Non-drinking, life stinking.

Reached my ten day stretch of a life sans-alcohol today.
It’s been hot, uncomfortable, etc. A corona with a slice of fresh cut lemon or a glass of crisp sparkling would have been favorite on a  few of these hot days- but it just wasn’t going to happen, mostly because it’s something I CAN control right now. I’m committed, in a kind of non-committal way, because I guess I am willing to try anything to flip the negative situation I’m in.

When I consider how horribly pear shaped the last few days have proven themselves to be, I really feel the need to pin the clusterfuck of it all onto something real, something I can define. It really got me wondering as to the workings of my relationship with alcohol, and if it is as clear cut as I imagined?
To be honest, I didn’t  even drink a lot ten days ago. Years ago I used to. Hell yes, I used to live for being pissed. However, now I have an 11 month old son and if I get even slightly drunk, I feel guilty at least, maybe overwhelmed, very possibly quite sick. It just isn’t worth it. I’ve been a very low volume drinker (4 SD’s a week at most) for nearly 2 years, and only because it got boring and exhausted me, financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually, sexually, socially. All of it.

So many explosions this week. There is no relief from the relentless anxiety and deadening sense of failure to be a kind and compassionate human this week. I feel as though I have no skin, sensitive and exposed and without the ability to gauge how sensitive I should be at all..At the moment, my inner voice is a critic so abrasive that I feel I’m living life underneath a magnifying glass where people watch and wait for the narcissistic catastrophe to unfold, life being the giant hand prodding me and goading me to the point of explosion.

If it is a coincidence that my behaviour- crippling anxiety, a rage I can’t locate the source of to save myself, and a ferocity that could curdle my partners’ blood-is entirely relateable to my relationship with alcohol at all, then I guess I’ve been putting a pretty hat on an ugly head for a looooong time. And if the fact that I am not drinking a drop actually has nothing at all to do with me being a total mol, then I guess I may as well just accept it- I am a horrible human being.

For someone who meditates daily and really truly does know how to look after herself, I am really struggling to be kind to number 1 at the moment.
So it was nice to come back here and have a little  thought spew in hope of it energising an awakening and healing of some fantastic sort.
I hope everyone is good. I’M NOT.

I might be going to hell, but I’m taking this with me.

There is NUTHIN quite like finding out that the ex who once demolished you has ‘been in the pies’.

NUTHIN.

*CLEARS THROAT NERVOUSLY*

Excuse me everybody, I’d like to make an announcement.

The last three days I’ve been shadow boxing the nastiest peak of anxiousness I’ve  dealt with in years. For me -besides crushing self-doubt and social phobia- anxiety manifests in physical shortness of breath. Like a heavy, wet blanket wrapped tightly around my lungs, I am a looney tunes character, gasping and scraping for breath while the air is squeezed from my lungs by a giant boa constrictor.
It makes me sad, irritable, irrational, unapproachable, batshit crazy.
The point is not yet made, so allow me: I want no crutch in this duel between my anxiety and reality. I want nothing more than congratulate myself for beheading the beast without dutch courage- to see it dissolve, peeling away from me, uncoiling while my lungs fill with liters of fresh, glorious oxygen.
You see, boozing takes the edge off a little. It’s the buffer that makes me care a little less that I’ve got this emotional drama going on underneath. Which is great, until you realize you’ve had the same problem for years and it is getting pretty dull, ACTUALLY.

So, the last drinks have been served.

It is time to wake up tomorrow and start the slow process of digesting my unpalatable inhibitions- sans alcoholic veil.
Hello everybody- I’m hanging up my bottle opener and signing in.

“Orry up an finish yer cheese and spinny roll”

It’s almost been two days.

Every time I open my mouth and talk to my son,  I realize I’m still doing it. Only now, in the last few hours have I realized it is completely involuntary. Is there something wrong with me?

I can’t stop thinking in pirate dialog.

Image

“Tis the slimy gold ee ‘prefars”

A letter to the man who stalked me for two years.

Dear Stalker,

8 years have passed since I arrested you. Do you still believe a $200 fine to be a proportionate penalty for violating my right to privacy? That the disgrace of your actions were appropriately repaid by the embarrassment you endured when I confronted you and your wife and kids on the street? It wasn’t, and they haven’t let me assure your fat ugly head.

You still owe me, stalker. You owe me big time and it is a debt I won’t forget.

You made the mistake of trying to be a regular guy the day you casually meandered past my work with your unwitting family. You made me look crazy. Like you’d never known me, never been arrested for trespassing (enter stalking, stealing, public masturbation, defacement of my property)only weeks before. “Perhaps you’d recognise me if my bedroom window were between us?” I had screamed, my face red, heart exploding in my chest.

Demanding your other half tell me whether she knew what you’d been doing; pocketing my clothing, ejaculating on my laundry, rubbing semen all over my clothes, she stood still, as if faceless and stared right through me. Much later I felt sad for your tiny kids stared up at the angry lady yelling at daddy, grubby faced with coke cans in hand and hair glued to their chanceless faces and laced with drying snot. But never sorry for you. You,  finally visible. In daylight. Wiry dark hairs sprouting from unusual moorings on your face, your dry, stretched lips, strangely dyed hair and those grubby nicotine stained fingers. Your thick throat, darting eyes and your quivering chin.

The moon hung high and full in the sky. An eerie quiet persisted, but nothing was unusual apart from this feeling. Barefoot, I crossed the pavement to my car in the driveway. And I saw him. Just a shape to start with, outlined in the darkness, a sinister contrast in hiding behind a jasmine shrub in a crisp, snowy blooms glowing, turned blue by a lunar light. Then in those split seconds that I realized I was being watched in the dark, a threat. He lunged at me with outstretched arms, his tone demanding and determined, “Don’t scream,” you said, as though through gritted teeth.

You see Stalker, the memories I have of you will be quite different than the ones you will, no doubt, have kept of me. Where you might harbor thieved splices of my life from behind suburban shrubbery to remember late at night, I remember you for being the repulsive, ugly, gutless and desperate creature that gave me a reason to doubt my safety.

I haven’t forgotten you, and you still haven’t paid your debt to me.

I was only nineteen years old. Just a kid. I knew your face, it was the face I come within inches of, only a few weeks earlier. The only thing keeping us separate a pane of fog beaded glass, the only thing hindering your escape my courtyard fence. Under the yellow flickering light, your sneering pink head, was distorted from full view and disappeared as suddenly as it had materialized. And  with it, took every last breath of whatever it was that had deluded me earlier- I was safe, I was home, I was okay. Every window in my house was open, receiving the cool change from the furious heat in our country summer.

And I still hadn’t forgotten;

I could see you approaching my car in the rear vision mirror. You were unsure of whether I could see you, nonetheless determined. “Wind it down,” you snarled, grappling at the doorhandle which-thank all fuck-I’d locked. “Why are you doing this to me?” you’d said. What did you mean? Us who? Your family? Why was I pursuing you to face up to your problem? Like every time you put your hands down your pants and watched me from a hiding spot in the garden, it had been a mistake?

It’s no mistake and there is no question stalker.  It is simple. You are a contemptible disgrace.

You don’t know that I know exactly where you live. Which suburb, which street, which  unglued number on the dilapidated door of the unit you hide yourself within. You’ve moved since my brother visited you and you sent your girlfriend to the door. You’ve moved again since the phonecall you made to me, pleading in that strangely deserving, insistent tone that I withdraw my charge because of the damage the case was doing to your family.

What the fuck, Stalker? All obvious arguments aside, you don’t get to fucking CHOOSE.

I haven’t forgotten you, because you see,  if I leave a window open, or blind unrolled in my home, a persistent alarm rings in the back of my mind til I close it. Until that constant alarm in my head shuts down, until I can enjoy the freedom of an open window or freely enjoy the full moon from my window without fee, your debt remains unpaid. It’s a long standing debt I that can’t be settled, a cost you and one that no one could ever afforded to pay. I will wear the loss, Stalker, and I won’t forget you.

Fuck you.

Oh! You Wouldn’t Have!

Years ago, I lived with someone who kept an inventory of Christmas, Birthday and Easter (cringe) gifts and would sulk discriminately if ever someone failed to satisfy her batshit crazy  expectations. Missing an opportunity to ‘gift’ this person was such an obvious faux pas it was akin to striking her, Looney Tunes Style on the scone with an anvil. This was a shock to my apparently shrivelled little heart made of tar. It really made me feel a bit crook, and put me off the joy of giving even longer than I could reasonably have gotten away with.

I’m not whinging either, it’s just that I’m usually not a gifting kind of individual, preferring to give things to people as the desire arises, generally not on certain dates or birthdays, but randomly and whenever the hell I feel like it. Not because I’m not generous or anti-celebrational, but because I just never really subscribe to the hassle of having to perform as some kind of whiplashed Christmas Elf.

Needless to say, It’s been so long since someone handed me a boxed package with a ribbon on top and said “This is for you!”.

Christmas in my family is most usually large, a loose and a dangerously drunk event. We all  (9 sets of partners and 20 something grandkids, grandparentals at the top and family pets also welcome)  get together on the far less time- constrained Boxing day and gruffly exchange handmade Kris Kringle gifts. We avoid drawing attention to the really baaad ones, gush and pore over the ones clearly product of talent, and finally when all the gifts are exchanged, we again draw names out of the hat/glenfiddich box/salad bowl for the next Christmas to come, someone claims it’s rigged and then we get drunk.

However, this year I found myself enjoying the hunt for the perfect gift for my Kringle, Ava, the four year old pink junkie/deluded ballerina niece, so much that the trail of interest led to trawling Ebay for gifts for others in my family I had come to appreciate over the years. The parcels arrived, one by one, and I unwrapped them, admired them, wrapped them back up in length of festively meaningful Aldi gift wrap, (cheery little candy canes, you’d have smiled) and attached cards to them, the way normal people do. Well, perhaps normal people buy cards instead of use the free ones the foot artists send in the post every year, BUT NONTHELESS an unlikely festive feeling descended on me. This felt good! I ordered a few more gifts and marvelled at the lack of horror I felt watching my bank balance diminish.

A long time ago, someone said somewhere in some kind of reading medium that “When you give to someone, you get back three-fold. I dare you to try it.” I quickly forgot I ever read this. But, I remembered somehow when my sister (who’d been traipsing the streets of New York with her significant other for the last three weeks) arrived on our doorstep with an armful of unique treats of the globe for my son, and the first thing she did was rustle around in her amazing new mandarin leather handbag and produce a lovely charcoal colored box with a silky sesame colored ribbon tied in a crisp bow on top.

“This is for you!” She guffawed brightly, with warmth and genuine love in her voice. This is nice! I like this! My heart yelled loudly, making my face go hot and my chin stick out. Pulling the silky ribbon gently, the bow spilled away, and lifting the lid away,  the loveliest little necklace revealed itself inside. A golden swallow suspended in a warm sea of resin, the backdrop of an afternoon city  in the late sunshine. “It’s brass!” She goes, her face round with happiness and goodwill. “I’ve got one too! Remember those little gold bracelets we had when we were fat babies? With the blue swallows? Well these reminded me. Is it a bit naff? Do you like it?” I remembered the unassuming gift buying I’d been merrily partaking in, and the thing I’d read about giving and receiving, three-fold, more than you gave of yourself.

I find the receiving of gifts awkward for the best part. It’s hard to convey true appreciation, as there’s  a lot of pressure in making sure the person who just spent money to make you happy knows you are telling the truth when you say ” Oh! I love it!”

But I really, really do love it.

As a new mum,  adornment is a workplace hazard. Once dripping in heavy ethnic silver from Rajasthan to the Southern Chinese Hill tribes, I haven’t worn jewelry since before I was pregnant and my knuckles swelled up like fat chokos at the vic market. Any of my favourite dazzlers get ripped off my neck or out of my ears in only minutes. But this gift, well, I’ll wrestle my 10 month old’s sticky fingers off to keep it round my neck. Every time I stop to admire it I’m going to remember the threefold rule. It works. Something so special happened when my darling sister, bless her big nose, handed me a symbol of gratitude, affection and thanks. It feels good to be loved, it feels good to love someone else.

I’m so lucky.

What will your loved ones get out of Christmas?

Festivus for the Rest of Us

I’m watching my newsfeeds fill up with photos of blissed out friends soaking up festival season like hungry hybrid camel-cactis. Melburnians are starved of festival weather, and take to it like the teenage Amish when the season ripens. It prompted me into wistfully recalling the salad days in which I was one with them, so I promised I’d write a post about those days because we all know as long as you can read it IT IS TRUE.

It was 2004, a very good year.  A well known country music festival, back then it was cheap and if you lost your ticket you could still get in if you did a funny dance for the crew on the door, who were actually  mostly the CFA blokes and only there to make sure you didn’t drop your ciggy on a furze bush.  What a wonderful world it was in 2004. Oh how I loved you, Meredith.

It was a great time. In the early hours of the morning I popped my head up to the surface in a sea of tents and realised I had lost my way. And my friends. And my mind.

Luckily, in those days I could handle such things with the finesse and joy de vivre only the carefree have, and I took a deep breath and submerged myself into the underworld.

Far away, the hub of the festival pumped with thousands of heaving sweaty ecstatic bodies, the energy filtered into the camping zones and thunderous beats soaked into the cooling, beer soaked earth. I was one amongst the seedy wonder of the pikers, the drug fucked, the returning refillers, the esky returners,  the greened out, the chillers, the ones who thought the music was too far away to bother, I was among the overwhelmed, the camp-bound…the base camp die hards.

Every festival has them. Every festival I’ve been to, I loved being one of them. Not all the best festival moments occur shoulder to shoulder under the stinking hot sun swigging warm barcardi out of a plastic drink bottle and swaying – sorry, dancing-awkwardly to a band you suddenly adored, no, some of the best festival moments I’ve ever had occurred within in the campsite, in the strange glow of a tent while the stink of a freshly opened tin of tuna hung heavily in the non-circulating air while some well meaning Isrealite took it upon himself to appease the camp bound masses with a little Pete Murray ditty. (He lasted less than 8 seconds)

Anyway, the underground at a festival is a mystic and fantastic place to be lost. Your navigational skills are magical and you can’t go wrong, even if you do end up in line at the boys dunnies when you thought you were waitng for a kebab. I passed a tent attached to a small white van and the nice boy in there was very hospitable. He talked to me about bands and how his friend Aaron was having a bad time for what seemed like five hours . He even gave me a nice ring to look at which he said I could wear! I left without a care, straight after I declined to give him anything back. “Piss off and don’t come back.” said a voice from underneath a parka by the annexe entrance. Aaron had been there the entire time! “Bye!” I replied, and off I merrily skipped with my new ring and a little more energy than I’d arrived with. That was a very good festival campsite experience.

Also, the stage is a good place to go to if you need to forget how bad your campsite is.

Unfortunately, in this next story there was no stage, only a performance in the town center full of idiot schoolies. It was 1998 when a friend and I drove to the Golden Coast on a journey that was supposed to take 6 months. We lasted 6 days.  When we arrived at Belongil fields, my friend ( who remains the most forgetful but lovable person I know) lit a joint and decided to lock the keys in the car. This, ironically was the only time I failed to ask my friend not to lock the keys in the car. So, without money, without water, we were stoned in the middle of a camp field the size of a small city. People were laughing at us (weren’t they?) so we smashed our back window, and realising that we still couldnt get in to the car, smashed the front one. We guzzled down a liter of water each and realised we needed to pee but couldn’t leave our car. Too dangerous. Too many idiots around.

By this stage, we needed somewhere to hide. So, we elected to set up our tent. Popping the boot, I looked forward to the anonymity the tent would bring us. “It’s a good tent,’ my friend reassured me, ” My brother used it when he camped in the Flinders Desert.” Looking back, the alarm bells were ringing under my stoned ears. She pulled the tent out and in a grandiose display, shook it free of dust like an Italian restaurater laying out a tablecloth might. Only to reveal it was not as she had told me, a good tent, but a tarp. A fucking tarp.

There was nothing to say, and nowhere to hide. We lay the tarp over the car from the passenger side and sat underneath the tarp as it drooped sadly on our stupid heads while our legs poked out from underneath. I looked at her glowing blue face in the stinking festering humid heat and wondered what my friend would look like with two black eyes.  As the sun set and we didn’t get drunk on 12 warm beers, festival goe-ers passed our site and laughed with non-camaraderic glee, giving thanks they weren’t us and snorting mercilessly at the two pairs of feet sticking out miserably and soberly from underneath the tarpaulin. In the early hours of the morning I crawled, mosquito ravaged, bladder wracked and wet from sweat into the passenger seat and covered my head with a beach towel. We packed up and drove to Nimbin the very next day. That was a bad festival campsite experience.

I got better at camping when I lowered my expectations. Who needs a tent anyway? The future would decide I didn’t, I made it back from many festivals alive after sleeping in my boot underneath a coat. Anyway, leaving out the tent meant you didn’t have to pack one up or feel irresponsible for leaving it there because you couldn’t remember where you pitched it anyway.

Aahhh, festivals. I hope we meet again. I do feel like my days of flippant packing are well and truly over, comfort has become increasingly important to me over the years- but I do have moments of twinging excitement when i remember what it feels like to have your ticket stamped, a band wrapped firmly round your wrist, and your boot lining ripped off to make certain you weren’t holding any unsolicited bottles of voddy, only to be released into the glorious landscape of a thousand tents pitched under the boughs of a gorgeous and equally precarious snowgum, or the blistering funk of the hot Summer sun while you tip the first of many glorious beers down your already thoroughly whetted throat.

To everyone lucky enough to partake in a festival or ten this year, HAVE FUN. That is all.

TAKE THAT, EYE BAGS.

This morning I woke up to the realisation that my son BLESS HIS MASSIVE FEET, slept through the night for the first time in I think, three weeks. He’d been sick with roseola virus the first week, down with a  cold and an allergy the next and going out of his brain with his top choppers coming through the last week just gone.

The second my eyes opened I wondered if I was experiencing yet another sleep deprived hallucination.

Something absolutely unheard of before, he even slept through his Papa and I moving from our room into the kitchen. So, when we heard him yell for assistance, we were stupefied with happiness and excitement to go and congratulate him. How would we celebrate? In our liberating victory we donned sombreros and manned up with a bouzouki and a ukulele and burst into his baby cave performing a vibrant mariarchi tune.

He cried. I really REALLY hope that means he won’t do it again.

Out of the Blue

I’m absolutely privileged to have the front row seats in the journey of my son’s learning. But what about where I sit in my own?

To see him grow more curious by the minute, inspect and explore and develop preferences to his life experiences enlightens me to the fact though; I can’t imagine myself ever feeling more curious than scared. Of course, I’m not afraid of the jumping-up lid of kitchen rubbish bin and I don’t cry every time I put my seatbelt on but in comparison, my son’s learning teaches me SO MUCH about what I am really shit scared of and let it be said, I AM WUSS.

I know from being the passenger in his development that he would never have eaten a whole apple had I not first blended it, then roughly mashed it, and now quartered it. I know he would never have sat on his own, stood by himself taken his first steps had I stayed too scared to let him roam outside the bars of his cot. And he would never have learned how to sleep by himself if I’d stayed glued to the outside like some deranged mother on visitation rights.

Yesterday I watched him lick his fingers clean because the mango he just pulverized was making a hash of his ability to hang onto things. This morning I watched him stand on his own, then gently bend to a perfectly poised squat. So what? So WONDERFUL.IMG_7243

His eagerness to learn isn’t even a decision. He’s just going with the flow, riding each wave as it crests or crashes, limited only by the horror of a daytime snooze or the sadistic barriers- front and back door.

I consider myself and the prospect of going back to uni in just a few short weeks. I know it’s my opportunity and it can’t be missed. In the same way my son didn’t miss his first opportunity to stand alone, for his sake I can’t either. I’m scared for a whole host of reasons that can only be put under the umbrella of fear I’ve learned to take shelter from when it probably wasn’t necessary.

Before anxiety grabbed me by the back of the neck  a few short years ago, I was confident in my ability to communicate and to learn in order to perpetuate those contributions. When anxiety hit with the barrage of  ammunition in self doubt, egoic delusion and an inability to speak freely without being riddled by heckling from my inner critic, I was absolutely felled by the dramatic drop in my level of enjoiyment of LIFE.  It happened so quickly I can only let myself dwell on what life was like before the angle of the journey slowly adjusted to an uphill slant. I remember times when I felt uninhibited, excited to meet new people, confident that I had something to offer. Of course I don’t feel anxious all the time, but as a contrast, it looks to me as though I had an entirely different outlook on life and presented as a far more positive person because of that.

I hope like hell that my son doesn’t have to deal with this shitty fabric in his life tapestry. All the hours spent huddled in the boot while my own life journey took place make me damn sure I’ll be there for him if he needs it. If it does turn out that anxiety is the material afforded to him, then I will have exhausted every option I have in helping him overcome such an inwardly destructive challenge.

So on that note, I guess  I’ll be needing a babysitter.

Rapex device debate

I just read a post on facey about an anti-rape device. The fact that women might want to insert a weapon into their vagina for protection makes me hate the world, but I think the production and call for availability of the device is worthy of debate.

To explain, the device is called Rapex.  Designed by Sonnet Ehler inspired in a region of South Africa where the significance of sexual violence against women is horrifyingly high, the device is inserted by the wearer like a tampon. On the inside,it’s hollow but studded with tiny sharp barbs. If the wearer is raped, the device impales the rapist and causes the perpetrator serious and lasting damage to the penis.It can only be removed surgically. Wow.

Firstly, I am not sure that it constitutes an anti-rape device because penetration has to take place for the device to be effective, but the comments as per usual made me think more than the post itself. The device has evoked a huge debate because it obviously is a drastic step towards protecting women in these regions. The crux of what makes rapex work is not that it causes pain to the perpetrator but importantly for the victim is that it BUYS YOU TIME TO RUN.

Many remarked they thought it could be misused by some types of women. Is this really a reason to prohibit the use, especially in a region where acts of sexual violence have become prolific? After all, isn’t the device an active step in defying the misuse of sex? What do you think?

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