Monday, 24 February 2014

I've always loved birthdays

I've always loved birthdays. Birthdays are my thang.

It's mine today! (Feel free to wish me a happy birthday).

People have asked me "what are you doing for your birthday?"

I give the same answer I give every year.

Nothing in particular. 

It's more about everything else. 

Family dinner tonight at my parents house. Mum's cooking my favourite meal (chicken schnitzel, she makes The Best chicken schnitzel in the world (there's no contest), with mash potatoes, beans and corn on the cob. Choc pudding for dessert coz that's my sister's favourite). 

The girls will make a fuss over me at work. 

I got huge hugs and kisses this morning from my housies, my second family. And a happy birthday sign on the wall outside my bedroom. 

On my way to work I'll listen to my favourite songs at the moment, by Clare Bowditch (thanks Clare!). 

And I'm wearing all my favourite clothes. My fav jeans, fav tshirt (both from Nippon - my fav place to visit), my fav vest by Dogstar, fav necklace, and fav comfy undies. My fav wedding present socks from a very good friend to celebrate me "marrying" my favourite shoes, my brogues (which I'm also wearing, of course).

So much joy packed onto my body today. 

*grin

It's even my favourite weather today (sunny mid 20's), a gift from BOM I'm sure. Mind you I'd think it was a gift if it rained too... Haha

I love that I share my birthday with my amazing friend Kate (she gave me my wedding present socks). She's incredible and we have so much in common, I feel. Happy birthday us!

Since turning 30 my birthday also signifies something else. Something totally weird and bizarre and I'm never sure how to feel about it exactly. I'm older than my biological mother now. It's strange. 

Anyway coming to work today in my car I usually hate Punt Road with a vengeance but this morning I was happy to sit in the traffic. I got to hear all my fav Bowditch songs. Some of them twice.

These ones twice.

Thin Skin-
"We're so lucky to feel the world the way we do...
We should be, we could be so happy"

(Even though I disagree with the premise of the song, sorry Clare, life for me isn't about being happy, it's unrealistic and living fully means a bit of pain from time to time.) 

And
One Little River- (this song is so me)
"Your heart wants to speak the truth, your heart longs to be known...Go on let it all out (oooo-oooo) go on say too much, let someone know you, let it all out".

My phone has been dinging all morning. I adore peoples messages of love. That's my favourite part of birthdays. The love part. And Mum's chicken schnitzel.

Thanks everyone! :)

(Note: Even though my biological mother died when she was 30 (and I was a wee baby) I have another lady who I call Mum, coz she's me' Mum. She raised me. It gets confusing, sorry. I've written a little about it here but you can read about it when I finish my book.)








Sunday, 23 February 2014

Local spots where life happens

I have a local cafe that I love coming to.

I come here to write, and to be alone. I bring friends here sometimes, and I've made new friends here too.

I come here often. I'm there now.

I can't tell you the name, because then you'll know where I live. Sort of.

I love when I walk in the owner yells out to me, "goooood moorrrrning Marrrrry"! I always yell back my greeting too.

I love that the young girls working behind the counter know my coffee order, and I know things about their lives too.

I love the crazy music they play here. Well, I don't love the music itself, I love the fact that it's crazy.

I love that they don't have those loyalty coffee cards. I don't need a piece of paper to show my loyalty anyhow, and even if they had them I wouldn't bother with it.

I've made a friend, here at ____'s. He's here an awful lot here too, so we've gotten to know each other a bit. He tells me about his boyfriend ("I've only been dating him a few months Mary but we're just having such a great tiiiime"), and he needed a property lawyer so I helped him out with a strongly worded letter (my specialty). He said, "see?! Everything happens at ____'s!" He calls me sweetheart and we laugh a lot and I love bumping into him.

It's always really buzzing, this place. It opens early and it closes late.

I love living nearby, it's one of the top 3 places I've ever lived in for sure - and I've lived in a looooot of places - 18 if you count the loft in the city I lived in for 6 days, and at least another 5 if you count temporary foster homes. A big part of the reason this is so great is the community here. There's no supermarket nearby, which I love because I hate stupidmarkets, only a market and a family owned milk bar with a lovely old lady and her son who work there and we talk about the weather and various other things. You remember? Those milk bars that used to be everywhere and when 7 Eleven came along they all went broke? Well, not this one. Thankfully!

It's bliss.

Bliss.

Choose your own adventure

I sometimes look back and reflect on how different my life looks now, compared to how it looked 5 or 6 years ago. 

I went through some big transitions when I was 27. New job, new city, new friends, new personal relationship status (notably a divorce). Everything changed. (Okay, some things were constant, like family, and a few of my long time friends, but apart from that there was a lot of change.) And it took me a long time, a really loooooong time, to adjust to those changes. To find out who I was again. 

My sister said to me about 6 months ago, something along the lines of, "I recognise 18 year old Mary again". That was a pretty big compliment to me. And that's exactly how it feels too. I feel like I've gotten the old me back, with new shoes though, and some new experience (and hopefully some wisdom) along the way. 

It's nice. 

It's my birthday on Monday. I'll be 32. When I was younger I thought 30 sounded so old. But so far this decade has by far been my favourite. I feel like I've finally caught up with my soul in some ways, I didn't do 'young' very easily. Maybe no one does. 

Everyone said this would happen - but I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin. With my own thoughts. I care less about the way others think I should live or what I should do - and am just really super epically content to do my own thing, my own way. 

I wonder how my life will look in another 5 years. 

Pretty darn exciting. 


Thursday, 20 February 2014

The mystery of the backpack in Mary's car

I don't keep a very clean car. I'm not in it that often and I don't care enough.

Actually I don't keep a very clean anything. I never make my bed. Ever. I like a little bit of organised and tidy, I don't like filth, but I try not to be obsessive about cleaning. A few germs are good for your immune system anyway.

A couple of weeks back I went into the back of my car for something and noticed a backpack I hadn't seen before.

'Hmm, I wonder who that belongs to...' I wondered.

I did a mental tally of the people who'd been in my car the previous month. It was in the back of my car and the seats had been down since early in the new year. I hadn't been back there since then so it could have belonged to any one of those people. The list wasn't very long.

But I didn't recognise the bag.

I asked my housemate, "heyyyy did you leave a backpack in my car?"

"What does it look like?"

"Red with a grey stripe."

"No...have you looked in it?"

"Yeh, no clues. Scarf. Gift card. That's about it."

"Hmm."

I texted another girlfriend, Lor. "Is this yours?" (With a pic, of course.)

"No love, sorry."

And another friend. I was running out of people.

Not his either. (But he did venture a "maybe someone broke in and gave you something". Haha.)

Hmm. Now my curiosity was super-piqued.

Only one person left on my list but I was certain it wasn't hers. I'd never seen a backpack anywhere on her person.

I texted her, "weird question, is this yours?"

"No it's Lor and Therese's" was her reply.

"Now that's even weirder, love, I just asked them and they said it didn't belong to them."

"No it's definitely theirs, they left it at my place at Christmas, and I put it in your car coz you're seeing them on the weekend sorry forgot to tell you. They left other stuff at my place too I put it all in there."

Hahaha.

So I texted Lor again. "Ummm honey apparently the backpack IS yours...? You left it at Ash's at Christmas time with the other gear that's inside?"

This was possibly the weirdest texting triangle ever. And I've done some pretty out there texting in my time.

"Hahaha no love it's definitely not ours, maybe the stuff inside is but we've never seen that backpack!"

"Hahaha okay well allow me to introduce you to your new backpack. It has a broken zip though."

"We'll take it, so long as no one is gonna rock up on our door step and break our legs."

"It's all yours."

Mystery solved. Sort of.

Personal protests against the East West link tunnel and a thousand reasons why catching public transport rocks

I mostly catch public transport to work. It's a bit inconvenient from where I live (relative to my workplace) but I do it because I love it. I get a train to West Richmond. Then I walk. Then I get a tram down Church Street. Then I walk some more.

Quite apart from getting my 40 minutes of moving, it's easily my favourite part of the day. I meander along, sometimes listening to music, sometimes I chat aloud to myself (a bit mortifying when I get sprung doing that one), sometimes I just sigh little happy sighs when there are lovely fluffy clouds hanging in the sky.

Or whatever.

If I have somewhere to be after work I sometimes do take my car (go-go free parking at work), and drive in the awful traffic (watching cyclists whiz by me, when I'm stationary for more than half the trip) down High Street and then down Punt Road.

Pause for effect.

Yep. My boss let me change my hours because Punt Road (in Melbourne) is so awful during peak hour. Some people call it the "C"-word Road. They're not wrong.

Anyway, every Friday morning there are a bunch of awfully faithful protesters who stand on Punt Road at the top of the off ramp from the M3 (actually it's technically "Hoddle Street" at that spot), with their banners that read "Toot if you love trains". They're protesting a new tunnel that's currently underway in Melbourne, the East West Link Tunnel. (Why the Victorian Government is spending so much on a new road/tunnel is beyond me - what with the introduction of the Carbon Tax, skyrocketing petrol prices and also multiple new congestion levies being put in place around Melbourne it seems counter intuitive to me, but what would I know?)

I always "toot for the trains" on Hoddle Street. I give a big wave and grin at the protesters. Those peeps are doing Melbourne a true service.

See, I love trains. I love all forms of public transport.

I've been thinking a lot about the merits of public transport recently. Perhaps in part due to those faithful protesters. But also just because fun and lovely joyful things happen on PT everywhere. Quite a lot more often than you'd think.

Intimate moments happen with complete strangers, and it's just something that you'd completely miss if you'd never caught PT before (and I've met people that have never caught PT before, *rolls eyes, if that's you - you're missing out on barrels of fun).

So there was the time I was staying with my parents. *clears throat. Okay fine, fine, living with them (briefly) a few years back. They live on the Frankston line, and I boarded the train at Mentone.

The driver was in high spirits that morning, he told us so, over the train announcement system.

"Gooooood morning passengers!" he said, "I have just today come back from a holiday and let me tell you it's wonderful to be back in Melbourne".

People were sort of smiling with their heads cocked, wondering what this was about.

"Annnnnd while I've got your attention, I would like to wish my friend [let's call her Lisa] a very happy birthday! She's sitting on carriage 4 and if you're not sure who to wish a happy birthday too she'll be the girl turning bright red right about now."

Everyone laughed. Some people cheered.

Then there was the time I was sitting on the train with my ex boyfriend, across from a lady and her young daughter (who was perhaps 4). They were talking about all the fun they were going to have at Moomba that day.

"Oh that's right!" I said to my ex, "it's Moomba this weekend!"

"What's Moomba", he asked me (he was new to Melbourne at the time).

"Oh it's this Melbourne festival thingo...umm rides, parades, you know, fairy floss that sort of thing."

The little girl's eyes widened considerably. She looked at her mum and said in her little voice, "can we have fairy floss, mum?!"

Her mum was a total hippy (bless) and looked at me imploringly. Incredulously.

"Sorry", I said to her with regret on my face.

"I don't think there will be fairy floss at the part we're going to honey", she told her daughter.

Oops.

Of course, public transport can be challenging at times. I've been glared at, screamed at, perved on, groped (only once, thankfully), pushed around and farted on. I've seen a dirty old man with a huge erection completely exposed, and I've nearly sat on vomit more times I can count (here's me thinking 'yesssss there's a spare seat!' *dashes over to nab it...'oh it's covered in vomit WAHHH'). I've had to pretend to be super engrossed in a book because I've seen someone I reeeeeeaaallly didn't want to see. I've seen my fair share of crazy stuff ('specially on the 86, what a great tram route for confrontation). And once I had an argument with a dude because he offered me his seat but I declined it politely (I'd broken my coccyx and couldn't sit comfortably for months on soft chairs let alone on a bus that went over speed bumps).

I've helped pull girls through the closing train doors when they've almost gotten stuck. And I've laughed with people, cried with people (mostly me doing the crying though), and received plenty of (at times unwelcome) attention myself as well.

None of those moments happened to me while I was driving my car. And even though I'm a bit of a greenie when it comes to cars and home appliances and feminine hygene products (you're welcome, ladies) etc, even if it wasn't particularly better for the environment to catch PT I would still do it anyway. Just coz it's truckloads of awesome.

So. As I (regrettably) cannot join the ranks of the protesters on Hoddle Street (full time work, booo) - this is my personal protest against the East West Link Tunnel. Instead of getting my rage on, I'm feeling pretty loved up right now (thanks to a bunch of pretty great peeps giving me special attention this month - in general but also coz I'm Facebook free in Feb), I'm getting my joy on because there's so much wonderful in community travel. Annnnd it's way better for the environment.


P.S. If you live in the North and your name is Mary, try getting the train to work sometime. There's a station called "Merri" on the South Morang line, and I tell you it never gets old hearing the robo lady say every day "now arriving at [sounds suspiciously like 'Mary']". *giggle

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Teachers teaching

In my first year of uni we had 4 core legal subjects and 4 electives. The faculty of law recommended we take non law electives.

I took that advice. 

I took a writing class (best decision I ever made). I took psychology 101 (bored me shitless - too much history, not enough interesting stuff). I took a business class (god that was boring too) and I took Astronomy, evolution of the universe. 

I'm not great at maths (see previous post here it's a hilarious one) but it was ok coz the Astronomy I took wasn't math based, not entirely anyway. 

Instead we learnt about the universe, the solar system. The hugeness of everything. Sometimes the hugeness of everything would make my brain hurt - oddly comforting actually learning about how pea sized we are comparitively.

We learnt about umbras, solar and lunar eclipses, red shifted and blue shifted objects (one means something is moving away and vice versa - I think red shifted means it's moving away), and dark matter. 

We learnt about how the moon affects the tides (from the gravitational pull between the earth and the moon, the water literally swells to worship the moon as close as it can get). We learnt that unless you space travel you'll never see the other side of the moon. That anywhere on earth only one face of the moon shines down on our planet. I love that.

We learnt about how stars are born. And how they die. That the only certainty in the universe is that everything dies eventually, that our sun will die too. That the universe is changing and one day it will be gone. 

We learnt the difference between meteors and meteorites. 

I was the only student from the faculty of law in that class. I loved going to the 2 hour lectures. Our lecturer was passionate. Passionate teachers are amazing, they can make you feel excited about learning what poo is made of if they're passionate enough. 

Maybe one day I'll teach law. I'm passionate about legal theory. 

My sister took legal studies in year 11. Her legal studies teacher was not passionate. (We suspect she didn't really understand the subject matter as she used to assign reading an outdated textbook as their work, instead of teaching it.) I was in my third year of law at the time and she would send me questions via email. I would respond with novels in return. She took my emails and read them and explained what I had explained to her piers. I think one day her teacher got hold of one of my emails somehow. Maybe it was confiscated I can't remember. But weeks later my sister and her friends found themselves listening to the teacher explaining something about separation of powers under the constitution, using suspiciously similar phraseology to that used in my correspondence. 

I felt flattered. 

Not only that the teacher evidently now understood the subject matter she was teaching, but also that apparently I can explain complex ideas to 16 year olds. I used speeding fines to explain how the grants power works (again under the constitution), that's such a great illustration of why it is that parts of our constitution need updating. 

I get so fired up and excited talking about law. Be warned in advance, unless you're up for the greatest legal debate of our current times don't ask me about corporate "personality", or anything remotely connected to corporate jurisprudence (theory). 

(grins a little shyly)

Okay. I don't remember the point of this post now. Astronomy. The merits of passionate teaching. 

Have a great Wednesday. Hump day! 

Epic dreams are the best, the BEST!

I wrote this post last week...:

I love dreams. Like the kind when you're asleep and you have a dream.

"I had a dream!"

*holds arms out wide

Anyway last night I woke at 3 am covered in sweat and super thirsty. It wasn't hot last night, warm, but not too hot. But sometimes if I overheat in my sleep (thanks to our "friends" at Pfizer) my body can't self regulate its temperature when I sleep and if I'm under too hot a blanket I epically overheat. Pfizer calls that side effect night sweats. I call it epic night dehydration sweats. It's sort of a really big pain in the arse but I've learnt what to do, and for me it's just been something to manage - worth the pain for the gain I've had on a drug I'm currently on, Effexor, for GAD [side note: I'm coming off them soon and I am So. Excited.].

Anywhooo, occasionally I put the wrong blanket on - and then I overheat and have weird dreams. They're fantastic. Like I said, I love dreams and have epic amazing ones even sans Effexor, but last night was deffo an epic night sweat dream.

So. Good. Tim Allen was in it, with his wife from that show he was in. I ordered a hot dog made in a donut bun and travelled on escalators that were so skinny you couldn't squeeze past anyone. I remember what I had on the hotdog too. And how it tasted. Delicious. I remember the young girl who served me, and when I told her she was super cute she cried and so did her mum (who also worked there). I did a jump and bomb into an enormous birthday cake (my sisters) that was made like a giant wagon wheel and had jam and marshmellows inside of it. It must have been a metre high, that cake. Then we all got covered in cake trying to reach in for the good bits.

I somehow ended up at my old Uni in Townsville, trying to find my car in the parking lot (haha such a common thing for me I always wind up forgetting where I park) and running late to pick up my ex partner from the airport (even though I haven't seen him in years and that was no different in my dream).

It was a higgledy piggledy mixture of random thoughts and memories I'd had during the day that played out so vividly. In the coolest way.

When I woke at 3 am I was so thirsty (from loosing approximately 3 litres of fluid...maybe, that's an estimate) I gulped down a bottle of water and sat outside for awhile looking up at the stars. It was a clear night last night, even though there were huge bushfires in Victoria yesterday. Maybe it was hazy out in the country but here in the city it was quiet and clear and still and beautiful.

I could hear the hum of the streetsweeper nearby, and the odd car passing down High Street.

It used to really bother me if I woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep. Now it's like a magical secret I get to enjoy on my own while everyone else is fast asleep. I read myself little bits and pieces I've collected and written on my phone over the last few weeks and enjoyed the stillness until I felt my eyelids go heavy, then returned to bed. On a towel. Just incase, and with a lighter blanket.

The weird dreams continued but I woke up dry. Phew.

I am STILL thirsty though. Ha! I cannie wait for May, when I start weening off them again. Awful, disorienting process (physically, that is, it's kinda scary how potent those things are -even though I'm on the lowest dose humanly possible- necessary evil) but I'm super excited 'bout coming off them. Excited that my doc (lovely man) is excited about me coming off them too.

*fist pumps like a five year old
*takes sip of Berocca (gotta replenish my electrolites!)

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Fridge box surprises

When I was growing up one of my favourite stories that Mum used to tell us was of her father, our grandfather, Dick.

Dick was originally from Holland, back when it was called Holland. He migrated to Aussie when he was young, by boat. Met and fell in love with my Mum's Mum, Pauline.

Lovely story.

Anyway that's not the story. The story is that he didn't go back to his home town, Delft, for a really long time. 30 something years maybe? My memory is a bit shot. But anyway he hadn't seen his sisters in all that time.

So he decided to go over. And not tell them. It was one of his sister's milestone birthdays.

So when he got there he had a bit of help from someone else in the family (if I recall correctly) and hid in a fridge box. You see, she'd been told she was getting a new fridge for her birthday.

Anyway when she was opening her "new fridge birthday present" she said something funny, "I wonder if there's a man in here".

There was.

Only she thought it was a fridge. I'm sure you follow me on that bit, sorry.

So you can imagine her surprise when she opened it and in fact there was a man inside. A man she hadn't seen for a super long time.

There was a separate occasion that Dick did something similar to his family again over in Holland. He couldn't repeat the fridge gag, so he pretended to be a drunk plumber on Christmas Eve one year. It almost backfired. He had to keep up the pretence for ages until someone realised it was him.

*laughs

So I love those stories. Lucky for me I have one of my very own.

When I was 19 I moved to Townsville, in North Queensland - from Melbourne. My Mum was pretty devo when I moved. We joke about the time I moved out of home, I really moved out, 3000km's down the road.

So the year I turned 21 I had a combined birthday party with a couple of other people who turned 21 that year too, my ex and his mate J. Back then I was a povvo student and I only really got down to Melbourne once a year (at most), and I missed my family soooooo much. I hated that saying goodbye to them was always tearful. I longed for a more normal goodbye. (At the same time grateful for teary goodbyes if you get my drift.)

So anyway the birthday peeps were called together in front of all the guests and 3 large boxes were wheeled out. Not fridge sized. Just big square boxes. For a large computer maybe. I watched the boys open theirs. Lots of styrofoam and scrunched up paper and right inside at the bottom was a lollipop. Or something. All the while I was trying to get mine open.

I heard a kind of weird noise coming from inside mine.

"I think there's a kid in here or something!" I said. Everyone laughed.

No one knew what was in there (only like 2 people who helped out), but when I finalllly got it open there was a blanket over a moving thing.

The moving thing was making moooooing noises. You know, the cow kind?

"Moooooooooo."

Laughing, I snatched the blanket away and said "HIIIIII!" as the human figure jumped out of the box.

I was SO not expecting my Mum to be inside.

The look on her face was great. I don't know how I looked but there were definitely tears involved. I'd not seen her for almost 12 months (okay it's not 30 something years but she's me' Mum) and I almost forgot how beautiful she was. (It's funny how you almost forget what a person's face looks like and how a person smells when you haven't seen them for a while.)

It might not have been 30 something years since I'd seen her but, boy, was it a fabulous surprise.

When I eventually moved back to Melbourne. One of the nicest things was the end of the first time I saw my parents. I was saying goodbye to Mum and we just stood there grinning at each other. "We don't have to cry!" I think one of us said. We hugged and laughed and giggled and it was great.

You see, I didn't come to live back in Melbourne for almost a decade. A year or two would've been fine. But a decade of once a year visits really blowed.

The time I was a high flying lawyer

When I was fresh out of law school, I landed myself a graduate position at a big Aussie law firm. We'll call it F. For "firm".

*grins

I worked there for 3 years in total. (More like 6 years worth of work, squished into 3 years.)

Anyway. One of the big client's of the firm, X, for reasons I cannot disclose changed their legal panel and the work we did for them majorly dwindled. We had a few residual matters that a few of us were working on but by and large we didn't get any new work. It was a big blow to F (I found that out later).

I had a good ongoing working relationship with one of the commercial reps of the client company X, and he continued to give me some miscellaneous smaller matters. I would meet with him and some others, from X, occasionally to discuss the outstanding work.

One end of month my supervising partner called me into his office.

He was looking at me, half suspiciously, half in awe.

It had been his client, you see.

There I was. Junior lawyer me, dressed my navy pinafore, at the big firm, F, meeting with the commercial reps for our old big client company X, and usually on my own (the matters weren't really that big a deal).

My supervising partner said, "ummm it says here on your bill you met with Mr and Mr So-and-So of client company X" [paraphrased for obvious reasons].

"Umm, yeeaaahhhh....?" *I looked at him, slightly worried. It hadn't occurred to me to include him since I could handle the matters I was given - and he was always encouraging me to make decisions on my own.

"You know they've stopped giving us work, right?"

"Yeah, I'm just doing a few of their smaller matters that come up from time to time. I get a senior to check my work, sorry I can give it to you if you want..."

His eyebrows went up, "that's great!", he said. "I don't need to see the work...it's just that....welllll, I was kinda hoping if you're going to meet with them again...maybe next time you could invite me along?"

He gave me a faux stern look. (Although he was very senior he was a gentle man, you see. Lovely to work for.)

Ohhhh.

I copped so much crap over that from the other junior lawyers. When the story was retold (lots) by the other juniors they added in a slightly embellished part about me meeting with the Board of client company X bringing in all their new work without consulting my supervising partner.

Hilarious.

So me.

(I'm so oblivious.)

Monday, 17 February 2014

Thanks Leunig, your timing was impeccable

And @lucyloulada...your timing was even more impeccable. xx

I'm so not a handbag person

When I was at uni I didn't own a handbag. I carried an old green enviro shopping bag that I got at Woolies over my shoulder. It was a great size. Fit all my books and my laptop, and it was so easy to find everything.

Yeh so it was a bit mangey after a year or so but it sorta matched the rest of me at the time.

No one ever thought to steal it or anything from it either. Handy.

Anyway one day my friend chucked the shits with me over it and bought me a handbag. Like a proper lady handbag. (screws up nose a little)

I love those zip up canvass Country Road totes. They fit everything.

I'm not anti handbags, obviously. I just don't really love them. I'm a carrier. I like my tote empty most of the time, but sometimes I need stuff.

Phone
Wallet
Keys
Headphones
Work pass
Cardigan
Scarf
Diary (planner, not the dear diary kind)
Little purse for my womanly things
Bottle of water
Apples

The handle on my tote broke recently tho and I was super spewing. (My last CR tote lasted me a decent 4 years before the canvass around the handles wore out so bad there were holes and rips and I had to upgrade, to a new CR tote.) So you can imagine my surprise when just after 1 short year this new one broke.

Anyway, true to form, I wrote CR a letter.

And the response was a very pleasant surprise. "Bring it in we'll exchange it for you", essentially.

Oh?

So I took it in, showed the lady the broken handle. Offered to show her the email (which she declined, trusting woman -bless). She exchanged it for me. New unbroken tote in my possession. Free.

Go-go Country Road customer service!

Apparently they take faulty items quite seriously. In...deed.

'Till next time (hopefully in 5 years or when this tote has completely worn out)...

(waves cheerily)

A million pregnancy scares and then the time I thought I had cancer

In my early twenties I was married and had a somewhat lessai-faire approach to contraception.

*clears throat

As a consequence I made friends with the ol' pregnancy test stick device and I got quite used to peeing on them intermittently.

After a couple of pregnancy scares I decided to go on the Implanon. Awful, awful thing that was, for me anyway.

Afterwards my body wasn't quite the same, although I was only on it for 3 months. 3 loooooong months.

Anyway a few years after the Implanon my body was doing strange things and I went to see a doctor. He asked me a bunch of questions then sent me straight over for an ultrasound. The kind you get when your doctor is pretty sure you're preggars.

I was pretty young at the time. Maybe 24? Definitely not ready for babies. I tearfully went over to the radiologist and waited until my bladder was full enough for them to see my uterus.

There was a blob. A definite blob. The ultrasound technician lady was focussing in on it, and measuring it, and doing snapshots of it like crazy. My eyes were SO WIDE when I noticed her particular attention to it and, of course, I started wailing like a banchee. Through my sobs I managed to choke out, "i-is that a foetus?!" and continued crying while she measured and fussed. She told me she couldn't confirm or deny whether I was pregnant and that I would have to wait for the radiologists report.

Cow.

She could have pointed to any one of the ten posters that were hanging on the wall (I'd noticed them but didn't draw the connection) and said that "that's what a foetus looks like". But she didn't and so I sobbed while she probed (internal ultrasound images look super cool but are neigh fun for the ladies).

*chuckles

When my report was ready it had a big sticker sealing the envelope opening that read:
"Do not attempt to interpret this report without consulting your doctor."
Of course I opened it immediately and scanned the images first and then the report.

It said "no foetus present, uterus and overies normal, small 4mm-5mm fibroid present in sub mucosol lining" (or something).

Okay phew. Not preggars.

But what is a fibroid?

I rang my friend M, an occupational therapist. She had medical books.

"I'm coming over", I told her. "I'm not pregnant but I have a fibroid, whatever that is."

"I'll have my books out ready for you love".

We looked up 'fibroid' in her medical dictionary.
"Fibroid, usually benign tumor which can grow and cause interferance with pregnancy or can in some cases become malignant."
I looked at M. My eyes were wide. She told me not to worry until I'd spoken to my doctor and found out what it actually was.

"B-but the report doesn't say it's benign", I told her.

"And it doesn't say it's malignant honey, anyway if you needed a biopsy they'd have told you in the report."

I rang my Mum, tearfully, with the awful news. (*laughs I really should have waited to see my doc.)

"I might not be able to get preggggnannnnnt", I wailed.

"It'll be okay darling, let's just find out what the doctor says."

Silly me, I'd picked up the report on a Friday afternoon, and my doctor didn't have any available appointments until the following Monday. Or maybe silly me, I'd opened the report.

It was a long weekend. When I finally saw my doctor he read the report, and scolded me for opening the envelope without him.

"As if I couldn't!" I said. He understood.

Then he said, "so everything looks good then, you've nothing to worry about."

"But w-what about the fibroid thingo?!" I asked.

"Oh it's nothing", he said, "a little freckle on your uterus, nothing to worry about they're pretty common".

Oh.

That's why we don't open radiology reports without doctors.

So I was fine. Not pregnant. No malignant tumor. And much more careful with contraception after that. 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

What goes up must come down....right? Wrong!

I used to worry if I felt really good for too long. 

Feel free to laugh. 

Truly, it's funny, I'm laughing right now. 

It used to concern me because I knew myself well enough to know it was a temporary mood that would inevitably be matched by a mood of something akin to melancholy. Not depression or anything. Exhaustion maybe. 

I'd go along feeling like a ripper tearing up at life and then I'd crash into despair. 

The roller coaster of life. Weeeeeeeee




Anyway for the past 6 months or so I've been in a new place. A place of happy medium. Sort of. Don't get me wrong there've been ups and downs just not ridiculous ones. I've been more in the moment and less concerned about the future than ever before. 
So in a few short months I'll be starting the weening off process. It's a tricky one (physically, I mean, it can be anyway). But I'm feeling really excited that my Doc actually suggested it. He thinks I'm ready. I am. 
There are other people who've been involved in this process for me too, and I'm grateful for their unconditional love and support as well. Incredibly so.

I've also been curious whether the other shoe would drop. But it hasn't. And it would have by now. If it were going to. I got some good news from my Doc a few weeks back. He's been monitoring me for a while on a productive program of meds and therapy. For anxiety disorder. First time round I wanted to go off the meds as quickly as possible. This time round I've been more patient with the whole process. 

Just feeling out how I actually feel instead of how I want to feel. 


And, soon, very soon...I'm having my last session with my incredible therapist. I'm really, really sad they're ending, but at the same time I also feel ready to fly the coup. I've become really fond of our epic chats. They're never dull. They're insightful and helpful, often philosophical and we've both dug super deep to achieve the open and honest level of communication which has benefited me in ways I can't describe with words. (Making sweeping gestures with my arms instead.) I recommend therapy to basically everyone I meet. Largely because of the wonderful experiences I've had with the therapy I've attended. It's opened my mind to a whole world that is completely new for me; a part of myself I used to be so afraid of. And now I'm far more comfortable with all of me, just as I am. Because of what I've learnt. In therapy. Because I've had a therapist who gave a shit and went above and beyond consistently and who also had the courage to be honest with me. I'm not sure how I can ever thank him quite adequately enough. I will thank him. In person. And here too, express my thanks. 


I think my see saw is finally balancing itself out. 

It's nice. 


The adventures of Buzz and Woody, Part II

Part II

"Woody, what are you going to do with your gun?!"

"What do you mean, Buzz?"

[Woody tips his hat upwards and scratches his head.]

"We're in an airport Woody, we have to get through security."

"Buzz. We've been through this. I'm a toy. You're a toy."

[Buzz looks dubious.]

"Woody. I'm pretty sure they don't let toy guns through either."

"It'll be fine Buzz, stop fretting."

[Buzz starts getting a little fired up.]

"But Woody! We're all ready for our holiday. I am getting on that plane come what m..."

[Woody grins at Buzz, and interupts him.]

"Buzz! Buzz! I have a holster, this is true...but there's no gun in there."

[Buzz looks confused.]

"But Woody, didn't we read...you know...in the paper..."

[Buzz shakes his head.]

"...something about another Woody getting his gun confiscated at Heathrow...?"

"A fake, Buzz! That toy must have been a fake. Obviously those toy makers haven't seen the movie..."

[Woody thinks for a moment.]

"...oh oh I know maybe the other Woody was real but the kid just added his own gun!"

[Buzz peers around Woody's right side where his holster sits.]

"It's empty Buzz, see?!"

[Woody thrusts out his hip for Buzz to see clearly.]

"What's it for, then Woody?!"

[Buzz raises his eyebrows and juts his chin forward, challenging his friend.]

[Woody looks incredulous.]

"Honestly Buzz sometimes you're so oblivious to your surroundings...
...Andy's Mum might have confiscated it, I really don't know Buzz, but I've never had a gun in this ol' holster."

[Buzz still looks dubious.]

"This isn't some weird secret thing you have with Andy is it, Buzz?"

[Andy blushes.]

"Woody, as much as I used to make Andy love me more than you, he'll always love us both. And anyway Andy's grown up now. It's time for US to have our big adventures!"

[Buzz grins.]

"What flight should we get on Woody?"

"Any flight with a young kid with a backpack, Woody, but please not pink this time."

[Woody points.]

"Look Buzz! That one!"


....to be continued
Continued from Part I. Click below to catch up: 

One of the coolest new years'

I love early mornings.

I love going to sleep early and waking up naturally at 6am. Sans alarm.

I woke this morning at 6am, totally refreshed. Slept like a baby.

There's something wonderful about sitting outside, and listening to the stillness that only happens this time of day.

No one else is awake. There is only the odd passing car. There's a hum in the air, the hum of stillness.

It reminded me of a new year celebration I participated in years ago, when I was 16. 17? Thereabouts, it's not important.

I was camping up in the Grampions with a bunch of friends. On new year's eve we did something quite controversial. We went to bed early. With a purpose though. We all got up at 4am, drove to the highest point you can drive up one of those gorgeous mountains, took blankets and water.

And then we watched the first sun rise for the new year. There were clouds and there was mist and it was a cool summer morning. We found a spot and sat together chatting in the dark until the dawn started to show above the horizon. Then we silently watched as the sun made it's debut for that year.

Lovely.

Think I might go back to bed now. :)

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Only the brave survive

There is a song, by World's End Press, 'Only the Brave Survive'.

Great song. Great song.

*momentarily gets distracted

Anyway it reminds me of something I hold close to my heart: that true intimacy is born through honest expression of vulnerability.

That exposing our true selves, to ourselves, and to others, is the best way to cut through the bullsh!t (I said that in sign language, *whispers me' Mum cheekily taught me how, she doesn't usually swear). It's also a nifty way to find out if closeness you feel with people is real (friends, family, colleagues, lovers, everyone). There's a certain kind of honesty to it. It's organic and natural.

Hey! *me, waving

This is me!

I'm comfortable with myself I suppose, so it's not super hard for me to be honest about who I am. But at the same time I haven't always been completely up front about that one, I've had to learn and practice all of the above.

Now whenever someone tells me they think I'm cool, I know in my heart they think the real me is cool. See, no bullsh!t.

I know that they know that I know that they know Me.

Maybe it seems obvious to everyone but for me it took time to let that one sink in.

Super epic fun thing to try out! *throws confetti in the air

*nodding solemnly

(Image source, The Vine)


Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Friend...ships (like the big kind that sail the oceans)

I've never really been part of the "in crowd". I've never had trouble making friends, but I'm much better in one-on-one type situations or in smaller groups of people. My sister and my Mum sometimes lovingly comment that I'm autistic (they've both worked with children with autism and insist that I exhibit autistic traits - everyone is on the spectrum somewhere right?).

Anyway, whether or not I am is not really the point of this post. The point is, my whole life people have said I'm weird (see for example), and so I could never really connect with the type of people that don't like weirdness in some way. I know everyone has their own story and I love hearing people's stories. I especially like intense and weird ones.

I have vivid memories of being that awkward teenager and watching other people socialise together easily, wondering why I felt on the outer. After a while I realised there were other people on the outer too, and it was a really pleasant surprise finding out that those people were The Coolest people in the world. Absolute legends. People I could relate to and have fun with.

Ohhhhh so much fun with.

During my life to date, I have made so many really incredible connections with people I'm proud to call friends. Sometimes I feel like I need an enormous ship (like the kind you can land a plane on) to keep all the incredible memories that I've got with these friends). It's the friend ship.

Some friendships I've had for years, since I was really young. Some friendships are recent. Some friends I've known for a long time but only really gotten close to in recent times. Some friends I see less often. Some friends I haven't seen for years and might not ever see again. Which is okay too, I still love them just the same.

Some friends have given me incredible things (memories and physical things, mostly memories) that I will cherish until well after I'm dead (or senile) and sometimes I feel like I could never repay the awesomeness of those things. But I try (and have always tried) to pay it forward or reciprocate somehow.

It's like an upward spiral of love and affection.

*giggle

Sometimes there are no words to explain it, and I just grin helplessly at them, pumping as much love as I can muster through my eyes and towards their beautiful souls until tears well-up from deep inside my chest.

That could be happening now actually. The tears part.

Anywhooo.

Sometimes I feel like my heart couldn't possibly have any more love in it and that surely I must have had my quota of wonderful people in my life. And then I meet someone really cool and discover a whole new enormous part of my heart that's been previously unexplored and opens up new worlds to discover with these new people.

And my ship gets bigger still.

My favourite poem sums it up, by E E Cummings, the bit at the end, which is my favourite bit.

"here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)"

On my ship. (whispers) I added that bit.


:)


Monday, 10 February 2014

My writing callus

I have a writing callus on my right digitus medius (middle finger - FYI I totally had to Google that, I'm a little bit in love with Latin).  

I got it when I was at uni studying law. It developed into a much bigger callus during my final year, when I was writing my honours thesis. A 28 thousand word epic on corporate manslaughter. Would you believe me if I told you I had fun writing it?

I did. I'm a total nerd. 

The research part of it I did by hand. With 2 thick A4 notebooks and countless pens. I wrote out my observations by hand and left large margins for summarising later. It made the actual writing process much quicker in the end (if you ever need to write a thesis) even though it takes quite a lot longer to do all the reading at the initial stages.

My thesis took a year in total to complete. I had a part time job, and was finishing off the last 5 subjects of my degree - all at the same time.

I was a crazy person that year. So distracted by law that everything peripheral dropped away for a while. I became a completely absent minded, sleep deprived, corporate law obsessed individual. It was hilariously fun (for me anyway, not sure about everyone else involved).

By the time I was finished and after I handed the epic in, I was so proud of that callus, and a little bit devo at the idea it would heal (no chance of that it's never gone away).

So you can imagine my delight that as a lawyer (especially in my current job) - we still use pencils and pens and paper. Some don't, but I definitely do. Flicking through a large document is tricky on a computer screen. I won't print something if I don't have to (love trees too much for that), but if someone sends me a contract to read in hard copy, I'll sit at my desk all day with a pencil and mark it up by hand.

At times, my computer sits idling for 70% of the day, which I reckon is pretty fantastic. If I hear the email boop I'll check it's not urgent. Otherwise I can spend hours just doing my work by hand. Then every few weeks I carefully sharpen all my pencils.


*contented sigh

I have lots and lots (*whispers and lots) of favourite things, and pencils is most definitely one of them. Especially coloured pencils but I'm not sure my boss would appreciate if I coloured in all our leases.


***
Incidentally, there is a colouring book for lawyers and I have coloured mine in. *giggle
I used to think it was a really funny meme but now it's a little bit depressing and I'm not a high flying lawyer anymore (phew) so I'll just include the bits I still find funny.

And to be extra clear this is totally making fun of the pretentiousness and self importance of some lawyers (deffo not all). There are PLENTY of amazing down to earth lawyers out there who do incredibly valuable work. *whispers I'm not in either of those categories. I wore an art smock dress today to work with pineapples on it and read a lease all day. Jus' saying.








Sunday, 9 February 2014

Hanging out with children

Children amaze me. Never fails. They're people, but just small and young. Innocent.

Yesterday I got to enjoy hanging out with a 5 year old boy with some friends of mine. We had such a lot of fun throwing him around in the pool, hiding his goggles. He had just the right amount of cheeky without any naughty. What a joy.

It's fun sometimes to forget everything except the simple things. I find hanging out with kids is an easy way to do that. Sometimes, if the moment is right, you even get to see everything from their perspective again.

Lego, dinosaurs, the warmer-warmer-hot-hotttter-colder game, mucking around in a pool. For hours.

Simple stuff, but often I forget how lovely it is.

Side note: wear a one piece swim suit when hanging out with kids. Juss' sayin'.

Hope I get to do that again soon. 

Friday, 7 February 2014

Everywhere I look, my future looks bright

I woke up yesterday with a really strong sense that life is bright.

That whatever happens, it's all going to be okay. Better than that, actually, great.

Last night after work I had to go to Doncaster Shopping Centre, to visit the Apple store to have my phone replaced. The lock button was broken. Still under warranty so it was free (phew). I strongly dislike shopping centres. Strongly dislike. Anyway the Apple store was buzzing and I got my new handset, which is great coz I was sick of using the accessibility assist feature. Stupid.

Driving home I hadn't had a chance to re-add my music onto my phone, obviously. So I searched around in my glove box and found a CD I hadn't listened to in ages. It's not a CD I'm terribly proud to own but I chucked it in and started singing along (as I usually do).

Then a song came on that I nearly skipped.

Possessionless, by Delta Goodrem. Yup, Delta. Laugh all you want, she's talented. I'm a bit piano obsessed and her voice is like a bell to my ears.

This song, in particular, I know inside out. But I don't think (until last night anyway) I could really relate to the lyrics. Halfway through singing my lungs out it hit me.

Finally I could relate to it.

Delta aside, the words in that song are incredible.

And it's me. She could have written it for me.

Right now, it's enough. I'm enough. I'm content and flawed and it's all okay.


All the things that I've collected
Stones and shells
Every word in every book
Upon my shelves
Only form a brief description of myself
But they don't define who I am
I don't think anything can, no

If I strip away the non-necessities
All the damage all the mess surrounding me
I don't crave what I have not
I don't need more than I've got
It's just me that I offer up

All I got is my body
And it's naked for you
All I got is this heart
That I'm willing to lose
I know in this life
I give it everything
All I got is this soul and
Its shedding its clothes
Do you see who I am now
You're standing this close
You know in these arms
You're feeling everything

I'm learning what to give
What to protect
To look into the mirror
Though I'm not perfect
It's still a work in progress
Hasn't finished yet
Wanna be transparent
See through
Not gonna hide me from you

I'm completely undressed
But I couldn't care less
I'm standing here possessionless
It's the only true test
When the only thing left
Is a love that is possessionless
I don't crave what I have not
I don't need more than I've got
It's just me that I offer up

...
You know in these arms
You're feeling everything

***
This morning on my way to work I took a couple of photos. For no reason other than capturing a few things I saw that I thought looked lovely. Bright sunny day in Melbourne here today. Just wonderful.

Happy Friday!



(This one was from yesterday.)





Wednesday, 5 February 2014

What little Mary wanted to be when she grew up

When I was a little girl in pigtails I had a different idea of how my life would turn out.

I thought that being a child was complicated, and that everything would somehow be easier the older I got. That's true in some ways, but mostly false. Obviously.

I spent hours in my own head, thinking about how things were.

I had no real idea of who I was back then, and no clue as to what I wanted to "be" when I was older. I frequently changed my mind about that one. I wanted to be lots of things. A teacher, a pianist, some sort of artist, a singer, later (and briefly) an electrician. I always knew I wanted to be a mum, at some stage, but I also wanted to be a mum who worked.

It's funny in a way - I'm all of those things. I don't have any sort of qualification in any of them, but I teach people stuff from time to time and maybe I'll still do that one day. I sing, alot. I did learn the piano. And I did go to TAFE for the theory component of a sparky apprentiship, but I later switched to law. Don't ask.

One of the big ideas I always had as a kid was to be a traffic light engineer. At the time I thought it was a totally made up profession, but I'm certain there must be someone out there who does engineer traffic light operations. And I'm not talking about the design or manufacture of them. I'm talking about the timing.

You know, when you're stuck at a red light and the one up ahead is green, and then just as your light goes green the one up ahead goes red? Well...my little brain thought that 'if there were engineers who were around that would never happen...it would be such a big job but it would be so cool'. I still think about that sometimes when I'm stuck at a light.

Traffic light engineering...helping people get to where they need to go without having to stop at reds too often.

I wonder if I'm a metophorical traffic light engineer. Sometimes people tell me I'm not like other people. That I think a little differently and it helps them to see things a little differently, open their minds, and get unstuck.

I certainly hope so. That means most of my childhood fantasies will have come true...for now.

Traffic light engineer lady! *giggle

Monday, 3 February 2014

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

A friend of mine and I recently watched a movie together, "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World".

It's a great movie. And there's this great line in it.

[Partial spoiler alert!]
"But it isn't enough time."
"It never would have been."
I love that. That feeling that you get with a person. When there simply isn't enough time in the world to do and share all the stuff you want to with them.

It can be rare. But so worth holding out for, and for all sorts of relationships (not just the obvious kind).

There is something truly beautiful about the longing or the craving to see and talk with those people. It can be hard missing them too, but it sort of makes seeing them all the more worth while.

I have a few people in my life that I feel that way about. It simultaneously sucks and rocks. But I'm glad to have found it. I wouldn't trade it. I'm glad to know them.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The time we didn't have a TV

Growing up I didn't watch a lot of telly. Instead I played with Lego and read books and played with my sister and climbed trees. Pretty glad about that.

There's something kinda off about TV.

Don't get me wrong though. I love, love, LOVE watching movies. I also love a good marathon of a few various shows. But there something nicer about having control over when I choose to do it, and for how long. There's something horrible about having life dictated by a telly schedule (I prefer dog wagging the tail). There's also something about doing it habitually for the sake of it because there's nothing 'better to do' that irks me (although sometimes vegging is completely appropriate, it's more about balance). Advertisements suck too (not that you can escape those for long).

I've lived with a mate of mine for a while. We lived in an old house in Fitzroy for a year, together. And for that whole year we didn't even own a TV. I had my laptop for movies. She had her laptop too. But there was no TV focal point in our living room.

It was bliss.

People found that odd though, which in turn I found strange.

Actually it's not uncommon for people to think I what I do is odd.

My top 5 things people find odd about me:

1. Not having a car. I didn't have one for around 5 years. Got my current car just over a year ago. I'm 32. It wasn't a money thing. I just didn't want one.

Some people found that odd.

"But how do you get around?" *said, frowning

Me: "Public transport."

"But what about shopping? Can't take your groceries on a tram!"

Me: "You so can. But anyway I have a nana cart."

"How do you move house?" [side note: I move a lot]

Me: "Man with a Van."

I loved not having a car, for me it was not hard. The only thing I missed was spontaneous road trips. So good. I sometimes miss car free me.


2. Hairy armpits. I'm female. I find it hilarious watching the horrified stares of other women when I lift my arms in something sleeveless and I haven't shaved under there for months. Classic. I'm not sorry you find it gross. I find it beautiful. It's natural and lovely and soft and not spiky.


3. Not having a kettle. I have never bought an electric kettle. I love drinking tea and I drink it often. But I like things that double up as other things. Saucepan. Water. Stove. Boiled water, my friends.


4. Preferring water to other beverages. This is an actual conversation I had recently with some girlfriends who were over at my old apartment.

*They arrived and we did the lovely-to-see-you greetings stuff...then

Me: "Oh can I get you girls a drink?"

Them: "Yes please, that'd be lovely!"

Me: *opens fridge, why I'll never know, it's usually got milk and cheese and that's pretty much it
"There's water, or milk."

Them: "Uhhhh....water?"

Me: "Sure!" *walks to cupboard for a mug (I don't own glasses either) and fills it up at the tap and hands out the mugs of water

[I'm laughing right now, it was a funny moment]

Them: "Umm, do you have any ice?"

Me: "Ha! Sorry, erm, nooo..."
*starting to feel foolish and makes mental note to find some lemons to steal in the neighbourhood and get myself something resembling a glass (but not made of glass, I'm clumsy, instead I found some lovely white enamel cups, perfect)


AND lastly,

5. Not having a TV. This one won for the strongest reactions in people. Which I find really strange, especially as I do watch shows and movies. But lots of people just couldn't understand the whole absence of TV unit.

"Where's your TV?"

"We don't have one."

*puzzled stare

And sometimes, some people would say "But....what do you do in your spare time?"

And that's. Just. It. Bingo, you've nailed it. What a good question!

Ok, so, sometimes I actually enjoy getting bored.

Yep.

Bored. It won't kill you I promise. *holds arms out wide

See, my heart still beats.

Some of the most creative moments I've had have been born from sheer and sometimes tormenting boredom. (And if you're dubious about that check out my post from last week, it's a masterpiece. And yes it involved me playing with my toys. Play is good.) Some of the most enjoyable afternoons or evenings or whatever, were spent doing absolutely nothing. Staring out of my window at passing clouds and wondering what I'll be doing tomorrow. Picking at in-grown hairs on my legs. Playing Plants vs Zombies (also another favourite). Just...bored.

Pretty sure when I'm on my death bed, recalling my most favourite moments in life - I won't be thinking about TV. Although I might throw in a Seinfeld reference to lighten the mood, and assuming I don't die after senility arrives, I'll be remembering the cool stuff I did with the incredible people I met. And also some of the epic fun I had, just on my own.

The best show in town, it's in your head.

P.S. And I'm not suggesting you should throw away your TV unit, that's not great for the environment especially if you go buy another one in a month. Just sharing my random thoughts. 

Social media FebFast

I was motivated/encouraged this year to do FebFast. Give something up for a month to raise money for addiction. It's a short month so why not. Lots of people do it for sobriety. Alcohol free for me is just not any sort of challenge (it'd be far more of a challenge to get me to drink every day for a month). And coffee is my favourite vice, I'm keeping that one.

I needed a challenge that didn't involve caffeine withdrawals.

When I thought of not doing Facebook for a month I flinched. So that had to be it. I added in Instagram for good measure. I know on the website it says "digital" but that's not practical for me. I use my phone and my laptop for work. Sorry, clients, I'm doing FebFast. *waves cheerily

I don't think so.

So Social Media FebFast for me. Decided to keep writing/blogging though. I feel this is a safe place where I can express actual thoughts, positive or negative - no pressure to be perfect and all that (ha!).

The method to the madness? Easy. Social media sometimes for me can get a bit frenzied...wrong word. Obsessive. Still wrong word. Unproductive? I give up.

Something.

Words.

Okay so sometimes Facebook bothers me because it kinda gives the illusion that you're communicating with people, but really people are communicating. Period. Messenger/inbox Facebook-ing aside, of course, the whole status update thing is just thoughts in general or "shares" and you feel like you are still in the loop of what's going on in their lives. 

It's a double edged sword. On one hand, it's convenient (*shudders, I hate that idea). On the other hand, it's filtered. Filtered by an unspoken expectation to be witty/interesting. I fall for that. And I mean, I participate in that. I don't share on Facebook when I'm having real troubles. 

I do that here, though.

So, anyway, this month (and hopefully the habit will continue in some ways), every time I have one of those status-update-random-thought-moments, I am either: 

1. Keeping it to myself, fancy that. I have a bit of a chuckle to myself. Works every time, coz I have a sense of humour that I really appreciate (*giggles).
OR
2. Actually communicating it to someone I know who would enjoy that particular thought. 

Okay I am aware of the irony of posting all this in a blog, but there you go. They're my reasons.

It's only day 2 and I miss Facebook and Instagram already (a bit morto about that). At the same I don't. If someone wants to tell me something they do. And if not, well I just won't know what they're up to for a while and that's okay as well.

And I'm totally digging the more frequent conversations I'm having one on one with various people, just sporadically throughout the day.

[Side note: As I was writing this post a good friend of mine sent me a text containing a written piece she thought I'd like. See? It's working, already! And she was correct it made my heart sing. FebFast success!]  
[Image by Word Porn posted on Facebook (according to my mate, of course, but currently I am unable to confirm this first hand or provide a link! We trust her though. :)]

A lot of super-incredible, important people in my life aren't even on Facebook anyway. So I suppose this isn't completely new for me.

Wait...Facebook is the new thing here. *slaps forehead

And. I am soooo not going to miss seeing hashtag "YOLO" and other such abbreviations, not that many people I know do that...but the occasional one still slips through *cringes

*shakes head
HOW hard is it to write "you only live once"?

Okay so, right, I'm off now to live my once-only life, this month enjoying it completely oblivious to everything happening in the digi' world, living mine ridgy didge. (See what I did there?) During February only, let's be clear on that.

[Second side note: Another good friend of mine texted me a random picture of a croissant 2 minutes after I got the Word Porn thing just coz she knew I'd love the gesture. Instagram hipsters are funny. I have some pretty incredible friends. *swoon]

Where all this began

The other day I was looking through old photos. I found a photo that my Mum took of me during a particularly awful time in my life. Well, awful and incredible. (Mostly awful. But I'm the better for having lived through it.)

It looks like an ordinary picture. I'm eating. The thing is, I hadn't eaten in about a month. Well, not properly anyhow (look how skinny I was). I had eaten, but all of the food in my belly until that day was forced in there. I'd had no appetite (ZERO appetite), it being killed by some pretty extreme anxiety I was experiencing at the time.

Mum and I went for a drive one particularly awful day and she took me to the local shopping centre. From out of nowhere I was ravenous. Mum was so excited that I wanted hot Chinese food, so we bought me some, sat down and I started eating it. I cannot even describe to you here how lovely something as simple as appetite can be. Mum was so happy she took this photo (I barely noticed her take it). I couldn't eat more than 5 mouthfuls but it was enough.


I love looking at this photo from time to time. It's a gentle reminder of what I've done in the last 4 years. How far I've come, I suppose.

That time was awful awful awful. I was having daily panic attacks and had no motivation for even the most menial of tasks. I couldn't really talk or even manage a smile. It was terrifying and confusing and I had no idea what was happening to my body. Terrifying is the only word. I rang Lifeline a few times during that month (they're fabulous by the way if you ever need to be talked off a ledge, they'll talk you down, don't even hesitate to call if you're in crisis 13 11 14).

The great thing about looking at that photo isn't to remind myself of how awful it was. It reminds me to be grateful for my appetite, my ability to smile, and that I love life again.

I know in my heart I'll never go back to that same place. And not because I don't still have a few residual issues hanging around, but because I've done a lot of work over the past 4 years - and I actually don't think it's possible to ever go back to that terrifying and confusing time in quite the same way. Sure, I might epically breakdown again - but should that ever happen again I would have a much better understanding of the process and a much more solid sense of who I am and what I can cope with and live through - and it just wouldn't quite be the same. Not as awful.

Over the last few years I've somehow managed to find me a bucketload, truckload, full of courage. Courage is my word. And it's not that I'm not afraid from time to time. I am. It's just that now I've got courage to just sit with my anxiety. Hold it's hand. Reassure it that we'll be okay. My anxiety has soul, it has depth and it has fears too, same as me. It is me.

And when it arrives I give it a BIG ol' welcome. Spread my arms wide and yell at the top of my lungs IRASSHAIMASE!!! (Japanese for "behold, you have arrived", one of my favourite Japanese words of all time.)

And when I do that the fear abates. I feel the physical sensation and it's never as bad as the fear created by the dread of the waiting for it to arrive. It's all okay.

It's really all okay. 

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Dear "What's New", Eggs are not new

As a lawyer I write a lot of letters. But my letter writing skills go way back. I've been writing letters (and forging them too, more on that later) since I was a teenager. Letters of complaint are one of my specialties (*flexes fingers).

I've written to countless people for various reasons (not all of them complaints, there was the time I wrote to Jo Mercer requesting her to make me a very special pair of shoes for me because they were all out of stock and I wanted a back up pair of brogues... she said yes too, it was a good letter, but I didn't end up ordering them though, it was a bit excessive I felt).

Anyway, pointless tangent.

Do you remember those advertisements on television, by a company called "whats new"? (Note the absence of the apostrophe and capitalisation is the branding, not my lack of ability to punctuate.)

What's New (I don't care I'm spelling it properly in this post) was a company that did advertisements for the telly to introduce new products. Laundry powder, kitchen wipes, basically anything new that the market didn't know about sometimes found it's way to these ads on telly.

Then one day I was watching tv and a What's New commercial came on...the woman was talking about Milo.

'That's interesting, Milo's been around for, ummm hello, decades', I remember thinking.

They were sprouting all this - I'm going to be kind and call it - "information" about how good Milo is for kids because it makes them drink milk. Or something.

Anyway, a few weeks later again I stumbled across another What's New commercial, this time the lady was talking about eggs. I'm going to repeat that for you. She was talking about eggs!!

Well, I felt that old familiar feeling that I can seldom keep inside when it happens. I had to write to them.

So I did.

It was the shortest "complaint" (slash, feedback) letter I've EVER written. I just had no words. Well, only a few words.

"Dear What's New,
Eggs are not new.
Milo is not new either.
Regards
Mary". 

I got a response. Shortly after I hit submit on their website I received an email from a representative of the company. Apparently the thing that was new was the research about eggs and Milo.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh. Thank you What's New for informing us of the benefit of eating eggs and drinking milk.

We never would have figured that out on our own.