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.


  1. Unfortunately I know exactly what you mean...

  2. I think I know what you mean Carly. My situation is totally different.

    Im a student studying law at uni and I work 3 days per week at a law firm. I don't qualify for any governmental student assistance so I struggle to get by. I work my guts out for horrible, demanding lawyers and then study late into the night. I dont go out because I cant afford it.

    My housemate, on the other hand, receives generous centrelink student allowance despite also getting cash from her parents. She doesn't work and only goes to uni two days per week.

    Its hard for me to watch her come home with new clothes, go out most nights to the movies, buy expensive food and have the latest macbook computer.

    I think I understand.

    Great post, thanks for writing it


  3. Oh yeah, so totally know it from a health perspective. Thanks for the post.

  4. I can relate to this a lot, when I've been having a rough time it can be really hard to listen to people complain about having a cold or a little bit of temporary pain. It can also be difficult to hear stories, or see photos on Facebook of friends who are able to just go out when they like, do whatever they like, travel if they like... I just have to stay away from the internet if I'm feeling like that! Most of the time I just try not to focus on it, I used to dream about the things I wanted to do with my life constantly, now I have to focus on the present or I'll just upset myself. It can definitely be a really hard line to walk, I just keep trying to find new ways of looking at things and tricking myself out of the spiral. Much love xx

  5. I think we all feel like this at some point. For every one of us there is something we struggle with for whatever reason. And so when you see someone else just breezing on by like it is all so easy, it just makes it feel so much harder.

    I remember when that song Superman by Five for Fighting came out. The idea that Superman struggles with things too was so perfectly timed for me at that point in my life. Just knowing that everyone, no matter how "together" they seem to have it, has struggles was really uplifting. It isn't that my struggles were made any easier, but they were put in some perspective.

    I guess my point is that I've learned not to let the things I find hard be what defines me. Rather it is my persistence to keep on going, keep on trying that is my definition.

  6. So completely relate to these thoughts. Thank you for sharing them.


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