Tuesday, June 30, 2009

the start of the rest of my life

oh dear god.

today marks the start of possibly the most significant week of my life.

two encounters with two people who have played and, regardless of the outcomes, will continue to play a leading role in my life.

i should be shitting myself.

i am not.

i am really excited.

and really excited about telling you all exactly what i am talking about in about three weeks.

in the meantime, i’m getting my summer holidays on and bidding an temporary farewell to camelshoes and its readers (save a couple of scheduled posties).

wish me luck.

xx

Friday, June 26, 2009

hand prints, phone calls and hair dye

081 My nose has a lump in it. It looks like it’s been broken. I am quite self conscious about…well…everything, but for some reason, I’ve never really been that bothered by my nose. Go figure.

082 I love having new clothes but I hate shopping for them.

083 My legs are fearless against the cold. I could wear shorts in winter. As if to compromise, my arms are pissweak and require a cardy to ward off the lightest breeze.

084 When I was little – maybe about four – my dad was painting his ute on the front lawn. I wanted to help. I started with a brush but continued with my hands. Dad’s car was famous about town for being ‘that ute with the hand prints all up the side’. I wonder if there’s a photo. Mum? I would like a copy please.

085 I injure an ankle probably once every few months. It used to be a reoccurring netball injury. Now it’s just a drunk-with-heels-on injury. I will never stop wearing heels.

086 When my phone rings, I get an instant pang of nerves. It’s an instinctive and uncontrollable reaction and thankfully doesn’t last long. I am almost sure it stems from the time, in about year nine I think, a guy from school rang me to say ‘everyone hates you so why don’t you just fuck off’. School was a barrel of awesome.

dramatisation

087 My belly button is constantly frowning. That’s not a metaphor. My belly button just looks like a sad face.

088 I died my hair last night. It looks exactly the same as it did yesterday. In contrast, my ears, upper back, nails, shower curtain, towel and bedroom wall (???) are all now sporting random spots, stripes and shades of purple.

089 I really want my kids to climb trees, ride bikes, dig holes, explore, create, live and learn. I hope modern technologies don’t stunt those kinds of behaviours. One of the many great games I remember inventing with middle sister was Night(y) Fall (I just made that up, we never named our games). We would both be wearing nighties which fell to our ankles and had no give in them. We would put a mattress on the floor, take a run up and kick. Because the nighty didn’t accommodate the kick, we would fall backwards on the mattress. Surprisingly, I never remember this game ending in tears.

090 Four sleeps. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

four-year blues

goddamit. god-freakin-damit. i am so over supporting NSW. i know that will come as a shock to many who know how passionate i am about state of origin but honestly, i don't know if i can go on.

it's not a sore loser thing. i mean, don't get me wrong, i HATE losing. it's why i don't do things i am not good at. but, on this occasion, it's more of a sore 'i-feel-like-i-have-more-passion-for-that-jumper-than-the-13-'men'-in-blue-on-the-field' thing.

i am going to make this brief because it could otherwise turn into the rant of all rants but i admire the passion of queensland. i am jealous of it. even when the maroons shouldn't have a hope in hell of beating a star-studded blues line-up they manage to, at the very least, work a few passion-inspired miracles and come close.

us? we give up 18 points in the first 20 minutes like it's going out of style. seriously, someone do the research on how often the scoreline has been 18-0/18-4/18-8 or something similar within the first quarter. i can't be bothered but it feels like it's a s.o.s requirement.

to be fair, there's been a couple of occasions over the past few years we've run away with an early lead. but, of course, passion yet again prevails and queensland run us down.

anyway, i'm not one for jumping on and off bandwagons. especially when the jumping is win-loss based. but i'm just wondering why i should keep caring when it seems the team don't. anyone?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

the pursuit of happiness

the tone on this blog has changed a few times over the past couple of months. i'm sure you've noticed.

i was sad for a bit. then angry. that stemmed from a certain 'thing' that i'll divulge at a later stage. then i was, i think, rational and driven. driven to ensure that 'thing' didn't become a wasted opportunity.

it has not been a wasted opportunity.

i am shocked at how quickly i have been able to pick myself up. shocked and stoked. i am not simply coping or perservering. i am content. happy. determined. it's rocking my world.

finding my inspiration was the first step. the next step was a random little statement. i am aware you didn't ask number 027.

dear world: i have anxiety depression.

before i published that fact on camelshoes, i could have counted on one hand the people who knew. and it's been lingering like a cranberry for four years. i was ashamed. i was embarrassed. and, to continue the reoccurring theme, i was scared of what other people might think.

now there is not a person in the world who isn't privy to the information i was once to determined to hide. when i published it, i was nervous but now, i honestly couldn't care less. it's been such a liberating admission and i am so, so glad to have let it out.

i don't feel judged at all. furthermore, i feel normal. i thought my diagnosis made me an outcast of sorts but i have very quickly come to realise depression, in some form or another, is almost a character trait of our generation.

that's a shame. certainly. but another character trait of our generation (please excuse the sweeping statements) is strength and determination. as a general rule, we're well equipped to deal with the pressure that's not only forced upon us, but that we place on ourselves.

we're multi-tasking our arses off and doing a damn good job.

anyway, i didn't mean to go off on that tangent. apologies. just wanted to give a little shout out to those reading for not making me regret those personal words to have shared.

my anxiety won't disappear just because i've 'owned up' to it. i know that. but i'm learning how to deal with it and that little accomplishment feels divine. it's amazing what a deep breath can do.

Friday, June 19, 2009

ice cream, ascot and shaving

jesus. i swear i just did 61-70. ahhh, persevere.

071 ice cream makes me happy. so happy. ben and jerry's is amazing. fossil fuel is my fave i think. maybe phish food. i'm glad you can't get b and j in australia. if you can't buy it, you can't eat it. unfortunately, baskin and robbins do a mean chocolate and peanut butter. does peanut butter go with everything? yes. also, coconut and cherry ripe ice cream. bomb diggity. and cookies and cream. mmmm, yes.

072 i ran away from home once. i was probably about seven. i left a note in the hallway which said 'i am going to the shops for a very long time'. i have no idea how long i was gone for but i came back and no one had even found the note yet. bastards.

073 royal ascot tomorrow. me and the queen, just chillin' out. i bought my fascinator before i bought my dress. this is very much the wrong order as far as i'm concerned but gee i love my facsinator. so pretty.

074 i have a neck thing. no one is allowed to touch my neck. well, my collar bone really. i can't wear t-shirts with high necklines. i can't wear necklaces unless they are particularly long. just writing this is making my neck freak out.

075 i used to always put the word rife in my essays at uni. i have no idea why. it wasn't intentional at first but once i realised the pattern, i made a point of it.

076 noel gallaghar was the first famous person i saw in london. i saw him about three days after moving here. i haven't seen anyone famous since.

077 monica was prettier than rachel. is anyone else with me? in saying that, i am team aniston over jolie.


see?

078 i constantly shock people with the number of iconic movies i haven't seen. that includes the sound of music but i plan to rectify that before heading to austria next month.

079 i am useless at shaving my knees. i think i've missed the same spot for 12 years.

080 i love sex and the city. but if i knew those girls in real life, especially carrie, i wouldn't like them.

grudges be gone

i promised a porto-related blog by the end of the week but it’s now become clear that’s not going to happen. this is because one, i’ve yet to write it and won’t have time over the pimms and lemonade-themed weekend and two, because a lot of the photos i want to include are on my friend’s camera.

to bide the time, you get this blog post instead. are you excited?

about one month ago i popped across the road to my regular coffee-serving haunt for a late afternoon soy latte. it was a much-needed caffeine hit and also a much-needed break from the computer screen having not found the time to grab lunch earlier in the day. i had been a regular at The Establishment for a good couple of months. in fact, i had been ordering a large soy latte to take away every single morning. they didn’t know my name, but they knew my face.

on this occasion, i dropped the same order minus the “take away”. i deserved a halfa away from the office, i’d decided. the problem (although it didn’t see it as a problem at the time) was that, at The Establishment, size does matter. they serve up two sizes. regular and large. the regular is, in my book, small. very small. insufficient for a coffee fiend of my calibre. the large, however, only comes in a take away cup. who cares? The Establishment.

i thanked The Manager for my tall, pretty soy latte and sat at one of the many available tables. i opened the guardian and enjoyed my first glorious sip. then i felt a tap on the shoulder. it was The Manager. she reminded me i had ordered a take away coffee. i knew that. i also knew taking away costs less than dining in. about 30p less. it seems The Manager thought i was rorting the system, despite the fact that by ordering a large, i had paid much more than a regular to have in. get me?

surprised she would bother a regular customer in a near-empty café with such a trivial point, i kindly suggested “well, actually i ordered a large. you don’t do a large to have in. i just wanted a big coffee.”

“yes, but it’s a take away cup.”

ahhhhh, yes, i know. but i paid than a regular to stay anyway so…”

“but it’s take away.”

me. dumbfounded look. her. clueless.

“are you asking me to leave?”

“well, for next time.”

well, there’s obviously not going to be a next time.

except there was a next time. that next time was today.

The Establishment is overpriced and full of prams. but it’s across the road from work and has never served up a bad coffee. note to self: get over the grudge.

i’m making every effort to let go of the baggage which has been holding me back. i have made a huge step towards letting go of the cruelty which haunted me at high school. you'll catch that here. i have made an even bigger step towards letting go of the anger aimed at the person who i feel failed me the most. you'll catch that in the near future. i am already reaping the rewards of those choices and actions.

so why in the world would i bother holding a grudge over the woman who makes my daily coffee? i can’t be bothered being that person anymore. i just want good coffee. and this morning’s coffee was good.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

such good engrish, buddy

best match report ever. not to mention a winning blog. can't help but wonder if it's legit. but doesn't really matter i guess

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

apologies. promises.

been bad.

owe you two posts.

at least.

have been sunning and swallowing pastéis de nata in oporto.

delightful.

should have planned ahead.

didn’t.

will back post.

a friday and monday blog entry will miraculously appear within 12 hours.

clever.

a porto post will lob by the end of the week.

do I have a life?

jury’s out.

Friday, June 12, 2009

scars, newspapers and unicorns

061 Pack your bags, we're going to Porto. No, wait. Iiiiii'm going to Porto. Today. Sweet.

062 When I find myself a favourite song, I play it ad nauseam. I know everyone does this but I really go overboard. Boom Boom Pow has been the only song playing on my iPod since Monday. It's so hard not to bust a move on Upper Street when will.i.am 'drop(s) the beat now'.

063 I have a scar over my left eyebrow from when I was punched in the face in Year 12. Four stitches. I have a scar on my right hand which I've had for as long as I can remember - but I can't remember how I got it. I have perma-scars on my heels from repeatedly wearing foot-destroying shoes (but they would have been pretty so totally worth it). I have a scar on my right knee which I've already told you about. I have a chicken pox scar on my tummy. Or should that be pock? I have a scar on my right pointer finger from a broken stein at Oktoberfest. I like scars because they tell a story, and I like stories.

064 My hands are my new project. They've been destroyed by a combination of kettle bells and my nervous habit of biting my skin. They'll be George Costanza-perfect by the end on the month - I hope.

065 I am passionate about gym etiquette. There are many rules (that I've made up). The big one is personal space on the group fitness floor and that lady with the rat's tail (not joking) in my combat class keeps BREAKING THE RULE. On a much more superficial level, I can't help but share an internal giggle with myself at the cool kids who wear gloves for combat. The instructor wears gloves so her hands are more visible to participants. Why the hell do you, Tyson?

066 Today would have been Anne Frank's 80th birthday. I am fascinated by all things Holocaust. Anne Frank's attitude was/is inspiring.

067 This game is definitely stopping at 100. Over it.

068 I have changed roles at work and my 'new job' requires me, among other things, to read newspapers. It's been kind of fun doing it on my own time for a while but I'm glad it's part of my nine to five again.

069 I used to think bats were like unicorns until my mum moved to Queensland.

well, if that's not cohabiting, i don't know what is.

070 I am keeping a really big secret and it's the best secret in the world and I love it, I love it, I love it. I can't wait to tell the world although, in the meantime, I'm quite enjoying keeping it to myself.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

the end of this road, the start of a new one

i hope the new road is really pretty


it's important to me that even though my quest for a psychologist has come to a temporary halt, my progress doesn't.

a quick update on that whole psycho-nightmare. a new guy called. apologised on sophie's behalf. asked whether i understood what had happened.

"well, i'm confused, but i understand. sophie reckons she knows someone i know. that to continue our relationship would be a conflict of interest. i just find it really hard to believe. this is london, not wagga."

the wagga reference was lost on him. not surprising. he said they had one spot available. wednesdays at 10am.

"yeh, that's not going to work for me. i have a job."

"okay, well we'll have to put you on the waiting list so i'll give you a call on the 18th."

"you mean to say people wait for your diabolical service?" i thought to myself while actually saying: "yeh, actually it's probably not worth calling back. i'll be spending most of the next three months out of the country and then i'm going home to australia for good so there's not much point in trying to start over with someone new."

so, there you have my decision. rest assured i'll be picking up where i left off in oz. and i trust the land of sweeping planes will do a shitload better at providing the required service. although they also charge a shitload more. but you get what you pay for, right?

in the meantime, i'm sweet as. like i said on friday, after the tantrum, i am really excited about my future. i think that's because, for the first time, i am completely confident in my ability to change.

moreover, i have an appointment on july 6 which i imagine is going to help me a whole lot more than any psychologist could - no matter how experienced. i will divulge how i feel to the person who needs to hear it the most. he will accept it or reject it. either way, it will be released. it won't weigh me down anymore. i will finally be free of the pain i have stubbornly harboured for 22 years.

enough is enough.

ps: i hope the pain weighs two kilos. that would be a huge bonus. just in time for summer holidays!

Friday, June 5, 2009

grammar, love and riverina fresh

051 My friends call me Grammartron, which is fair. I am a stickler, but only because it’s my day job. When you spend eight hours dissecting writing in an effort to see it published to perfection it’s hard not to read all words with the same critical eye. To me, it’s a challenge to pick up a misplaced apostrophe, a tautology, a redundancy. Oooh, redundancies – my favourites.

052 I’ve been in love twice (or perhaps that should be three times with two people). I consider myself unbelievably lucky because the two men in question are both utterly amazing. I am a better person for my relationships with both of them. In fact, I truly believe anyone who knows either of them would be better for it. I know some men can be complete wankers but, as a general rule, I think they get a bad wrap. They are more compassionate than we give them credit for. Although I am willing to consider the possibility my judgement has been clouded by my experience.

053 I wee unbelievably quickly. It's a talking point.

054 My parents made a deal with me and my sisters when we were young. The rules were: if we made it to 18 without smoking we would each get $500. Sure, it’s bribery but I would absolutely consider doing a similar thing when I am a mumma one day. The lure of $500 helped get me through the peer pressure years and gave me a much better excuse for turning down the continual offers for a ‘drag’ than “no thanks, it’s illegal and I’m chicken shit”. I did technically break the rules. But the beauty of it was, I asked mum for permission first. She granted it, I tried my first cigarette aged 14, and it was absolutely horrible.

055 Used to hate mangoes. Now love them. Keep trying to love olives. Still hate them.

056 I was on an ad for Riverina Fresh Milk with Mark Taylor about 10 years ago. I never actually met him because we were in completely different scenes. Me: playing basketball with a crew of fellow KHS students before taking a swig of flavoured milk (yeh, just what you feel like after a tough game). Mark: I don’t really recall. Perhaps jogging? Rest-assured, whatever the activity, he would have enjoyed a cool glass of Riverina Fresh afterwards. I did end up meeting Mark Taylor. It was about two years ago when I was covering a charity golf tournament. I’m a sports journo by trade in case you missed that. I am not ashamed to tell you I was compelled to mention I too was from Wagga Wagga and that I featured on the same Riverina Fresh ad. Only a Waggarian would understand how it’s at all possible sharing such information with a former Australian cricket captain would not be embarrassing.

057 I am really excited about my life right now. By simply admitting I had an issue (or issues), I immediately felt better and capable of change.

058 About two minutes after writing 057, I received the phone which led to my last two blog posts. It felt like someone decided to challenge my optimism. Like they thought I would crumble. Well, fuck you. I'm still excited*.

059 July holidays booked. Berlin, Budapest, Salzburg, Vienna. Sweet.

060 Coconut, coconut, coconut. Love it.

*Also the reason this is late going up. Couldn't quite finish it at the time. Again, the power of back-posting and camelshoes is back on track.

found

it's been about four seconds since my last post. well, not four seconds but four minutes.

a deep breath. a thought of someone special (aka my inspiration). a smile.

i feel okay, team. in fact, i feel good. probably shouldn't have started typing so quickly after the phone call. but it was the obvious solution and it's better than crying.

thanks so much for the kind words and thoughts, whichever form they came in.

i've realised something. not sure why i didn't think of it earlier. this is my life. my one life. i'm not going to waste it being sad about the past. i am going to spend it being excited about the future. and, i gotta tell you, i am really, really excited. one day, i'll tell you why.

phew. breakdown averted.

lost

sophie doesn't have scabies.

she turned up for yesterday's appointment. she looked young. i sucked up my judgement and spent the next 50 minutes divulging things of a highly personal nature. highly personal.

she just rang. she was sorry to say we would have to end our 'relationship' as she believes 'on a superficial level' we may be socialising in the same circle and that's a conflict of interest.

what the fucking fuck?

that's what i wanted to say. instead: 'sorry, i'm not sure i understand'.

'i know. it's difficult to explain. i guess, say for example, i was friends with someone you work with - it would be a conflict of interest for me to continue seeing you. i am really sorry but we are going to find you someone else'.

i repeat. what the fucking fuck? is this a fucking joke? did jesus, or whoever the fuck is pulling the puppet strings, see me working my arse off to create change and think it would be funny to make it as hard as possible to just get a fucking psychotherapy appointment?

this girl has got to be kidding. this service has got to be kidding. this industry has got to be kidding.

'so, what? (the manager) is going to give me a call to organise someone else?'

'yes, she will call, but she's away this week so it won't be until next week'.

it's friday.

'next week, monday or next week, monday week?'

'monday week. again i am really sorry.'

'yeh, i don't really know what to say to you. i don't know how this whole thing works but to me, this sounds ridiculous. and i'm not quite sure you get what you're doing here. i opened up to you and now you're just saying i have to start from scratch. i find this in complete contradiction to the whole philosophy.'

the conversation continued for a bit. i wasn't trying to change her mind. no point. i wouldn't be able to talk to her after that anyway. i just couldn't believe it and i couldn't hang up without making sure she knew.

at no point did i get angry but my disbelief would have been clear.

right now i am sitting, typing madly, urging away the lump in my throat. camelshoes is filling the void these people are leaving.

if you're wondering why i am being so dramatic, you should probably read this.

i'm not in the mood to shrug this off right now. i am not in the mood to make light off it. i am trying really fucking hard but seem to be taking one step forward, two steps back.

i won't give up. i know that. but i might give up on this method. do you think i should? it's done nothing but let me down so far and being let down is the whole reason i had come to this point in the first place.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

the other side of the fence

i received the most amazing facebook message last week. it brought tears to my eyes but it also opened them. oh my, it opened them.

it’s one of a number of personal messages (ie: not public comments) i have received from people regarding this blog entry – the entry which explained how difficult i found high school, how the experience had influenced me and how i needed to let go.

it was a piece of writing i felt obliged to ‘pen’ for my personal growth. but it was also very hard for me to post, as i explained at the time, because it made me feel so vulnerable. so much so i titled the entry ‘must.not.delete’. a challenge to myself.

within hours i knew i would not delete it thanks to the first blog-related email to find my inbox. it was from a friend who applauded my courage but, more importantly, confided in me the depression she had once suffered and still worked hard to control. she told me my words had helped her feel validated and that she was sure they would do the same for others. it was a really lovely thing to read, especially from such a beautiful person, and her suggestion that my blog – or that entry at least – would make anyone, anyone at all, feel a little better about themselves made it so very worthwhile.

the message i received last week was not from a friend, as such. it was from a ‘blast from the past’. someone i haven’t been in touch with for years but have been reunited with through social networking. when i saw her name in my inbox i got a little frightened. my instincts told me the message would be related to my blog. probably because the sender was one of the people i spent years being intimidated by. i read anxiously, waiting (although, knowing it was an unreasonable thought) for the ‘you’re full of shit, get over it, it was 10 years ago’ tirade to start.

it didn’t start.

she had only kind words to say. she told me she liked to visit my bog when she got the chance and enjoyed the read. then went on to explain she’d just read the aforementioned entry and could not help but get in touch. she then confided that she spent many of her high school years feeling exactly the same way. intimidated and fearful. self-conscious and desperate to impress.

i was stunned. i had no idea. she had always seemed so confident. to be honest, as well as feeling intimidated by her, i was jealous of what i perceived to be her self-assurance.

she went on to explain her regrets. primarily, that she had worried too much about impressing the wrong crowd.

they could have been my words.

i have acknowledged before that bullying is a food chain. to keep yourself off the bottom, i guess you’ve got to make your way up. so, knowing what it’s like to feel so downtrodden, how could i possibly begrudge someone working towards promotion?

i replied and thanked her for her message. but i’m not sure i effectively expressed just how attitude-changing her words were. because of her email, i now feel like i actually understand – rather than just trying to. i feel like i can do so much more than forgive. i can also empathise. and i think being able to empathise is going to make it so much easier to move on.

one more thing. she started her email with a disclaimer - just as i would have. she warned what was to follow might seem ‘ridiculous’. it most certainly wasn’t but i’ve explained that already. but what i wanted to add is no one should have to justify the desire to write. i am passionate about that. the written word is powerful and, as i am currently proof of, therapeutic. if you ever feel the urge to sit and write - whether the words are for you or someone else, whether or not you’re on your spelling-and-grammar game - don’t second guess yourself. just do it (swoosh). do it, do it, do it. and feel it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

i'm right behind you jim

i have cried every time i've seen this ad. every time. the tears we can blame on where my head's at right now. although, to be honest, i'd probably shed a few anyway.

it aches but i absolutely adore it. i also adore jim (and the thought of him and pam).

Monday, June 1, 2009

fishing for love

i know there are plenty of other fish in the sea.
but i am only in love with that one.
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