Thursday, 30 July 2015

The 2015 Melbourne Empowering Women Conference

Come to Melbourne on Saturday 22nd August! The Empowering Women Conference is on and I'm one of the speakers. And this time I'm not as broken ... more mosaic-like. I'm standing more in my truth than I possibly ever have in my life. It's been a hard year. I miss my boys badly when they're not with me, I'll be talking about the dark crevices of motherhood and the joys as well but you don't have to be a mother to come. COME! After the conference let's get tattoos together from Chapel Tattoo and then do karaoke. I'm not joking.

Kristy Vallely of The Imperfect Mum is the woman behind the conference and I've never met anyone like her. She's got mad Spirit skills. I just love her. We're kind of linked ... this is the conference with heart. Come. You will bloody love it. I've even started preparing my talk and slam poem in advance and the speaker lineup is amazing ... all the details are HERE.

Here's a snippet of what went down at the Brisbane Conference recently:


(My favourite was doing the Running Man with Kristy onstage #stillgotit)

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Part Of.

This morning I had a conversation with an older lady in the fruit shop and we got talking about the frost and how my son thought it had snowed again and she laughed and showed me a photo on her phone of her cat called Madame looking outside at the snow the other week.

"She was disgusted .. did not set a paw upon that snow!"

I told her that I wanted to get a dog and Rocco asked if we could call the dog "cat" and everybody in the fruit shop laughed.

Then I went next door to Norm's butchery and bought some chicken schnitzel that he crumbs himself and the young guy serving me complimented me on my boots and I said thank you for noticing and that they make me feel tough when I wear them and he said I carried them off well.

Came back to put some more wood on the fire before I go to Open Day at school. My friend Naomi is going to save me a seat because I always get ridiculously anxious at those things for no reason at all.

And now I'm sitting in the sun and all the frost has melted and I'm drinking one of those cappuchino sachets which actually taste quite nice and I feel ok. That's all I aspire to, lately. To feel ok.

My friend Chrissie tagged me in this song on Facebook and I can't stop watching it .. it seems to be a collaboration with musicians all around the world and it reminds me that we are all connected, I don't have to make myself an outsider I can actually be "part of" things .. and sometimes a random conversation in a fruit shop can brighten everybody's day.

(The guy at two minutes seven seconds ROCKS IT.)

Friday, 24 July 2015

Street Talk: The Lady Whose Name I Didn't Quite Catch.

She was straight in front of me as I opened the back door, rugged up to the bejesus because it was bitingly cold ... sucking on a ciggie like it was the last one on earth. We both said hello at the exact same time and laughed.

"It's a bloody cold one this morning!"

"I know ... we need balaclavas. And onesies."

She laughed. I like making people laugh.

I saw her again later, huddled on a chair, all dressed up in different clothes this time because her husband was taking her out to dinner. We had the most intense conversation I've had in some time .. the kind of conversation where you're free enough to just let it all hang out because you know you're never going to see each other again.

She'd been married three times. Her first husband was abusive and alcoholic. Her second husband kept cheating on her and her kids hated him and told her they wouldn't speak to her unless she left.

She left. It was hard.

"I had to stay at friends places for a while. It was hard, really hard. Even though my kids were in their twenties and had left home .. I didn't see them much and was really quite low."

Her voice lowered gravely and she bent forward, ushering me in to her secret.

"I took the train up here, to the Blue Mountains. I always used to come up here as a child with my parents, fifty years ago. To this very hotel .. it was called something different back then. I got up one morning and just walked and walked ... found myself at Echo Point, looking down at how far below the trees were. And I stood and looked, and looked, and thought all sorts of things and wondered ..."

Her voice trailed off and she didn't need to tell me what she was contemplating. I'd already told her about my brother. I'd already told her everything about me. She reminded me of my mum, both in looks and what she had been through.

"And then I thought to myself don't be bloody stupid and I walked back here."

I saw her a few times after that, we always had conversations whenever we bumped into each other - the hallway, the powder room, in front of the fire. Her husband had a red face and always seemed cranky. He had cancer, with only a few months to live. Her eyes were sad but I could see she knew what was coming and would make it through. She'd made it this far.

Sizing Rocco she stared at him.

"You're the little boy who threw a snowball at me."

Rocco was mortified, I was glad he felt bad. He apologised, without me prompting.

"I'm so sorry ... if I knew it was you I wouldn't have chucked it!"

She laughed, told him that was ok and with a glint in her eyes told him to not do it again. She was spending one more night in the hotel by herself, her husband had left that day to go fishing with mates.

"I've got the whole bed to myself tonight .. I can stretch out if I want to. But I always find myself still sleeping on one side."

I told her I did that, too. Sitting in front of the fire with a whole bottle of red to herself, we made plans for me to drop her up to Katoomba station the next day. And I did, carrying her bag downstairs and helping her into the car. I apologised for the mess, even though it actually wasn't that messy but these days I find myself apologising for everything.

I drove her up the street, until she asked to be let out near Rivers because she wanted to buy a jacket for her daughter. We looked at each other fondly and said goodbye. Didn't kiss or hug.

"Now, you take care of yourself. And remember .. it's all going to be ok."

I told her thank you, I knew it would be. Because it will be.

She thanked me for the chats and she walked away. Everytime I saw her she had the same black boots on.

I never did tell her my name and she never told me hers. We both knew we were in this together.

That's all that mattered.

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

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Everything Did Change.

My grandmother always used to call me a "deep well." Ironic that I have been so deeply unwell for ... my whole life? Maybe. I never started this blog to end up on Mediawatch. Like Macklemore says, I never ever did it for a throne. What happens when you finally outrun your shadow?

You keep running. Free. If my nan was still alive I'd tell her all about my dream the other night .. my first flying dream in over a decade! But there was a hell of a lot of dark valleys to fly through. Are you allowed to start a sentence with but? I just did. Know the rules to break them, etc. I was telling my stepfather something once and I ended my sentence with "but." He looked at me arrogantly.

"Eden, you should never end a sentence with "but.""

I shot back - "You just did."

It was rare for me to speak up. He ordered me out of the room LOL. Sayonara. He never knew exactly who he was step-parenting. Cam got all his love and that was fine by me because Cam deserved all the love in the world. I never really felt like I did?

Yeah I need a shrink - only because I'm so huge. I also think I'm an undeserving piece of shit so there's that.

Anyway in my flying dream, shit got lucid. I LOVE lucid dreaming - dreams you have when you become aware that you're dreaming so you can do anything you want because you're the boss of your own dream. Used to do it all the time when I was a kid. Dreams were my escape .. I was in charge, I'd walk into lolly shops and just take all the lollies because this was my dream. And then, like those scenes in Inception, whatever I thought would become real, unfold in front of me like a magic carpet.

When I was seven years old I had a dream I was an ant and when I woke up I couldn't remember if I was an ant who was actually a girl, or a girl who was actually an ant. True story.

I only ever have flying dreams when my Spirit is low. The other night as I flew through the crevices and dark places, I had to consciously believe in God to get higher. So I consciously believed in God and man. I was an eagle who caught the wind like riding a wave in the ocean and I didn't even need to do the work. I was just propelled forward by unseen forces. When I doubted, I went lower and had to flap my arms really hard and turn my face to the sun to get higher.


The highlight of my week was in Katoomba Library the other day. There was a big queue, I was next to be served but the lady in front of me was sitting down making a bit of a loud kerfuffle. (Kerfuffle!)  She's sitting there with about seven books in front of her and two DVD's, and she can't find her library card. She was muttering, gradually she got louder.

"I was born with a mental illness you know. Born with one. I can't find my library card I was born with a mental illness."

The librarian was very official. "If you've lost your card, it will cost $4.60 to get a new one."

The lady got distressed. People behind me were bristling and in a rush. (Obviously they were all brain surgeons in a hurry for their next operation. Everybody's always in such a rush. Slow down. We're all dying one day at a time. Or living. One or the other.)

Anyway I suddenly remember the lady in front of me from the Blue Fringe Arts Literary Awards last year (Holy shit that post.) It was the lady in the rainbow knitted jumper! The librarian told her if she paid a dollar, she'd be allowed to borrow her books. She sat there slowly counting out her coins, lots of dirty five cent pieces. She didn't have a dollar. I couldn't help myself (so I thought I'd help her HA) ... I crouched next to her and asked if I could buy her a new library card. She looked at me with dignity.

"NO thank you. I was born with a mental illness I just want to borrow some books why do I need a dollar?"

She looked around, looked back up at me, into my eyes she said "I was born with a mental illness."

And I said "So was I. That makes two of us."

She warmed to me. I told her I remembered sitting next to her at the awards last year and she had a beautiful rainbow jumper on. She recognised me! "YOU WON AN AWARD!" I said yes, I did.

There were about ten people behind us at this point - suddenly the wind changed and everything kind of shifted and they all become softer - silent, listening to our exchange and kind of leant in like trees. It was like standing on the corner with strangers waiting for a break in the rain before you make a run for it. We were all in the same boat. Recognised each others humanity.

The lady said again - "I was born with a mental illness you know. One in five people are."

"I know - I was born with a mental illness too. That makes us two in ten!"

She laughed. And her shoulders relaxed and she asked me if I wouldn't mind ... could I possibly buy her a new library card? I said I would LOVE to buy her a new library card and I don't care if my motivation was making myself feel better I was having a shitty day terrified to even walk up the street but I MADE it to that library, to her, and I bought her a new card that when she held in her hands her eyes sparkled. "Ohhhh ... they're all fancy now!" And all of the people behind me and the lady and even the librarian? We were all one.



Last night I had my headphones on and listened to this song in the rain, over and over. In a carpark next to a pile of broken things that nobody wanted anymore and I felt ok. Even though I didn't get the Art Deco flat I applied for - probably because I have a mental illness. Whatever. Shove your flat up your but.

I'm still ok. Much, much more than ok. I'm an ant who can fly.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Heroes In A Half Shell

Once upon a time way back in the late eighties, a show came on TV that had young kids - especially boys - completely spellbound. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They were the BOMB. It was a marketers wet dream - figurines, videos, plush toys, Pez dispensers, skateboards. It started off as a piss-take and ended up this multi-million dollar thing.

A certain young boy and a certain teenage girl would watch this new show together, these strange four turtles named after four Renaissance artists. The young blonde, brown haired boy would lose his SHIT when he heard the catchy theme song come on. Sometimes the girl would lure him into the living room by turning the volume up so loud and she'd just sit and wait for him to come bolting like he always did, eyes lit up, running around like a madguy.

And when their mum wasn't home? Well then he just got so excited he'd jump up on the couch and literally jump from couch to couch to chair and back again, screaming the lyrics at the top of his lungs.


And right on the word "power" he'd plonk himself down as if on cue. And be engrossed for the next half hour or however long it went for. The teenage girl stayed and watched it with him, though she never liked it particularly much.

Yesterday the teenage girl was now an older lady and she walked the streets of Richmond searching for presents to send to sons of her own, she missed them so! Wrote them cards, made sure they had the exact amount of presents in each bag.

She glanced down an alley, saw this, took a wistful photo.

Doesn't want to know which turtle it is. Donatello? Raphael? It doesn't matter now.

Who would have thought all these years later all these things happened and the little boy would leave and she'd be standing in the street, with tears of pain but also relief that HE wasn't in pain. Anymore. All gone.

And the sound of his sweet voice echoed in her head."Eed .... one day, when mum's not looking ... do you think we could have pizza for breakfast?"

She said of course. Anything for him. Anything.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

In A Place.

I'm in a place.

I guess we all are, come to think of it. I'm in a place where I had a hellish 48 hours with no sleep before I came in. A thinking place. A religious place. A treatment place. Hopefully a healing place but why the long face?

I'm in a place where I bled down my legs and didn't get access to tampons for two days until Hail Mary my friend came in with supersize ones that looked like teeny parachutes when I opened them under the bathroom fluorescent lights, yelled at the nurses station when I walked past - surrounded by men and I didn't care SO MY FRIEND FINALLY BROUGHT ME IN TAMPONS. An angry, petulant, blaming bitch.

So angry. Explosive, blaming, mortified, embarrassed, strained, exhausted, can't fight, no light, no body to call my home I'm here with so many others but I'm here alone.

But I'm here. Standing up. A lot of sitting downs lots of frowns and just when I made the decision to leave this hellhole of a Faulty Towers God unforsaken place I realised ... I had no place to go. I packed up my house in one day, cried to the removalists, cried to my friends, cried to the world, cried to myself my brother my mother my boys.

I can't bear being without my boys. Yet these are the harsh consequences of a sequence of shitty actions and decisions and I'm so thoroughly disgusted with myself I cannot convey. Conveyers. That seems like a good normal job why can't I just be good and normal why why why have so much in my head that it folds in upon itself like you gently fold in Donna Hay cake batter for a rich chocolate gateau?

This is one of the very few times in my entire life I have ever felt so afraid, uncertain, lost, lonely. Carrying so much for so long and I cannot put it down. Nobody to blame.


BUT - (I like big ones and I cannot lie) - but with an unfuckwithable force of strength deep, deep in my soul and if doesn't open up now - full-strength, none of this half-hearted tripe - well then, that's all she wrote. I know I can do it. I know I can. I knew it would be hard, getting real and honest and clean with clarity not claret. I've been to Antartica and back, all year. Back and forth, up and down. Horrific consequences but like Bono says when you drink the poison from the poison stream ... you just float. Outta here. The relief immense. Remorse intense.

You know in the lyrics Lose Yourself where he goes "Feet fail me not - this may be the only opportunity that I got?" Well I've always disagreed with that. I believe - still do - that we get given many opportunities, many chances, many goes in this funny old horrifically beautiful awful world. But this go? This chance? It's my last chance saloon because I fell off the wagon with a spectacular thud and nobody to catch my fall because I did it all. Usually I just hurriedly rescue myself but this time I needed help with logistics and appointments and moving stuff and being lied to and lied about and the girl who cried wolf doesn't get believed much, anymore.

It's so easy to blame the crazy people. But us crazies make you normals still appear normal so we're doing you a favour, y'all. Don't forget it. Without us fuckups your lives wouldn't appear so perfect. You need us. We don't need you. We just want to get well and getting help? Well, there's a lot of "just get help" spoken about in the news and online and in print but the truth is, getting help - the RIGHT help, is exhausting and terrifying and debasing. Like a really fucked up Treasure Map. My Hail Mary took me to the Black Dog place and I met a Professor who understood me more in fifteen minutes than any other health professional has understood me in my life. Bang on the money. Money. Ugh. I hate it. I've hated it. Suicide insurance money from a man who shouldn't have been mining the earth in the first place he didn't belong underground. He belonged with his face tilted towards the sun, was it too much to ask to watch over him, Universe? I didn't want the money. I wanted my brother back and that's never gonna happen and maybe my brother orchestrated this whole year sitting up in a cloud and I was like I was like his broken, worn-out, filthy marionette who ended up with her stings done broke, broke sitting in the gutter.

I never wanted to be like this. I don't like it. I miss my boys I miss my boys I miss my boys I miss my boys. I miss who I used to be .... and I've always missed who I could become. Missed it by that much, as Maxwell Smart used to say.

So technically I'm homeless and I can't stay here for much longer because I hated all the money see and I was swimming in a money sea but I was on a high and low and a high and gave it away. What's money when you got a dead brother, dead marriage, the most deepest and hurtful betrayal?

Nothing. I got a backpack full of nothing but it feels like rocks and I'm swimming underwater in my clothes like that Safety Swimming Certificate I did in Year Seven when we had to jump into the water fully clothed and saved ourselves.

We gotta save ourselves. Nobody can do it for us. Nobody can do this for me. There's been a Spiritual war waging in my heart and the Angels have not been winning. Once when I lived at my grandparents house I was washing up. It was a particularly hard saucepan and i was taking my sweet time and my beautiful Nan, she said "Oh, Eden use some elbow grease."

So I opened the kitchen cupboard below the sink where all the cleaning stuff was and I read every single label and I finally announced to my grandmother that I couldn't find the Elbow Grease.

Oh she laughed so hard. I giggled, not really understanding why yet but when she laughed I laughed because laughing is GOOD.

Nan I need to borrow some Elbow Grease. And your Bible. And your prayers ... do you still pray in the afterlife? Dunno. Who knows. I promised to teach a guy how to play chess in here but I can't even put my clothes away properly. I stood up and then all I could do was fall down. In this place.

The Light here is beautiful. It gets into all of the cracks, every one. Everyone. I forced myself to stop looking at the negatives. I got on the good side of the good nurses and that makes it easier. I got on the good medication for a really annoying diagnoses for a thing I didn't want to have. What came first - the mental illness or the drug addiction? Who knows.

All I know is I downloaded a sobriety app on my iPhone and I'm proud of every single day straight and even though I VOWED I would stay straight for my brother after he suicided I failed. I dishonoured him. I gave it a good go - seventeen months. But my mind, she spirals. Damn thing breaks down all the time. I need a leaf blower for my soul and electric shock therapy on my heart because it died a thousand deaths when they did what they did but I'm here.

I'm in a place.

You are, too. All of us in places. I'm in the right place. I'm terrified but alive. This will be the making of me so help me God and She is helping me every morning when I walk down the path to the ancient sacred Aboriginal land and I feel profoundly humble to be able to stand there and imagine what it was like when the British attacked them that day.

It's taken me forty-three years and four months to get to this moment. But I'm here. In this place. I don't know where I'll go after and I gotta stop complaining about the food and you know what? The old kitchen ladies are the hardest working, most beautiful people in here. I love them. Even though they have eyes in the back of their head when I try steal two desserts. "Put it back!" 

I'll try stop worrying about the cost and just focus, use my miners light and look within. Again. Again. Next place I go has to be warm and safe and nurturing.

I want to be real.

It can't be too much to ask. It can't, not when you crack open your ribcage and as your intestines slide out you let people look at all the mess and mire and shame, let them poke around. Get to the bottom of this rock hard bottom.

I just want to be real, realest ever.

No comments on this. Go tell someone you love them. Kiss your people and just hold on.

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