ASK ME ANYTHING: GET TO KNOW ME
A few weeks ago I asked you guys to ask me anything on Instagram, because I figured it would be a good way to get those of you who are relatively new to The Cultured Cow to learn more about me. I wasn’t prepared for the number of questions I received, so I did the only decent thing: I decided to make it a monthly feature on the website so I could answer more of your questions more frequently.
So at the beginning of each month, I’ll put up a questions sticker on Instagram stories inviting you to ask me anything. It could be themed, it could be random, but I’ll select 15-20 questions and answer them as honestly as I can here. This is basically co-curated content, which is super exciting because I have no idea how it’ll go or what you’ll ask me!
Here goes, part one, Ask Me Anything.
- Why The Cultured Cow? What’s the inspiration behind the name?
This is one of the most popular questions I get – and the answer isn’t very deep. My elder sister had a habit of calling people cows (she probably doesn’t even remember it) and I started doing the same thing. Never as an insult of course. So I decided I’d be the cultured one, and I became The Cultured Cow.
- How are you improving your mental wellbeing, and how do you keep yourself mentally healthy and in check?
I’ve become a lot more selfish with my time and try as much as possible to do things for me. Learning to say no to things I don’t want to do has been a gamechanger. Sometimes I just practice saying no in my head, in different voices for different scenarios, just so I’m ready when the requests come. I’ve accepted that I can’t be all things, I can’t fix everything, and I don’t have to try to fix everything.
- Are you happy?
Yes, relatively. I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time. Happiness is not a feeling: it’s a state of mind, and I truly believe that you can choose to be happy. At the very least, you can choose to create pockets of happiness every day.
- How do you deal with your low moments?
I’m learning to let myself feel. Like, really feel things. I used to bottle things up a lot. I wouldn’t let people see me cry. I’d keep myself busy so I wouldn’t have to think about things – then I’d really overthink them when I finally allowed myself to. Now I let myself ride the wave. If I want to cry in the shower, I’ll do it. A little sob in the bathroom? I’ll allow it. I’ve also built a little circle of people I trust, who I can be vulnerable with, and I talk to them when things get overwhelming.
- What is your why? What is your life’s mantra?
To do good – by me, and by those around me. I may not be able to solve global warming or end poverty, but I’m happy to make even the slightest difference if that’s all I can do.
- You posted that it took you 34 years to find yourself. What are some of the things that helped you get there?
I honestly don’t know. I didn’t plan any of this. The past five years have been a trip. In my happiest moments I’ve marveled at the serendipity that has surrounded me, and in my lowest moments I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned to live in my truth despite the fear, to chase dreams that once seemed unattainable, to test my limits, to open myself up to the idea of falling in love with the evolution of me, flaws and all. I shared a few of these lessons to celebrate turning 34 – maybe one of them will resonate with you.
- What crucible faced defined or redefined you?
Never heard someone refer to a challenge as a “crucible” so this is new! Anyway, having my daughter. I love her, but I swear motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Navigating marriage has also been … interesting. It’s really made me grow up.
- How do you keep it together?
I don’t. I just appear to have it together. I like to think of myself as a shattered bowl, repaired in that beautiful Japanese kintsugi technique.
- What are you most grateful for in 2021?
Life. Health. Stable, decent job. Family. Comfortable home.
- What would you tell your 26-year-old self?
That life is surprising; it’ll throw you curveballs. That comparison is the thief of joy. Focus on your own race – nobody is checking for you the way you think they are, and many of them are too busy just trying to stay afloat and keep up appearances. Trust your gut – it will never mislead you. Invest and save more. Be careful who you let in.
- What’s your favourite thing about marriage?
Having someone to share things with. From the mundane day-to-day stuff, to parenthood, bills, dreams, memes, all of it.
- What’s your least favourite thing about being married?
That you can’t just check out when you feel like it. That you have to stay and deal with the hard shit and have tough conversations and figure things out when all you want to do is run. But in retrospect, that’s probably good thing.
- How did you meet your husband?
Through a mutual friend (hi Terryanne!). He saw me on TV, got her to arrange a meet-up, I was tired and in a horrible mood so I basically ignored him all night, plus I was seeing someone else at the time. Anyway, we started speaking again when I found myself single (after cooking for someone meatballs), and we’ve never stopped speaking since. The uszh.
- Proposal story and ring specs please?
It was private and romantic and involved the two of us and an empty restaurant on the beach, and it was perfect. I will not share my ring specs, because I don’t know them. I just know I love my rings.
- What’s the biggest deal breaker or red flag for you in relationships?
Abuse. Whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, verbal or sexual.
- Did you always know you wanted kids?
I didn’t want kids. I got knocked up on a drunken night out celebrating my birthday, and here we are. I’m just happy she has an amazing father who is present and loving and hands-on – and I love her to bits.
- What’s your parenting style?
Involved. I like to know what she’s eating, doing, what she’s into, who her friends are. I like to let her try out new things, to show her consistent affection without coddling her. I love letting her explore independence, letting her express herself, having conversations with her and letting her learn without hovering over her. I want her to know that she can do hard things.
- What are the most powerful childhood experiences that have molded your parental journey?
I remember feeling loved. My parents weren’t the most involved, probably because they decided to have so many damn kids and were both working full time, but they gave us everything we needed and I always felt loved.
- Will you have another baby?
Will you not ask people such personal questions? I know it’s not always intended to cause harm, but it’s an invasion of privacy. There are so many women out there who are trying desperately to have children, enduring their struggles privately, and asking such questions can be triggering.
- Are you all close as sisters or do you get into bad disagreements sometimes?
We’re close enough, and our fights are legendary. The family WhatsApp group can get quite … passionate. I think our parents get really tired of us sometimes. But. We. Are. Their. Decision. They chose this.
Phew! I think I chose the tamer questions to begin with, to calm my nerves. What more would you like to know? Do you prefer random questions, or a theme? Leave me a comment and I’ll select some questions to feature in the next edition of Ask Me Anything!
The Cultured Cow