Monday, 30 June 2014

Eden Riley, Slam Poet.

Something magical happened.

See, back when I would talk with my brother for hours and hours and hours about life and staying alive and not killing yourself and exactly WHY it was important to keep living .... I had to answer those very questions myself first before I could tell him. And sometimes, a lot of the time, at least half of the time, I didn't even believe it. And he smelt bullshit a mile off and he KNEW I was struggling just as hard as him and he'd smile and laugh and just shrug at the audacious bullshittery of it all, everything, the whole damn fucking planet and its uselessness. Did I ever tell you that I used to cook corned beef just so he'd come for dinner because that was his favourite meal and even though he didn't add much to the conversation because he was so fucking clinically depressed and fucked up and desperately, horrifically sad .... I'd get to see his face. It was such a selfish thing for me to do, to cook corned beef just to see his face.

I wonder how long I made him stay longer than he oughta? Because he did love me. He really, really did. Even his friends tell me he did.

And how could he not? I'm fucking awesome.

But some conversations, I would passionately believe in what I was telling him and when I would rack my brain to think of the trick, the spark, the answer to just MAKE HIM STAY ..... I grew impatient and annoyed.

"Cam, if you wait long enough ... if you just get through the hard days and the hard nights and the wanting to die .... mate I swear to fuck magic happens. Little pieces of magic come, they really do. It's true. It's the rules. Nobody can be this down and sad forever. Nobody."

When I got sober I got to experience life in a way I never thought possible before, so I knew magic happened. I had the capacity to feel joy, and love, cast my cynicism aside to feel the utter enchantment and wonderment of life shining on my face. (Sometimes - not all the time. God knows life can suck my penis nice and slow like I like it at this point.)

Anyway so Cam killed himself and I wasn't surprised, oh no. I am pulled apart, like a pullapart loaf from Bakers Delight except it's not delightful. I'm a wreck a mess a failure a burnt charred memory of a big sister. Every single photo I have of me and my brother I am hugging him so close. The past eight months have been hell in ways that I can't describe - except ..... I can describe.

Something magical happened on my way pacing grief town the other week. I entered a slam poetry competition and I won. I won with nothing more than my bare words and the experience of being alive in the world.

The irony, of finding a meaningful experience of his death in actually performing a piece about his death to a roomful of people. I wrote a poem called Strong Bones and I practiced it in my house hundreds, maybe even a thousand times. With rage and tears and fury and sorrow, I paced all of the rooms when nobody was here and I practiced in each. I did it best in my son Maxs room, because it has all his shit in it and his smell and his heart and it helped. I am so consumed with grief that the only way to alleviate it is describe it and perform it. I won my heat so I go down to Sydney in a few months to compete in the state finals, to decide who represents NSW in the Australian Poetry Slam Championships.

Me, the unbelievable talented Luka Lesson, and the other winner of the heat Riley Callan

I'm so sorry that I can't show you my poem yet because I'm still in the running, but I promise I will soon. Because that night was the most magical night and I need to tell you all of it properly, not just in pieces. My gorgeous friend Rachel Besser came for moral support and when I walked off stage she grabbed me into her arms and the entire room was silent except for my loud, loud sobbing. My favourite stepdaughter Phoebe Rose came with her friend Issy and we all celebrated afterwards at the Carrington. I bought a round of cocktails for them and a very strong lemon lime and bitters for me and I rang Dave and woke him up and he was SO proud of me, I could hear it over the phone line.

                                       I spy Phoebe Rose in the foreground!


Grief and suicide and my dear sweet brother ... they are not even the only things I'm going to write about! I'm 42 fucken years old and never had a career until right now. I'm a slam poet, it will be on my headstone. I want to write about my face as it ages and how utterly beautiful and powerful I was when I was eighteen. I'll write about the junkie in me who will never go away and is there a cut-off point for giving blow jobs because srsly my knees and I want to write about how surrealism saved my life and how my grandfather was a P.O.W. who kept escaping and I think a bit of his fighting spirit broke off him and went into me because I keep fighting. (And just because Cam stopped fighting doesn't make me better than him. He got tired. My god he was so tired.)

So I'll channel this hurt and pain and grief into something I can build a raft out of, maybe live on for a few years because fuck drowning I prefer to breathe in words not water. I have always, always loved words and now they are starting to love me back.

Blogging here consistently for so many years has taught me so much about writing and I need to thank you for reading. I'm not going anywhere .... actually, I'm just getting started.

I've written a few poems since, and a common theme is convincing people to stay alive. I couldn't convince my brother but maybe I can convince other people because did you know magic is real? And maybe the thought of me being able to save other people from suicide is egocentric to the MAX but it sure beats being suicidal myself.


Luka Lesson was crowned the Australian Slam Poetry Champion in 2011 and he was the MC for the Katoomba heat. He performed some of his stuff, holy wow. The night was incredible, thoughtful, moving, funny. SO many peoples experiences in the world, all told by them.

Look what Luka does with his words:




This kind of storytelling can be personal, political, social activism, rageism, ageism, love letters, everything all rolled together into one smokin' joint of human experience.

I'm home. I'm a slam poet. I'm going to write the truth because it is so fucked up no WONDER so many people run from it. And I'm going to write about how I will never cook corned beef ever again.

Fuck corned beef. Fuck it to hell.


Friday, 27 June 2014

Street Talk: Silvie The Beautiful Meth Head.


Silvie and I met in rehab in 1998. We became instant best friends, thought we were top shit and ruled the place. We used to elbow each other out of the way of the mirror as we got ready for recovery meetings each night, shared the one red lipstick. We never went to the womens meeting .... why on earth would we, there were no boys there!

Silvie was a few years younger than me, tall, blonde, STUNNING. She had a daughter who she never saw and didn't talk about much. She came into rehab with a broken back after she'd jumped off a cliff in a failed suicide attempt.

We loved each other fiercely, and would get into trouble during group about our pathological relationship. (I had to ask the therapist what pathological meant because I didn't know.)

We wouldn't eat all day, and then weigh each other at the big silver scales at that old chemist on Katoomba Street. Silvie was prone to violent outbursts and I worried all the time she'd get kicked out and leave me there alone. Soon she found a boyfriend and crept out every single night to be with him. I was always her alibi. We used to smoke cartons of cigarettes and talk about what we would do with our lives. There were so many characters in that rehab with us. I miss it.

We drifted apart and she moved to Melbourne. She had a son right about the same time I had Max, and she was a GOOD mother. We'd talk on the phone, compare baby stories, write letters with real ink. Then she relapsed and her son was taken away by DOCS. I didn't hear from her for years until one day she visited out of the blue .... clean! She was clean, trying desperately to get visitation to her boy, start a new life again. It's a common thing for alcoholics and addicts to get back on the merry-go-round. It's dangerous and it kills. Addiction to booze and drugs is a vicious, confusing, disgusting thing. A lot of my people are dead - you don't see very many old junkies. I almost died a few times. I learnt so many things in rehab, unfortunately one of them was how to shoot up.

Anyway so last week I was at Penrith Plaza (again!) on my way into Target to buy undies for the boys. And who did I literally walk right into? My Silvie. Off her face. I didn't care that she was off her face and neither did she. It was so, so good to see her. Her skin was shit and she hadn't slept in two days and she was crazy but she was ALIVE! She hugged me so hard - for almost a full minute she grabbed me close and didn't let go. Her cronies surrounding her, all of them off their dials for everybody to see.

"EDEN OH MY GOD EDEN."

We spoke and laughed and I told her I loved her, right there in the middle of the shopping centre with women looking us up and down like the vermin we were. Fuck you, mainstream society. Some of us are fuckups. Sucks to be us and it could easily be you so don't judge. Silvie told me she just got raped and hadn't seen her son in two years and missed him so badly. All of her change fell out of her pocket. We were standing outside a tobacconist. She asked me to come outside for a smoke but I told her I don't smoke anymore. And that I had a new son. And that Dave got cancer and survived. And that I'd relapsed in the last few years too so just go back to meetings, Silvie. She smiled and said she would and then she showed me her teeth. They were almost green. Rotten.

"I'm a fucken meth head. Look at my teeth."

We hugged a bit more, then she had to go.

So while her legs walked her outside to the dealer to get on, my legs walked me inside Target to buy my boys new underpants. Because my boys needed new underpants. And if I were to use drugs at this point in my life when I'm in so much pain I know I would never come back.

I really hope that one day Silvie will be sitting next to me in a meeting. A womens meeting, because they are the best ones.

::

Previous Street Talks:

1. Noelene the Young
2. Megan the Mouse
3. Harpal the Australian
4. Darren the Artist
5. Jo the Interesting
6. John the Telstra Guy
7. Michael the Photographer
8. Peg the Lady
9. Jeff the Preacher Man
10. Andres the Cobbler
11. Honey the Prostitute
12. Mark the Masseur
13. You the Blog Reader
14. Jo the Podiatrist
15. Casey the Uni Student
16. Dream the Horse and Carriage Driver
17. Tamas the Hungarian Accordionist
18. The Dignified Trolley Ladies
19. Alex With The Studded Hot Pink Belt
20. Leaf The Fallen
21. Bel Of The Library
22. Jay And His Big Issue
23. Emma The Adult Shop Cashier
24. Teena, Saver Of Dogs
25. The Luna Park Face
26. Gary The Missing
27. Kristen at the Elephant Bean Cafe
28. Uncle Paul
29. Jess The Mama
30. The Two People At The Checkout
31. Alfie The Pourer
32. Breaking The Rules With Captain Starlight!
33. The Woman In Line At The Bakery A Few Weekends Ago
34. Dog The Dog
35. Julia Gillard The Person
36. Nancy The Badass
37. Bruce From The Psych Ward
38. Jeremy The Costumeless
39. The Women In The Morgue
40. Ross From Knucklehead Shipping Co
41. The Woman At The Eyebrow Threading Counter



Thursday, 26 June 2014

Harnessing Your Powers For Good.

In 2012 World Vision Australia took a huge risk and sent a blogger to Niger, West Africa to write about the food crisis.



They sent me.

It was the most bold, audacious, scary, and incredibly meaningful thing I've ever done in my life. The weight of a lot of people was on my shoulders, and I needed to do it RIGHT. I was exhausted by the time I even got there, just from travel. I only had five days, and it had more impact if I blogged every day about what I'd seen and felt so I did, staying up all hours, trying to get the magic internet signal to publish my post for the people back home, reading along.

And when I pressed post, thousands of people responded. Donating money, sponsoring children, writing posts of their own, and sharing on Facebook. It was an incredible example of harnessing the power of social media for GOOD.

After everything that's happened, I still believe in doing good in this world. The children above in that photograph are the ones I remember the most. It was the refugee camp on the first day and they got way too close to me for my liking. They had clammy, germy hands. Runny noses. Hardly any clothes. No toys, no houses.

But the smiles and the look of joy, simply because I came to visit them. Bloody hell. My heart.

I travelled five, six hours every day on dusty roads just to get to remote villages. (It sucked.) I had to somehow turn what I was seeing into palatable pieces of information to move people enough back home to want to do something, or to donate if they could. So proud to learn that Aussies are among the most generous people in the world ... see this water well?




Australians bought and built and donated this water well. To a village so far remote from Niger that it didn't even have a proper name.

The village had been there for over a hundred years and so many people would get sick from not having clean water until that well was installed a few years ago. Now nobody gets sick, and the people jostle each other to take turns to fill their buckets.

World Vision programs and people and aid workers did that. Imagine what it feels like to save lives, every single day.




I wrote a whole post about Zenouba, peeking out shyly from her mothers side. At first we all talked to the mother about the baby boy she was holding, but it quickly became apparent that on her first trip to the baby health clinic (a six hour-walk away!) her baby weighed in just fine but the aid workers noticed how thin Zenouba was, so asked to weigh her too. She was dangerously malnourished, and was put on the plumpy-nut program implemented by World Vision and other aid organisations. She was doing really well, putting on about half a kilo a week.

                                 Zenouba and her mum and baby brother

                                 Her health book - kinda like our blue books here in the west.

If is still alive, she would be seven years old now. How I hope that to be true.

                                       This is the birthing room. Yep.



We visited this ladies garden right in the middle of nowhere. World Vision had introduced a farming and harvesting program, using new seeds that have never been grown there before. Most people are hesitant to try new things but when they do and they WORK ..... it's a big success for the entire village.


These luscious green beauties were grown after crops had failed for the fourth year in a row. When crops fail, families uproot their lives and travel to somewhere else, becoming refugees, many dying in the process. World Vision operate not just in emergencies, but using long-term projects and goals, to help people stay and thrive in their own countries and communities.

And when the projects are complete, they hand them back over to the communities who can then handle it themselves. It's so awesome, and worthwhile, and good.


I also did a blogger trip to India in that same year but I won't write about that right now because I'll probably lose your attention and that's quite enough talking about do-gooding for one day, amirite? The trick with blogging about social media for social good is capturing peoples attention long enough and trying to make them care. (I know I have incredibly beautiful blog readers who care. You never stop blowing me away with your insight and wisdom and love, Computer. I need to thank you more.)

I went to Melbourne this week for a World Vision blog ambassador day, met up with some people I know from before and a whole new wave of new people!

With WV Manager Stephen Ellis and the gorgeous Scoop Nutrition blogger Emma Stirling

I almost didn't go. Because in the time since I went to Africa my stepfather died from cancer and then I was hospitalised three times and then my brother died. My brother took his own life, did you know? Thousands, millions of people die around the world every day but my brother died, he died. And I don't know how to get through. I don't. Just when I think it's ok, it all falls down around me again, worse than ever.

I cried to Dave in the kitchen the day before I was due to leave for Melbourne and told him I can't go. He knows how much I love World Vision so he came with me. And I am so, so glad I went. I met a whole new group of bloggers, eager to come onboard and work with World Vision too, use their social media for something other than shoes. (Not that there's anything wrong with shoes!)

It's exciting to be part of it. It's nice to feel excited about something. I can't wait to see what we do next.

::

Ways you can help without even getting out of your chair:

Download a cool World Vision button for your blog from HERE
Sign up for the 40 Hour Famine in August HERE (Great alternatives for kids there too!)
Follow World Vision on twitter HERE
Like World Vision on Facebook HERE
Sponsor a child and change their life forever HERE

Have a lovely day. I'm off to therapy. Then I might sit in the sun for a bit. Maybe cry. Wipe my tears, get boys from school, cook dinner, etc. I am truly so lucky.



Thursday, 19 June 2014

Word Up.

I went to a bookshop to use the $50 voucher I won from a short story competition. There is something special about being in a bookshop. Browsing, feeling, leafing, smelling, deciding.

Except, I couldn't decide. Around and around and around I walked, desperately trying to find the exact book that would help, fix, save me. Nada. Obviously there were plenty but the shop started to smell like fart and the music was too loud and people kept bumping into me. Even the boys got bored, and they love bookshops too.

Then I had a brainwave. Found the exact book I wanted, and brought it home.

During dinner I made the announcement.

"Ok you guys. I bought a book. But it's not just ANY book, it's the MASTER book. It's a book that makes all of the other books possible. Can you guess what it is?"

Nobody guessed it. I pointed to the kitchen bench.

"This is where it lives now. It's a book for all of us. When you walk past it I want you to pick it up and learn something from it. Read it out. Tell us about it."


When I was a kid we had this huge green dictionary and I used to look up words just for the sake of it. I'd look up the word "fuck" and sit there and couldn't believe that the word "fuck" was in the dictionary, so rude!

During dinner the other night we started this new game where somebody opens the dictionary, reads out a word, and everybody else has to guess what the word means. Phoebe Rose started us off with the brilliant "Zoroastrianism."

We all took turns pronouncing it. Dave tried to cheat by telling it to Siri but Siri didn't understand. Finally Phoebe told us the meaning.

"A strongly ethical code which teaches a continuous struggle between Good (Ormazd) and Evil (Angra Mainyu."

Hell yes! Along with my fuckups and bad genes, I want to pass my love of words to my children. Rocco chose the word "taxation" but he pronounced like a little Frenchman. "Taxa-cion." He then proceeded to read words like triumphant and industry without missing a beat, while we sat there with our mouths open. Dave and Max took turns, both trying to choose the hardest, most unguessable words.

We had the best fun with that book.

                                                               
I'm working on some words today because I'm entering a poetry slam tonight. My first ever. It feels like I was born to be slam poet. It also feels relieving to work on something constructive in the middle of an awful week. I'm doing it so tough right now and there is no respite or relief, I wake up in the middle of the night crying and I cry in my dreams, cry during breakfast. I'm highly distressed, and I'm hoping that to put words to my grief and then perform them like art will help, even just a little.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Carries The World On His Lips.


He was supposed to be doing homework and I was supposed to be making dinner but nothing was more important than caricatures of garbagemen with gold teeth, swirly planets with two moons.

I can't draw very well so I watched him and wondered how could just one pair of hands hold so much grace?


I first saw those lips pressed up in an ultrasound photo. "He's got my lips!"

In his game of soccer I can't make out who is who. But then the way he runs, stands, raises his arm, beckoning. Wolfs a bacon and egg roll afterwards. Licks his lips, tilts his head, laughs right in the moment and isn't thinking about anything else other than the thing that is making him laugh in the moment. Every action, every inflection I know and love so deeply, etched into my brain and heart. We imprinted on each other like wild zebras.

The first night we spent together in hospital in the dead of night after everybody went home we just looked at each other like we were both in on the biggest secret. Because how could one tiny baby hold so much grace?

Thursday, 12 June 2014

In Praise Of JOMO.


It's a strange world we live in when everybody has the means to broadcast every detail of their lives. We can feel like we're missing out when we see photos and status updates from other people. Look at where I am! Look at who I'm with! Look at all the fun you are not having! Parties, launches, shops, holidays, beaches, artfully arranged selfies, everybody smiling having so much gosh darn FUN. (Obviously, everybody is having a better time than you.)

FOMO means the Fear Of Missing Out. It induces panic, worry, envy, and feelings of not being good enough. It's never-ending and exhausting, because people are always going to be doing shit that you are not doing. This has been happening since forever, we just never had the means to document it before. Try not to stress. What do YOU want to do? Turn it around into an act of mindfulness. Go to bed at 7pm on a Saturday night and just enjoy the HELL out of those Sex and the City re-runs and boxes of Cheezels. Meander, amble, potter about. Read some good shit. Go have some orgasms. Throw a fancy dinner party. Spend an entire weekend on your front verandah. Imagine if what you are doing right in the moment is all you want to do? Don't worry about what anybody else is doing. Embrace the Joy Of Missing Out - the JOMO.

People are going to share amazing and cool and extraordinary things. And sometimes, YOU are the one sharing the fun things. That's great! Enjoying life is good! But sometimes I wonder about the motivation behind sharing things online. And while us adults are still working our way around this territory, our children are quietly growing up in it.

It's a bit dangerous to compare ourselves to other people. One of my favourite quotes in recovery is to not judge our insides by other people outsides. Others may not be as transparent as you are, and you never know what's going on behind the scenes, away from their amazing showreel.

In conclusion, people are not better than you just because of the shit they put on facebook. And if you're not enjoying the things you are doing, then do different things. Enjoy those.


Friday, 6 June 2014

Street Talk: The Woman At The Eyebrow Threading Counter.

I let my eyebrows go to seed. It had been SO long since I had them waxed that I could actually see GREY EYEBROW HAIR. A beautician I'd never been to before managed to fit me in, score!

She was right in the middle of waxing when I looked up and suddenly noticed her eyebrows. My heart sank. They were two perfect little slugs, no style or shape just straight across like lines. Unsurprisingly, that's exactly how mine looked when she finished. How could I make such a rookie error? I've been getting my eyebrows waxed for over twenty years, you'd think I knew a trick or two.

So I had to grow them out, as long and as bushy as they could get, praying she hadn't wrecked them forever. Last week I was down at Penrith Plaza and I noticed a new eyebrow threading place right in the middle of the thoroughfare. I took a before pic and went and sat down.

                                            Sad and wispy

A womans eyebrows are a very important thing, more so as we get older. I'd never had mine threaded before, and I was nervous. The threader was all business, no-nonsense, and BOSSY.

"Sit. Put your head back. More. MORE. Hold this. Pull it tight. TIGHTER."

I had to help? As soon as she began threading, some random lady came over and just started a running commentary of what was going on.

"Ooooh, it really works! She's really getting in there!"

I didn't mind her watching. It took my mind off the uncomfortable feeling of getting my eyebrow hairs pulled out by the roots by a woman who showed no mercy. None. IT KILLED and made me want to sneeze.

The random lady started laughing because the hairs got caught in my nostrils so I had to kind of blow them out unceremoniously. She made me laugh too.

"The things we do for beauty! Are you getting yours done too?"

She told me she was, that her sons engagement party was next week and she had to do something with her eyebrows. She confessed to being a serial plucker in her teenage years and she'd plucked them nearly all out. I was dying to have a look because they sounded really bad but first I had to wait while my torturer finished. Waxing takes it all off quickly but threading is a sustained pain, because she shapes and counts as she goes. When somebody starts talking about eyebrow lines, you know they know their shit.

Finally she finished threading and put the dye on. I got the opportunity to look at my new friends eyebrows and I couldn't help but tut with her. They were dismal and looked beyond hope, but she took her seat anyway. She talked me through what she was wearing to her sons party, I suggested shoe colour. She winced and it was my turn to laugh.

When I went and sat back down and waited for the dye to take hold, it dawned on me. I AM GETTING INVASIVE AND UGLY BEAUTY TREATMENTS DONE TO MY PERSON IN THE MIDDLE OF A VERY BUSY SHOPPING CENTRE.


Curious people looked as they walked past while I sat there looking like Mario about to rescue Peach from Bowser.

I cared for a little bit, then let it go. I really do not give a shit what people think of me at this point. Fuck off, I'm old and I'm grieving.

My new friend stood to leave, I was in AWE at her new brows!

"They look amazing! Good on you ... and have a great time at your sons engagement!"

She was so happy. After we said goodbye, the eyebrow threader lady asked if she could ask me a question. Of course!

"Did you know that woman?"

I laughed and told her no, just met her now. It reminded me of being at the beach or park when I was a girl and making firm friends with somebody and then never seeing them again. It was cool.


                             And after!

I FEEL SO POWERFUL RIGHT NOW. I bet this is how Claire Underwood feels. A chick could rule the world with eyebrows like this.

Do you pluck, thread, or go natural? (Please tell me you don't shave.)

::

Previous Street Talks:

1. Noelene the Young
2. Megan the Mouse
3. Harpal the Australian
4. Darren the Artist
5. Jo the Interesting
6. John the Telstra Guy
7. Michael the Photographer
8. Peg the Lady
9. Jeff the Preacher Man
10. Andres the Cobbler
11. Honey the Prostitute
12. Mark the Masseur
13. You the Blog Reader
14. Jo the Podiatrist
15. Casey the Uni Student
16. Dream the Horse and Carriage Driver
17. Tamas the Hungarian Accordionist
18. The Dignified Trolley Ladies
19. Alex With The Studded Hot Pink Belt
20. Leaf The Fallen
21. Bel Of The Library
22. Jay And His Big Issue
23. Emma The Adult Shop Cashier
24. Teena, Saver Of Dogs
25. The Luna Park Face
26. Gary The Missing
27. Kristen at the Elephant Bean Cafe
28. Uncle Paul
29. Jess The Mama
30. The Two People At The Checkout
31. Alfie The Pourer
32. Breaking The Rules With Captain Starlight!
33. The Woman In Line At The Bakery A Few Weekends Ago
34. Dog The Dog
35. Julia Gillard The Person
36. Nancy The Badass
37. Bruce From The Psych Ward
38. Jeremy The Costumeless
39. The Women In The Morgue
40. Ross From Knucklehead Shipping Co

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

This Truth Is On Fire.

These Blue Mountains I live in are very blue. They're also incredibly white. White, healthy, lucky people walking around, living our lives. When we head down towards western Sydney, my children get to see the faces of the melting pot that is Australia. (The lucky country!) I like my kids to be exposed to other cultures, countries, religions.

Somebody not so lucky is Leo, the 29-year old man who set himself on fire on the weekend.


The young Sri-Lankan was a Tamil refugee who arrived in Australia on a boat in January last year. For fifteen months he waited to be accepted into Australia. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison is falling over himself to paint a picture of fairness. "But he was on a bridging visa! He had work rights! He was seeing a mental health worker!" This is all true, but it all basically amounts to, "We never told him he had to leave!"

But Scott, you never told him he could stay.

Like thousands of others around this country, Leo had to endure a seemingly unending wait to see if he would be sent back to his country of origin. He fled the Tamil region of Sri Lanka in 2009 and faced fear, torture, perhaps death if he was sent back. He was living in Geelong. At one point Leo was studying to be a priest. He had a strong circle of friends, didn't smoke or drink, volunteered in aged care and was working as an interpreter for other Tamil refugees.

There are no quick and easy answers for this. The asylum seeker debate has raged for many years but now more than ever we need decisions, vision, and change. Some acceptance and bloody empathy wouldn't go astray either, because all I can think about is that even though Australia refused to claim Leo as one of our own, we gladly accepted his dead body. He was an organ donor, and five Australian lives have changed forever because of him.



Monday, 2 June 2014

On Resilience. (And guzzling apple cider vinegar straight from the bottle like some kind of health fanatic hobo.)

My therapist told me I had resilience.

"Fuck resilience," I said.

The annoying thing is, he's right. If I find the right balance of letting go and holding on, I'm in with a chance here.

I've been making wholesome meals from scratch and stopped eating entire blocks of chocolate. I'm back at the gym, pumping iron like a hardcore motherfucker and when I cry about Cam nobody notices because my tears look like sweat. Griefsweat. His death has threatened to be the end of me - everybody knew that, and even though I'm only one trainride away from complete oblivion I get up in the morning and make my bed anyway. I've stopped hiding in my house. The strongest medication I take is paracetamol. These days I'm on spirulina, wheatgrass, multivitamins, and krill. I even made Dave try oil pulling and we sat on the couch swilling it around in our mouths, trying to make the other laugh. I say yes to all social invitations. I tell my head to shut the hell up. Last week I even went outside in the sunshine and RAN. I haven't ran anywhere for the longest time. All my bits wobbled and I could hardly make it up the hill. Stop, start, stop, start. An old guy putting his bin out pretended to race me and we both laughed because we both knew he was too old to run. But I'm not too old to run, and there's life in this spirit of mine yet.

My sons are the only reason I'm still here. It's been beyond difficult to parent them properly when I have been losing and grieving, but they are the reasons I keep trying. I don't want them to be in therapy years from now, raging about abandonment. I want them to change the world. I want them to question everything about themselves and fall in a heap and always, always get up again. I tell them that we love and miss Uncle Cam so much but that is not the way to die. If I want my boys to always keep trying I have to show them how.

So I've decided to keep going. I still think life is utterly ridiculous and there's no meaning to things. We live in a dying world but at least I can face the apocalypse with rock hard abs amirite? (And a DELICIOUS kale and chilli salad.)

I'm strong. My head is clear. I drink apple cider vinegar every morning and eat nuts for lunch. I do not feed my body when I do not feel hunger. I'm determined and ripe and whole, and creativity is dripping from my fingers.



Last night I took a selfie with Rocco and there was something different about it. Obviously his blonde mop and Tom and Jerry sloppy joe makes a person swoon, but there was something about me I hadn't seen in a long time. There's light in my eyes. I'm back.

In the past few years I've brought attention to the worlds poorest countries, watched my stepdad die from cancer, interviewed the Prime Minister, been admitted to a mental health ward (three times! Sarah Lee cake slabs for all!) and been completely annihilated by the suicide of one of my favourite people in the world. We don't truly love many people in life. My brother Cam wasn't weak he was lost, and letting myself grieve him so deeply is proving to be my salvation. I still wake up every morning and set myself on fire, but one day I'll be dead and all this will be a dream, HALLELUJAH.

How do you get through the things you get through? More importantly, what are you wearing to the end of the world?


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