Want to find a topic that will divide women? Ask them what they think of grey hair on anyone under the age of sixty.

 

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I had my first two silver hairs by the time I was 27 years old; it was around the time of my wedding day. I’d already been dying my hair on and off for a good ten years, for fun, so this visible sign premature aging was just another reason to continue. My fast-growing hair meant that I was pretty well putting toxic chemicals on my head every month or so. Sometimes I’d use henna or other so-called natural products, but regardless of what I used, the intention was the same: to deny the natural expression of my body.

 

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I was about 42, when I looked myself in the mirror and knew that if I wanted to truly walk the talk and be as authentic as possible then I had to face the truth: I was someone who was going grey (or silver, as I prefer to call it) early. I decided that I was no longer prepared to coat my head in dye (even the so-called natural ones) every few weeks. I felt ‘too young’ to be going grey, and it was a bold step, but one which I felt was important. My life’s work was about living with integrity and being authentic, and yet, staring me in the mirror everyday was a person who was covering up! So, I cut my hair short, and let the process begin. I had an image in mind: by the time I entered my crone years I’d have long silver hair, and would look like a radiant Goddess. Hey, a girl can dream!

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I’m not there yet−it’s a work in progress−but I’m so pleased that I stuck with it, even on the truly bad hair days. I’m grateful that I respect myself enough to value the health of my body, and also that I’m no longer contributing to the massive environmental impact caused by the hair-dye industry.

 

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One of the oldest female models. She’s soooo beautiful!

 

You have probably heard it many times: a woman choosing to go grey or silver can only mean one thing: she has ‘given up’ on herself. Remember the outrage when The Duchess of Cambridge was seen with a couple of grey hairs? The media reaction was disproportionate to the crime.

Our culture tells us that youth and beauty are mutually exclusive, and any sign of age is an indication of decay and of impending death.

 

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Grey hair reminds us of the eternal truth: we are all going to die. Grey hair scares us! Grey hair is a constant flag in our faces that time is running out. For God’s sake will you just dye your hair! Stop reminding us that everything we’re getting stressed about is meaningless because sooner or later we’re going to end up in the ground! Dye your hair! We don’t want to know about death!

 

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It makes me laugh, now, because this obsession with hanging onto youth only does one thing: it strangles life. You’re not going to slow down the passage of time by putting a product on your hair that contains 5000 chemicals. What you are going to do, though, is increase your chance of ovarian cancer by 75% (*women who dye their hair between one and four times a year).

 

When I created the character of Azaria for my novel, Sisters of the Silver Moon, I knew this: I wanted to show a woman who was in the Autumn of her life, but as beautiful and radiant as you could imagine. And I do believe that is why readers fell for her, and found themselves wanting to be her: she portrays what it is like to be comfortable in your own skin. She is the embodiment of self-love, and is there anything more beautiful in a human?

 

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This beautiful Danish lady inspired my character Azaria. Isn’t she just gorgeous?

 

As a feminist (not a man hater, but someone who is passionate about women’s rights and equality), I am curious as to why greying men are portrayed as sexy. Whoah, look at that silver fox! Why is it, once again, that there is one rule for women and another for men? He’s hot, and she’s not. He’s coming into his prime, has authority and substance; and she, poor lass, is letting herself go.

 

 

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The character, Isaac, in my novel Sisters of the Silver Moon is based on this man. Sigh.

 

A woman with dyed hair gives the illusion that she’s young and fertile, therefore, still attractive. This is what our culture would have us believe. But fertility takes many forms. Is it not also about expressing creativity? As a woman standing in front of the door called menopause, I feel more creative and alive than ever. The creative fire burns so brightly. They aren’t called hot flushes for nothing, you know!

Reclaiming the right of our body to express itself naturally takes courage. The world is constantly feeding images to us that youth is life and longevity, and age is something to be hidden away. Ironically, for many people, myself included, the older we get the more dazzling and exhilarating life becomes. My only complaint about having silver hair? It’s taking a lot longer to come through then I expected.

There are now some modelling agencies which are promoting older woman with lustrous silver locks. I hope this isn’t a passing fad.

The radiance of a woman shines through her eyes and the width of her smile. Silver hair is not going to make her less attractive or feminine. In fact, many women who stop dying their hair feel more confident and authentic.

All the hair dye in the world will not give you a zest for life or a skip in your step or inject you with happiness. These come from within, and are evidence of a life well lived and loved. As we age, our skin tone changes and the harsh truth is that dying our hair isn’t the elixir of youth we’ve been led to believe. Our skin requires a softer look now, and Nature gave us the perfect solution: silver hair.

Embracing each strand of silver hair is a celebration of growth and change, not something which needs to be feared. If we think plucking out a few stray silver hairs or religiously dying our hair is going to hold back the years, then we’re wrong. Feeling alive and passionate about the life we walk means honouring ourselves fully.

It is worth noting that premature grey hair is often an indication of a nutrient deficiency, such as iodine, copper or B12. If your thyroid is low, you might find your hair feels rough or dry (or is, indeed, falling out). I recommend eating seaweeds each day, or taking kelp. You will also need selenium (3 or so Brazil nuts every day). This will improve your hormone balance, and give you lustrous hair, though it may take a while for you to see the changes.

Many women, once they make the decision to go grey or silver, tend to wish it would happen all at once. If you have naturally dark hair, the process can seem agonisingly slow. Find a hair cut/style that suits you, and is easy to look after, and before you know it you’ll have embraced your silver crown.

Many people seem to forget that our skin is one of the main indicators of health and well-being. Eating a nutritious diet and drinking a couple of litres of water each day, as well as thinking happy thoughts, will do far more for your looks and attractiveness than a bottle of hair dye every month.

If you’re taking the bold step of embracing your silver hair, there are wonderful support groups on Facebook, such as Going Grey Gracefully. Do join them, and let yourself be inspired.

Reclaim your beauty with each strand of silver, and dance with that crown. You’ve earnt it.

It is a privilege to grow old, something which is denied to many.
Author unknown

Carlafferty

I based my character Car Lafferty on this beautiful woman

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad

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If you were to look at your life through two words, yes and no, which one do you think is more dominant? When you hear the words, can you sense the different energies they convey?

 

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Yes. No.

Yes, to me, implies more. I equate it with abundance.

 

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No says stop. I don’t want it.

A person in the dizzy heights of orgasm is unlikely to yell ‘no no no’; and a woman who is birthing her baby has an altogether different experience of it when she says ‘yes’ to her body opening wide, and ‘yes’ to bringing her baby down through her vagina. YES.

Yes and no. Such powerful words. Indeed, they are life changing. Shall we do this? Do you want to try this? Can we go here? These are the direction signs on the road of life. How often do you think life changes are made on major decisions? The truth is, it’s actually the daily ‘yes and no’ choices which tilt our lives in certain ways.

 

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Have you ever had times where someone has asked you to do something, or you’ve felt obligated to follow a course of action that didn’t make your heart sing?

For me, one of the most important lessons I learned in life was that when I say ‘no’ to someone else, I am saying ‘yes’ to me. Of course, this doesn’t mean never helping anyone, but it does mean paying close attention to your heart and recognising your own worth.

I was thinking a lot about yes and no this morning, and how I’ll often say to my husband with glee: this is one of my favourite times of day! The truth is that I have many times in the course of my day that I consider ‘favourites’ for the simple reason that they are an expression of me saying YES.

 

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Yes is about opening up to life. Yes is a positive affirmation. Yes says ‘sure, no problem’. Yes is about certainty. Yes is the ultimate optimistic word.

My yeses in the day look like this:

That moment, when before I’ve even opened my eyes, the sweet sound of birdsong fills my heart and I am awakened to a gorgeous new day. Life awaits me.

The blessed moment when the Sun begins his rise over the Pennines.

When daylight arrives in my garden.

 

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And, on days like today when I awoke to the sound of rain, I said ‘yes’. Rain is beautiful. I associate it with nourishing the land, cleansing the air, and fertility.

Standing in the steaming hot shower, the characters from my novel chatting away in my head, the exquisite scent of lemon myrtle soap invigorates my senses. The shower is my sacred space, a psychic chamber where I am nourished by my deep love of hot water, privacy, and writing time (very little writing actually happens at the laptop!).

Sipping the green smoothie that my husband has made me while I’ve been in the shower is another ‘yes’.

Driving my daughter to school en route to the gym, and us singing out loud together (sure am going to miss that when she leaves for university in three months and three weeks).

Now, here’s the honest truth: the gym is not my natural habitat. I’m no gym babe. Me and my ricotta belly, which does an excellent job of disguising my ab muscles, don’t go anywhere near skin-tight lycra. I can’t stand the smell of the men in the gym, as their sweat reeks of protein shakes and garlic and whatever else…[gag] (a lot of NOs in there, right?), but here’s what motivates me: my big fat YES. When I get on the treadmill, which in itself is boring, I either put on my ‘gym music’ playlist and exist in a world of ‘yes’ music, or I watch the morning breakfast news/magazine style chat show and enjoy various interviews. My feet know what to do, and they just get on with it. I nearly always find myself laughing or learning something new when I’m here. I spend between 10 and 30 minutes on the treadmill (walking quickly, not running) before going on the bike and then doing various weight-resistance exercises. The thing about exercise is that it gives you endorphins. Your body’s cells start to sing. My body says YES!

 

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When I arrive back home, there’s a huge YES waiting for me in the shape of my wonderful husband. Can’t wait to see him! He makes the most gorgeous coffee with decaff, rice milk, coconut oil (to help my metabolism) and a hint of maple syrup. I could just take this coffee to my writing room and get on with work, but I don’t. Paul and I sit down together, either in the lounge room or out in the sunshine, and we drink our cuppa in a leisurely fashion. It is, indeed, one of my favourite times of the day.

 

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By now, a good chunk of the morning has gone, and it’s time for me to work on a book, or write a ceremony or prepare a client’s astrology chart.

 

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I adore my work, and I never come to it thinking: I hate Mondays, or I hate my job, or any other such NOs. My three careers (writer/celebrant/astrologer) are all founded on a beautiful, love-filled, soul-infused YES, and such a deep gratitude to have found my callings in life.

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I’m bound to need a pee break. I head downstairs, and find myself lured out into the sunshine. Now, being skilled at listening to my YES, where possible I take my work outside. Any sort of editing, for example, can be done in the garden. I spend a few minutes pottering about outside, absorbing the sunshine, admiring fruit blossoms, marvelling at bumble bees. These stolen yeses nourish me.

There may be washing to hang on the line. This is my favourite household chore.

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Work calls to me, and I say YES.

At some point, Paul and I realise it’s time for lunch. One or other of us prepares something nourishing, and on days like today, we’ll eat out in the sunshine. YES YES YES. Indeed, hot sunshine is one of my ultimate YES times.

Lunch isn’t rushed, but savoured and enjoyed. Afterwards, I’ll check on messages from friends and my children, and address any important emails, before continuing with writing for the afternoon.

Another big yes for me is when my daughter comes home from school, and we sit and chat about her day. I love this time, the three of us sharing what’s happened, and laughing. YES.

By now, I’m having to put my chef hat on and think about dinner. Generally, I love cooking (if I’m not rushed, and just coming in the door). Eating a plant-based diet, and cooking meals from scratch, puts me in touch with the food I eat in a meaningful way. YES. And then, together with my family, we sit together and eat. YES.

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By late evening, I am still hearing YES. I listen to my weary body, and get ready for sleep. At the moment, there are scented stocks in a vase by my side of the bed. YES! And here, lying in bed, cuddling with my darling, breathing in the scent of his skin, listening to his breath, and chatting about things, is one of my other favourite times of the day. I always look forward to it, and hold it as sacred.

 

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I am greedy for this glorious thing we call life. Following my ‘yes’ satiates that yearning.

And then, as I begin drifting off to sleep, I give thanks. It is a profound and heart-felt thanks for all the yeses in my day. I am raised, and I am lifted to great heights, because I have allowed my heart to follow the road pointing to YES. The sacred yes.

#creatingabeautifullife
www.veronikarobinson.com

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad

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Anyone who knows me well is aware that the first song Paul ever sang to me was If Tomorrow Never Comes (the Garth Brooks version). To this day I can’t hear the song (especially if it’s Paul singing) without tears in my eyes.

If Tomorrow Never Comes…will she know how much I loved her?

 

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This song is a beautiful reminder, if one is needed, that all we have is today. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m the Queen of having projects on the go, and writing to-do lists, but that’s because my Capricorn nature is founded on having a goal. The goat wants to climb to the mountain top. We Cappies need little things to work towards. But I also know without doubt that whether I actually achieve these is irrelevant. What’s important is this moment. This is always where the point of power rests, and is where our greatest joys are to be found.

 

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If tomorrow never comes, my lists and plans won’t matter. If tomorrow never comes, you can be sure: Yes, I did know how much he loved me. I also know that the incredible magic that exists in today is so positive and meaningful, but if we live our lives without seeing the abundance at our feet we end up missing out on the whole point of our existence.

 

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So, today, think about this: If tomorrow never comes, does your partner/best friend/child/mother/co-worker know what they mean to you? How about your mechanic or accountant, or what about the friendly person at the petrol station who is always singing a song when you come by?

 

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If tomorrow never comes, can you say that you’ve lived according to your heart?

If tomorrow never comes, did you leave this world a better place, whether by a smile or a kind deed?

And most importantly, if tomorrow never comes, what might you do differently today?

 

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About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad

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I was beyond delighted yesterday to be sent this link: http://thehappyfoodie.co.uk/articles/5-cookbooks-that-have-inspired-peace-and-parsnips-author-lee-watson

 

 

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Author Lee Watson (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Peace-Parsnips-Vegan-Cooking-Everyone/dp/071817951X?ie=UTF8&tag=prh10143-21) has chosen my recipe book, The Mystic Cookfire, amongst the five books which have inspired his own cookbook called Peace and Parsnips.

This is what he wrote:

The Mystic Cookfire – Veronika Sophia Robinson

This is one of my partner Jane’s favourite cookbooks. It was a tough choice as there are so many amazing vegan chefs out there writing brilliant books; Aine Carlin, Isa Chandra Moscowitz and Angela Liddon to name but a few, but my cooking influences come from all sorts of angles.

The Mystic Cookfire is beautifully written with an open heart and lovely illustrations. It’s the rare kind of cookbook that you could quite happily read like a novel, tucked up in bed, with some hot chocolate. On the rare occasion that I have a day off playing with pots and pans, this is Jane’s go to cookbook, we eat from the ‘Mystic Cookfire’ (what a name!!).

I love eating food with soul, something so intangible, but you know the kind of food I’m talking about. Home cooked happiness! These recipes are simple, plant-based and nourishing; the kind of food that can make a house a home, dishes that will become family staples for years to come.

This book also focuses on the deeper relevance of food and cooking. How it is much more than just throwing some ingredients together. Cooking can be a daily routine that accentuates the lives of cooks, families and loved ones.

I’m a sucker for a good quote and this book is packed with amusing and informative references and quotes. Good cooking for me comes from a place deeper than just sound technique. There has to be some love in the mix!

 

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If you’ve not got a copy, and would like one, signed ones can be bought from my website www.veronikarobinson.com or from https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mystic-Cookfire-Creating-Nurture-Friends/dp/0956034446?tag=prh11181-21

The timing of this really made me smile: It’s National Vegetarian Week, and I’m in the process of editing my second cookbook, Love From My Kitchen.

Have you taken part in NVW16? If so, what vegetarian meals have you been cooking?

Love, Veronika xxx

 

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About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad

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If you had no money in the bank, how rich would your life be?

Abundance has nothing to do with your bank account, despite what our culture might have you believe. That feeling of ‘plenty’, of having a cornucopia of riches being poured onto you, comes from a deep sense of inner wealth. How do we cultivate such prosperity? The answer is so simple that most people reject it. True abundance rests on a solid foundation of gratitude.

 

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How often do you give thanks for the ground you walk upon, or the car you drive? Do you wake up and give thanks for your life partner (or the joy of being single)? And what of your body, how often (despite your current state of health) do you stop and say “thank you”? What of your home? It protects you from the weather, and gives you a place of privacy from the world? When did you last say “Thank you, home”? Do you have friends in your life? Do you ever tell them what they mean to you?

 

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Perhaps you’re sitting on a bunch of unpaid bills, or have a negative bank balance. Can you say thank you to your creditors for trusting in your ability to pay? Can you give thanks for what you do have in your life? If you’re reading this, you have a computer or access to one. That means you’re not homeless. It means that you’ll almost certainly have something to eat in your home, or know someone who can give you a meal. Look. Look hard. Look around you. Abundance is everywhere. Go and give thanks, and feel that genuine gratitude reach into the furthest edges of the Universe. Fill your heart with a joy so overwhelming that manifesting more good in your life is the only option.

We are living, breathing, vibrating, attracting magnets. Want more money? Give thanks for the abundance around you. Want better health? Be kind to your body, and say thank you every day for all it does for you. Want more love? Start with loving yourself. Every relationship you will ever have begins here. Don’t expect a soul mate to turn up and rescue you if you treat yourself shabbily. Love yourself into full being, and you will attract a love so great that you’ll pinch yourself every day.

 

 

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We naturally enhance our energetic resonance and amplify our vibration every time we give thanks.

Gratitude is the foundation of my life. It hasn’t always been this way.

I live an undiluted life, something which I have consciously crafted over the years. It means that I have spent a lot of time investing in myself. Our culture teaches us to invest in an assortment of things, but how often do you get advice to invest in you? My school teachers certainly never taught me that.

What does my investment look like? It is about every time I do something which nurtures or nourishes me, whether it’s going to bed before I am utterly exhausted, or taking a long walk in the woods.

 

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It might be sitting under the plum trees to read a book, or standing under the waxing Moon in silence. Sometimes it’s about slowing down to sit in the garden with a cup of tea, doing nothing but listening to the birdsong and feeling the sunshine on my skin. I invest in myself by keeping good company, and allowing laughter to be a daily vitamin! Investments also include plenty of time for daydreaming, listening to music I enjoy, and watching the sunrise. It means creating meals which are delicious and nourish my body. The more I give to myself, the higher my vibration. Every time I love myself enough to indulge in my pleasures, I am helping make the world a better place. Why? How? When we walk through this world with a sense of gratitude and contentment, we are always going to make positive, healthy, life-affirming choices which have a ripple effect. We don’t need to see how far those ripples extend, only that they do.

 

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At secondary school, I was the student voted by teachers as most likely to fail in life. This was almost certainly because I spent more time wagging (playing truant) and heading off to the river to swim naked with the boys than I did at school. It still makes me laugh.

 

 

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Silly fools! What is success? Indeed, what is failure? I reached A grades for Swedish, Catering, Drama and English. Who gives a toss that I got Es for Science and Maths? That I was kicked out of biology class for drawing love hearts instead of dissecting frogs should have been an indicator of my life’s path! A wise teacher would have seen far into the future that I’d one day live in a House of Hearts, and that I’d be, amongst other things, a marriage celebrant. So, perhaps even back than, I recognised the power of love above all else.

 

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I’m 48 years old. So what if I don’t have a high-flying career or own a house in the Hamptons? Who cares that I don’t earn £100 000 a year?

My life is rich beyond measure. My life is not based on the sound of an alarm clock telling me to go and sell my soul. I have the freedom to potter in my garden and work from home. This morning, I came back from the gym and planted wildflower seeds under the butterfly bushes before starting work. The joy that gave me, and knowing the riot of colour that will manifest in that part of the garden, isn’t something I’d trade for a ‘normal’ life.

 

 

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I have the luxury of recognising that I’d rather attract my ideal clients than have ones I don’t resonate with. That, of course, will inevitably mean fewer clients, but if the goal is living with integrity then I can tell you the path is all the more richer. As an independent author, I am free to write the books that live in my heart, rather than trying to fit into a traditional publisher’s definition of what a book should be like.

My younger daughter leaves home in three months. That my husband and I have raised two daughters to adulthood who are healthy, independent and oozing with creativity simply amazes me. If this is my life’s work, then I don’t believe I have failed.

After twenty one years with my husband, I can honestly say he still makes me laugh more than a dozen times each day. That I feel giddy with joy when he smiles at me is something no school report card could have predicted.

When I was nineteen years old, I had several past life regressions. One of the things I really appreciated was when the lady who was facilitating me decided that instead of focusing on the past, I should look into my future.
It was so odd. There was a man with stubble (I had no idea how much I would come to love stubble!), and two daughters playing in the snow. Snow seemed like an alien concept given I was living in South Australia where it can get to 40C in the Summer.

So here I am, with two daughters and a man with stubble, living in a place which snows each Winter.

My life hasn’t always felt joyous. Contentment has been an evolution. The journey has required daily inner work: a spiritual practice of taking 100% responsibility for my life, and primarily my thoughts.

I find myself thinking from time to time that if I were to die now, that would be perfectly okay. I’m happy. Could it be that I’ve reached the inner pinnacle of success?

There are of course a lot of reasons to hang about and play on Earth for another forty or fifty years: to watch my children’s lives unfold, enjoy time with my husband, meet my grandchild/ren, write more books, travel, and mostly, to sit in the sunshine and watch the cat chase insects as he scampers across the lawn daisies.

 

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My undiluted life has come about because I learnt to recognise everything that brings me pleasure, and to self medicate with these gems every day: a hug, my husband’s fab coffee, sunshine, cello music, exercise, gardening, creating food to nourish my family, laughing, spending time with friends, reading, listening to my husband sing in the shower, chatting with my daughters, writing books and articles, creating ceremonies, reading astrology charts.

I have created a beautiful life for myself. My greatest wish for my daughters is that they can do this for themselves. I hope I’ve been enough of a role model for them.

I said to a friend at the gym this morning, that I only have one goal: to live a peaceful life. Each day, I make choices that contribute to my inner calm.

So, I’m not a doctor or a lawyer. I haven’t changed the world. There’ll be no obituary in a national paper when I die. But you know what? I don’t care, because I do believe I have touched the face of Happiness, and there is no higher purpose.  #creatingabeautifullife

www.veronikarobinson.com

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About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad

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It’s late at night, my feet are bare on the cool terracotta kitchen tiles, as my husband and I chat happily about various things. Debussy fills the air, lending a gentle tone to the evening. Leek and potato soup simmers on the stovetop. I’ll freeze batches of it for my daughter’s school lunches later. I wash the evening’s dishes, and pop the vegetable and fruit scraps of the day outside to the compost heap. I take a moment to enjoy the birdsong and twilight breeze before heading back to the kitchen to join my husband. He is tending to some jobs, and the scene of domestic bliss is one that makes my heart sing. It might bore the pants off some people, but I don’t care. For me, moments like this are amongst my favourite.

 

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My daughters would laugh if they could have seen me in the late 1980s, what with my killer high-heel shoes (what was I thinking?) and padded jackets. Don’t even start me on the permed hair. Ouch! Feminism was my middle name. I was all about career plans, and the rights of women. Power to the girl, and all that. Hello, I read Cosmo and Cleo magazines. But even then, I think I had a hunch that feminism was about so much more than equal pay!

I learnt about feminism at my mother’s feet, even though she was a stay-at-home mum for all her parenting years rather than a career chick. She was strong, feisty, followed her heart, and wasn’t bound by anyone’s rules. From her, I learnt that women could do anything. From my father, I learnt that it was important to believe in yourself. Pretty good grounding for life, really.

 

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Maybe, though, feminism was about learning to find my voice, too. Perhaps it was standing on my own two feet and not being treated shabbily. I didn’t have the impact of Germaine Greer, but in my own small way I created change that to this day has gone on to help others. In my early twenties, I was sacked from my job as a phlebotomist (the person who takes your blood [and gentlemen, your semen!]) in my local hospital. Why? What had I done wrong? My crime was daring to put in a formal complaint against my boss for sexually harassing me. He thought it was his God-given right to grope me and make lewd comments from 9 to 5. The general manager was sympathetic, but in the end said his hands were tied. It was easier to hire a new lab assistant than to hire a new scientist. Can you feel your inner feminist rising? Mine sure as hell did! As it turns out, at the time, for some odd reason, Queensland hospitals seemed to be exempt from any laws against their staff being sexually harassed. That is no longer the case after my time with the Ombudsman. This was never about me getting revenge, but about speaking up for women and for the underdog. It was about saying ‘wait a minute, we’re important too!’

 

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Several years later, when working as a media officer and author for the Royal New Zealand Society for the Protection of Animals, I became incensed by the many cruelties to animals in the name of ‘human food’. In particular, the fact that a battery hen spends her whole life in a space the size of a piece of A4 paper: denied her biological needs of sunshine, dust, and freedom of movement. My inner feminist began to boil. The way a culture treats animals is usually a fair indication of how it treats its women, too. My daughter Eliza thinks it’s pretty cool that I launched the Ban the Battery cage campaign. The highlight for me was when my boss, bless him, called me into his office because five ‘top’ men from the Egg Production Board were there. They wanted me to stop what I was doing. My campaign was hurting their lucrative industry. I was about 24 years old, standing in a room with men all aged 55 or older. It’s fair to say it was one of the more empowering moments of my life.

So, I stand here today, in my cosy cottage in rural Cumbria, a thousand years away from that young feisty girl, barefoot and content, but as much a feminist as ever.

 

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Feminism has meant that marriage for me is easy. I’m with a man wouldn’t dream of thinking I was anything ‘less than’. My husband is my greatest supporter. He’s the first person who’ll encourage me to sit and write an article or book before I do the vacuuming. You’re more likely to find my husband washing the dishes than me, and I am just as happy to put the rubbish and recycling on the kerb. I mow the lawn (though, in fairness, he has to start the thing for me), and he repairs clothes with his little sewing kit. My daughters find this endlessly amusing.

There are some feminists who’d see the scenes of my domestic harmony the antithesis of their rally cry, and yet…this is exactly what it’s all about. Equality is about looking into the mirror of a relationship and knowing the scales are fairly balanced. Surely the heart of feminism is harmony, whether it’s at work or home?

I enjoy cooking, and it’s fair to say that most of the meals in this house are generated by me. If, though, I was with someone who demanded a meal on the table at 6pm each night… Never mind, scrub that thought, I’d never have ended up with someone like that!

 

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Feminism, to me, is freedom. It’s not a fight. It really shouldn’t even be a cause. It’s had to be, of course, because, like battery hens, women have been treated shoddily for a good chunk of history.

Not all men are like that, of course. In my life, I’m blessed to know men who are thoughtful, kind, considerate, generous and fair. I guess it’s indicative of the journey I’ve been on in life, but every time I meet a man like this, I do a silent cheer.

What have I learnt after decades as a feminist? Feminism isn’t about what’s out there. It’s not even about changing the world. Sorry! Feminism isn’t actually about men and women, or worse: men v. women. It’s about loving yourself. To be a feminist means valuing yourself enough that you won’t tolerate any situation that doesn’t match your ideals and values, whether that’s in the way an animal is treated, or an employee, or how our planet is raped and pillaged. A true feminist is a woman who values herself enough to make lifestyle choices which honour who she really is, and what she loves to do: whether that’s having a career, or being a stay-at-home mum (or in my case, both); or being a humanitarian or anything else that makes her heart sing.

 

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So, to the young women coming along who think feminism is a fight. Stop. Put your weapons down. Instead, slip your shoes off and go for a walk on the grass. Look up the stars. Feel the rain on your skin. Recognise your place in this Universe. Love yourself unconditionally. Don’t buy into the cultural hype about what womanhood means. Be kind to yourself, and be gentle. Define your own values. Live a heart-centred life. After all, isn’t that what the feminine energy is all about? Listen to your heart. It has the answers. Inspire yourself, and you’ll inspire others, whether you’re at the kitchen sink or landing a multi-million pound deal. Being a feminist means being free to write your own script!

 

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About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

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