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Welcome

Writer. Mother. Cancer Survivor.

Coffee drinker, animal lover, beach bum.

Contains sex, frequent coarse language and adult themes :P

Leave your judgement at the door thanks.

Ashx

Oh Internet, how I love you. You have made it so easy for me to meet like minded people, make friends, discover a support group. I’ve also enjoyed an endless stream of cat photos, fails, and the quiet brilliance that is PostSecret. I’ve reconnected with friends and family, googled everything in existence, and have recently connected you to my Foxtel and Apple TV.

Let’s not get started on YouTube.

On the flipside, I feel like I’m letting this ruin my brain. I literally cannot focus long enough to read a chapter in an actual book, with pages and ink. I facebook while I’m working the horses, that’s if I get out there in the first place. By the time I’ve written this, I probably will have had five facebook conversations and checked my newsfeed countless times, lest I miss some self help article that I will never put into actual practice, or the daily musings of a boy I kissed on the last day of Yr 9, and never saw again.

The times when I’ve felt the most ‘whole’ have never been when I’ve been sitting in front of my laptop, various tabs open to social networking sites. They’ve been when I was 18 and ran every day even though I’d always hated it. When I was 15 and would ride exercise work on racehorses just trot trot trot for kilometres on end and they find their stride and you find yours and sometimes it starts to feel like magic. Dare I say it, one of the first times I smoked weed with an ex and we laid in his Dad’s recording room with carpet all up the walls and Fleetwood Mac on the record player and we felt every instrument.

Now I don’t even watch a fucking movie without my iPhone. I can’t follow a teen TV series’ storyline. It’s getting ridiculous. I’m nearly 30 and have wasted so many opportunities, spent so much time just killing boredom when I could have been learning or writing or being productive or I don’t know, having conversations and focusing on who I’m with or actually tasting what I’m absentmindedly cramming into my mouth.

I’m at the point where I’m actually going to start giving myself a schedule to tell me what I should actually be filling time with. This doesn’t fit in with my personality at all, but yeah. I’m sick of being so passive. I’m sick of saying I ‘don’t have time’ to finish my novel, ride my horse, paint my room, decorate my soul.

Can anyone relate?

Ashx

So I’ve been trundling along, pretty well actually, with the odd ‘moment’ either way – deep sadness but then the most beautiful purely happy and content pieces of time too. I’ve been writing something, in little patches, and I generally have no confidence in anything I do, but this is good, I know it is.

I don’t even know who I’m writing to, if anyone reads here anymore. It’s been a long time. I love writing. But I’ve poured out so much pain here that for awhile I couldn’t even think about it, couldn’t come back. I’d try and feel that sucking feeling in my chest, so I just scribbled on bits of paper. A few times I used my finger and pretended to write the squirming feelings out on the wall, couch, car door, where ever I was. And you know what happened? I became present in my life, and proactive instead of reactive, always on the defence. I stopped giving a shit what my neighbours and the shop guy and the people who dropped me when I got sick and freaked out think of me, and I started focusing on what the people who love me think of me. And most of all, what I think of me.

Between homeschooling Bailey and leaving mainstream cancer treatment I copped so much criticism I simply had to stop caring. There was no other way.

The thing is, it worked. Bailey is well and happy – and kind of bratty right now, but so age appropriate and just boring normal that I could almost cry with gratitude after having to ask him for the ten billionth time to pick his crap up, use manners, be careful.

Cancer is complicated. The cynic in me feels like it’s just another industry, another way for people to make money. I baulk when I see pink ribbon products containing chemicals that have been linked to various cancers. It bothers me that ‘natural’ and ‘alternative’ remedies aren’t given the same funding and research as those owned by pharmacuetical companies. It didn’t inspire confidence, the reactions I got when I started asking questions. Questions like, where does the funding come from for this particular drug? When there are a few medications that are roughly as effective as each other, how do you decide which one to try first? Why is everything in your surgery sponsored by a drug company?

Look. I believe that most people are good. I think most Doctors want to help people. Of course they do. But I believe that the patients feelings should matter more. No one paid any attention when I questioned the range of symptoms I was having that weren’t in a any way consistent with my first diagnosis. No one has to take responsibility or be accountable for that. But when *I* actually want to do my own research, and be responsible for myself, it’s continuous phone calls, criticisms, borderline harassment and ‘duty of care’ talks.

My last lot of tests weren’t great. I’m upset. I know there’s going to be this ‘we told you so, the system is the way it is for a reason’ type attitudes. When in actual fact, I had been doing fantastically well, until it came to the point where financially I had to start choosing between my *alternative, hippy type medications and remedies* and you know, being able to eat and pay bills and take my child to his chosen sports classes and keep a roof over our heads. I sold my car, I made sacrifices, but how long can I do that for? Our ‘system’ is supposedly set up to protect people like me, who work hard for what they have and through no fault of their own end up in a rough patch. It’s why I paid fifty thousand dollars in tax in one year when I was just starting out and working hard to try to get ahead, so that if I should fall ill, our government would be able to cover my medical bills and give me enough to barely survive for any time I wouldn’t be able to work. As long as it’s the exact drug program you are prescribed that is. Too bad if it doesn’t actually work, and you want to live longer.

I mean, it’s like being punched in the chest, losing the ground beneath my feet. With every inch of my being I don’t want to end up in the mainstream treatment cycle of secondary infections and bruising and needle marks. Of hair loss and bleeding lips and 16 hour sleeps. Of course, nor do I want to sell the horses, my olllddd beat up but working car, or my house.

I don’t want my son to see me ill, ever again. I don’t want my friends and family to be upset. I don’t want to lose myself, all the pure clear ok-ness I developed coming out of so much pain and fear. I just, I can’t go back there.

So yeah. That’s where I’m at. If anyone reads this I’d love to know where you’re at too :)

Ash xx

Hey guys, seems time for a life update yeah?

So, you’ll never guess what. I’m still off mainstream treatment, and still holding steady. I have good days (like yesterday) and very flat days (like today). I’ve lost some weight (I needed to, and should keep dropping naturally I hope) and my cycle is slowly becoming regular. My skin is looking better, I haven’t needed a nap in the afternoon in ages, and I’ve slowly started riding again :)

My best mate lives with us now, it’s awesome. Saved my ass financially too. And sometimes, she makes my bed <3

Everything is so up in the air but I’m fighting in the only ways I can to keep our house and lifestyle, and that’s that. Underneath that, I’m stable. I have shitty horrible days but I’m ok. I know myself. I’m single and actually good with that to the point of wanting to stay that way. Bailey is just a livewire, bright and happy. He’s developed a real sense of humour (god knows he’ll need it) and his creativity has been shining through. We’re still ‘homeschooling’ (legally, though truth be told we tend to edge more toward unschooling these days, not that we try to fit into any particular category) and I can’t see us re-entering mainstream education any time soon. It just works for us. I regret putting him into school in the first place, I had that spot in my tummy where you know something’s not right but I just I don’t know? Wanted us to fit in? I guess school is just the thing to do, and there aren’t a lot of options here.

Everything is geared towards people entering the mainstream education system. Doesn’t mean it’s bad, just not for everyone I guess. 

So yeah, that’s us. There’s been a lot of friend drama, house drama, financial drama but I feel removed from it all most of the time. It doesn’t matter. It’s highly likely I’ll end up walking out of this house with nothing to show for it but that’s ok. If I’m here for one year or ten before starting over I’m just going to make the best of it. We like it here. It’s cruisy and I have the best work and friends, but I find gorgeous people anywhere i go and Bailey seems the same. I want to stay here as long as possible, because we’re set but when it’s time to go, I won’t grieve. 

Sunsets and stars. Bonfires. Hugs and true friends and the smell of rain. I can have the important things anywhere we go.

x

 

‘Who knows, and does it matter?’ I scratched a pattern on the sheet. ‘I don’t think I need to define it. I’ve been there. Straight. I’m straight. But then I’m not.’

She yawned, luxuriously, not bothering to cover herself as she stretched. ‘Maybe it doesn’t matter. I just think that I deserve to know. Is this real?’

‘It’s as real as anything else.’

*******

All of my relationships have been with men. Nice, not so nice, tall, blonde, funny, smart, but all of them men. Writers and labourers and dealers and doctors. So would you assume I’m ‘straight’? Does it matter?

All of that, relationships and rules and limits, seems so far away now, almost alien. 

It took me so long to drop the labels. I wish they didn’t exist. Sexuality, to me, is gorgeous and intrinsic and can be so, I don’t know, fluid? It’s so hard to put what I’m trying to say into writing. I wish no-one had to ‘come out’, and we would just love who we love and that’s it. Isn’t it odd to have all these expectations and boxes and contracts. I understand the level of relief some people must feel when their sexuality has a name and is accepted. I’ve just always felt sort of…straight-jacketed, I guess… by labels, but it seems like society is so uncomfortable and overly invested in people not having one, and I’m insecure enough to let that bother me still.

Some experiences just are what they are, whether it’s a lasting enduring love, a passing attraction, or one intense night with someone. I don’t want to over-think and label everything. It truly doesn’t matter, and life is swirly and confusing and connections with people are special. 

I still can’t touch what I’m saying. I’ve slept with people I’ve loved and disliked and felt ambivalence towards. I change. It changes. Needs and wants change. Can your sexuality change? I don’t know. Do people have a true base sexuality that fits into one of five (? that I can think of) categories and are the layers on top a nature vs nurture type deal? Why does it matter? People do care who you sleep with. No one ‘comes out’ as straight. 

Freedom in all ways can be so intoxicating, and sometimes it seems like there’s no rules left. 

So beautiful.

x

 

 

 

 

Sometimes I feel like I repeat this to myself 100, 400, 56000 times a day. It is what it is what it is what it is. It helps me keep my shit together. Life is frantic, like a drug trip, and excrutiatingly slow all at once. Nothing matters right now and every minute detail feels significant.

Some days I wake up and it’s like, oh fuck another one again really? So soon? Then there’s music and coffee and sun streaming through hayrolls and the funniest 7 year old in the world. And it’s ok. I think. I don’t even know any more.

If it’s not, it will be, it has to be, it will be.

Lightning struck my tree. It was awesome, so loud. I put my hands on it the next day and there was all this energy. I felt sad that so much bark got blown off it and some of it twisted and landed in a perfect cross and even the neighbours and friends all came to see and it seemed bizarre, but it happens every day I suppose. My computer broke along with the rest of the house, and all I could afford was this HP thing and of course nothing I own is compatible, but if I can figure it out I’ll add photos.

When my divorce happens – which could be close to 2 years – I’m going to have the biggest fuckton bonfire you ever saw. With dancing and beating drums and flower chains. Maybe that’s in poor taste and I’ll change my mind but for now it feels good. Everyone who likes me can come. That was hard to write d i v o r c e. Because we chose each other and we chose wrong. But it’s not wrong because Bailey, so does that mean we just took a wrong turn? Or does nothing mean anything and there is no right and wrong, just varying shades of grey. It is what it is. Out of my hands completely at this point, and that’s challenging.

Maybe there’s just all these people spinning around and we flit in and out of each other existences and that’s all anything is. Luck and chance and hope for a connection. 

x

 

On Divorce

I’m guessing it’ll happen fairly soon, but I still, stupidly, stubbornly, want him to initiate it. This doesn’t seem so much to ask, really. 

I now have a lawyer and a financial advisor and some other woman. I’m quietly devastated. It’s rare to need legal help, rarer to have to request court hearings and ask people to write character references, here. We are starting to pick apart each others lives, to discredit each other, and it kills me. I didn’t want this. I don’t want this. But I want my house and I need my son and we deserve to not live in poverty. Bailey deserves to have a mother at home most of the time and some consistency.

He claims my mental health is a problem, I think him being an asshole hinders him as a parent. I’m too free and easy, he’s rigid, unsympathetic, and detached. Bman’s friends are comfortable here (giggling from the bunk bed as I write) and I know their parents and we’re part of the community, Craig lives with his family and is 10 minutes from his cousins. I rant about chemicals in the water and marijuana prohibition and our failing eduction system, he works a government job. 

I miss the good times so much it’s hard to breathe. I swear he was a good person and we loved each other, and Bailey.

Life changes, and people change with it.

 

Keepsake

 

I’m struggling, badly.

I hate writing these posts, but I hate not writing them more. I’m doing nothing with my life, I feel genuinely incapable of letting go of objects, people, and situations that I know are weighing me down. I’m fairly sure I’ve become symptomatic, some days.

I still have good days, a few in a row, and it’s them that keep me going and striving towards some kind of life. Ironically, my cancer count has continued to fall after stopping mainstream medication and there’s something that makes me think I won’t have cancer forever, that I will reach full remission. I can’t describe what that ‘something’ is but it just feels like something I know, like the sun will set tonight, a deep faith. I’m not religious, but if I was, I would think that God is looking after me in this way, and that everything is going to be ok.

Being in the middle still sucks though. Some days I even consider sending Bailey to school, just to give myself a break, but when my brain fog clears I know we’d both be worse off. I’ve grown more and more disenchanted with our education system, and more distrustful of government systems in general – I think having so much go wrong medically, learning about treatments available elsewhere that are illegal here, seeing a close friend being treated incredibly poorly by the Education Department, having my privacy severely compromised more than once has all taken its toll. Being screwed financially over and over doesn’t help either.

It’s alienating, feeling at odds with society in general, but also strangely freeing. Not my circus, not my monkeys – and all that.

I try not to write about Craig much anymore, but let’s just say he’s a letdown as a father and a human being. On the same day he told me that Bailey hasn’t been doing swimming lessons because of ‘too many bills’, he bragged about his new motorbike. It was Bailey’s birthday a couple of weekends ago and he was so slack. I have protected Bailey’s feelings more and more but unfortunately I can’t keep lying for and making excuses for him.

It’s a horrible lesson to learn that your parents aren’t who you want them to be, but unfortunately I think Bailey will have to start seeing Craig for how he is now, and that’s going to hurt both of us.

We’ll be ok though, we always are.

Ash x

 

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