 

 

My scars are the footprints of my experiences here. They adorn my body with a story of restoration and survival. But I do look forward to living in a place where the world reflects this belief to the child. 

 

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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