Sisterhood Shindig – Day One

Are your pretend bags packed? Because, you guys, we are hopping on a jet plane (also pretend but shhhhhhhhh..) and LEAVING TOWN. I have joined forces with our Bec, and we are taking you on a fancy virtual week-long retreat and holy dooly, it starts now. EVERY DAY will be a NEW VIRTUAL RETREAT DAY for FIVE DAYS STRAIGHT. It’s a SHINDIG. A SISTERHOOD shindig. Okay, I know, I’m overdoing the shouty caps but can I just, in my defense, say: No one is the boss of me!!!!!! I’M ON HOLIDAAAAAAAAYYYYYYSSSSSS!!!! Goodbye dishes and problems and work and sadness and perpetually picking up stuff from the floor. You no longer exist to me! YEHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!

But listen, I’m desperate for a long shower and to find some pants, so I’m going to hand you over to Bec who is right next to me, shooing me out of the room, totally pumped to get this ball rolling.

Au revoir, sweet friends! Enjoy your first day! I’ll see you all in a little bit!


Well, HELLO there. It’s Bec. So nice to be back.

So, a person who shall remain nameless (*cough cough* JOEL) said that if he found a sisterhood going on in his living room, he would be not be impressed.

Well, my friend. Your day has come. Prepare to be blinded by the sisterhood in all its glory. And it’s happenin’ here – right smack-bang in the middle of your lounge room, buddy. Let me warn you now: it’s gonna look all civilised and how-di-doo at the beginning – all shiny hair flicks and heels and perfectly applied lippy and fancy cocktails with funky lounge music – but it will shockingly quickly descend into hair braiding and mutual “ohmygod ME TOO!” cackling and tears and heart-to-hearts and raucous laughter while heels are kicked off and Roxette and Belinda Carlisle start blaring from the speakers. (Because: Darlin’ leave a light on for meeee!)


So. Consider yourself warned. You now have permission to make your feeble excuses and get the hell out of here.


Okay. With that first item checked off our to do list, let us begin proceedings.

Ladies, let me heartily welcome you to the SISTERHOOD SHINDIG. Don’t forget to take your shoes off when you enter.

 red tent retreat
Image from here

Before you can plop yourselves down in one of those heavenly couches, however, we have a few more To Do List items to attend to. This tent is about making sure women know they are okay just as they are, you see. And there are two things I want to eliminate from this sisterhood before it even warms up. The first one is make-up. I know, I know – I love make-up too. And no, this has nothing to do with any breast cancer campaigns.

This is simply a small protest against the deluded belief that we simply cannot live in the outside world without a little bit of mascara. And lip gloss. And concealer. And just a smidge of eyebrow pencil. This is a protest against the thinking that without make-up, we are not beautiful.

Actions speak louder than words though, right? So, behold: us without make-up. (Feel free to post your own makeup-free selfies to the Red Tent Facebook or Instagram feeds with the hashtag #redtentdayone — come join in the fun.)


bec pic



Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset



The other thing I want us to discard at the door is that little nagging woman on your shoulder. You know who I mean – the one whispering in your ear all the time, telling you how you aren’t good enough. How that woman you met as you walked in has legs way better than yours, and she’s ten years your senior. How that other chick’s self-confidence, and humour, and wit, just outshines your personality completely and you may as well go home now. The one telling you that you’re a bad mother because this is the third night this week your children are being babysat by Peppa Pig. The one making you put off all those things in your heart because you’re not intelligent, inspiring, or capable enough.


THAT woman. SHE is 100 per-bloody-cent, most certainly, irrefutably, not. freaking. invited.


And just to make sure she is really and truly not in attendance, I have designed a cunning activity to start off events. Because you see, the thing about that woman is that she’s like a cockroach – she only comes out in the dark. In the gloomy recesses of your mind, where your absolute innermost tell-nobody guilty secrets are – that is where she lives, and breeds, and plots ways to remind you of your guilt or shame or inadequacy at every chance she gets. But if you switch on the light and air that secret – she’s vanished. Into thin air. Powerless.


So today, we’re starting our shindig with a confessional. A little bit of truth-telling. Add one or two of your own in the comments section at the end and share them with us.


BEC: I know on the outside, to strangers, I can pack an intimidating punch – various uni degrees, second language, slim, smiley, blah blah blah – but on the inside, I feel about 16. I have no idea about money, or tax, or insurance, or other Grown Up stuff. I struggle to remember which day the bins go out. If I only had to cook for myself, I would be hitting up vegemite toast with a Nesquik three times a day. I feel like I am totally faking being an adult.


NIA (a fellow Red Tenter and real-life friend of Bec’s): If I meet locals who I am pretty sure I won’t see again, then I lie about how long I have lived here in Austria. I still say 4-6 months (as a reason why my German is not up to scratch). It has now been FOUR YEARS! Needless to say, I tend to receive compliments these days – ‘Wow, you have come so far already!’ – which I smile and accept graciously.


RACH: I have issues with intimacy that are sky-high. I can be a little passive aggressive. I’ve slapped Joel once which actually makes me maybe not so passive. I hold grudges and I take things too personally and I’m very moody and I tend to overshare. Too much?


RENAE (a fellow Red Tenter and real-life friend of Rach’s):  I was out on a run once and suddenly needed to empty my bladder………it was a do now or wet your pants moment. I snuck into someone’s yard, hid behind the bushes and emptied. I believe I wasn’t caught out……….I hope!


BEC: Since stopping breastfeeding, I have zero boobs. Literally. I really belong in the tween trainer bra department, because the AA cups just ain’t gettin’ enough lovin’. The boobs themselves look like an old man’s knees. Two thin wrinkles – you couldn’t even call them a fat roll, because that would imply some sort of cushy filling. Needless to say I own many a padded bra. VERY padded. When I hang them out on the washing line to dry, I hide them amongst the towels so the neighbours don’t see my prosthetic boob supply.


NIA: I have been known to eat a whole BIG bar of dark chocolate in one day, then feel so guilty I go out and buy another one so my husband does not know that I scoffed the ENTIRE original one. We’ve been together 10 years!


RACH: If we’re talking boobs, just call me grocery bags.


RENAE: I have big, ugly, alien like growths all over my scalp. Well they are really just cysts but they look and feel weird and sometimes I have to put my hair a certain way to ensure they aren’t on show!



See? Wasn’t that like a breath of fresh air? Now it’s over to you guys. PLEASE keep the ball rolling! Share some of your secrets and let us get over this facade of perfect syndrome.


Tomorrow, Rach will be back to begin our awesome virtual retreat (think books and movies and cooking classes and napping on fluffy beds and spa days and ALL THE GOOD THINGS). Now is the time to invite your friends along if they are not already Red Tenters. Share this post and let’s get this ball rolling! Enjoy your day lounging about inside, sisters. See you back here tomorrow morning.


Love Bec.

23 Responses to “Sisterhood Shindig – Day One”

  1. Mel

    Here is my little bit of truth-telling. I share some with you actually. I’m not good at all with money (and all the strategic ways to wisely place it in different accounts for different reasons), tax or insurance. I also don’t cook very much (should I say ‘and I’m French!’). I just don’t really know how to – and it’s made harder by my partner who can just select some ingredients from whatever is in the fridge and make something delicious out of it… when I need to follow a recipe at all times! On top of that, I’m addicted to chocolate (so I TOTALLY get the big bar of dark chocolate in one day) and I don’t drink alcohol. Yes you read right. None, nenni, nothing. I just don’t like it, I’ve tried many different types, and yet nothing has managed to go down my throat with real pleasure. Some would say it is a good thing. I guess it probably is but I’d like to be able to share a glass sometimes, to be social. Or after three hours at a party, not feel like it’s time to go home because eh, it’s not like I can drink 10 glasses of water or juice in a row without being over it (especially considering that I’ll be exactly the same after these ten glasses, just a bit more tired).

    • The Red Tent

      I stand in solidarity with you Mel. No budgeting. No tax or insurance or cooking much. Our joy of alcohol differs though, and I agree that it’s probably a good thing you don’t drink, but still. I can understand how you’d like to share in that experience with somebody else. It’s a very social thing. Maybe in our virtual world, we can just meet at bars and scoff chocolate instead. I’d be up for that 🙂

      • Kali

        I’ll meet for some chocolate scoffing too 🙂 Lindt thin mint is a weakness!

      • Mel

        I’m definitely in for hot chocolates! And thanks for this lovely retreat, it’s very reassuring and it helps me escape from the anxiety I now have (developed when my son was 3 months old), which comes back every now and then and which I find hard to accept.

      • The Red Tent

        I get anxiety too Mel, not all the time but it comes and goes like you. It’s not too severe, I don’t need medication, but I take natural stuff and I have to be careful with what I watch and read and do and see. It’s such an awful feeling. Hoping you’ve found good ways to help manage it, and that your bouts get less and less. xoxo

      • Mel

        Thanks so much Rachel… It was quite severe at the start but didn’t last luckily. I’m probably like you now, i don’t have any medication (I carry some in my bag just in case though) and I have to be mindful of what I do, see, watch, read etc. I have it at the moment because my partner is fighting a big allergy problem so I feel vulnerable (and annoyed about it because I want to be here for him as much as possible). I focus on my breathing and positive thoughts and it helps. Overall, I have to be grateful because I know it could be much worse and many people struggle with it on a daily basis. So I can’t complain too much, I have to learn how to accept it better and keep seeing the positives around me. Your tent is great for that, I just had a nice meal cooked by our lovely man!!

  2. NatandDan

    Here’s my little secret. I am not one of those women whose tummy bounces back after bearing children. Thanks to carrying close to eleven pounds of babies – all at once thanks to my gorgeous twins – I now have to resort to tucking my droopy mum tum into my undies. Did someone say free tummy tuck?

  3. Kali

    Bec I hear you on the no boobs – I haven’t had kids, but they’re so much smaller than when I was 25 (I’m 32 now ;)). Most of the time I love just wearing my kids-sized crop top around the house, but when I go out I quite often like to wear my falsies for a bit of a boost 😉 And Renae your story reminded me of my lemon foraging (or shall we say stealing) episode a year or so back. We live in a sleepy beach town and I believed the owners of the beach house weren’t there (most are empty), so I opened the gate, walked in with my dog, picked a bunch of juicy lemons and walked back out, as I was shutting the gate behind me I noticed that the upstairs curtains were open and there was a light on. I didn’t stick around to see if someone was going to call me to task!

    To the outside world I come across as confident, comfortable in my body, probably quite together because I run a few businesses and smiley, but the problem is, on the inside I often don’t match up to that. For the last two and a half years I’ve wanted to escape my body a lot due to pain…and because of the nature of it (anal fistula), it’s not something you can just throw about in a passing comment “I need to lie down on the floor now, because my bum’s really hurting”, or chat about because it’s a topic that makes most feel uncomfortable. So I try to pretend everything is OK as much as possible and that I’m coping fine and that I don’t really want to break a few plates in fury that I still have this pain that sometimes stops me doing what I need to, and that I don’t want to have a meltdown because some days I just want to have a holiday from my body.

    So I try my hardest to be as kind as I can to myself, even though that silly woman on my shoulder sometimes (honestly – every time I feel disappointed about the pain) gets my guilts going for feeling down when I have so much good in my life, because I really and truly do. I love this safe space and thank you for letting me talk of things that aren’t so pretty 😉

    • The Red Tent

      Private illnesses are awful Kali. I truly feel for you. And yes, when they’re of the bum region I get why it’s not something you just mention in passing! Reminds me of a quote i love: be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Hoping all the smart people discover an effective treatment soon — is that even on the horizon?

      • Kali

        Thanks so much Rach. I have such a respect for that quote now…when I have dealings with a rude/grumpy person I often think to myself that they’re probably in pain (physical or mental). Who knows what’s on that horizon…in the meantime I try as many different things as I can and one day I’m sure the stars will align 😉 what a wonderful space, thanks again xx

  4. Rhonda

    On the topic of boobs. Sometimes I wish I had small ones. Why because for the last 32 years (I am 45 now) I have been carrying around my DD’s! You know how lucky I think you ladies are. Back problems- check, trying to find a sexy bra in my size without paying big $. Good luck.
    Then when I was pregnant went up to a size G!
    As we all know we are not always Happy with what we have. But I have learnt that I just need to be Happy with what I was given. If having big boobs is the only thing that I go on about I am lucky. Because other people have way worse problems in their lives.
    I love you blog Rachel. Can’t wait for tomorrow.

    • NatandDan

      Rhonda I’m a DD and I know exactly what you’re taking about… Especially having to search for maternity bras.. G cup yes I know… Oh my goodness! I have hated my big boobs for about 20 years but have finally embraced them seeing so many women I know get boob jobs… And also super proud of them doing what they’re meant to and nourishing my children. Cheers to (natural) big boobs!

  5. caitlinjm

    I am a workaholic. I love what I do which makes it easier to work all the time and harder to stop. But lately, I have been wondering who I am outside of my work. And it scares the hell out of me, using my time in other way. More specifically being around other people. Intimacy, letting people close is often a traumatic experience for me, something I really try and avoid. So yeah, there it is, people, intimacy, holy shit it’s hard. Which makes knowing you Rach, all the more so very very special x

    • The Red Tent

      Yes, oh god yes. Letting people close is terrifying. We have spoken about this so much honey so a big yes. I HEAR YOU ABOUT ALL THE INTIMACY THINGS. The thing is, we will never, ever feel loved and loveable unless we let people all the way in, until we have enough self worth to let them see the darkest part of ourselves and risk them saying “i cannot love that”. There will forever be a battle between our need to be loved and our need to protect ourselves from not being loved. You’re not wrong or different or alone in struggling with this intimacy fear. I have it too. I don’t have any answers yet, but I feel what you feel, and that counts for something, right? Love you my friend xoxo

      • caitlinjm

        Oh yes, yes it does, so much! We will keep talking and healing each other through sharing these thoughts and experiences, getting braver and stronger each time. It is so very damaging keeping it locked up inside, having it fester away. Sharing on the deepest level is such a brave thing to do and such a profound relief. I am really enjoying seeing what our other sisters have to say as well. Let it all out! I love you too x x x x x

  6. Meg

    My friend refered me to your blog and I love reading it. This virtual retreat is amazing, I am enjoying it so much since my two kids are asleep ❤
    It is strange to read everyone's secrets but also so refreshing (some had me in tears ❤ <3)
    It's not fair to read them and not join in… where do I start….?? I feel like I've lost my identity and confidence as a person since becoming a stay at home mother. I don't feel valid in discussions with my friends unless we are talking about babies and birth. I'm shit scared to return to work.
    I could go on and on, don't get me started on my DDs and post baby body.
    Lots of love ladies xx

    • The Red Tent

      Hey Meg, thanks for writing in and a big happy welcome to have you here with us. I hear you on the identity/motherhood crisis. It’s a big one. This tent saved me in that respect – an outlet where I was nobody’s mother, and also nobody’s wife. It is all-consuming, serving your people, and to lose yourself in it is a reality most, if not all, of us face. So you’re not alone!! Also, how overwhelming does the outside world seem now that you’ve got kids!! I don’t know what’s happened to me but I cannot cope with harshness or abrasiveness in the way I used to. You too? Love your body, sister. It may not look pretty enough to you right now but it’s done some amazing work, and gently, it will get back to where you want it to be. And if it doesn’t, well, so be it. Have a wonderful day xo


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