Author of The Sparkle Pages, Meg Bignell, tell us all about how to claim our sparkle and keep a hold of it.
Firstly, I don’t think anyone should feel obligated to be sparkly all the time. Even the most positive people or the happiest of relationships have days when everything’s a bit blah. Beating yourself up for sub-par sparkle will only serve up more meh. Women in particular have to factor in all those hormones that cycle around, tipping you off your happy bike with tedious regularity. Waning enthusiasm is part of human nature, and if we didn’t have the droopy days, the good ones wouldn’t be so good.
That said, here are ten strategies I deploy if I feel my bundle dropping. (I’m no expert so proceed with caution.)
- Sleep. This one’s obvious. I’m still trying to make up for the sleep deficit that came with three children under four, so if I slip behind on the snooze hours, everything suffers. Clean sheets help, but don’t get too fussy about sheets or other things in the bedroom department will suffer. It’s a tricky balance.
- Be a decent person. Don’t do a Susannah Parks and lose yourself to forced selflessness, but if you stay kind, do the right thing, be honest, don’t succumb to unnecessary gossip, read to your children and leave the loo tidy for the next person, you’ll feel better about yourself. Self-respect shows in people’s faces, you can see it in the mirror and reflected in the people around you. So don’t be a dick.
- Don’t buy those single-seater recliner chairs unless you’re moving into a nursing home. Passion killers. Stay on the couch with your partner when you watch telly, side by side, preferably touching. Those chairs eliminate the possibility of any late-night couch snuggling and are the step before separate beds.
- Get your hair done. Sure-fire instant sparkler. Unless (as I recently experienced) someone overdoes the toner and you walk out with lavender-coloured hair. (“Mum! Why is your hair purple?”) Go to the eyebrow bar after your hair appointment for an extra sparkle-boost.
- Have a champagne. Or two. With your partner or friend(s). But don’t be excessive or you’ll wake up to a very un-sparkly you.
- Stay engaged. Do stuff. Connect with your community, read the papers, listen to music, read books, go to the theatre and to your local country show. Ignore the ironing and fill yourself up with things to talk about.
- Go outdoors. I’m very lucky to live on a farm with space for a garden so I’m always outside, but recently I walked the Milford Sound track in New Zealand with my husband and a group of friends and it was THE BEST. You can’t help but feel alive and sparkly and passionate when you’re immersed in such beauty. (And when you’ve left the children behind.)
- Leave time for your favourite things. Writing, gardening and singing are my things. If I can’t find time for them I am irritable and unpleasant and very un-sparkly.
- Wash the car. A grubby, smelly car makes me feel dysfunctional.
- Wear sparkly shoes. I have a pair of blue sequined Converse Chuck Taylors. I’m way too old for them and I’m pretty sure they don’t turn incite passion in my husband but when I wear them I always have a happy time.
And again, don’t worry if you’re not REALLY CHEERY and BUBBLING with JOY all the time!!!!!!! (See how unsettling it is.)
About the book:
Taking place in and around Hobart (and often taking place from the floor of Susannah Parkes’ wardrobe with a glass of wine in her hand), The Sparkle Pages centers around the extremely endearing Susannah and her (at times very clumsy) attempts to reignite the passion in her marriage.
Written in the form of diary entries, women everywhere will relate to Susannah’s struggle to balance married life and parenthood with long-lost ambitions and aspirations of her own.