"Oh, you were finished? Well, allow me to retort."
- Jules, Pulp Fiction
I took these photos before and after my hair and make-up last week, from being on Ten's Breakfast Show. Which one is better? Prettier? The most real? If I *only* post photos of myself looking like the "After" photo ... would I be duping my blog readers into thinking I am something that I'm not? Is it my duty to disclose my age spots, blotchy skin, lank hair, tired eyes?
Back in January, I was asked to be interviewed for an article on Australian bloggers in the magazine lift-out of a leading Sunday newspaper. Sure! I was flattered, and skyped with the interviewer Julietta Jameson. It was an informal chat. I shared too much. More fool me. The piece, entitled "Life on the Line" came out today. I don't like it. I'm hugely disappointed and feel quite sick. Nauseous. I can't even eat the cake sitting in my kitchen right now.
I've been asked quite a few times now, to tell my story to major newspapers and magazines. Last year, the Australian Women's Weekly commissioned a piece from me about my life, specifically, "How I have managed to overcome my struggles." I wrote the piece, emailed it to them. They said Eden, this is great! You write so well! But we really need some more detailed information about your addiction ... how did it start? When did you know? What were some of the things you did, in your addiction?
Last month I pitched and wrote a story for an Australian site, detailing what it's like to be in recovery. They replied with, That's great Eden .. but can we delve a bit into how it all first began? And what happened?
I politely declined both publications, completely understanding that that's what people want: the delving. I'm only prepared to delve as much as I'm comfortable with. (My second piece was eventually published on top American website Curvy Girl Guide. I called it, Me and Whitney .)
Today I'm in the strange position of having to publicly clarify my relapse ... which was incorrectly described as seven months long. AWESOME. Let's do this thing, people! (Grab your popcorn pls.)
1) I relapsed once, for one weekend, completely away from my family. This happened in February .. over a year ago. After a decade of sobriety. I "duped my fans" for about three weeks, until I did a wanky performance piece to camera admitting to my relapse in a post called Recovery 2.0
2) After that time, I was on-and-off anxiety medication, ending in Xanax, in September of last year. In my world, anything stronger than a headache tablet is no good for me and something I classify as "a bust." I learned the hard way, that nothing good can ever, EVER come from prescription medication.
3) There's no such thing as a seven-month relapse. Relapsing for seven months is called "active addiction." There is a very, very big difference. I could ask somebody what it's like, but they'd probably be too incapable of answering me. Or too dead.
I am uncomfortable writing this stuff down. I am uncomfortable being so public about my recovery, and have always side-stepped a lot of things. If I ever truly delved, James Frey himself would wince. But it is a part of who I am, what makes me me. I like to believe, that I am more. I hope I am more. It's always the thing that people want to know about me the most. The only time I would ever truly "delve" would be in my own autobiography. In my own words.
Bloggers have heralded the arrival of new media for years now. We are a strange, beautiful, amazing group of people. We represent entire demographics. (There are even bloggers *other* than "mummybloggers.")
The bloggers in the article today are all incredible women with strong ideas and voices: Kerri Sackville, BabyMac, and Naomi. I feel like interviewing them again myself, writing an article showcasing some incredible Australian blogging talent in a clear and balanced light.
I've been a blogger for almost five years - a lot has happened. I did IVF then got pregnant then my husband got cancer and almost died so went through chemo and survived. I had a newborn who screamed the house down for a year and I went NUTS ... culminating in my spectacular fall from Grace. (For the record, the only person I have ever duped on my blog .. is myself. And I didn't even know it until afterwards.)
Never have I blogged how hideous and truly awful last year actually was. How was I supposed to write, "Gee, I really don't care if I was dead today." I took a different tone, instead. Relapsing changed my writing entirely, forever. There are deeper undercurrents on my blog .. shifts in consciousness. My sister Linda said today in my kitchen, watching the shame-fueled tears roll down my cheeks .. "Eden, the funny thing is, you're actually a really private person."
So I don't like how I was portrayed in a mainstream magazine article today - worse things could have happened. I agreed to the interview, and answered questions I wish I hadn't. It's done, now. I've learned a HUGE lesson. During the photoshoot for the piece, the photographer asked me to hold a glass of wine and have my children running around me. I ignored him, but he said it again .. told me that he had "instructions" from his editor for me to be holding a glass of wine. I said, "Well, one of the things I blog about is being a recovering alcoholic so that's probably not a very good idea. Can I hold a cup of tea instead?"
I'm still reeling from being back from Africa. If you are new to my blog today, I was sent there by World Vision, to bring attention to the people of Niger. Why was a blogger sent? Because mainstream media have failed to cover it. Why? Maybe, they are too busy writing other stories? (I asked if my trip to Africa could be included in today's article, but was told it would not fit the tone. Now I understand why.)
Sunday Life readers, this is what a blogger does! In chronological order ...
What a Thing To Do
World Vision Blogger Touchdown in Africa, Blasts Eminem
So far out of my comfort zone I can't even SEE my privilege from here
Zenouba the Starfish
Hey, White Girl
Going to Africa last week was the pinnacle of my blogging "career." It was worth every too-raw story, every inappropriate thing I have ever written about myself here. I get pitched by major brands and agencies most days, now. Because they want access to all of the eyeballs reading Edenland .. this strange blog that gets over 70,000 hits per month. I mostly say no .. I'm protective of all the eyeballs. To hand over my blog to such a huge cause in the way that I did .. with nary a sponsor or sidebar ad? One of the biggest bait-and-switches of all time. Like, here are all my dark stories and some delving .. but HERE is something that really matters.
I keep telling myself to not be ashamed, to own my words and my Truth, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me. I never set out to be the poster girl for addiction. Meetings saved my life last year. I have pulled a strength out of myself that I NEVER knew was there. A strong woman who is standing in her power .. just may be one of the most dangerous creatures to exist. I blog the way I do to punch holes in the world. To set things on fire .. to reinvent myself every goddamn day. I blog to tell you about me and in that process, we both seem to get to know ourselves a little bit more.
Thank you to the people who have already written a blog post about this today:
Louisa Claire with Inside scoop: Mummy bloggers ignore their husbands feelings and write to get sympathy!
Alexandra Wrote from Los Angeles with A Blogger, A Writer. Same Difference
Carly Findlay with On why we need to value bloggers
Twitchy with What are blogging mums really about? OR .. whatever happened to actual journalism?
Melissa with Trash. Tabloid Journalism
Working Mums Australia with A Blog About Blogging
If you have any questions you can leave a comment or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are in recovery and struggling ... keep going. Keep going. Keep going. Don't give up. It will ease. You'll find parts of yourself you never, ever knew existed. And they are enough.
I am now going to publish this post. And I am going to eat the cake. And it will, indeed, be Good.
When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.
That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is - everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.
I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.
- Steve Jobs