Monday, 5 October 2015

There's Just One Equator.

Three years ago I travelled to Niger in West Africa for World Vision to see and report on the severe food crisis that was happening over there at the time. Before I left a few people said, "Well, isn't there always a food crisis somewhere in Africa?" Yes, there is. A lot of memories stand out in my mind. The little boy wearing a yellow collared shirt being held by his grandmother in the middle of a refugee camp. Most of the children wore torn clothes. Some wore no clothes at all.

This little boy had badly burnt his hand in a fire a week before and had no treatment for it. There was nothing I could do for him in that moment. But I remember his pained face .. and when I spoke to some World Vision staff they said they'd keep an eye on him and tend to his burn. I hope they did.

All of the children were SO HAPPY to see us, running around, wanting photos and smiling. I had to smile back even though I felt ... man I can't even explain how I felt. Not like smiling, that's for sure. I stayed a week in Niger and saw so much every single day travelling for hours on roads so dusty I thought I had a lung infection but it was just dust. I wrote a post about Zenouba and I often think about her. Hopefully she's out there thriving, an eight year old by now.

The next trip for World Vision was to India, visiting the work WV was doing with the entire communities of people living in urban slum piles. On top of them, actually. I'll never forget walking on ground so spongey. The people living there not used to people looking them in the eyes.

After sponsoring a boy in Ethiopia with World Vision for ten years, I met my my new sponsored child in India called Rashni. She's three days older than my son Rocco - so she'd be seven now. She was terrified of me at first because of my glasses so I had to take them off. And show her how to take a selfie, surrounded by her whole beautiful family.

We travelled out to Raipur to look at some organic farming practices that World Vision were facilitating to help local farmers with their crops .. to make the villagers stay, to not travel into Delhi and end up living on slum piles. I pieced together how all the work the WV staff do is all intrinsically linked.

This woman - she and I kind of loved each other straight away. We compared tattoos and she was bossy and funny and we could not understand a word of what we were saying to each other but it didn't matter.

They sang and danced and we learnt how the WV team over there were working for years on projects that eventually would be given over to the communities to run themselves. Women's Savings Projects, Tree Sapling Projects, Fishing Projects, Menstruation Cloth Projects. Such varied and life-saving stuff. I was privileged to see them all with my own eyes and understand how World Vision operates, see exactly where the money goes.

Last year in November I travelled to Uganda, holding all the fresh grief from my brothers death in my heart. I desperately wanted to go, take the focus off myself, do something to make a difference. (Most people I know want to make a difference.)

Life-saving outdoor immunisation clinics, schools that cater for special needs students, huge HIV awareness and testing tents set up in the poorest places of town. Education is key. Vital. It was hard to write about all these places because do I put myself in the stories as a blogger or do I write objectively using facts and figures? How can I say what needed to be said in a way that would have the most impact, that would show exactly how vital the work World Vision does is desperately needed and appreciated by people all over the world?

The best way was telling stories of people I'd meet, every day. Like Ryan's mum, sitting in the HIV testing tent. 13 years old, dreams of owning her own sewing machine to make clothes to sell.

Women who have escaped slavery and sexual servitude being trained in World Vision programs to become hairdressers.

Everyday beautiful people on the street who just wanted to say hello, how are you?

I started working with World Vision a few weeks after I turned 40. I'm 43 now. A woman holds a lot of power in her forties .. yet I'm still so ignorant about facts and countries and geography. Often I'd ask the STUPIDEST questions because I failed everything at school except writing.

I actually asked a group of WV staff sitting at a table in Uganda: "So, how may equators are there?" The looks on their faces. Then one of them slowly said .. Eden, you're not joking, are you?

I wasn't. Man we all laughed so, so hard. So ignorant.

There's a whole world out there, begging to be changed. Sometimes our powerlessness makes us frozen .. so much bad news. Can we do anything? Can we change it?

Hell yes we can change it. We can do anything we set our minds to. (Most things - flying to the moon would be fun but not everyone can be an astronaut.)

We can't change the whole world in one day. But we can change somebody's day .. and to that one person, it means the whole world.

One starfish at a time.


Saturday, 3 October 2015

Cut Yourself Out Of Stone.

"I believe in reinvention. To be yourself. To cut yourself out of stone." - Henry Rollins

So it's a Saturday, nearly midday. I've thrown all the windows open, invited in the spring air. There's a fly buzzing around me, continually bashing itself against the window, trying to get out. Keep trying, annoying fly. You'll either get out or you won't.

It's up to you.

I should be doing my washing.
I should be vacuuming.
I should be opening my mail.
I should be busy.
I should be doing all the things I should be doing ..
but I'm not.

I'm laying in my bed, thinking about the world and how far I've come and how every single thing that's ever happened in my life has led me to this exact moment. I feel whole and free, strong.

And maybe - just maybe
I wouldn't change a goddamn thing.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Librarian and Me.

Last week Rocco and I took a taxi, train, plane, train, and then car to visit my friend Megan, her husband Dan, their two gorgeous girls, and one anxious dog named Tyson.

Megan live in Brisbane aka too faraway from me. She is my best friend in the world. We even had a fight and made up while I was there. The week was stressful, beautiful, fun, sad, depressing, full-on, insightful, and hilarious.

Oh her girls. I have claimed these girls as my own. They adore me - even Pud, who never hugs anyone the way she hugs me. They've named all of my tattoos and I've banned them from getting tattoos until they are thirty.

Megan and I would text each other random photos from different places in the house. This was one morning after one of her girls used the bathroom.

This was the ever-present naked baby in the kitchen that I'd always find in some unusual pose like an ongoing installation of ephemeral art.

This was after Megan cooked yet ANOTHER delicious meal and I'd clean up afterwards and she'd appreciate it so much because doesn't everyone need a wife? I text her this photo telling her I was NOT putting my hands near that shit. So we made Dan do it.

I love Dan.

Dan and I have the most revolting, inappropriate, highly offensive, and awesome conversations. He's here on the right and his mate Grant on the left and we had so many talks late into the night under the house in the mancave that Megan hates because she's so stylish it's incredible. I love that mancave. It's so ugly and beautiful. The day I left Grant hugged me and said "Well, it's been a strange pleasure to meet you." 

This guy had the best, best time. Up at the crack of dawn EVERY morning, he'd creep in to the girls room and wake them up by either poking them in the face or by making fart noises. They ran around the house, weeded the garden, ate sushi, fought, went canoeing, to the movies, Megan's library, the park. He had a ball.

And even though it was my brothers birthday while we were there I managed to keep it together and the day passed gently because Megan knows what it feels to not celebrate the birthday of a brother who has taken himself away. That night she unceremoniously dumped some drawers in front of me on the kitchen table and told me I was to organise her jewellery. I said no. But did it anyway - my lord this woman is bossy.

It was boring at first but then I fully got into it and accepted the challenge of matching up all of her earrings, putting crosses on the correct chains, and making a huge pile of crap stuff after mercilessly mocking her about them. I like the way this woman thinks. I realised later that she kept me busy when she saw me about to lose it. I falter a lot and can easily sit frozen on the couch but she kept me busy so I wasn't so lost in my head.

I, in turn, attempted to show her how to take a selfie without showing your neck because there's point in a woman life where her neck gets a bit crepey, a tad turkey.


Finally it was time to go back home "to Australia." Megan loaded Rocco up with so so many books that I had to lug through boarding gates and security checkpoints. But she reinforced Rocco's passion for reading. I thanked her for it and promised I'd do everything I could to make sure he keeps it up.

He read three books in two days, such is the magic of Megan of Children's Books Daily. The morning after we got home we didn't turn the television on. We silently read together, engrossed in our own books from Megan.

And it was good. It was also freezing so I lit the fire and made breakfast and hot chocolates and cheap coffee sachets and I'm already planning when I can go visit her again. Maybe next week. Or tomorrow.

That's my loooove face. 

Obviously the Universe brought us together and I'm never letting her go. Keep telling her: "If you die before me I will fucking kill you."

Friday, 18 September 2015

Do You Believe In Mother?

A parable by Útmutató a Léleknek 

In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” 

The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.” 

“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?” 

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.” 

The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.” 

The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.” 

The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.” 

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.” 

The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?” 

The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.” 

Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.” 

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Does My Sexiness Offend You?

Watch this. Watch it. Listen to every single word and let it reach your Soul. She certainly reached mine tonight.

Awww .. does it come as a surprise? That I dance as if I have diamonds .. at the meeting of my thighs.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Learning To Walk Again.

I'm safe in the library.

There's a baby crying so loud - I don't mind that the baby is crying in a library, that baby's allowed to cry wherever it wants to cry. But it's crying really, really loudly and has been for some time. It's disturbing the hell out of me because the sound of a baby crying reminds me of Rocco when he was a baby and he cried for about a year? I tried everything - reflux drops, soothing, singing, putting him in a sling, bathing him, sitting him up, laying him down, pushing him a pram, driving him in the car, repeatedly taking him to the doctor, cuddling him in my bed by myself while his dad was upstairs throwing up from chemo, buying a goddamn jolly jumper which made him vomit and his feet slid around in the vomit so I had to wipe his tears, my tears, and the vomit.

Max was six years old when Rocco was born. Max was not a crier as a baby. One night we were forlornly sitting down to dinner. Rocco was crying and sweet Max said:

"Mum, are you just going to let the baby cry forever?"

I couldn't handle the crying anymore. I could not handle it and had to walk away, out of his room, out of the house, many, many times. Sometimes I'd put my iPod on while I made dinner to drown out the crying. Once I fled from the house crying so hard because he was crying so hard and I couldn't fix it and I didn't want to have a crying baby anymore and a mother is not supposed to THINK shit like that especially when she does IVF to get said crying baby. I was ten years clean and sober taking a crying newborn to recovery meetings but I always had to apologise and leave because of the crying. My friend Anna in Canada once emailed me at the time .. "Maybe .. he's doing the crying for all of you?"

I wonder where all the undiagnosed post-natal depression goes to die when your baby grows up?

Rocco's dad didn't die. I started to internally collapse, relapse after ten solid years recovery. I was so, so strong. Until I wasn't. Held it together ever since, until my stepdad died and then my brother and then wow. I relapsed again just two weeks before Cam killed himself. I thought maybe I should tell him to prove I'm just as fucked up as him and we're all fucked up. I chose not to tell him in case he stopped burdening me with his burdens and what would happen then?

I always swore I'd never relapse again, to honour my brother. I swear to never swear again. Addiction and mental health issues do NOT mix. Do NOT try this at home. But doesn't it make perfect sense that people use drugs and alcohol to mask, cover, erase their pain? I tell teenagers only one piece of advice about taking drugs: "If you're taking drugs to fill a hole in you .. if you're starting to need to drink or take drugs to get through the days, to numb yourself and think it fixes your problems - there's a problem. Monitor yourselves. Be careful. Be safe."

Jesus that baby is still crying I'm now listening to Foo Fighters in my headphones hopefully the lady next to me won't get annoyed and this was NOT the blog post I had intended to write why does this always happen. I meant to keep it light and succinct here today ffs.

All I was going to do was steer you into the direction of this exquisite piece by Chris Guillebeau about the suicide of his brother Ken. It's called Let The Wave Crash Over You.

Then show you BabyMac showing you me eating a custard tart and quoting Pulp Fiction this morning in her honour.

But now I better use my computer for mad work skillz instead of lying in the sun. (I'm lying. It's not sunny.)

Megan says I post too many selfies I don't know what she's incinerating ... I've been taking photos of myself WAY before the word selfie was even invented. Because who else will?

STILL not a hair blogger #slick

Here's a little Dave Grohl to get you through the weekend, worth watching for the clip alone. It's my anthem lately .. those lyrics.

(I keep singing it to Cam when nobody else is around because that's not weird at all.)

The baby has stopped crying! I am so relieved on the mother's behalf.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Post Formerly Known As The Post Called Writing Like A Motherfucker.

It's rare that I delete an entry on this site. I like my steak medium-well, not rare.

I had to take those words away. Not because they weren't true - I stand by every single thing I wrote. But the bitter aftertaste it left in my mouth tasted like anger, rage and ... revenge. It's not who I want to be. It's not fair that I use this platform to get back at the people who have hurt and betrayed me. So, this is The Post Formerly Known As The Post Called Writing Like A Motherfucker. I will always write like a motherfucker. But hopefully with more grace, class and humility than I wrote yesterday.

It felt GOOD to write what I wrote yesterday. It feels fucking powerful when you're so angry you don't give a flying fuck. But fucks don't fly and fury fades. I don't take any of it back. I just took it down. It served no real purpose. (But DAMN that was a well-written post.)

Entering recovery all those years ago taught me so many things, one of the biggest was appropriateness. That post was not appropriate. I'm not sorry I wrote it. I'm just re-writing it. It's not as strong or tough or powerful but I don't want the world to make me hard. Hate is heavy and I need to let it go so I can get on with my life. We get to re-write our story, every single day. Some stories are uglier than others. Some stories are better left to ourselves. Or at least our close friends who understand but will ring you up and say "Dude. Really?"

I got hurt by people. I hurt people. I fucked up, I owned my shit and I will continue to do so. I'm not a trainwreck, I'm not an inspiration, I'm not a lighthouse. I'm just a person like all the other people, stumbling and fumbling my way through. As best as I can and as worst as I can. I'm going to be here for a long time but I'm exhausted, overwhelmed, hurting. I gotta focus on what will see me through, not tear me down.

Thank you for your comments and emails. Grace and dignity - so help me, God.

If I'm not here that often it just means I'm doing other stuff - writing and working on putting my life and self back together in ways it never has before. It's exciting. My friend Mary told me tonight I could choose joy and I'm all, really? I thought joy just happened to us. Mary says we choose it. I choose to believe her. Stay safe. I'm doing well - real well. Don't give up. Don't you fucking dare. I haven't and I won't. I'm only at the beginning. Come with.

Imagine if everything is going to be ok after all. That'd be cool. Way cool.

Namaste, cocksuckers.

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