Saturday, 27 August 2016

The Taylor Sisters.

Look at these girls! From left: me, Marina, Ariel, and Morgan. They're my cousins .. I used to babysit them when they were little.

This pic was taken at a photo booth on the day Morgan was born:

Ariel, me and Marina. (STOP LAUGHING AT MY 90'S GLASSES RINI)

They are vibrant, smart, sassy, strong young women. The fighting gene is strong in my family, and even moreso with these girls. Ariel has been in hospital for over two weeks now. She was diagnosed with colitis in 2014 and has suffered serious health issues and complications ever since. Morgan was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer in her jaw when she was eight years old and spent 12 weeks in hospital. She has Crohn's disease .. I didn't know that much about Crohn's or colitis my god - the blood transfusions, chronic pain, medications, hospital stays. All while they're both trying to work and live normal happy lives. At one point recently they were sharing the same hospital room down in Westmead Hospital. Morgie was released but El stayed, deteriorated incredibly quickly, haemorrhaged .. and had emergency four-hour surgery just a few days ago. When my uncle Steve called to tell me, I held my breath. It's been terrifying.

                                             Morgan and Ariel

Morgan stayed with me recently while she went to work every day at Scenic Skyway. I took her for a driving lesson, she drives my manual car better than me. I had no answers to her questions about the clutch ... just told her to go for it and I'd be disappointed if she didn't bunnyhop or stall. (She didn't!)

So things are pretty much touch-and-go. Ellie is still in hospital going through utter hell. Yesterday I minded Marina's son Logan while her and her sister did everything they could to help, which wasn't much except just be there. I've never seen somebody in so much pain had no idea how prevalent these illnesses are, especially in Australia. Both Morgan and Ariel aren't eligible for government support even though they can't work. Ariel is doing a degree in teaching at university, but will probably have to defer until next year. She's going to be an incredible teacher.

One of their friends Amy has set up a page on the Giving Network to help:

HELP TAYLOR SISTERS FIGHT AGAINST CROHNS DISEASE

The whole family has been overwhelmed with the love and help they've received so far, their parents Steve and Karen have fought so hard to get their girls life-saving treatment and hospital procedures for so many years now - can't even imagine how powerless and exhausting it feels.

We're all visiting Ariel every day, flurries of texts updating her progress. The poor sweetheart has suffered intense complications and had the hospitals top neurologists, cardiologists, surgeons literally running around the place as she underwent a spinal tap, MRIs, blood tests, transfusions. She's like a frail little bird, perched up in her bed. It's been really scary, and really not fair. God I hope she doesn't mind but here's her facebook profile picture. UTTER STUNNER.





                                    Morgan, Ariel, me, Marina.

Marina and I stayed up for hours the other night laughing at Ace Ventura quotes, pubes, poo and boob stories. You know when heavy stuff is happening so you just go delirious? Yeah that. I'm headed back down soon. I think I might move in. They've all unanimously voted me in as the fourth Taylor sister, matching tattoos imminent.

Do you have any knowledge of Crohn's and ulcerative colitis? There doesn't seem to be any national foundations or support groups. Please send all three girls and their parents some love and prayers. x




Monday, 22 August 2016

No I Won't Be My Father's Son.


This is not a sob story.

Thirty-two years ago today my father died. I was twelve and dry-eyed .. how can you cry over somebody you never knew? He drank himself to death and is buried at Cooma Cemetery. I visited once when I was newly-sober and laid down on his grave like Madonna did in one of her video clips except it was her mother. So strange to not know a parent. He was from Glasgow in Scotland and came to Australia to work on the Snowy River Mountains Scheme. It says on my birth certificate that he was an engineer, in later years he worked at IBM because he was some kind of incredibly intelligent person. He was banking on a son, so when I was born he went on a huge bender for three days and didn't visit me. I think ... I was in some kind of humidicrib at the time for breathing issues so the details are a little hazy.

His favourite song was Mr Bojangles, he was likened to a young Roger Moore, and he was good at tennis. That's about all I know. Somewhere in my memory is stored the first four years of my life which were probably mostly lived in fear because he was a violent alcoholic. My grandmother told me he'd drink the vanilla essence from her pantry after his marriage imploded. His name was William Barrie. Apparently he served in the Red Berets .. I don't even know what that means. A paratrooper, landing in places like Cypress so I guess he was in the war? Don't know which one. I wonder if he had an actual red beret.

So I'm writing all this down right now incredibly detached and there's even a voice at the back of my head saying "fuck him" which isn't very nice but he wasn't very nice, apparently. He didn't like me, I'd go so far as to say he hated the sight of me because although I look exactly like him complete with red red hair, I wasn't his son. Just another daughter. After I was a born he had a vasectomy and as I'm growing up trying to put some pieces together because we all like to know where we come from, the more it dawned on me that he just really quite detested me and didn't want to know me. At all.

So maybe this is the source of pain, the fracture in my life that all other hurts splintered off from. I don't know. There's still wars in the world, there's so much happening every day and we all share shit on facebook but it's just overload now. Yes, the world is fucked but how do we fix it? Probably not by writing a piece about my dead father who I hate because he hated me first but jeez he was a giver - I got all his genes, his looks, his alcoholism, his dark and stormy moods which is now known as "Bipolar." I always swore I'd never drink and I didn't .. until I hit nineteen and then drinking drank me. Ask a woman who drank herself stupid throughout her twenties and she'll have a few stories to tell. Back in the day I'd be so drunk, stumbling home in the dark by myself and shout up to the sky "PROUD? I MAY NOT BE THE BOY YOU WANTED BUT I BET I COULD DRINNK YOU UNDER THE TABLE."

Four years after he died my stepdad killed himself and then all this other stuff and then recovery and rehabs and pregnancy and babies and joy and love and PEACE and marriage but then cancer, postpartum depression, remission, relapse, remission, recovery, second stepfather dies, my brother dies, psychiatric situations, separation, psychosis, breakdown, etcetera and so forth which brings us to right now this very night when I was sitting in a meeting and somebody was sharing and then asked what the date was and I said "22nd August" and thought fuck, this is the date my dad died. I don't know his birthday but I know his deathday, it got seared into my memory that time in year seven I read the coroners report on his death which was so long and boring but I was struck how it said "Died around 22nd August." He died alone in his bed in a flat in Batemans Bay and wasn't discovered for a while so the coroner could only estimate.

This is not a sob story but after the meeting I stopped off at the shops to buy some milk and UGH Fathers Day is coming up and I just wince at it, always have. Except I don't just wince I go up to the Fathers Day card display and rub salt into long-forgotten wounds by opening the cards to read the shitty inscriptions. I say shitty because they're not applicable to me. Obviously I'm not the only one who has father issues but as I drove away tonight, Beyonce's Daddy Lessons came on the radio and I CRIED because the lyrics aren't applicable to me but then I realised shit - they are.

"Came into this world
Daddy's little girl
and daddy made a soldier out of me."

Because he did make me a soldier. Perhaps his absence from my heart and life has shaped me more than anything. His lack of love and pure distaste for me has fuelled my rage and anger over the years until I eventually turned from a shy quiet girl with no voice into a woman who roars. Especially now, after spending the last three years in survival mode which is a really awful way to live. The rest of Bey's song is about how her dad liked his whiskey with his tea, and how he gave her a gun and warned her that if men like him come around then to just shoot. Hell of a lot of strippers and hookers out there who weren't warned about that shit is all I'm saying.

Bill died alone at the age of 47 from a brain bruise from falling over drunk too many times. I'm 44 - struggling on and off and on. Headed through the recovery train, the tracks he never took, and I'm telling you some days I want to drink. I want to drink so bad. Not to feel good or have a great time and a few wines because if I was a social drinker I'd get drunk every night. I want to drink to numb myself from pain and to not feel my feelings holy SHIT my therapist in 1998 told me flippantly "Oh for gods sake Eden you can't die from a feeling." Which is true - it just feels like it. I was saving up that year to buy a plane ticket to fly to Scotland to be with my people, discover Glasgow, meet relatives and cousins over there. I never made it and now, strangely, the sight of tartan kilts and the sound of bagpipes makes me cry. Years ago at the Sydney Writers Festival I got RAGING drunk with Irvine Welsh who fell in love with me and wanted me to fly back to Scotland with him the very next day. In front of the entire table of literary people I pull my passport out of my Doc Martin and told Irvine that my father was from Glasgow ... he then proceeds to stand up and do this drunken jig and shout at all of us:

"MYYYYY FATHER WAS FROM GLASGOW, 
HE WAS A FUCKING CUNT."

People were shocked but laughed anyway and turned to look at me and I just laughed and asked, "How did you know?" Irvine said everybody from Glasgow was .. he begged me to get on the plane and I don't really know why I didn't. Imagine that.

Anyway so tonight I'm crying about this Bill guy who I never knew but I'm pretty sure the chasm in my heart created by his absence is so wide and big that I can't even see it so I never even knew it was there. Maybe this, his life and his death and his rejection of me started off all my shit .. the worthlessness, the crazy, the hounding in me to be heard. Especially now.

Whatever, really. It's just that tonight is the very first time in my life I wished he was alive, I wish I could go and see him and tell him my multitude of problems and he'd be kind. Really see the woman I have become, all the good parts and the bad. And he'd see his grandsons and teach them things and tell them about the Red Berets. I'm trying to work this out for my sons, too. Both of them never knew their genetic grandfathers and I really wish they did because it's nice to know the information and knowledge passed down of where you come from.

We're headed into September and more death days and more birthdays and remembrance days and what-if days and shitty days and glorious days. As one of my many counsellors used to say "Eden, it's all grits for the mill." And he didn't know why I laughed so hard until I explained to him that it was grist. I don't even know what grist is and I'm not even going to google it because I prefer grits, have heard they're quite tasty. Back in my day there was no google there was a full set of Encyclopaedia Britannica's up on the library shelf and you actually had to get out of your chair and search for the information you needed with your actual hands. These days we're utterly overwhelmed with information but seem to understand life less than ever.

I been to countries where none of this shit matters and people are trying to eke out enough from the land to just survive that day. There's awful things happening all over the world and it's scary and we're meant to look at this and raise awareness of that and not knowing my father is probably technically a really low-scale issue in the grand scheme of things. It's just that I've never allowed my mind to wander there until tonight. I think he passed his rage down onto me except it triplicated and I don't want it anymore, I'm stronger than him. But knowing that doesn't make it any easier. He just drank himself stupid and died, I'm fucking up all over the shop and getting help and in recovery trying to whack each problem down as it comes. It's hard as fuck. I'm spent. Which means there's a clearing coming up soon where I can rest again before the next pounding because sometimes? That's all life seems to be. A series of utter fucking poundings and different crosses that we have to bear. Until we die or reach enlightenment. Probably both.

Anyway thank god for Bono. It's good to know there's men out there who feel and love and care for their children, have a social conscience, and fight for worthy things. I'm a firm believer that if you miss out on something inherently needed in your life, you get something else down the road to make up for it. It's science karma. And it's just so generous of Bono for providing me with the soundtrack of my life to help me get though it. He's one of my true heroes. There's not many left.





Tuesday, 16 August 2016

ACTUAL Camping Time.


Camping time looks like this:


No phone reception, no electricity, no traffic, no hordes of people. Just simple things like boiling the billy, collecting wood for the campfire, throwing the ball to the dog 1000x times, eating a lot of food, and having a good rest in the tent in the middle of the day because time is just a biscuit and there are no rules.

                                               #campinghairblogger

Annie showed me how to brew tea bush style - two big handfuls of leaf tea in a billy, boil it, let it steep, but not for too long.



                                         An actual proper Aussie dunny

We stopped at the best places on the way to the campsite. Annie's lived up here for most of her life and knows so many people - we'd be driving along on the highway and she'd go "Oh here's Vermins house we'll just pop in and say hi." So we did and I wasn't even my usual I CAN'T MEET NEW PEOPLE self. It was all really laid back. And calm.

Shout-out to all the boys at school who'd tease me with the Redhead Matches slogan, "Strike a Light." Also fuck you I'm not a dork anymore. 



    Roadtrippin'. 

Annie and I talked SO much, laughed so hard, cried. We're both in recovery ... there was a lottttt to talk about. And meetings to go to.



On my first swim in a waterhole I realised that I was legit scared about being snapped up by a crocodile. There's designated places to swim, and then there's place with signs saying NO SWIMMING. So we walk six kilometres from our camp and there's this most beautiful waterhole complete with waterfall and it was so inviting but before I went in I had to just make peace with the fact that I was about to be eaten by a crocodile, even though the area was deemed "safe."



It cleansed my whole spirit. I swam across to these logs and stood up and did my old gymnastics beam routine (true story) .. and Sid the dog swam around us and we laughed and there were other people swimming too so at least the crocs had a variety to choose from.


We walked back, Annie had already cooked her steak the night before but I fell asleep early so I put my steak on to cook with knobs of butter and mushrooms and told everybody I make the BEST steak. You know how long that fucker took to cook? Twenty minutes - and that was before I turned it over. I handed out dry scones I'd grilled, most people politely said no because they were so shit and Annie was PISSING herself laughing at my mad camping skillz. My god we laughed. We were talking on the phone just before and she told me that there were certain times when I was up in Darwin and camping and sightseeing and stuff ... and I just dropped it all, all the hard stuff fell away. The worry about my kids, my circumstance, the panic, the pain. That I was just in the moment. So comforting, and hopeful. I want to be more like that.

I also would like to see more street signs like this:


DICK WARD. I made us pull the car over so I could take this photo and it took me ages because I couldn't stop laughing. Imagine the roll call at school.

"Dick Ward?" 
"Present Sir."

I'm so lucky to have gone up to the territory and done and felt all this new stuff. It's important to go to places we've never been before.

                                  I watched the sun set on the ocean.


                                   I took a photo of all my feelings.


                                Annie took a photo of me feeling my feelings.



                      WE RUB YOU FIGHTING COCK AFTER DEATH!!


We saw this on the beach - neither of us wrote it. I wonder who did and I hope they're ok. 

Now I'm back home to Freezingland but not for much longer because spring is coming. I can hear the birds, Fernando! My flat is warm but still quite empty but I ate cheesy crust pizza last night and finally, finally have been deemed suitable for government support after trying to prove my circumstances for a whole year. I've taken the PayPal button off this site and I'm only halfway through writing thank-you's to people I don't even know. So embarrassing, but thank you. I got this.

Good Stuff is now happening. I'm walking around with huge garbage bags getting rid of objects and clothes I don't need. My counsellor checks in with me constantly. She even gave me a few garbage bags of her own to help with the clearout. We laughed and then I told her I REALLY need to throw out the anger and resentment and piled-up shit in my heart. She agreed. It'll take a while but I'll get there.

My medications are all now a fraction of the cost because I've got a healthcare card. Things are looking up. I'm thinking of a new surname ... Eden Wolfe? Eden Stone? Eden Blue? Whatever the fuck I want. Stop taking everything so seriously and personally. I could even change my entire name to Dick Ward, make people laugh in the cemetery when they glance at my headstone while on their way to visit Aunty Mavis.

HERE LIES DICK WARD
DID THE BEST SHE COULD
TAKEN BY A CROC UP IN DARWIN
BUT ENJOYED THE HELL OUT OF HER LAST SWIM.
R.I.P. DICK

(Kidding. I don't want to be buried I want my ashes mixed with glitter and cast into the ocean.)
(I don't know why I'm always talking about death sorry.)
(We actually die every night and wake up brand new people true story.)
(Thank you again. I'll still be writing here like before but different. Better.)

Last pic ....


I travelled all the way to the top of Australia to learn that the prison was unlocked this entire time so I just walked on through to the other side. The grass isn't greener - it never is that shit's just an illusion. But the view is spectacular.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Look Both Ways Before Crossing A One-Way Street.

These days when I cross a one-way street I look both ways because I trust nobody.

It's hard to keep our hearts from becoming bitter after life happens to us, isn't it? The vampires in the Vampire Diaries have this thing where they can turn their humanity off. To cope with the things they have done. I've been jealous of that, sat there on my couch trying to flip my humanity to zero but it just won't work. No wonder I used to drink so much. Cope with the myriad of bullshit emotions and traumas blah blah.

I'm in Katoomba Library, writing this. I shy away from this site a lot because I'm too shy to say everything because there's so much to say. There's this guy in front of me on the other computer who keeps looking at my tits. Granted, they do look pretty hot today because I have a top on which is the rich red colour of a flamenco dancers skirt. But I want to punch this guy for making me feel uncomfortable. This guy is about 60 years old with bad hair and 80's glasses and right now he symbolises every man who's ever leered at me and did me wrong in my entire life. I want to grab this guys head and slam it down on the desk, again and again until his glasses break and forehead bleeds. There's no security guards in libraries - hey to my knowledge there's been no "terror attacks" in libraries? It's a good place for it - all these people getting educated. Slutty wesern women with red tops on.

Ventured out today for a coffee. I forgot to wear underpants and couldn't find socks but nobody knows that except me. I should lean across flaying my cleavage to leery guy and whisper to him that I have no underpants on. Fuck him up make him stutter before I crush his skull can't help it it's the Harley Quinn in me.

There's toddler book reading downstairs and this lady is singing sweet lullabyes really loudly and it's so beautiful I had to put my headphones on to blast Florence into my ears otherwise I'd cry because I used to take Max to toddler reading book reading sessions when he was a toddler. I used to do a lot of normal things, for so may years. Was I pretending? I don't know. I'm in the library to print out dissolution papers and I think I just accidentally printed out sixteen copies lol.

After this I'll walk up to the courthouse where they know me by name and get them officially signed. Is the word "dissolution" derived from "dissolve?" Like an Aspro Clear. Maybe it's "de-solve" like, this shit will never be solved but fuck it all let's put this baby to bed. A relief, a re-leaf that I'm turning over spring is nearly here. Blossoms and stuff. Natures popcorn. When Max was four years old he looked out the car window and said "Wow .. look at the colours of the trees!" So I looked. It was autumn oh the trees were stunning, turning as red as my top. I'd never noticed the colours of autumn before - how could I go through my entire life and not notice autumn until my four-year old son pointed it out to me?

Shit I'm trying to find the right BeyoncĂ© clip I want to put at the end of this post and it started blaring through the computer but I didn't notice because Florence in my ears and then I noticed and said 'FUCK SORRY.' The lady next to me visibly bristled. Leery guy looked. Whatever I'm too old to care anymore. Yesterday I couldn't even make it out of the house like a fucking complete loser. Breaking down again and again and again. Today I'm taking my friends daughter to Sydney to the premiere of Aladdin. I got free tickets so I'm kind of compelled to social media it ... panicking already because society but it will probably be good. Until the genie song and I'll probably weep for Robin Williams. I asked Rocco first if he wanted to come and he said no way it looked boring. His ability to talk bold and tell the truth astounds me. Wish I was like that at his age I probably wouldn't be so mouthy but hey, the world needs mouthy women with their mouthy mouths. Which reminds me, I never have to give another blowjob again for as long as I live. What a fucking relief.

I shouldn't write like this but trust me - I'm a limo driver. Jokes I never had a career but trust me anyway .. this writing is tame compared to the roar threatening to explode inside of me constantly.

Simmer down, Eden. Like the pea and ham soup you never make anymore.

I have no ending because things are infinite and never end. Which reminds me, this is an actual exchange between me and a company the other day:

"Dear Endland Team,
We'd like to send you some Father's Day products to review on your blog what's the best address?"

"Thanks I'm not interested. I'm Wonder Woman - I have no father. I was created by Zeus."


No reply lol. I do love how they called me the Endland Team, though.


Here's Beyoncé. It's my latest fight song LOOK AT HER STRENGTH AND POWER AND THE WAY SHE COPIES KENDRICKS HEAD MOVES IN THAT BIT AND THEN SHE DANCES IN THE WATER AND I WANT TO DANCE LIKE THAT.

Endland Team signing off but I'll be back because a winner don't quit on themselves HEY.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Get The Hell Out Of Dodge.

On Tuesday I shoved some clothes into a bag, grabbed my toiletries and meds, and fanged it up to Katoomba Station to get the train to Sydney airport to get on a plane to travel across the country to go to Darwin. Wasn't sure if I could do it because I was having one of those lifey moments but my friend had already bought me the ticket and that'd just be a waste.


On the train it got to night time but I still left my sunglasses and hoodie up because then people wouldn't look at me. Listened to Florence and the Machine on the way down over and over and gosh all the feelings. Didn't even know why I was crying. It was kind of a relief tears, missing boys tears, brother tears, I need a Soul getaway tears. Left my sunnies on all through the airport, and my headphones because peopley people and their peopleness ugh.

Missed my flight (what a surprise!) got on the next flight, cried, had a whole row of seats to myself, slept, then Annie picked me up from Darwin airport at 1.30am in the morning greeting me with a huge hug and her dog Sid in the back seat of her car.

So I'm literally actually in Darwin right now .. have been to many places in the world but never the Northern Territory. From sub-zero ice temperatures in the Blue Mountains to heat and thongs and tank tops my Soul is warm.

Annie is my tour guide. Yesterday she took me to the local botanical gardens with all these trees and I told her about this tree that grows in scraggly rocks over in Scotland that need a few drops of water every year to survive and how I've always described myself as that and I demonstrated the tree and she told me to wait while she took a picture.

                                     Scottish Scraggly Rock Interpretation 

Today? Well today she told me to get on a bike and went bike riding and I've never bike-rode like this before, just free and fun and .. something? What haven't I been able to bike ride all these years, with my family, able to enjoy the moment? What has been wrong? Oh!

We rode and rode and stopped at the turquoise teal coloured beach ocean and when I walked on the sand I told Annie I haven't been to the beach in over a year. I made it this whole way to stand on the beach today in Darwin how lucky am I?





Annie tells me everything about everything. You've never meet an Annie like this Annie. She's taking me to the recovery round-up in a few days and we'll sleep in tents and she's got the swags ready and we'll do meetings under the stars.

                                            Me and Annie.



I got ochre on my hands and lagged behind on the bike on the way back because I been so unfit and then came back to sleep and now we're about to go to the night markets and then do a meeting. Annie's waiting right now for me to finish writing this and I'm like FIVE MORE MINUTES I PROMISE. I'm so annoying but I had to get this out and tell you guys but I gotta go. More later. Hey guess what I'm in Darwin and I'm allowed to be here and I'm not doing anything wrong and I stood in the ocean. Again. Hello it's nice to meet me everything is ok maybe.


Missed the June Dalley Watkins boat I still stand like a man whatever.


Sunday, 17 July 2016

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Chasing Asylum.


These grandmothers care enough to take it to the streets ... good old fashioned public protests are where it's at. Even more so now than before, because "raising awareness" and pressing the like button on Facebook doesn't really count for much.

They'd set themselves up outside Springwood Growers Markets on Sunday, I stopped and said good ON you all for doing this and literally taking a stand. We talked for ages, they handed me pamphlets to hand out myself and asked me to please join their Facebook page which I did while still standing there in front of them. You can find it here ... it's full of info and truth. The women weren't surprised that I hadn't seen the film Chasing Asylum as it's only on in a few selected cinemas by people brave enough to show it. The Current Affair "expose" was a manufactured veneer of the truth about the living conditions in Nauru and Manus Detention Centres ... the general public don't see the real story. Children are living in dirty tents and mouldy makeshift shacks. No toys. Utter misery, some have spent their entire lives there. Guards are issued certain kind of knife made to cut down the bodies of people who've hung themselves. The powers that be in charge of running Australia are breaking the International Bill of Human Rights.

I wish I could go there .. but one has to fork out a cool $7k to apply for a visa and if the application is unsuccessful there is no refund. And unsurprisingly there's no guarantee of walking around the place freely.

Chasing Asylum is the film the Australian Government does not want you to see .. has anybody seen it yet? The website and info on ticket sales is HERE. It's showing up here in the mountains at Mt Vic Flicks from the 15th - 17th July, and all around the country at selected cinemas.

The protesting grandmothers urged me to see it, urged me to urge other people to see it.

"We are grandmothers; we demand the immediate release of all asylum seeker refugee children and their families from detention."

Brava to them for taking action, petitioning local and federal government, and making their voices heard. People power is stronger and more effective than we realise.




"Chasing Asylum is a film made by Academy Award winner Eva Orner. It exposes the real impact of Australia’s offshore detention policies through the personal accounts of people seeking asylum and whistleblowers who tried to work within the system."


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