Monday, 1 September 2014

The Cry And The People.

Missed my flight to the Gold Coast last week. Why? Because I left it to the last minute to pack because I didn't want to leave my boys but I left anyway, got on the next flight. Checked in to the hotel and when the guy was a little bit mean to me I CRIED and had to walk away.

I asked Megan if she could come upstairs with me and she did - it was the first time I'd met her in the flesh and I was crying but it didn't matter. More on that later.

Blogging conferences are not for everybody. Incredibly overwhelming, exhausting, loud, manic, busy. But also good! There's nothing like meeting people in the flesh. No computer will ever replace actual human-to-human contact. I got to see Mr Problogger again, he is just as wise and genuine and cute as always.


I took a selfie after my social good panel ... which was AWESOME. Were you there? I love talking about things that mean things. Emma storified the session HERE ... I found out for the first time that when World Vision were choosing the right blogger to send to Africa in 2012, they weren't able to access my blog from their work computers - it was banned. And that the dollar value at the end of my trip came to either $200k or $300k I can't remember which. I'm no good with numbers. But it was a good number. They sent the right inspirational arsehole at the right time.

Later I caught up with the VeggieMama Stacey, who is such a polite gentleman.

She escorted me over to the Ahoy! party where I stayed for approximately 15 minutes - but before I left I quickly breastfed Katie Rainbirds baby. Her name is Juniper!

Yes she IS throwing a gangsign!

Kidding - I could hardly breastfeed my own babies! Katie is a baby wearing, boob-leading dynamo mama. When I got back to the hotel later I delicately sipped on a pouch of vanilla frosting and thought "This must be what it feels like to be Juni."

Guess whose hotel room was directly across from mine? Who I snuck over to every night? Who I caught up with for the first time in a very, very long time?

Mrs Woog and BabyMac and Styling You is who. I love this picture - don't you LOVE women who enjoy their food? Beth had a pizza, Woogs a burger and I ordered the black bean nachos. We pretended we were in America again and we laughed and laughed so hard, so hard and at one point during story time Mrs Woog paused and told me I will never cease to surprise her. I agreed. I am glad they don't give up on me.

On the first or second day I had to escape just by myself and as I walked across the beach towards the ocean I had huge gulping tears and the cry that is always present within me made its way to the surface. The sea ocean met my grief ocean. I walked up the esplanade and paid sixty bucks for a massage from a tiny Asian lady with strong hands. Bought a new black hoodie on the way back to the hotel. Skipped a lot of sessions but it's ok. There's always something going on. We can't get to everything, but I still felt like there was so many people I wanted to meet and talk to more.

Me and Megan went out to dinner - we didn't care where. Decided on Thai and sat down and looked at menus and realised it was Chinese but who cares, food is food.

Allow me to tell you a teeny story, to illustrate why I blog.

Two years ago an email popped up in my inbox from a woman called Megan. She is a librarian who loves books. I start reading her email and halfway through I had to sit down. Towards the end I was hunched over in a big silent scream cry. This stranger called Megan told me that she had desperately put some words into her search engine -  "death" "suicide" were some of the keywords. I guess SEO *does* work because voila! Up comes my blog. Megan was hurting real bad, her beloved younger brother had just killed himself until he was dead. Gone. Simon isn't here anymore. I emailed her back. I remember her reply back to me was something about how crazy I was that I blog so openly and yes, yes it is crazy. Because we're supposed to keep this shit in, keep it together, be fine upstanding members of society.

Anyway so obviously, now, Megan and I have the worst thing in the world in common. Worst. During dinner we talked about death, methods of suicide, the devastation of being left behind, the aching hole of grief and how we will never, ever be the same again and other people will go through their lives without feeling such things. I like that picture of us above - we're under a red traffic light. We had to stop.

I felt so bad because Megan told me that she had been repeatedly emailing me all year. She had? She had. I got back to my hotel room and searched in my inbox and there were SEVEN emails there over the past ten months that I had not read, replied to. So I went through them all and replied, wished her a happy christmas back, told her how very sorry I was for being so rude. My inbox gives me anxiety. Some days I get out of bed and do the very bare minimum that a mother needs to do and that's it. As good as it gets. Please - if you have emailed me recently and I have not replied, I am so, so sorry. I live in a fog. Things have been hard. I keep writing here because it's one of the very few things that can make me feel better. Sometimes I am having a dreadful, wicked awful day and I write and I feel better. But I AM getting better at replying, so you are so welcome to email me if you want to! And never apologise! I keep writing for me AND for you and I don't care how wanky that sounds.

I took another photo of Megan and I just before she was about to leave the conference.

We both set our jaws just so, both have eyes that say a lot, have seen a lot. I didn't want her to go! Told her she must come to the Blue Mountains as soon as she can. She says she even might. And we didn't even want a new friend because who has time for that when you feel so deeply shithouse on a regular basis? Megan is a bit further down the dead suicide brother situation than me. She gives me hope that I might be ok one day. I'm crying right now because I'm so not ok right now but one day I might because Megan said so. She told me about her compartmentalisation methods, her faith, how deeply loved her brother was too.

So yes there is all that brands and professional and business and learning stuff when it comes to blogging. But there is also the simple telling of a story, knowing that somewhere, somebody out there waves a flag back and says "Yes! I have felt that too!"

When I got home the house was empty and cold and I unplugged the FILTHY kitchen sink water because clearly The Cat In The Hat had been here while we were away, leaving an exceptional ring of doom.

As I lugged wood in, found the matches, lit the fire, unpacked the dishwasher .... I thought about all the times my brother Cam would have come back to his house and been cold. And not cared enough to light the fire because it was just him but he didn't care about himself. How he wrote in his note how lonely he was - of COURSE you were lonely, Cam! You pushed everybody away!

I would stay away out of respect for him because I didn't want to pressure him, didn't want to make him feel bad. It's bullshittingly awful, this hindsight. This constant postmortem not just of my brothers death, but of his life. Because if he were still alive? I would do things differently. I would march down there and piss him RIGHT off and stage an intervention because he was fucked up. My brother was so fucked up. (So was I. So am I. I thought he would make it through. Why is he there and I am here? What made the difference? At this point I believe in god as much as I believe in Cat In The Hat.)

I don't care much about myself either but I still lit the fire anyway because the boys were due home from the beach house. And when they tumbled inside with sunscreen hair, bearing dirty washing and chicken kebabs with garlic sauce ..... instead of thinking "Cam never had this Cam never had this" I FORCED myself to be grateful. I have this. I have this.

It felt like I hadn't seen them for a thousand years, and we all sat at the table and laughed and I told Dave all about the conference and how he is definitely one of bloglands hottest husbands. Somebody said we should do a Dave Riley nude calendar and sell it off my blog. There's a way to make some money hon!

It was great to be home. Until Rocco cried when Max held the book that I bought them from the airport wrong so Rocco had to go to bed and Max was annoyed and then me and Dave had a fight and the house was still cold.

It takes ages to warm up. I went to bed at midnight because I was typing up something for Dave, so today I'm feeling decidedly unfresh and flat. So are probably a lot of people. I'm not alone. I'm not. No I am NOT.

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