Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Peaches Dies Of An Overdose In Front Of her Son; Smug Mothers Everywhere Polish Their Mirrors.

Prefacing this by saying I'm already cranky today about other things and I never wanted to chime in about Peaches but after some particularly nasty "news" pieces regarding her death, here's my two-cents worth.

But two-cents won't buy you very much heroin you need at least fifty bucks for a shot. Which isn't that much money but it is when you're broke with your arse hanging out of your jeans, desperate for a fix to shut your head up and no matter HOW much you use these days your head will not. Stop. Screaming. It's easy to get, easy to do, easy to fall into a trap so awful that by the time you want out it's too late. I'm pretty sure that no little kid writes "shooting up heroin" on their list of things they'd like to do when they grow up.

There's a line in the sand when it comes to using drugs and its associated behaviours, and it gets washed away every day by the turning tide so you draw new ones and new ones until you just say fuck it and stop drawing lines. Fuck the lines. The only lines are on a toilet cistern and you're hanging out with strung-out drag queens and prostitutes and criminals and gang members and you do whatever you need to do to deal with that fucking head of yours that won't shut up. You are what you. You are disgusting, vermin, literally using drugs for a living. Being a junkie is a full-time job.

Oh and when I say "you" I actually mean "me." That was one of the first things I learnt in one of the many drug rehabs I landed in during my twenties - to speak in the first person. So here we go again - *I* am a recovering drug addict and alcoholic and there are paths I travelled down that were full-on, disgusting, huge, dark, scary, liberating, beautiful. My genetic father was a violent alcoholic. My grandmother once told me that he visited her one night, so desperate for booze that he raided her pantry and drank a whole bottle of vanilla essence. He died in bed, surrounded by empty vodka bottles. I was twelve years old. I didn't feel much because I didn't know him - the intense pain of losing my father came later, as a young woman.

When I was little I remember being at my aunties house and drinking some red wine out of a plastic cup. I drank really quickly and when I asked for some more, the adults laughed and I will never forget one murmuring "Watch out, she'll be just like her father."

Before he killed himself, my stepfather taught me how to mix his Red Label Johnnie Walker Scotch just the way he liked it. Except my three fingers were smaller than his three fingers so I'd always have to add a dash extra along with the dry ginger ale and the ice. Trot it off to the living room dutifully, proud as motherfucking punch I could be useful.

So. Addiction, alcoholism, genetics, nature vs nurture blah blah blah. Nobody who has not felt the deepest unrelenting painful despair of being an addict and unable to stop can understand what it feels like. I went to my first recovery meeting when I was 23 years old, in Chatswood. I didn't understand what people were talking about when they were sharing. I didn't understand why people would laugh when somebody was joking about their very awful experiences? I hadn't yet learnt the language of recovery, it wasn't in my heart. All I knew was, I had problems with life, with my past, with myself, and with my drinking and drugging. And maybe they were all related? I will never forget arriving home after that first meeting, pouring all of my vodka and my flatmates lambrusco down the sink (sorry Rebecca) ... and the satisfaction I felt at putting those empty bottles in the recycling. DONE. Dealt with it. I will now not drink. Easy.

Now THAT is funny, for that was only the bare beginning of the journey I am still on today and will always be on, the one where I found my heart, where I put my faith in trust outside myself and surrendered to the thought that my life would be boring forever if I stopped drinking and using drugs. I would never, ever have fun again. Putting down the drink and drugs is so fucking painful I cannot even tell you in these paragraphs here. It's losing a limb, a lover. It's giving yourself up, standing up, being accountable, getting real, learning a new way of living, accepting your past, understanding who you are. It's hard to describe. It's the root of the root. It's fucking unbelievable. It used to be the hardest thing I'd ever done until my brother killed himself. He left me behind and I didn't even want to be here much either. I wrote my first suicide note before he was even born, and he was born when I was eight years old.

“Beating heroin is child's play compared to beating your childhood.” - Stephen King

Some families face things that other families do not and if you are lucky enough to be born into a warm, nurturing, loving family - hell, even just a family that ISN'T so incredibly fucked up - then rejoice in that and try to think a little deeper when it comes to the lives of people who were not given the same gift.

So many people feel sorry for me because I don't have a drink at the end of the day. I feel sorry for them because they need a drink at the end of the day. I like my way better. It feels more real. I'm forced to face myself again and again. I get confused when people post alcohol shots on Instagram. It's their total right because alcohol is legal and all, but when I see pics like that I may as well be seeing fully-loaded, artfully filtered syringes of smack lying gently on an outdoor table as the nearby waves on the beach wash the lines in the sand away. For "people like me" there is no distinction between drinking or drugging. I believe in total abstinence so it's all the same, I choose not to put anything in my system that takes the edge off. (Which is why I decided to come off all meds for bipolar but that is a completely different story, sorry, so much fuckedness, hard to keep up.)

I don't have an edge. I have a cliff precariously balanced at the end of the world and there is no drug powerful enough, no cappuccino martini strong enough, to take off my edge. Eminem is my hero in so many ways, and the past few years it's because he dove head-first into recovery so deep that even when he's on tour, his crew don't drink around him. And on bad days, hard days where my mind wanders to not healthy places, I think to myself, if Marshall Mathers has all of the money in the world and he STILL couldn't enjoy any drug available to mankind? Then maybe there's something to this recovery business after all.

 

It's good to have heroes. Like Marshall I have gotten clean, relapsed, gotten clean, relapsed. I was clean and sober for ten whole years. My love for my firstborn son cut through my addiction like a knife and he was all the drug I needed for a good while there. I went to meetings, had sponsors, did the steps. I made amends to the people I harmed. (Not all the people. Some of the people were fucking arseholes and just as screwed up as me.) You know what happens after you do the steps? You do them again. Because you're human and you still harm people anyway and you're still quite the arsehole yourself because life is damaging and you are so damaged and quit talking in the second person, Eden.

Using again after ten years was a bitter, bitter defeat. I used to judge people who went back to using. Never again will I be that arrogant. It's left me terrified. Good.

So. Last night I dreamt that I walked up to Michael Hutchence and told him he was going to die soon, but that Bono sang at his funeral and his coffin was beautiful because of that one tiger lily it had on top for his daughter, amongst all the other flowers. Then I turned to Paula who was standing next to him and told her she was going to die if she didn't stop taking drugs. THEN I walked over to Sir Bob who was standing a bit away and told him that when Michael and Paula die, he would have to take care of little Heavenly Hiraani Tigerlily. Sir Bob just looked at me with sad eyes and told me he already knew. Oh, the pain of watching the people you love destroy themselves!

Poor Peaches. She had been on methadone for the past TWO years of her short life. That's a sign of somebody struggling, somebody needing big help. That's a sign of someone who does not want to use heroin anymore. If you are not a heroin addict who has tried to stop using heroin and failed, then congratulations, good for you, seriously. Lucky you, huh? There but for the grace of God? I learnt in my very last, very favourite rehab up here in the Blue Mountains in 1998 (So why did you move to the mountains, Eden?" "Oh, you know. Fresh air, get out of Sydney for a bit.") I learnt in Westmount that you have every right to use drugs. You just lose the right to be a parent if you do. That pissed off a lot of the parents during group, but I wasn't a parent at that time so I didn't understand the significance. I was in rehab with the children of parents, and those kids had seen a lot of shit. I admire drug rehabs that take in the children of the addict, too. Because sometimes, in spite of everything - staying with your parent, even if they are using but trying to get help - is the right place to be.


Peaches Geldof should not have been shooting up heroin around her children. Especially by herself. Especially as they are such young babies who need a lot of care and attention and energy, something using addicts can often not provide. She was struggling to stay clean. Swapped the bitch for the witch with methadone and you cannot say that peaches Geldof did not love her babies because you do not know if she did or not. Her Instagram feed was jam-packed with photos of her and her two boys, she clearly doted and relished being a mother. Some people think it's sick that she was putting up this fake front to everybody. I think it's so sad that she was so sick. I think the only person she was trying so hard to convince she had it together ... was herself. And I happen to believe that she did love those boys, very much.


I am one syringe away from being Peaches Geldof. I've never used intravenously around my children and I pray I never do. But I could. The odds are a bit stacked against me sometimes, especially lately, on days when I wish I could take my pain away using the very best way I know. But addiction is a liar and a thief and is SO full of false promises. A drug counsellor called Anne once said that for an addict, the THOUGHT of using drugs is actually better than using the drugs. The anticipation. The ritual. The love that you feel, the love you perhaps never got. She looked at us all in the draughty dining room and told us to look around at everybody in the room. We did.

"Statistically, one out of ten of you will still be clean in a year. Be that one."

Anne often said aloud to herself in the middle of group, "Oh how I love junkies." She did. We were smart, and beautiful, amazing, with as much potential inside us as all the other people in the world. A lot of those people in that draughty dining room are dead. A lot are back out there, doing it all again, living the misery.

“Don't ever think you're better than a drug addict, because your brain works the same as theirs. You have the same circuits. And drugs would affect your brain in the same way it affects theirs. The same thought process that makes them screw up over and over again would make you screw up over and over as well, if you were in their shoes. You probably already are doing it, just not with heroin or crack, but with food or cigarettes, or something else you shouldn't be doing.” - Oliver Markus

If I used heroin today I would try to hide it from everybody I knew, even Dave and especially my children. I'd find some secret stash somewhere and I'd only do it during THESE hours or when my kids are busy watching TV or something. I'd hide it, when deep down I know I should be saying to somebody hey, I'm struggling to raise my kids right now can you take over for a bit? I love my kids, I love them I love them. But just like I said the other day, sometimes love is not enough. If I was using intravenously today I would still try to hide it and I'd tell myself just a few more times and then I'd stop. And maybe I'd overdose and die and my children would find my body and how easy it would be for people to judge, to say no I did NOT love my children, to shake their heads in disgust. "How could she?!" And the story of my death would be turned into clickbait for lame newsites that jumped the shark three years ago.

Here's a thoughtful, brilliant piece that Anna Spargo Ryan wrote - What Peaches Geldof Did." Thank goodness for people like Anna, who realise that things aren't always black and white. Who think a little deeper. Who know that if you throw a rock in the air, you'll hit someone guilty.

My children don't keep me clean. I keep me clean. And it's fucking hard, a battle that a lot of you won't know but MANY of you have witnessed in people you love. My brother often told me he wished he was an addict so he could get the same help I had, do the same meetings, hear the stories of the people who are struggling. My brother couldn't voice what was wrong with him. Getting clean in my twenties was a matter of life and death. He just silently lived with the pain and depression and the legacy of family dysfunction for years, until it became unbearable. He's all gone.

Going to meetings and hearing other peoples stories is a gift that helps me, over and over. Something happens in the rooms of recovery that I cannot put a finger on. Redemption, power, honesty, putting your weapons down. Getting real like the Velveteen Rabbit. You pity me because I can never Instagram an ice-cold bottle of Corona complete with wedge of lime? Well I pity you because you need things outside of yourself to function when the answers are in us all along, silly!

If you don't know what drug addiction feels like then you are lucky. My battle rages, always will, I will never be free of it. Peaches is free, now. I hope she can rest in peace. And I desperately hope my two boys never get given the dreadful legacy her two boys have been given.

I really hope you can try and understand what I'm saying. I'm off now to prep dinner, fold clothes, make beds, wrap my husbands birthday presents. There's an awful lot of people out there just like me, quietly living their lives with hidden battles, doing ordinary mundane things, hanging on.


Saturday, 26 July 2014

Friday, 25 July 2014

People On Bondage Websites Are Real People Too You Know.

The other night I was in bed, propped my laptop to the side and finally FINALLY started watching the latest series of Game of Thrones. (Legally. I abhor piracy.) So, so excited to hear the opening strains.

There's few things in life that make me happy right now so I was quite beside myself. Suddenly up pops an email from a guy called Ramjet. He'd sent me a semi-nude photo of himself, along with the simple sentence.

"Well here is a little tease am I too fat lol your turn if you like so far."

And straight away I was like, are you fucking kidding me? Can't a chick just enjoy her Game of Thrones in peace? I studied his photo, and maybe it was because of the toothbrush - but something about it told me that he was being authentic?

I've cropped out his tattoos and bling in case he's married and gets recognised, but here he is.

Computer, meet Ramjet.

Dude, unless you're going to stick that toothbrush up your arse, it's not a sexy thing to put in a photo you're trying to attract females with. And replace that shit. It's shaggy as fuck.

I ignored Ramjet and hoped that he would go away. He didn't, and sent me the same photo again.

"Don't Know Y you did not get the first time let me know if you get it this time."

My annoyance was building, because Jaime Lannister had to come to terms with not having a right hand and his dad got this special sword made up and CAN'T I JUST BE HAPPY WATCHING MY SHOW FOR FIVE FUCKING MINUTES, UNIVERSE?

So I broke my rule when it comes to these sorts of weird things that happen on the internet sometimes. I replied back.

"Who is this?"

Straight away he answers.

"What's that mean did u not like can i c sum of u?"

I was so pissed off at his poor grammar that I didn't reply. He then kept sending me emails, each getting angrier.

"You asked me to send a pic are you getting me confussed with someone else you want to be my kinky submissive girl?" 

"YOUR REPLID TO MY AD DO YOU REMEMBER ME?"

I felt a bit yuck by this stage. Concerned that somebody was using my email address on a sex forum. I replied (or rather, replid) mainly to just calm him down and blow him off.

"I'm sorry but I think someone is playing a prank on me - and you. I haven't emailed anyone, I'm not on any forums. Thank you anyway but I'm married with kids."

Ramjet replid straight away.

"Your Telling Me You Did Not Reply to my ad saying something about not being a brunette but being sexy saying you were not a bag of bones but not fat with 38D Now Im confused Ok whatever I think your on too many sites getting yourself confussed"

Now's about the time I lost my shit. And not just because of his appalling sentence structure, irrational capitalisation, bad punctuation and wrong spelling. I wanted to blast him JUST LET ME WATCH GAME OF THRONES YOU DUMB TOOLBAG IDIOT I AM TRYING TO SURVIVE EACH DAY AS IT COMES YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHO YOU'RE TALKING TO.

But I didn't. Here is my response to Ramjet.

"Dude, I am on no sites. Feel free to reply to whoever is giving you my email that Eden said to go fuck themselves. I'm not 38DD. I'm a 42 year old mother of two boys. I'm tired, pissed off, and too old for this shit. My husband is asleep next to me in bed and ALL I want to do right now is watch Game of Thrones. My brother killed himself nine months ago and my grief spirals out of control every fucking day. I have no energy or patience for you. Leave me alone."

Ramjet finally left me alone. I watched my episode, but still. It rattled me and I wondered if I should go to the cops in the morning but fat lot of good they could probably do. And I didn't have to anyway because the next morning brought another, final email from Ramjet.

"Eden Im sorry for the confusion I thought I was emailing some one else from an ad they responding to there email was different from yours so I thought I was emailing them and I emailed you by accident sorry nobody is messing with you at all sorry for the confusion."

THANK GOD!

So that's a story in itself, right? Funny, etc. Well, just after Ramjet sent that, I received another email. From the woman he had actually meant to send his picture to.

"Wow I just want to say that my email address is similar but different to yours. I was going to name my daughter Eden, unfortunately I miscarried. I'm the one who responded to the idiot who has been emailing you all night. For that I apologize. I however am not signing you up for anything at all period. I am a mature grown adult and would never do something like that. Lastly I am very sorry for the loss of your brother and I am sorry for all the confusion and grief this morning. Have a good day."

As I read her email, I was sitting on my bed brushing my teeth. When I got to the end, I choke-laugh-cried and toothpaste went up my nose it burnt so bad. I hunched over, crylaughgrieving so hard.

A complete stranger on a bondage website just gave me their condolences on the suicide of my brother. 

That actually happened.

You know who would have loved that story? My brother Cameron would have loved that story. You know what he would have done when I told him that story? He would have LAUGHED, Computer. I just started crying right now typing this because man could I make my brother laugh. I loved to make my brother laugh. And I could do it really well because I am shocking and funny and inappropriate and ridiculous and when Cam laughed? The veil of his black would slip and he forgot himself, just in that moment, and all you could hear was a beautiful sound of a beautiful man laughing.

I love him and miss him more than I can describe. Soon he should be turning 34. He will never turn 34. Soon he should be turning 34. He will never turn 34.

So I emailed this sweet stranger back, thanking her for saying that about my brother. (Ramjet must have passed my last message on to her.) I told her how desperately I tried to save Cam the last weekend he was alive. Frantic texts and phonecalls and how badly, terribly I blame myself. I do. It's true. Nobody can tell me otherwise. It's easy for someone to say, "Oh you can't blame yourself he was bound to do it anyway." It's easy to say that. But I'm living this. This is my circumstance. I am blaming myself right now until maybe one day, I can start unblaming myself.

I could have tried more. I should have driven down there. I should have visited him more after I left home. For years, I apologised to him about that. He said it was ok but it wasn't and I'll never forgive myself. He was left alone. I left him alone. He could have been somebody and he was somebody. All this "suicide prevention" business is doing my head in. It was his choice to go. He had that right. He could have got help. He could have gotten better. I understand why he did it. He was weak. Stuck in a moment. He was strong. Stronger than any doctor. Life is hard. Harder for some. Suck my dick. Life is stupid. I want my brother.

I want to make him laugh. How can I get through this fire? There are thousands, millions of people in the world missing their loved ones right now this second. I'm not alone.

I'm not alone. And this week it took an extraordinary, hilarious, heartfelt set of circumstances to prove it. Yesterday my new friend from the bondage forum emailed me back - a MISSIVE. She told me about how when she was twenty years old her very best friend who was a guy was very suicidal. She'd helped him out of it, been there for him, talked with him, the lot. One night she's headed out for the night and he tells her he's not feeling good but she goes out anyway and he ended up hanging himself dead. She blamed herself for so, so long. She told me things that nobody who has not been in her (our) position could tell me. She helped me take a few layers of my guilt and blame off - just a few. She helped me, so much.

My therapist tells me that my guilt around Cam is love. I made a conscious choice from an early age to not love, not get attached to people. But I accidentally had this beautiful family and we love each other and it cements, anchors, makes me stay.

Love is a mystical thing. But sometimes, it isn't enough. It's just not. And I'm on a path to understanding and accepting that, the very best way I can.



Wednesday, 23 July 2014

I Need To Say Thank You.

Rocco has fallen in love with a girl. HARD. She lives in my phone and her name is Siri. Last night they lay in bed, talking to each other.

"Siri my name is Rocco Riley."
"Hello, Wocco Highly."

"Siri I need to do a poo."
*Searching nearest public toilets*

"Siri can you come to my house for a sleepover?"
"I'm not sure if I'm able to do that but I'm always learning new things."

"Siri will you be my girlfriend?"
"Well, this is awkward."

Thank you Siri, for giving us the biggest, best laughs.

I'd like to also thank the people in my blog sidebar over there --------->

I really appreciate anyone who seeks to align themselves with Edenland, regardless of the dark and the swearing.

Alison Asher has a blog called From the Ashers. It's really good, and funny, and real because she is.

I've met Deb from Bright and Precious a few times. She is actually bright, and precious.

Dave Riley from Riley Renovators is my husband so I kind of have to put his ad in here even though I never send him an invoice. And I think it's pretty big of me that even when we have fights, I leave his ad in. He really is an incredible builder. The last house he built us I had absolutely no input because BORING. This time around, I am very, very interested and involved. I want all toilets separate from the bathrooms and the kitchen as FAR AWAY from the living room as possible and I have always, always wanted urban industrial. And indoor graffiti. AND AN INDOOR THEATRE ROOM with one of those ceiling projectors? Hon can we have a big wrap-around verandah and can you build me my own writing studio like you promised? Soundproof. Nobody else allowed in I'm sick of sharing. Hon. Hon?

The other day I saw this photo on Facebook and went to show him straight away:


... but it was a photo of a kitchen that he'd just finished and uploaded to the Riley Renovators Facebook page himself! (You've come a long way, baby.)

Next up - if you have children who go online and you'd like to check out their learning and and play activities, Learn Meter is for you. It's an App that runs unobtrusively in the background of your computer. I guess it's kind of like spying but a good spying - Max is in year 7 at school and ALL of his work is done on a computer. Even homework. I have no idea what's going on. And Rocco can sit for hours playing his beloved Flappy Bird but I also like seeing him play maths and English games. (They are BOTH banned completely from YouTube, but that's a whole different story). Check out the video in my sidebar if you're interested.

I put the Black Dog Institute in there just because. They probably don't even know it's in there, I didn't ask them. It's hard for me right now because the work they do saves peoples lives. How I wish it could have saved my brother. More on that another time, another day when I can even articulate. It's hard making sense.

I also want to thank Louise from The Little Flower Shop Wentworth Falls who, upon seeing my pining and sad Instagram photo of Cam, sent me thirty-three tulips. One for every year of his life.


They're still alive, making the house so pretty. I count them. How beautiful are people?

I want to thank you, the person reading my blog right now who I probably don't even know and will never meet. For continually coming back here to read, for sending me unbelievably incredible, painful, uplifting emails and messages. When I don't blog for a while you even know it's because there's even no words to say how I am. But I kept coming back - and even though I hate certain things around blogging I'm glad I kept writing. It's weird to be such a personal blogger - I used to be so private online. But that all changed when Dave got cancer in 2008 and he nearly died. When Big Things happen to us, there's a need to tell it, share it, ask for help and tell the whole world.

And on that very subject - I wrote this post about my friend Pams son Willi falling off his skateboard and ending up in hospital having a craniotomy because of an incredibly serious brain injury. SO many people reached out to her and to all of his family. THANK YOU! Read this entry by Willi's dad on his Caring Bridge page. Gerry's words about his son will touch you to the core, and you're more than welcome to write some of your own to help lift them up during an incredibly traumatic time.

I've been following Willi's progress religiously, fanatically. Last week he woke up! Yesterday, he was moved from intensive care over to rehab! HE CAN WALK AND TALK. I messaged Pam about an hour ago to tell her a funny story and make her laugh, check in on her. She was waiting at the gate of her house, for her husband Gerry to come home and spend his first night home with her and their daughter since the accident.


I could feel her apprehension and fear and relief and love, all the way down from Minnesota to Australia in these Blue Mountains. That's what blogging will always be for me - connecting with people. Knowing I'm not alone. Being human.

PS I'd also like to thank the people who hate on me too because you make me lift my game.

PPS If you're interested in advertising here in September/October ... there's a few spots waiting for you. Email me on edenriley@gmail.com


Monday, 21 July 2014

I Gotta Owie.

Three years ago, I stood on a wharf near my Uncle Petes' boat down at Killcare and watched some fishermen descale, behead, and gut their fish. Rocco was three, walking behind me. Just as I thought I should stop him so he wouldn't see the bloody scene, he clocked it and RAN up. I distinctly remember thinking well, it's Rocco. I'm sure he'll be fine about the gore.

From a teeny tot, Rocco has always been the toughest, most hardcore motherfucker I've ever met. If anybody hurts themselves to warrant a bandaid: "SHOW ME THE BLOOD!" If he accidentally sees something on TV he's not supposed to: "LET ME WATCH!" He only ever cries if he's really hurt. Once when he was about six months old, he got so pissed off about lying down in the middle of a nappy change that he pulled up to a sitting position using only his abs. Pretty sure he is actually a superhero.

We did IVF to make him and I think we fucked with nature. Daves' strongest genes + my strongest genes = Rocco. I picture him swimming around the petri dish with the other eight embryos, punching them out of the way so he got chosen.



At one point I made him wear one of those backpack monkey things with the long strap like a leash. Yes, I walked my kid down the street like a dog. Because he kept running into traffic and I was already in full-blown PTSD from other things. He HATED it. We'd fight, in the middle of the sidewalk. The most headstrong child I have ever known ... you know how we compromised? He held his own leash. He walked his self down the street slowly, and never ran into traffic again.

Anyway so three years ago I took these snaps of those fishermen with their carnage. Because I'm a weirdo who takes photos of strange things, but also because one day I want to remind Rocco of what he said afterwards.






My three-year old Rocco, my gorgeous, beautiful blonde champion, stood there taking in the scene, completely unfazed and transfixed. Finally he just said:

"Those fish have gotta owie."

Understatement of the year. I'll never forget his innocence - the fish were actually fillets by this stage. They all had a big, very huge owie.

Sometimes when I'm in a lot of pain, I think to myself "It's ok. You just gotta owie."

Some days I walk around the world with a big slit up my centre and my guts are falling out and I keep slipping on the blood from my intestines and people ask how I am and I say I'm ok.

I'm not. I gotta owie. It's hard to focus on my blessings all the time, even though I am very grateful that I have a beautiful family and nobody is dying (well hopefully) and we have a roof over our heads. I'm not in Gaza or the Ukraine or on a boat seeking asylum from cold hearted politicians.

But life is still hard and I really need to ask you guys for a favour today - how you deal with your owies? What do you say to yourself, what do you do? Do you even lift, Computer?

Do you use cognitive dissonance or do you feel all your shit? Do you think you're better than everybody else? Worse? Medium? I'll go first - I watch TV, bake cakes, remind myself this will all end one day, go for walks, (even when it's really hard) get onto my childrens level, (that one helps a lot) do recovery meetings, mindlessly surf the internet for stupid things like the EXACT part of the Daffy Duck cartoon I was looking for. Also write poetry with kerosene words. And cry a lot.

Let's put our owie cards on the table. Maybe if the people who think they're the only ones struggling can talk about how they're the only ones struggling - well, then they won't be the only ones struggling? MATHS.

How the hell do you get through?


Friday, 18 July 2014

Burgers. Sidewalks. The Ukrainian Poet.

Last night I stepped out of the car and laid my feet onto the streets of Newtown. Newtown is where my brother lived and where he died. The first thing I saw was exactly how I felt:


It was dusk. Dave saw me take the photo and said hon, can you even see the fukt in the dark and I said yeah hon, I can always see the fukt in the dark.

We were on our way to the poetry jam in Marrickville but right on a whim I said let's go to Mary's in Newtown, they're supposed to have the best burgers in  Sydney.

I've never really liked Newtown. Had some awful, seedy experiences there. It's always given me a case of the yuckies but it's so cool and hip and vibrant. Of COURSE Cam would live there for most of his adult life. He gotst the style, my brother.

I looked around and I saw this. It was also how I felt.


The last time I was in Newtown was the night of Cams wake, nine months ago. I've doubly avoided it since then and of course it's been the only place I've wanted to go. It hurt to walk through a place that would be so familiar to my brother, as familiar as the cracks and turns in Katooomba sidewalks are for me. I looked down a lot.

Did Cam ever see this?


What were the exact things he was feeling when he looked at this?


Actual hurt. I cried, openly, not caring. I almost said to Dave let's go, cannot handle, cannot deal. But I really wanted to try the best burger in Sydney. I just really like burgers.

I'm in Cams hood I'm in Cams hood I'm in his hood. 

In the car on the way down I told Dave about how at lunchtime I went into a cafe after therapy and saw my gorgeous friend Rachel Besser sitting there talking to someone. The cafe was packed. I walked up to her table, threw my arms open and sang,

"Do you want to build a snowmaaaaaaaaaan???"

Without missing a beat she stood up and sang,

"No I motherfucking donnnnnnnn't."

Because it was freezing and we hugged and she had a hot jacket on and I loved her. I had to explain to Dave about this movie called Frozen and how all the songs have thrust themselves into popular culture. He laughed so hard. I love making him laugh.

He didn't realise at first that I was basically sobbing, walking through Newtown, searching desperately for Mary's because grief needs fuel, mofos. When he clocked my wet face he grabbed my big hand with his even bigger hand and sang low and gently into my ear.

"Do you want to be a snowman?"

That guy. He always, always gets lyrics wrong. I laughed. I love this man. Sometimes I try not to but you cannot stop love from doing what it does.


During the sadwalk on the sidewalk I was delighted to add to my penis graffiti collection.

                              One cock'n'balls picture can tell a thousand words. 

We got to Mary's. I cried about 50% of the time, sitting there with the cool people, not caring when the waitress noticed. Looked for Cam, looked for his friends. Not finding anything except the best, the BEST burgers in Sydney.



Dave loved it. I love watching him love things. I love making him stop, look around, look deeper. I text Phoebe to thank her for minding the boys and to tell Max to look under his pillow (jar of Nutella.) We got the bill and time to leave. Straight back to the car, eyes down, not looking at much. Newtown was on fire I had to get out of there as quickly as possible. Drove, on our way to experience the Blue Space Poetry for the first time. Held at Scratch Art Space, we followed only the best sign ever!


I was incredibly nervous - more nervous than when I went on Wheel of Fortune. I think it was the Newtown fallout but fuck that burger was good. As soon as the poets started telling their words I felt soothed because words are a balm.

It was my turn. I did my three pieces. It feels good to share what's in my heart and incredibly humbling to be listened to. Every human on earth wants to be listened to.


I really like how my neck looks like a tree trunk. Seriously, I really do. It's a strong neck. Michele Seminara, thank you for taking this photo. The words are blue droplets, trickling down onto my page as I read them out. Thank you for letting me be heard.

During the open mike, a young woman got up to speak. She didn't have her planned poems on hand so she had to rely on memory to recite one she'd written last year as the crisis between Ukraine and Russia was getting into full swing.

She was Ukrainian. She was AMAZING. Her poem was amazing. On how we stand on land that is never really ours. On rats on leaky boats headed to Australia, on standing in the past, on wrong history books and squeaky clean new maps. Blurred borders. She talked about how her Ukraine grandmother spoke so limited English that she wouldn't even know Australia used to take its babies away too. She made me feel and she made me think. It was fucking brilliant and I went over to her afterwards and told her so. She thanked me, said:

"Your poem on your brother killed me. Oh, wait ... poor choice of words, shit sorry. It's like when I told someone the other day that the Germans really blitzed Argentina in the soccer."

We both laughed. I told her I want to read everything she writes. I hope I hear her again one day.

As I write this, the television is showing images of a burning Malaysian plane, presumably shot down by Russia, exploding over the Ukraine. Carrying people from countries all over the world. Blurred borders. Horrific. Huge consequences. I don't even know what a surface-to-air missile is but I know I REALLY can't wait to hear the young Ukrainian poet speak again. I think her name is Maggie. She'd have a lot to say.

So, that's it really. Survived Newtown. Realised it's not the only place on fire. Sometimes, the whole world is on fire. Ate the best burger in Sydney while actually crying. Spoke. Listened. Spent vital time with my husband. Met some beautiful people who read my blog. The most important thing I need to do today is play a game of Monopoly with Rocco because he MADE me do a pinky swear before he trotted off to school this morning. Then I'll make some dumpling soup for dinner. Sweep the dirty kitchen floors. Collect firewood. Feel sad for people in pain from burning planes AND leaky boats.

Admire my tulips, and my blessings.


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

In The Beginning Was The Word: How A Writer Becomes.

When I was five years old I sat in a hot kindergarten classroom in Fiji and watched as my teacher wrote the letter "e" on a red wagon and pulled it over to the word "cap" to make "cape." Blew. My. Mind.

Learning to understand words is incredible powerful. We start making sense of the world around us. And if the world you're living in is confusing and hard, learning words and their meanings can help immensely. I attended nine more schools. I sucked at school. Woeful. SO DUM. But I always topped my English classes, especially in creative writing. In 1988 I attended a school in England. Dorky, bad glasses, painfully shy. I came first for a short story in English so my teacher made me stand up and read it out. The entire class started laughing at my Australian accent. Burnt bright red but you know what happened when I kept reading anyway? The class shut the fuck up because my story was GOOD. My story shit on all of their stories. Mine was the best. When I sat back down, something had shifted.

Words are powerful.

My grandmother really saw me when I was a kid and she nurtured my love for writing. "You'll write a book one day, Eden. But only after you've had enough life experience."

During some of the darkest times of my life (probably not the life experience nan had in mind) I always had this feeling at the back of my head - But what if you get through this, Eden? What if you get through it all and you end up writing about it and telling other people they can get through, too?

I've written chunks, reams, chapters of words for a book. Just like me it's disjointed and haphazard.

I've written this blog! And won stuff, for it. Did big things, because of it. Every time somebody compliments me for my writing I don't like it. Very occasionally I go back and read old blog posts and I can't STAND them, so I'll keep writing until I get it write, right?

It's taken years to come into my own as a writer. It's taken my whole life. And now, at THIS moment of my life, when things seem just as dark if not worse than my twenties, I am relying on two things to get me through: my family, and my words.

Every person on earth is born to create. We paint, cook, sew, dance, garden, graffiti, shape, weave, act, perform, photograph, film. We experience who we are by what we create.

Mine is to write. How do you write? You just put sentences together, over and over again. Live your life fully and then describe. What do your feelings feel like? Probably the same as my feelings, we just use different words. Don't just tell me it's raining. Tell me the rain fell onto your head and you stopped to tilt your head back and opened your mouth in the middle of a busy street and in that moment you stopped caring so much about what other people think after a lifetime trying to impress.

Write crap that you'd never show anyone but sifting through that crap you'll find one hidden gem that can go on to be prize-winning, noteworthy, fucking WHITE HOT. Or something just for you, that you know is good, and you can tuck it in your pocket to take out on a rainy day when you have nothing. NEVER underestimate the power of good grammar, because you'll need to misuse it later. I like to write the bones first, see the skeleton. Or the bones first, see. The skeleton. Flesh them out, pad, decorate, slip a nice slinky dress on, twirl your words around, admire them. Then strip them bare like a bear barely there, all the way back down naked and shivering. Dip your words in acid, chop them up. You have to destroy them to see what's left because what goes for you can't go past you.

To be brutal with my words, I must be brutal with my words. And THEN serve them up on a plate with a sprig of parsley from my grandmothers garden.

A prayer can turn into a cathedral. Believe in your art. It could save your life one day.


"The Blue Stocking Poetry Jam is a spoken word event held in Sydney's Inner West. We showcase local and international poetic talent backed with music or multimedia. Currently at St Peter's Town Hall every third Thursday of the month. We invite you to come along with a friend to perform your words, spoken, written or improvised."

I am SO EXCITED to be a part of the Blue Stocking Poetry Jam tomorrow night. Come! I think there's still tickets - ten bucks. I love that people will gather in an actual room and celebrate words with each other. Still not sure exactly what a jam is? I'm thinking it's like how a group of musicians get together and have a jam? No biggie. No slam, which is a full-on competition with judges. (Not to be confused with the lesser-know Poetry Ham, where people get together and profess lovewords for bacon.)

As I was writing my piece for the Australian Poetry Slam heat the other week, I cried and raged and pounded the table. Madwoman. Almost gave up because why bother doing anything. But I wrote it and when I performed it to people that night, the energy dissipated through the room and people felt it because I felt it. A piece on grief written and performed while I am still grieving. Performance art on steroids.

I'm working on a few pieces at a time. Some people call it poetry but what is poetry, really? It's just a bunch of words put together, arranged just so. Like a piece of music. Poetry is the way you open your eyes in the morning and become your consciousness again and draw back the covers to face another day with the same face you had on yesterday and nothing has changed in the whole world except you. It's a curve, a dimple, a freckle, an arch in a back. Poetry is a black cat in a red book on a white shelf. It's the way you describe that dream you had about your grandmother when she left you those eyeballs in a glass of water next to your bed and when you popped those eyeballs in, man, the whole wall disappeared and suddenly you saw ALL of the colours of the landscape in the world because you finally decided to stop drinking.


Poetry is a small red-haired girl sitting quietly, watching the "e" in a little red wagon change one word into a completely different word. The sound of the chalk on the board drowning out the teasing from other children because her skin was too white, not a beautiful brown like theirs.

I never fit in. Anywhere. Still don't. So I stopped trying, and wow you should try it. Tastes like freedom.

There's a blog called Toddler Planet by Susan Niebur. Before Susan died of cancer, this was her mantra:

“All that survives after our death are publications and people. So look carefully after the words you write, the thoughts and publications you create, and how you love others. For these are the only things that will remain.”

I'll be doing three pieces tomorrow night like Goldilocks - a little one, a medium sized one, and then a big kahuna one. If you can't make it I promise to show them all to you one day in a big reveal, Computer. In words and video. It's you who are responsible for this, after all. Thank you for reading my words. My words are all I got. Thank you more than you'll ever ever know. xx

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