31 October 2011

I need some New York know-how!

So tonight I started my research and planning for my New York trip! The internet is such a big place, and so is New York, and my attention span is very short. So I am not sure where to start.

So I am asking you, my lovely readers, to give me some tips. Where to stay, what to do, where to eat, where to shop? Is there a great place to see bands? What tours should I take?

I'm going in July/August 2012.

Ultimately I wish I could live like Felicity and make out with Ben Covington.

I imagine I will arrive in New York, all wide-eyed and frizzy haired, in awe of the possibilities. Is there a Felicity Tour?

Please help! All suggestions welcome.

29 October 2011

Triple J - It gets better

This is a powerful video about being different, being accepted and hope for the future. While aimed at young gay people, it is relevant to anyone who has felt marginalised. I wish I had this reassurance that it'd get better for me after I'd finished school. Thanks Triple J!

25 October 2011

Music I've been missing - Darren Hayes lyrics

There's something about Darren Hayes songs that make me feel safe, and warm and at peace. The familiarity of his voice, which I have adored for half of my life, and the imagery his lyrics paint. His songs speak to me - I often feel they're written about me, and I know many fans who feel this way too. There are not many other artists who I relate to so much - I could count them on one hand. 

For years I've immersed myself in The Lover After Me, Dublin Sky, Darkness and Who Would Have Thought?. The words and sounds enveloped me like a rich sky, there's a warmth to them. I like the darkness, the sadness. It's humanising. I especially like walking through cold city streets listening to these songs through headphones, pacing to the beat, feeling like Darren is my only company in the concrete jungle. 

And now with the release of Secret Codes and Battleships, I immerse myself again. It's been on constant repeat since Friday. He's the music I've been missing. 

As I mentioned previously, I identify so much with this album. So many lyrics feel like they pertain to what's gone on for me since June. The lyrics are comforting yet hard to hear. Don't Give Up ("I want to run to run away from this, but I wouldn't leave a sinking a ship, without you in it there's no point to our story..."), Hurt (it's everything I was warned about), Talk Talk Talk and Bloodstained Heart (it's so comforting, I feel looked after and loved when I listen) resonate with me most. Cruel Cruel World reminds me of the connection I once had.

In the dark hours, Black Out The Sun makes my throat thick and eyes well with tears. The emotion of Darren's voice paired with the fated story in the song feels like my reality.

"...switch off the stars and paint the sky black
love isn’t ever coming back
there’s no use in imagining a world without you
your love was like a drug i was addicted to
because there’s nobody else who can hurt like you hurt me
I don’t want to be lonely
and there’s no other way there’s no joy there’s no meaning
just this hollowed out feeling..."

It's The Siren's Call that has become the light in my darkness - it has easily become a favourite. It's gentle, like a sailboat slowly drifting at sea, and lonely too. It feels a bit like the mornings I've woken up realising things won't be the same. I think of whales moaning, and a black bird carrying me through the air to a happier place. And like Darren sings, I can almost taste happiness.

"...But I can almost taste happiness
It's such a long way off
But I can almost feel your embrace
Above the siren's call

And I've seen a hint of it
This happiness
This bliss
Just knowing it exists I know that I must try
And I've caught a glimpse of it
One moment just one kiss
From the corner of my eye
Of better days gone by."

For so many days now I just wish that I could forget, and feel truly happy again, and soon. It seems like a long journey, but I feel these songs on Secret Codes and Battleships will help these feelings pass. 
"and i want so much to believe that i won’t disappear in the water that i won’t always be swimming against the tide..."
Thank you Darren. I know next week when I see you play live (twice) there will be tears.

23 October 2011

Darren Hayes - Secret Codes and Battleships

It's been four years since Darren Hayes released an album – though there was the dance outfit We Are Smug. And of course I was excited. Through pain, not complete eagerness, I was awake at 4 am on Friday morning, and decided to check whether Secret Codes and Battleships was available for purchase. I may have been one of the first to buy the album. By 4.15 am, I had purchased the album and was listening to it as I drifted in and out of slumber. I purchased the CD version later that day, too.
I am constantly impressed by Darren's lyrics. And this album is no exception. It is in my nature to read lyrics deeply, and perhaps due to some of my experiences in these past four or five months, I feel like some of the songs were written about my situation. I was told that the sign of a truly great artist is being able to relate to them. And so I do.

Talk Talk Talk, Black Out the Sun, Bloodstained Heart and Hurt particularly resonate with me. The lyrics of Don't Give Up are probably the most poignant -
“and i want to run away from this but i’d never leave a sinking ship
without you in it there’s no point to our story
well i can’t believe it’s come to this
all our secret codes and battleships
without you in it there’s no point to our story"
Another favourite of mine is Siren's Call. It reminds me of whales. Just beautiful.  And the versions of Talk Talk Talk and Black Out the Sun performed in the attic are beautiful too.

The album, like Darren's previous two solo releases, is themed. Secret Codes and Battleships carries the theme of the sea and love lost – with metaphors of the sea scattered through the songs. It's a lyrically dark album, but sonically uplifting. While I probably wouldn't dance to this album, it is certainly a pleasant listen. His vocal range is pretty amazing, though I prefer the sound of his lower notes.

Darren is a honest lyricist, and on first listen it is easy to wonder whether he has written about the break up of his relationship. But in reading recent articles and listening to interviews, he states that the album is based on seeing other peoples' relationships falling apart, and also the demise of a friendship.

I am seeing Darren live in just over a week, twice, and can't wait to watch him play this new album live, and rekindle the old songs.

20 October 2011

Tiptoeing and avoidance

"I wonder if you know the pain to want the one thing that you haven't got?"
~Savage Garden - Mine

Sometimes when there's something 'wrong' with you, others may avoid talking about the parts of their lives that you can't have. So it doesn't make you feel uncomfortable, or jealous or sad, I guess.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately - the tiptoe and avoidance around topics. Mostly about the tightrope balance of not wanting people to avoid discussing the topics that are an elephant in your room, and then, not wanting to face up to the elephants in your room when they do come up in discussion. Do you follow? Maybe I am tiptoeing and avoiding being clear. It is hard to explain.

Take my situation. I don't expect my friends to stop discussing make up or waxing just because I can't do those things. But I will say that I once got a bit bored when a friend I was out with went on a tangent in the shopping centre, lured by an accented man giving away free facials. I sort of hung around while she got her facial, and he didn't acknowledge me, at all, because, obviously, I was the girl with the weird red face, clearly unable to use the products.

However, sometimes, and only very rarely, I don't want to hear how good people have it, when I can't easily have the same.

When my face is sore, and so infected I can't look at myself in the mirror I don't want to hear about peoples' bad hair days or broken nails or minor pimples (nor do I want to hear about it when I am 'well', in fact!). I can't deal with that trivial crap.

And often I can't handle hearing about constant success stories of finding love, or even just quick fucks. I recently spent time with an old friend and I got tired, and admittedly a bit sad, about the number of dates she'd been on, and the ease of it all. Man after man, and casually shrugging at the ease of dating.

I think that is what it boils down to. I can't say it's jealousy. Nor wallowing in self pity. I know I've got it pretty good in my life. It's more like "I don't want to know about the ease of it all".

I think about how easy it would be not to have to worry about what I will wear - not for the fun of fashion that I love so much, but for not having to worry about getting hot or cold or sunburnt or scratched. I once felt the breeze on an un-stockinged leg on a spring day. That feeling was amazing! I wondered what it'd be like to feel that every day. I wonder what it'd be like to wear a dress without having to cover up, not just for a photo on the concrete step, but for a whole night.

I think about how easy it would be to not think about staying over at someone's house impromptu. Like a one night stand. I did this recently with Bern Morley - not a one night stand in the literal sense, but decided to drink a lot more than anticipated, so I stayed over at her hotel. I had to top up on my vaseline at the 7/11 and source some clean undies and find a facewasher at reception, all because I don't wake up looking and feeling the same way as I go to sleep. And if I was to have a one night stand - pigs might fly - I'd get all hot and heavy and then have to explain that I wake up looking like Freddy Kruger, post coitus. Awkward.

I think about how easy it would be just to smile at someone in a bar and catch their attention, and have them come over to me and start up a conversation - not because they are curious about the way I look, but because they like the way I look.

I'd been discussing this idea of tiptoeing and avoidance with my good friend Sydney Shop Girl. The sadness and loss she has endured this past year is heartbreaking. She is the most giving, resilient and kind person I know, and it is so difficult for her to comfortably see new life just happening around her, and accept the conversations of how easy things are for other people. My thoughts are with you Sydney Shop Girl, through this difficult time, and beyond.

The things that people do in life - the way they live their lives, the way the world turns, just happens. Births, good health, able bodies, wearing a strapless dress. These things can't be avoided when you can't do or have what they can. And no matter how simple they seem, they can often be difficult to deal with. No matter whether tiptoe and avoid the topic for your sake.

18 October 2011

Addressing my arrogance and narcissim

I received a comment from a reader named Joanne in response to my Everything to everyone post. I guess it was like being pulled up by a parent for getting too big for my boots. Here is her comment.

"Hi Carly, long time follower but first time commentor. I think your blog is fantastic, you are a truly funny and enlightening person and I enjoy reading your posts everytime you update. Congratulations on your new website.
I have to say, though, this post left a bit of a bad taste. To me, and perhaps I misunderstood you, but you appear to be saying that you're becoming "overwhelmed" with your fame, that you can't deal with being a "role model" for all your "fans". I found this post a bit arrogant. Im sure you have loads of followers (myself included as a dedicated one!) but I think this might be a bit ahead of yourself. You always used to write with such modesty.
I hope I havent offended you, I just wanted to give you food for thought as I feel like these posts are kind of sliding towards arrogance and narcissm. You dont have to publish me if you don't want, I understand. I dont have a blog so I can only post my name (Joanne) instead of being Annon (which I hate!) I wish you all the best!"
Thank you Joanne - it did provide some food for thought, hence this reply via blog post. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and to write to me. I am not offended.

It is always really hard to write about these issues without seeming like I have an inflated ego. I never meant that I have a fan following, or that I am a superstar of any degree. But I'd be lying if I denied that my profile hasn't risen recently. I think that we all want some attention and praise, and blogging is an immediate way of receiving that. 

But as a blogger, I think it can get overwhelming at times, a bit like a celebrity (and I am not saying I am). People can relate to stories we tell, and want to share their own, and also find some hope and assistance through our words. And for the most part, it is flattering, and I want to help. While I understand it is a choice about what I share with the world, it is not my choice about who contacts me. And so when I receive messages like I did last week, it can be overwhelming. (Perhaps if I posted the messages here you'll see why I was overwhelmed. But they're private messages, very personal to the senders, and so I won't.)
It was after months of receiving emails from one particular reader, and that confronting email that I wrote Everything to everyone. 

I share a lot of myself on my blog. I'll admit at times I have written a post - Untouched for example - and it has been so emotionally draining that I've cried while writing it. I am also continually worried about offending someone or revealing too much of those I write about. I often seek approval or run posts by the person I write about. Most things I blog are written with a conscience - who may I offend?

It is hard to be authentic and honest through blogging without it seeming like your life is there on show - you can't be a carcrash that readers thrive off. But at the same time blogging allows that community, that support that you need during difficult times.Which may be a contradictory statement given that I feel overwhelmed.

It was never my intention to seem narcissistic or arrogant in that post or any of my writing. I was simply trying to articulate my feelings through writing them out on my blog. Maybe, like so much of the other 'therapy through writing' I've done lately, I should have left it unpublished. 

My feelings of being everything to everyone have definitely stemmed from my experiences in the past few months. I helped someone I love through an extremely tough time. I was 'there' to answer each text, each email. I went to a counselor to see how I could better help him. (Without meaning to sound like a martyr) I put my own feelings for him aside and just focused on his healing. And when he was healed, and I told him my feelings, it was too late. I'm no longer needed. It was too much at times. And I believe I worried myself sick. I don't think it is a coincidence that I ended up in hospital - twice - during the time I was providing support. While it wasn't in me not to provide support - and he told me that he couldn't have gotten through without me and a few others - I can't give so much of myself again, just yet, because of this. He loved me because he believed I'm strong, and maybe leant on me for that reason too. But even the strong ones can't take on everything. Who will support the supporter?

For the past seven weeks, I've felt broken, lost, used and so very sad. Not depressed, just sad because of grief. The best I can explain it is here, and I've tried not to saturate this blog with my feelings. And that's why I needed to take a step back. It was difficult supporting someone I love. And so I can't be there to assist others (strangers) who contact me because they relate. I take on a lot, and I can't let myself get hurt again. It may seem blunt, callous, selfish, narcissistic or arrogant of me. But I'm looking out for number one right now - me.

Blogging. It's a tough balance. I'm always going to be myself here. But that may mean seem arrogant or selfish at times. Humility and modesty wont always shine through my writing. Because I can't be everything to everyone.

I'd be interested to hear from other bloggers (or people with disabilities) whose profiles have increased or receive requests of support from strangers. How do you deal? And who else relates to this episode of SBS Insight?

16 October 2011

The week in iPhone pictures

It's been a while since I blogged about the mundane. You know, every day stuff. And so here you go. My week (ish) in pictures. Not in chronological order.

Turning into a vain princess

I had filming for No Limits yesterday. The final shoot of the season. And last shoot I had my hair curled and a bit of lipstick applied. And in three weeks I have purchased three lip glosses and a hair curler. 

My face was a bit sore yesterday, and I have a mild cold, so being pampered was just what I needed. And it was so nice to have someone pay attention to making me look good - I find that really hard to come by with hairdressers.

Even though I was a lot redder than usual, the lovely make-up artist made sure my lippie stood out. Wow. I never thought the day would come when I'd get a little excited over make-up and hair.

No Limits fun

It is always fun on set! Yesterday it seemed pretty quiet around the traps though. We all arrived at different times. We managed to snap this photo between episodes. Pictured: Elvira, Phin and Louis.

And the cast and crew also did this recording/photo in support of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Once again I was a shrinking violet and hung back in the shadows.

Prawn tacos

I made the most wonderful mid-week dinner. Prawn tacos. I was inspired by Sydney Shop Girl, remembering that she'd made them, and so I had to google the ingredients and then go abd buy them after work. It's really easy.

Make a salad out of red cabbage, carrots, coriander and spring onions.

 I grated the carrots and chopped the other vegies.
 Cook the prawns - I cooked them in a little organic salted butter from Tasmania.
Mix up a dressing of mayonnaise and sour cream (and horseradish, but I couldn't find any) and lime juice. Mum bought me the cool lime squeezer. I also have a lemon squeezer similar.
Assemble tacos on a tortilla. I added some jalapeno salsa. Because I am addicted to the stuff and eat it by the spoonful.
 Fold in half and eat. Yummmmm.

Tweeting the the stars

I put a tweet out about Neighbours. And then to my surprise, one of my favourite singers, Bob Evans, tweeted me back!

And again! That's when good rockstars and fans become good tweeters. Indeed.
 Tweet of the Month


Speaking of Twitter, I was featured Tweet of the Month in Shop til You Drop magazine. They had a special about shopping away a sucky day - including what the buy when you have a broken heart. How apt. So I tweeted. 

My Tweet of the Month resulted in much teasing by my friends though. 


A friend and I went to the much hyped Mamasita restuarant. Wow. It was amazing. A bit of a queue. But so amazing!

Two margaritas on a school night. This one was citrus with vanilla salt.

Corn on the cob - the most amazing corn we'd ever had. And that salsa in the background - wow!! The corn had spices and cheese on it.
 Ceviche - market fish in coconut milk and lime. It was tart and refreshing and delicious.
Tortilla. This was the lamb one, with cheese and lemon. We stacked it with that salsa, which made it even better.
Goat and corn. It was great. Quite a big serving. My friend had two pieces of goat. I had one.
And this was fantastic - corn icecream with caramelised popcorn!
 Here is Mitch with our second serving of corn. We got hungry.
By this time it was already 9.00pm and we'd been there for over three hours. People were still queuing. We felt quite special to be there eating and drinking at the bar.

The service was attentive and really quick. The noise level was good. It was very trendy in there. The food was amazing - definitely not your Taco Bill type Mexican. I highly recommend eating at Mamasita. 

Mitch and I met in about 1993 when his brother was my wardmate in hospital. His family and I have been friends ever since.

Carlyfindlay.com launch

Carlyfindlay.com was launched in a 30 minute lunch break on Thursday.

My friend, work and uni colleague Jess created the site and social media strategy, and I provided most of the content. Here I am pressing publish.

Hooray for CarlyFindlay.com!

14 October 2011

Everything to everyone - deactivating Facebook (for now)

"Ladies and gentlemen, listen up please,
I don't want to be your hero..."
~Darren Hayes - Hero

My willpower is quite strong. I have had a packet of Tim Tams in my fridge for over a month and there are still seven left in the packet. I don't eat chips much because they make my tummy sore. I am not phased if I drink alcohol or not, I can stop at one (but tonight I shall be stopping at one bottle). I don't drink coffee - I only drink herbal tea. And I've not had sex for one year and four days, and I'm ok with that - maybe due to situation rather than willpower - though I'd kill to be held by someone I love sometime soon. And tonight I deactivated my Facebook account. The point I am getting to in this entry is longwinded, but bear with me.

I'm not going to make some grand statement declaring that I've activated it for good. Because it probably will be reactivated sooner than it should be. And it seems pretty damn easy to reactivate - it just takes entering your email address and password. Hell I could have logged out for the same effect. My willpower is not that strong. I'll miss the contact. And Facebook is part of my media career strategy. (I still have my Facebook page though. Become a fan!) But I do think it has become a time waster and a heart breaker. And there's more. I've lived without Facebook until 2007, I can live without it (Clem Bastow has written a wonderful and sad blog entry about giving up social media, and I can relate.)

Facebook is looking into peoples' lives. You can't really choose what you are being fed - even if you hide newsfeeds. I see pictures I can't unsee. Statuses with hideous spelling.  And worse, friends' viewpoints that are racist, sexist, and discriminatory. And I see the one I love with someone else. I can't deal with communication through Facebook likes alone. And that's not all.

I am pretty lax with my Facebook friends. If friends is the right term. I have over 1300 Facebook contacts. I would say I know 900 of them in some form - friend, family, colleague at work or uni, school friend (?) or blogger (even if we have not met) but I also have a lot of people that I don't know accessing my Facebook profile. I am not fussed with strangers seeing my life. I put a lot on my blog for the world to see. But as I mentioned last month, I have come to censor what I write on Facebook, and take my frustration over to Twitter, maybe it's because my Twitter contacts know me less.

Having somewhat a public profile with this blog, my media appearances and general magnetising personality (haha) means I get contacted by a lot of people. The majority of it is fantastic contact. it is flattering. I take the time to respond to those who contact me, add them as Facebook friends even. I get asked a lot of advice, particularly about ichthyosis. From people with ichthyosis, and families of those with the condition. It puts some pressure on me. Of course I don't mind providing advice, but advice based on my experiences is all I can provide.

I rarely provide medical advice to people. I'd hate for a mum to put some cream I recommended onto their baby's skin and it have an adverse reaction. I leave that to the other people. Can't risk it. There are also those who hope that contact with me that would change their lives. It is flattering, but also a bit of pressure.

It is not like I don't want to help people. It is just that I can't be everything to everyone. All the time. My day job as an events planner at times means I need to be everything to everyone. I love my job. But when being everything to everyone spills into my other life, it can be tiring.

And sometimes this somewhat public profile means I can't just vent anonymously. So I have to leave the subjects I am venting about anonymous. We all need to vent.

It's like some people forget that social etiquette still applies online. I discovered that when online dating. Last week I received two bits of unwanted contact. One via email - ranting about why I didn't show the same respect and support to them like I did to the one I love. This ranter is almost a stranger. Yep. And I was on the receiving end of a ranty, lengthy email.

The other was a message from person who had come into contact with me after I appeared in New Idea. They imagined that meeting me would change their life. We haven't met. Just a few Facebook messages exchanged. The message from them last week was one of the most confrontating, vile and sad emails I have received. That message should never have been put on me. What are the right words to say?

When I received those two messages, I shuddered. How contactable how am I? How accountable do I have to be? When does my role as being the life lesson for someone stop, and I just live my life? And how many stories of personal struggles and triumphs  should I be putting out there if it means my experiences are what people relate to and therefore trust enough to approach and spill it all out?

I cannot deal. I can't be everything to everyone. I can't expect to pick up and support almost strangers. Supporting people I know and love, plus looking after myself often doesn't give me much buoyancy. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning.

And I think that deactivating Facebook - even for just a short while - will help me stay afloat, and become more productive again. It has been a big contributor to my sadness, to the overwhelming feelings lately. Catch you round on Twitter, on the phone, or in real life. Back on Facebook when I can float better.

PS: tonight I plan to be productive without Facebook. I need to sew a button on, select three wardrobe changes for filming tomorrow and make my birthday party invitations. Can I do it? Yes I can!

PPS: check out my new site - carlyfindlay.com

13 October 2011

Carlyfindlay.com has just launched!

Are you looking at me? Want a closer look? Carlyfindlay.com is here and open for business

People stare at me every day – a lot. And not just because I’ve got great legs and some decent cleavage to flaunt – I’ve got brains too!

Who is Carly Findlay?

I’m a chronic illness ambassador, advocate for people with a disability, budding TV presenter and engaging writer with a blog (Tune into Radio Carly) that attracts 8,000 unique visits a month.

At the heart of it though, I’m a down-to-earth young woman with a talent for sharing stories about being chronically ill. Throw some social commentary, food, music, fashion and shopping into the mix as well as some musings about the ignorant twits who can’t get over my appearance and you’ll see I’ve got some interesting tales to tell.

It’s my dream to make a positive difference in the world. I want to continue breaking down the prejudices towards people with visibly different appearances, and give everyone the confidence and pride to hold their head up high and smile. You can find out more about me by visiting www.carlyfindlay.com

Let’s work together
I want to work with you to promote your company, brand or cause. Visit www.carlyfindlay.com where you can take a look at my writing, TV and radio work.


I am happy to discuss advertising, sponsorship, freelance writing and speaking/presenting opportunities. Please 
contact me if you would like to discuss this or if you want to chat about other ways we could work together.

An exciting opportunity is the BlogHer conference in New York which I will attend in August 2012. I’m seeking sponsorship for this trip and can work with you to promote your brand, business or cause in the best way possible.

Carly Findlay, Freelance Writer and Blogger
Online portfolio: www,carlyfindlay.com

(A big thanks to Jessica Billimoria for her social media consultancy, and Camille Condon for her graphic design.)

09 October 2011

Grow some balls. And other lessons from Saturday night.

Balls. Grow some. That was what was going through my head last night. And lucky for me, my thoughts became a real life art installation when I saw this awesome sign on the men's toilet door in a funky St Kilda bar.

The universe has dealt me some pretty shitty situations over these past few months. Sickness. Heartbreak. Sadness. Etc. And I am pretty fucking resilient when it comes down to it. I can handle the rudest of insults, the meanest of jeers and laugh off the shittiest situations. But sometimes I just wish for a break. Some happiness. And a few good men. Not fuckwits. I will start at the beginning.

Fuckwit number 1

I had secured my first date in a while. I was super excited - luck was wished, pashes were hoped for, and my outfits were planned. I'd met him on the online dating website. He seemed pretty normal compared to the others. Or maybe normal is just freaky. I don't know. We made it past chatting on the site, to texting, to talking on the phone. He said he wanted a girl he could treat like a princess. And said I was beautiful. And so we met in person - out for dinner. I looked like the hottest woman I'd ever seen. I gave it my all - showing off my legs and boobs. He looked a lot older than I expected. And from the get go, the date was flailing.

He wasn't really into food. Wanted to opt for the cheaper restaurant. Later he told me he was a 'tight arse'. He took a call at the table. He told me he was only just learning how to cook. He chose the cheapest thing on the menu, then hated the taste of it, pulling faces when he ate. He said if dessert wasn't good, he'd throw it in the waitress's face, and then grinned and laughed. He said his ex mother in law could have cooked it better than him. He complained about the food for a good 15 minutes. My food was fine.

While he has a sad background, he spoke about his ex wife for more than an hour - in fact, telling me the karma he wished on her - one of the reactions my skin gets actually. He told me how much money he earned, and what's in the bank. He didn't drink and told me that when he does, he gets aggressive.

He asked me about myself for about 10 minutes.

And he said "Fuck Darren Hayes, man". No date of mine criticises my truest love on our first encounter. Sure, take the piss when we are in love. But not when you are trying to make a good impression.

I wondered how I would end the night. It was just on two hours of pleasant nods and smiles, false enthusiasm on my part, and me trying to make conversation. And then, the perfect opportunity arose.

"I've spent a lot of money on something I'm not proud of. This week in fact", he said.
"Yes, it's not alcohol, or drugs, or smokes", he said.
"But I won't say what it is".

And I replied "you just did".

And then he told me how he uses prostitutes regularly. $5000 in one year in fact. Last Thursday, the day after he texted me telling me he wants to meet.

"I have to go now", I told him. I gave him some money. He took it - but I shouldn't have had to pay for that experience. And we left. I said see you, and walked off.

I don't think he is a bad person. Just incredibly socially inept.And on the upside, he didn't mention my skin once. I think he was quite into me actually, he did look at me a lot, in a good way. Yep.

I rang Bern, who has moved to Melbourne, telling her how awful it was. And so I drove to St Kilda to hang out with her.

Fuckwit number 2

Before I drove there, I checked my phone. I had a new Facebook message from a guy I'd been talking to but hadn't met yet. It's an ichthyosis thing. The message was confronting. Too much information in fact. Sad too. I can't handle it. Wow is all I can say, mainly out of respect for his situation.

Fuckwit Number 3

I drove to St Kilda, getting a bit lost and frazzled, crying for a moment, thinking about the shitty situation that had just gone down, and remembering that exactly one year ago to almost the hour, I was being held by the man I love. I finally reached the bar she was at, so glad to see her. A true friend she is.

We sat down on a couch. The guy opposite us said to me "excuse me, your face is scaring me".


"Yes, you look scary".

His girlfriend just looked at him in disbelief. I couldn't believe it. What was he? An infant?  Certainly a good candidate to get the slap.

And so I let loose, swearing at him, telling him how rude he was. Acting on adrenaline.

His girlfriend still stared at  him in disbelief. I think I may have broken up their relationship. She told him that they should go. He was trying to apologise to me. I told him I didn't want to hear it. What I really wanted to do, was grab his pint of $5 beer and pour it over his head. But I feared the headline "TV presenter arrested in St Kilda bar for assault".

The guy told me he wanted to explain why he thought I looked scary. Yes, because that's a justification I really wanted to hear. I told him to shut the fuck up. In those words.

And then they left. His girlfriend apologised, told me she hopes my night gets better. And I said it can only improve on how it's been.

And the night did get better. Cheap beer, a funky bar, cheesy pizza and lots of laughs, and me doing the walk of shame from her hotel to my car this morning.

Wow. Fuckwits ahoy. Thank god for Bern. And thank god for seeing the funny side.

05 October 2011

Mamamia, here we go again!

Last week I was published on Mamamia! If you missed it, you can read it here.

There are so many lovely comments on it - a great debate generated. I also received lovely comments from Mia Freedman and Lisa Wilkinson on Twitter.

Thanks for publishing me, Mia :)

04 October 2011

I've done too much thinking, so I can't think of a title

"...You are my friend
We’ve always had an understanding yeah
I can’t comprehend
How we’re now talking different languages

I believe in love

I believe in love
I believe in love
But do you?

And it’s true everybody knows
People come and people go
You mean much more to me
I don’t one of those to be you
But I really don’t know what I can do

I believe in making up
I believe in making up
I believe in making up
But do you?"
~ Bob Evans, Friend
This weekend will mark one year. Friday at around 5.00 pm to Monday at around 8.30 am. I remember every single moment. And I wish I didn’t. I am dreading it.

I have three options to get me through. Look at whether there is a memory eraser, akin to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Spend the whole weekend drunk. Or do stuff to take my mind off it. I’ve already got dinner and movies with a friend on Friday night. And offers of phone calls during the weekend. And getting in and doing some things I need to make happen. For me. That is a start.

It is only an anniversary. Only a series of memories strung together. Only things that I remember. The best things. The worst. The things that only two people in this world know. I’ll be ok. Just breathe.

I am feeling a bit better than I did 4-5 weeks ago, when the day came that I wasn’t needed anymore. In the second week, I researched what grief feels like. The sadness. The heaviness. The worthlessness. And the hopelessness. These feelings combined were foreign to me. I hadn’t experienced grief properly before, and for this I felt guilty – should I have felt it when someone I knew died? Especially when I still think there was nothing tangible lost. 

I saw there were five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I think I missed the person-to-person bargaining stage and just did this in the form of writing many unsent letters. And there was never any denial. I knew the reality. I now swing between anger and sadness. I wake up with all these words on my mind, things I want to say, but can’t and probably won’t. More unsent letters in my head. Sadness is heavy. I want to feel fun again.

I went to see the counselor again. The first visit, in July, was to help me help him. This visit was to help me. It was good to talk things through, without the “I told you so’s” and judgment – all well-meaning of course. And it was good to know my feelings are valid. For so much of this has been wondering whether it's stupid to feel the way I do. 

I keep thinking I was just a reserve. There just in case. The worst feeling is that of being used. It has grabbed me with its force and wrung me out. I don't do regret, blame or resentment well, so the feelings and blame seem to be self imposed.

This isn’t a friendship. This has been reduced to communication by Facebook likes. Of course I could click unfriend and block. I’ve already removed the newsfeed. Nothing more uplifting than my top news notifying me the one I love is in a relationship with someone else. But I feel like I owe him more than that. Plus, jut because someone’s off your Facebook feed doesn’t mean they’re off your mind. The politics of social media make all forms of relationships more complex. I am keeping a brave front for my Facebook friends – the majority of whom know me personally, and of course, him. Yet over on Twitter I am venting my anger and sadness with lyrics and pictures and sarcastic digs. The relatively anonymous support is comforting. And here on this blog, it’s what the counsellor encouraged me to do. Write. It’s more censored and considered than on Twitter though.

And the acceptance in my grieving process? I've decided two things. Taken from a song lyric - I can't bear to see you with another, but dear I hope you're happy all the same. And this. My new mantra: to treat myself better, I have to find someone who will treat me better.


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