Wednesday, 30 April 2014

I Cannot Tell You How I Feel.

There are not enough letters in the alphabet to form sentences and structures to adequately convey how I feel. I cannot tell you, I cannot make the words come. I'm struck down by the most disabling, paralysing whelm.

When my little brother started growing up, I'd watch him get frustrated and angry. I'd tell him that I know it wasn't fair and to take his anger out on me. I'd let him bash my two arms as I held them up in front of my face, laughing at first but man could he let fly. Because I never wanted him to hurt. I never asked for him to come into my life and I never asked him to leave. I never asked to love him so deeply. I never asked for all of this pain that has come after his death. If this is the price we pay for love then just don't love. There are very, very few people I love so unconditionally and purely as I loved him. The feelings I feel now are exquisite, and not exquisite in the beautiful diamond ring way. The other exquisite, the awful one.

The French probably have better words for it but I don't speak French. I just know my heart, and it is aloft, adrift, broken all up. Not even my Maxs tendrils can help. Not nothing. If something is not nothing, where did my Cameron go? He was just here, sitting on my blue couch outside in his crisp shirt drinking lime cordial. Talking to me, really talking about it all, you know? Do you know? Do you have people you say it all to?

A teenager died at our local lake last week. Awful. Tragic. He was fishing with his brother and somehow slipped into the lake and drowned. His poor, poor brother managed to grab him but he just couldn't hold on and I know exactly how he feels.

Couldn't hold on.

I googled "how to stop grieving" and nobody can tell me. These days I just turn my head to one side to let my tears run out, can't even be bothered wiping them. As natural as getting water out of my ears after a swim. I don't want to tell people how I am until after all the feelings have gone and I am whole again. But I've never been whole, my life feels like a parody, and maybe my tears are selfish anyway. Why do we cry when somebody we love dies? Is it for them, or for us? Do I weep for the person my brother might have been, or who he actually was? He's gone and I'm feeling all the pain for the both of us and that's not really very fair at all.

There's a huge chunk of my life where I used drugs and drinking to squash my feelings down real tight in the dark. I'm acutely aware that I've just stopped antidepressants and other medications - valid medications - and I'm now feeling all the feels, the biggest ones. I was expecting it. And while there's an element of concern around that, there's also a certain waking up and coming back to myself, whoever myself is. I told my counsellor that every single morning now when I wake up, I have entirely forgotten who I am. Then it slowly dawns on me that I'm a woman named Eden. Then I have to work out where exactly I am in my life, what's happened, what day it is, where I'm up to. Like some really strange Richter scale of reality.

I've travelled to villages in Africa so remote that they don't even have a name. Watched people who own no clocks work so hard to make a simple bowl of basic maize. I've seen entire generations of families in India carve their homes into the sides of huge rotting garbage piles. Resilience and strength and the will to keep going ... human beings have that in spades. Except when they don't.

So, this is how I feel.

The grief turned my eyes green. I'm sure they used to be blue, can't remember. I sleep with a t-shirt that he wore just before he died. The smell of him is still in the world. I cry for hours at a time. I feel I will never be ok again.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Girls, Let's All Eat Like Iggy Azalea.

Have you heard about the guy uploading photos of women eating to a tumblr called Women Who Eat On Tubes? He encourages commuters on the British train underground network to take a photo of women eating and post it to the site. There's countless pics of women "caught out" eating in public ... apples, sandwiches, hamburgers, pens, even just drinking from a water bottle. He explains:

".. slowly, secretly, guiltily raising each bite-sized morsel to their salty lips in the hope that no one’s watching. Well, I'm watching."

The guy likens his site to photographing wildlife. He also encourages women to "go deeper" when eating their bananas.

Fuck. That. Guy.

Last year at MTVS Music Video Awards, Australian rapper Iggy Azalea was accidentally snapped and subsequently shamed for eating chicken wings and "photobombing" this picture of Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding and Rita Ora.

Pic: FilmMagic for MTV

Because we all know women should not adequately nourish and fuel their bodies, especially not at an awards ceremony. (Even if the chicken wings and red velvet cake was free.)

How did Iggy respond? She just reposted the photo to her Instagram account with the caption "Me and Harry." 

I'm a bit sensitive at the moment because after a lifetime of being naturally skinny, I've packed on some hefty beef and it's left me feeling incredibly uncomfortable in public. I have to wear flowy tops just to blend in. I don't want any attention in the supermarket. You know what I want in the supermarket? Tampons for my period, tissues for my grief, and chocolate for my lovehandles. Not lascivious stares by older men at my newly-huge tits.

So many different varieties of "feminism" can really confuse the hell out of me but MAN am I sick of the expectations on what women should or should not do/be/say/look/wear/eat.

And godammit if Iggy Azalea doesn't make me want to eat a banana in public. A nice big fat juicy banana that's so over-ripe it's starting to go black just how I like it.

Friday, 25 April 2014

"Mum will you PLEASE sing Spoonful of Sugar With Me?"

Dave and I always accuse each other of hiring out dud movies from the video shop. (Yes, people still drive in their cars to physically hire out movies.)

Sometimes I just pick exactly what I want because at least one of us can be happy. The other day I was raising a sweat trying to choose one that we both would like and I get a text from Max.

I really did hire out Mary Poppins. Which Rocco had never seen! I told the boys I used to play Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious on the organ when I was a kid. They fell about laughing.

"I'm serious guys ... I took organ lessons for years."

Deep, deep laughter. Reminds me of when I tell people I like cooking, or art. They get so surprised, like I should be too busy being screwed up to enjoy things in life?

Anyway so Rocco walks into my room early last week at the beach house and asks if I could please sing Spoonful of Sugar with him. Even though we were both still sick, I told him yes. But only if I could film it. (Greasy hair and all.)

It's the missing front four teeth that slay me the most. 

(I actually hired out the Hunger Games as well .... Dave and I BOTH liked it! Together at the same time!)

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Strangers Bearing Tissues.

Hi how are you? I'm ok. Here's the only easter photo I took this year:

I had to escape on easter Sunday so bingo seemed seemed as good an idea as any. Dave took the boys to his mums and I bought myself some new dobbers and sat down next to a woman called Jill. We were instant bffs ... her husband was a builder too. We compared war stories.

"He just collected everything! I mean, he was so good at what he did ... never had to get a tradesman in for anything. But he did bring a lot of furniture home."

Jills husband died five years ago. She goes to every bingo in town, there's usually one on every day. She's getting pretty sick of it. It's fierce competition, the jackpot was up to $1500. My nan used to take me to bingo when I was a kid and I still love it. There are no airs and graces at bingo, no fashion stakes or fake conversations. You don't even have to talk to anyone, just go in and play your game with your head down. Perfect for those who like being around people, just not interact too much. In the beginning I was sniffling so much that Jill offered me a tissue. "You can have the whole pack! Here's some easter eggs too! Would you like a mint?"

She never asked me why it looked like I had been crying, she just filled the silence with commentary. And a bit of envy, that her five kids were all grown up and I was still in the slog of family raising. I actually envied her solitude and time, so there we sat for a while, thinking the other had it better. At halftime she raced off to the pokies.

"I'm a gambler Eden! See you in half an hour!"  I went and got myself a free coffee from the machine and it tasted like every recovery meeting I've ever gone to. It tasted AWESOME. Checked my emails and received a really lovely one from my friend Kim at Frogpondsrock. We're comrades in grief and she was just checking in, sent me the link to an article she thought I might like. Pretty sure I was the only person in the bingo hall reading a NY Times piece called What Suffering Does. 

I kept hearing snippets of conversations around me. Bingo finished so Jill and I said goodbye but I'm sure I'll see her again. I felt better, even went over to Daves mums for a cuppa afterwards.

Poor Dave reached for a kettle bell during his workout the other day and bang - put his back out. We went to get a massage together ... do you ever go to those Chinese places in shopping centres? We do. I LOVE them, getting in really hard and deep. No pipe music, just the hustle of people shopping and weird smelling oil. I was a bit concerned because I've purposely not had a massage since Cam died. The thought of just lying there aware in my body has been too much. But I really needed one too. I said to the woman booking us in that I needed a good, deep, proper one. There's nothing worse than a masseuse with limp hands when you're all ready for a pounding. She looks me up and down.

"Ok. You wait twenty minutes. I get my husband for you. You like."

Eventually we were ushered in to our tables. Stripped off to undies and I was READY.

I can't even explain what happened next. This guy just came in, started feeling around my upper back and neck, and it was on.

"You tight. You very tight lady."

I laughed and said yes, I've been stressed. His hands just dug deeper and deeper, unveiling all of my rickety joints and sinews and muscles that I've somehow been keeping upright these past few months. Suddenly, everything he touched was on fire. I don't know how or what he did but the next hour was not a massage like I've ever experienced. He ran his hands up and down the most odd places. Strangely, it felt exactly what my body needed. But the pain was excruciating. Dave told me later that all he could he was swearing and panting form my cubicle. This guy just dug around, contorted me into the WEIRDEST positions. My hair was wet from sweat. He softly said,

"Is like torture."

And I said yes, is like torture but I wasn't just talking about the massage. He whisked the curtain away and came back with some tissues for my tears.

"Thank you. My brother died. It's been hard."

He didn't acknowledge, just kept leading me down into the seventh circle of hell. Twisted, stretched ... how did he even know I was that flexible? At one point he was massaging and pulling on my arse cheeks so hard I started laughing uncontrollably. Also crying. It was exactly what I needed and it hurt so, so badly.

Lately I've been eating well and getting a bit of exercise out of sheer desperation to try feel better.  I've stopped taking all bipolar medication and antidepressants. It's been hell. But I kept getting told to try this and take that, and I'm just sick of all the repercussions and side effects. I've put a lot of trust in certain health professionals but I want my body back. I want to start fresh. All I take now is spirulina, krill oil, and vitamins. I'm starting yoga. I've looked at the group fitness timetable at the gym. I'm reclaiming myself because goddamit I was medicated up to the eyeballs and STILL ended up in a mental ward anyway so I may as well try something else for a bit.

After my "massage" I was waiting for Dave out the front and the guy came out. I saw his face for the first time. He was young and very good looking. He smiled.

"It was good?"

"How did you know how do do that?"

He laughed and went on to his next client. I'm still in awe. Dave came out and asked what the hell happened to me in there and I said I had no idea.  I still don't. Maybe it has something to do with chi and spiritual healing? Shifting energies and surrendering? Starting all over again?


Thursday, 17 April 2014

Random Lettuce.

My friend Beth and I were in a textathon the other night. She is beautiful and generous and HILARIOUS. Back and forth, back and forth .... then she suddenly sends me a pic of the quarter pounder she ate on the weekend. Ages ago I told her about my craving of all cravings while I was pregnant with Rocco - six nuggets gently nestled inside a quarter pounder. Beth very much liked my use of the word "nestled" to describe the situation.

"Edie, look at the random fucking lettuce on my quarter pounder? LOOK AT IT MOCKING ME."

That piece of lettuce had me laughing so, so hard. It's not even supposed to BE there.

In other news, out of all the places in Australia they could be today, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are headed up the Blue Mountains to meet with people affected by last years bushfires. This is a huge deal for local tourism. I'm not up there at the moment but if I was, I'd be camped out at the Three Sisters with a pair of mini ugg boots to give to Prince George. I'd tell William that he is an extraordinary young man and that his mum would be so proud of him and when the press asked me what we spoke about I'd tell them it was private.

Rocco and I have been at the beach house by ourselves the last few days. I've been driving the car Dave bought his daughter Phoebe Rose for when she gets her license. About 11.30pm the other night, the car alarm went off. I lost my shit because I knew it was a ploy by bandits to get me out the front to murder me and take my child so I rang Dave and woke him up to ask what I should do. I was seriously terrified, and not in the emotional state to deal properly. At all. He told me to go outside and press the button a few times, to make sure all the doors are shut, and see if it goes off again.

"I can't go outside! What if there's a murderer out there?"

"Eden there's no murderer out there."

"What if I go out and they come around behind and take Rocco?"

"Hon what the fuck are you talking about? There's nobody there! It's just the car!"


"Look there's nobody there. Just go outside and check the doors. Just do it."

Crying uncontrollably. "I CAN'T GO OUTSIDE!"

"For fucks sake. Will I call the police?"

"DON'T TALK TO ME LIKE THAT. Fine I'll go but when you try to call me tomorrow and I don't answer, YOU'LL KNOW WHY."

Grabbed the green kitchen knife I bought for five dollars at Kmart and ran outside into the rain wearing just a t-shirt and undies, screaming obscenities. Not one neighbour came out to inspect. What are car alarms even for?

Dave and Max are back now, so I can remove the knife from my pillow.

I'm taking the boys to the movies today ... I've no idea about that Frozen film everybody is banging on about but this Lego Movie is creating big waves in my household. Huge. Might even go all the way and get a black bean burrito for lunch. Buy a new pair of shoes. I've a hankering for new shoes. Which is good. Means I still have places to go.

What are you doing today? Do you cry when you see Prince William on the news? Ever been so angry at your husband you felt like stabbing somebody? Do you know the muffin man? Worst pregnancy craving? Do you like movies about gladiators? Ever been in a Turkish prison?

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Arriving In Deadwood.

"Don't you know, at some point, we know these fucken things? Don't you know, the world ... says its fucken name to us?" - Calamity Jane

The characters of Deadwood are living in me. Great art always resonates. I am all of the people; they are all of me. Jane is my favourite, even if Al Swearengen narrates my thoughts. I've only two episodes to watch until the end of season three .. then it was axed, cut short in the prime of its life without resolution. Sound familiar?

I imagine you watching Deadwood. I imagine you imagining yourself living back in those easier times, with just the gold mines and the filth, lawlessness and smallpox. A time when a man knew he was a man. I imagine you watching it and wishing yourself away like always.

This is a telegraph.

I've been crook. Finally the antibiotics have started to work. Last week I lay on my bed too weak to turn over. God can't forsake you if you forsake him first. I cried about you like I always do. The tears have turned red and they burn. The Widow Garrett said that she's not sure if she's living her life or if its living her.

Max has drawn close to me like he always does when I need it most. He's developing into quite a young man. He told me he thinks about you every day. I'm deeply saddened but relieved you didn't allow yourself to get closer to the children in your life. It has spared them much pain. (But still, he thinks of you every day. What would you have made of that?)

When I was a little girl I'd look out my bedroom window at night and imagine all the people, right then in the world. All of the things they were doing. It panicked me. Still does.

I'm finding it increasingly difficult to attach meaning to things.

The opening soundtrack to Deadwood is on constant loop in my head. The actors have appeared elsewhere ... an angry bank customer is Merle from Walking Dead. My beloved Calamity Jane is the lawyer in Sons of Anarchy. Hotelier AB is the Police Chief from True Blood.

Sometimes you get real people playing characters who were real people, all explaining to us who we are.

It's exactly six months today since you left. It's even a Tuesday. Yesterday Rocco bought a packet of balloons and asked if he could use Uncle Cams gas to make the balloons go up high in the sky. I said no. I didn't tell him it was a different kind of gas, for it was time neither for a macabre science lesson for one so young or an emotional display (from me) in the middle of a supermarket. To his little head, gas is gas. I envy both his simplicity of thinking and the matter-of-fact way he mentions your name.

What's so important about six months? Not a goddamn thing. Tomorrow it will be six months and one day and the pain will still be as great. I thought I knew pain before. I keep hearing the sound of life laughing at me.


Tonight will be a bloody lunar eclipse. Good.

I've decided that you wouldn't have gone away if you'd had children. I always waited for the day to see you hold a baby in your arms so I could whisper, "See? I told you you could feel more." That's entirely a projection of my own making that nobody will ever know for sure but the thought comforts me nonetheless.

I cannot shake the feeling that your death has made a mockery of my life. We shared similar sentiments of the world and the people in it.

This is a telegraph.

The cowboy boots in Deadwood are pretty serious and mean business. Back in the day when men needed only one pair at a time. I'll soon put my cowboy boots on again if I'm to make it out of this mess. I haven't worn a pair in more than a year. They always help me on to the next chapter, even if it's a chapter I don't particularly feel like galloping off into. Too busy re-living old hurts and all.

If you whisper to me in the dead of the dreamless night, I will hear you. And even though you still won't be present in life the next day, and the day after that, it'll make you not being here in Deadwood with me a whole lot more bearable.

"Every day takes figurin' out all over again ... how to live." - Calamity Jane

Monday, 7 April 2014

Bane Cat.

All I want to do is sleep for a year. If people ever ask me how I got through this period of my life I'll just say I didn't. Like that guy who had to cut his arm off with a swiss army knife to save himself, left a part of himself behind.

There's scattered body parts all over the road up in here, but I still have to cook and clean and be a mother. One of my favourite parts is the influence I have over my kids. Music, values, food ... ridiculous You Tube videos.

Last week I sat down with Max and showed him Bane Cat.

AS SOON as Max finished watching it, he was Bane Cat. Walking around the house with a running commentary. I'd ask him to unload the dishwasher and he'd respond, "Do you feel in charge, Mothturd?"

Or I'd tell him it's time for bed.

"This gives you ... power over me?"

When were sitting on the couch together I impersonated E.T. ... then HE impersonated Bane Cat impersonating E.T. One of my proudest parenting moments to date.

Rocco loves Bane Cat too ... but his favourite was when I came into his room and asked him if he'd ever seen Airplane Banana?

Bolt upright. "Mum. WHAT is Airplane Banana?"

We laughed so hard.

"Mum I nearly wet my pants!"

"Me too!"

Friday, 4 April 2014

The Five Stages Of Grief After You've Been Hated Upon By Haters.

Ever been bitched about on the internet? Bullied at school? Harassed at work? Bad-mouthed by anonymous douchebags via every possible social media channel? This is for you.

Horror. How could they! What? No. No way is my name right there next to all of those mean things. No WAY. I can't believe it. Surely they can see I'm a nice person? This is ... this is just wrong. This can't be happening to me I am NICE. What?!!

I pour my heart out, give it my all, and THIS is the thanks I get? You have NO idea how it feels like to be me. Can't even see me. You're wrong. Fuck this shit. Fuck you.
"Imma be what I set out to be, without a doubt undoubtedly,
And all those who look down on me I'm tearing down your balcony." - Eminem

Look. Ok. I never said I was perfect. I can change. Can I? Do I need to? Who do you want me to be? Just tell me and I'll be it. I know you can like me! Just give me another chance. I'll strip away all that you don't like and be different. I can be better. Show me who you want me to be and I'll be it! I am so sorry.

This is useless. I am useless. I am, whatever you say I am. It's true ... everything you say is true. I'm a bad person. Shouldn't be trying to do or say or achieve anything, in case I make you feel angry, or outraged, or inferior, or jealous. I can give up, if that's what you want?

There's nothing I can do or say or somehow act any differently to convince you of who I really am. I guess you've really made up your mind? Huh. Well, I might just continue on with what I was doing anyway. Because this *is* who I am. Not everybody is going to like me or agree with me. That's cool. I get it. I sure as hell don't like or agree with a lot of people either. I guess that's called, being part of the human race? Anyway, if anybody needs me I'll just be doing my stuff over here. You know - creative, ridiculous, or successful shit. I like doing that. Fills me up in a way that you'll never, ever know.

"I write from my soul. This is the reason that critics don't hurt me, because it is me. If it was not me, if I was pretending to be someone else, then this could unbalance my world. But I know who I am." - Paulo Coelho

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Why I Blog. (And Why You Might Want To.)

I started an anonymous blog seven years ago, to document my IVF treatment. Called myself Topcat. My first post was about two paragraphs long and I was all nervous and shy.

I couldn't seem to find many other Australian bloggers at the time, so I hooked up with some beautiful Americanos. The freedom of being anonymous on the net meant that I could write whatever the hell I wanted .... all of my family secrets, all of MY secrets. You just don't write such things in your real name, you know?

It was pretty liberating. In my real life I was incredibly protective and secretive, but in this fake life I could just say whatever.

Top tip: If you have an anonymous blog on the internet, you WILL get found out by people in real life. Trust me on this.

I got pregnant with Rocco in September 2007. So my blog became a kind of pregnancy journal. That thrilling feeling of seeing one of my posts commented on .... somebody likes me! My belly grew and I took selfies at bad angles with bad hair and didn't care. The very first time I posted a photo of myself on my blog and published it I almost vomited. It just felt so .... weird. I'd put myself out there, in the netherwebs where ANYBODY COULD SEE ME.

Other bloggers will attest - you get used to it. You write about yourself, your personal life, post photos, like it's second nature. Back then, for me ... it was to share. And read other bloggers sharing too. That's all. No brands/agencies/PR. No ulterior motives. Just writing. Shooting the shit, taking the piss.

My much-sought after miracle baby Rocco was born in a hospital room where his dad had to sit on a plastic beige chair because of all the tumours. Who goes through a cancer diagnosis and birth in one week? Us arseholes, that's who. So I didn't shut my incredibly inappropriate Topcat blog down. I needed it more than ever and I was PISSED. My Americanos (and now some Aussies - looking at you Vee) supported me and left me comments and kind of held me up, you know? I was so glad I'd started one - once I wrote a post called My Milkshake Brings All The Boys To The Yard. It was about 3am, I was crying, had cabbage leaves on my enormous boobs that apparently contained no milk sorry baby, try this bottle of formula!

I was so angry. Around that time, something happened in my writing. It was maturing. I started experimenting with essay-style posts and I liked it. And I started to get good at it. I'm not a person who's been good at much in life. My grandmother always told me I'd be a writer and I believed her because there wasn't much to believe in back then. My lifes dream is to write a book one day. Just one. I've started and I have a lot of words down, they just need assembling. And cutting. And chopping. You know what blogging taught me? How to write. I'm incredibly grateful for that. I just kept coming back, writing my little bits of fluff in the beginning - almost gave up so many times because what's the point?

Whenever a person tells me they've just started a blog, I tell them great. Just keep writing, keep getting the words out, consistently. Then come back to me in a year.

Everybody seems to want it all instantly. Good things take time - build it slowly. In telling other people about yourself, you're telling yourself about yourself. There's a deepness in that that you won't realise until you're in it. "Blog" is a stupid word - but this is not a stupid thing. Not at all. Cast aside all the crap and bullshit and commercialisation of every damn thing on the internet and just carve out your own space. I always call my blog my mound of clay ... you can make anything! A fashion blog or a food blog, book blog, political blog. Get some blind faith and pour yourself in there. Just keep going and see what happens. Hint: ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. And that's not just inspirational bullshit, it's true. I never could have known seven years ago that writing those stilted, self-conscious posts at the beginning would lead me to be interviewing the Prime Minister of Australia.

Eventually I made the big decision to change my blog and write it in my own name. This blog has been called a few things, but eventually I settled on Edenland. I decided to stop writing so openly and with so much rawness, and strictly write professional pieces.

HA. Didn't last long. I know I write things that most people keep under their lids. Sometimes I'm pressing publish and just wincing. I believe it's called blogging tourettes? I used to be really private. Apparently I'm not now.

"Blogging" is one of the best things I've ever done in my life. I opened myself up on the page and in the world. My cancer-free husband and I saved up and flew to New York in 2010 where I went to BlogHer at the Hilton and met other bloggers in the flesh for the very first time.

I started blogging as a hobby. I went the whole "professional" route and it didn't fit well so now I just take ads in my sidebar. I never set out to make a million bucks. I want to say a huge thank you to readers of my blog who have commented and emailed and tweeted me lately following the death of my brother. You beautiful people lifted me up and made me cry in the same breath. You give to me what you say I give to you. You can't tell from this post, but I'm currently going through one of the hardest things in my life. I can't even blog it yet, that's how bad I am. But I will. I always do.

My blog has blood, and guts, and a skull, and flowers. I'll never stop. I've come too far to turn back now.

“I went to the blog because I wished to blog deliberately, 
to blog only the essential facts of life, 
and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, 
and not, when I came to die, 
discover that I had not blogged."

(Apologies to Thoreau)

What makes you read a blog?
Bloggers, why do you blog?

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