Writer. Mother. Cancer Survivor.
Coffee drinker, animal lover, beach bum.
Contains sex, frequent coarse language and adult themes
Leave your judgement at the door thanks.
Writer. Mother. Cancer Survivor.
Coffee drinker, animal lover, beach bum.
Contains sex, frequent coarse language and adult themes
Leave your judgement at the door thanks.
It’s sixteen miles
To the promised land
And I promise you, I’m doing the best I can.
I grew up down here. I used to know every square inch of the place, but my God, has it ever changed. Horse paddocks are shopping centres, backyards with enough room to get lost in are a rarity, and on the weekends I practically have to fight for a quiet spot on the beach. Twenty years ago this was a haven for single mums, hippies, and old drunks. Cheap rentals, beautiful beaches and a healthy amount of marijuana smoke in the air. Most people knew each other, and everyone knew my family.
After I left, every so often when I had to pass through I’d feel sick. Traffic lights, fast food, so. many. people., nothing suited here. I think it was the fastest growing region nationally for a few years running, and it shows. I guess everyone wants to live at beach, even if now that means working crazy hours to afford it.
Once Craig and I were done and dusted (the first, maybe second time) I thought I’d come down for a couple weeks over summer, see my old besties, have some space. I like to sit on the balcony in the evenings, even though it faces completely the wrong way for any kind of view. At that point in time I would have been having a cigarette (I barely smoke now – yay for me!) when I heard a voice, ‘Hey! Are you my new neighbour?’. It took me a few seconds to realise where it was coming from, and I could only see him if I kinda leaned over, and he was leaning right forward and waving sheepishly ‘Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you’.
‘Hi. No. Just here for a break.’
‘Need someone to show you around? There’s some good spots’
I laughed. ‘Nah. Thanks though. I grew up here. It’s changed a lot.’
‘You don’t look old enough to say that’
I remember biting my lip, squeezing my eyes shut as I called out ‘Wanna come up for a drink? This is weird.’
He shook my hand at the door, formal. Introduced himself. Let’s call him Matt. I’ve never had any luck with Matts. Older than what I’d thought, a couple of grey hairs in his stubble. I love stubble. Kind eyes.
He can string a sentence together, plays guitar, and has built homes in Cambodia. He tasted like beer and salt.
I would have been happy to leave it at that; that’s all I expected. But he insisted on taking me for breakfast, and showed up with flowers and chinese the same night. We talked. About most things, separation was a big theme.
Except he wasn’t totally separated.
His wife wasn’t there though, but when he started being cagey a couple weeks on, I knew something was off. It ended with him in tears, confessing that while they had spoken about separation, and his heart wasn’t in the marriage, they hadn’t *actually* separated yet.
I really liked him. And I believed him when he said he was sorry and that he didn’t expect to meet someone he connected with at that point. But I still stopped seeing him immediately, and quietly freaked out, imagining how I’d feel being in his wife’s position.
Fast forward a few months until my next visit, when I noticed his house was for sale.
There was a twinge of regret in my chest, but nothing more.
When I came to live here, I just wanted to keep quiet, stay way under the radar, rest. It had only been a few days when the RSPCA came to investigate, saying my dogs had been reported as having no shade, water and that they were underweight. The complete level of confusion from the lovely guy that came out was almost comical. But when it happened twice more, plus a noise complaint to the police (I’m very quiet – but this is a party street so there’s always music from somewhere) I started feeling a little sick.
A few weeks later I was coming back from the beach at night when I hear, ‘Whore!’
‘You heard me’, she stated, talking loudly over her barking dog. ‘I know who you are. You were a delinquent and now you’re a home wrecker!’
I tried to apologise and explain that I had no idea Matt wasn’t single but she wasn’t having it. The RSPCA had threatened to have her charged for making false reports, and the police said I should keep a harassment diary but mostly I just ignore her, and remember how much she’s hurting. Ok, I yelled back a few times.
I don’t mind so much – these days when she starts up I just kinda be like ‘Yeah, yeah, I’m a whore. Whatever.’ I’m sure she knows inside that I’m not responsible for her marriage. Apparently -according to another neighbour- they divorced about 6 months before I moved in, the house was for sale for a while but she ended up buying him out.
If I was her, I’d be pissed at me too.
I try to remember she doesn’t know anything about me or my life. And that making a mistake doesn’t define me.
There’ve been times, especially this year, when I thought I might not make it through. The truth is, I haven’t always wanted to be in this world. That’s hard to acknowledge, but it is what it is. Losing myself like that scared me badly, but it was also the catalyst for crawling my way back, stumbling over every rough spot, finding that flicker of light.
It isn’t a graceful journey, but it’s beautiful.
I don’t have much left really, I’ve spent all my money – what was supposed to be a cheap break-year that I could recoup from turned out to be a massive financial drain. Appointments, specialists, independent testing, alternative therapies. I made my choices. I’m in ‘partial remission’ which was unexpected for my situation at this point, so I think I made a good judgement call. I’ll probably have to sell my car and get something cheaper, I leased out my good horse to minimise costs without ripping my heart out, Craig will have to wait to sign the house over because I can’t cover it.
I have my son, I have my sanity, I have my friends and family.
Faith, Hope and Love.
Life just seems like such a trip sometimes. I’m 28 and I haven’t done anything. I’m 28 and I’ve done so much. I’ve done everything backward to other people I know, and that’s fine. I had a baby after being told not to hold out too much hope for children. I was diagnosed with cancer six months later, two months after buying my first house. Now my son is 6, and it’s just us, as I pick myself up yet again, go back to school – chemo brain and all - and try and make a life for us.
It’s amazing how I always get another chance.
I’ll probably always regret the way some things have ended up. I’ve lost people I care about due to my own inability to relate to their normal while mine has been so left-centre. When I’m hurting and scared, and people with good intentions try and push me towards something I don’t have room for, I tend to react explosively. But I’m learning. The most meaningful relationship I had bar the one with my son disintegrated quite spectacularly, and that still hurts intensely when I let it, but I’m also edging towards a sense of acceptance.
I know it’s taking a lot longer than what people say, but I’ve had a lot to contend with in the meantime.
Most amazing is that I actually like bits of myself now. I can be strong and brave, funny and kind, when I have to be. When I’m having a good patch and handling life, I’m nice to be around and people like me. I have the best group of friends who try to understand me, make me nutritious meals, tell me to get more sleep and who have drenched my son in love as he’s struggled with increased awareness that this family isn’t like his friends’, because his mother is sick on a regular basis and there isn’t a permanent person to pick up the slack.
He went through this horrible acting out phase – above and beyond the usual six year old boy thing, and I was so shattered I couldn’t even write about it, but now he is even more beautiful than he was before.
Life is nothing like I thought it would be, and I’m so blessed.
is how this feels.
It’s warm (yes, I’m discussing the weather after being a bitch about that). I just had a major breakthrough health-wise. I kind of want to write something, swim in the ocean, lie in the sun, eat whole foods.
Pretty much how I felt almost a year ago, rocking up here with my kid and fur-kids. Totally spent, stripping off those outside layers. I have until January to salvage what’s left of this year, and then I have to go ‘home’. Well, back to what I’ll have to make a home, because it’s really the only place we have available to us.
I’m fucking terrified, when I stop and think about it. I didn’t really think I’d ever go back.
Maybe it will seem like this year never happened, and I can just kinda slip back into my job, studying online, coffee with other mums. Maybe I’m too different now, and I just don’t know it yet. I know I have like, three friends up there who have stuck by me. I have no idea about the rest.
God, I’m so glad I was here to fall apart. I can’t imagine what it would have been like up the hill. Totally unbearable I’d guess.
Maybe that is what I’m scared of – I go back, take on a mortgage, take responsibility for myself and Bailey and build us a life together, and something awful happens. I came here needing rest and strength and ended up in the hardest year of my life. I’m gritting my teeth writing this, and feeling so weak, but I. can’t. handle. much. more.
And I have some massive decisions to make.
So now that I’ve hashed all that out, I guess the question to ask myself is, ‘what should I do now?’
Try and build some strength. Make the most of this treatment break, nourish my body, allow myself to feel while I have time and space.
Walk everyday, write everyday, drink water, detox and declutter.
Accept what is and make the best of it.
My brain has been so weird lately.
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what I’d like to do next, and nothing is fitting. I kind of have to go ‘home’, up the hill, because Craig is willing to sign it over to me and I can only get a loan as a single parent with health issues for that particular property, as a way to have a solid home base for Bailey. And we have to be living there.
Trying to make a life plan that includes allowances for illness, but enough money for us to have a decent lifestyle, with me not able to work all the time…this is challenging stuff.
I fantasize about arts degrees or fostering children or writing or being a drug dealer or being well enough to do something physical outside. I get accepted into the perfect (fun, creative writing and journalism) degree without the relevant pre-requisites on the strength of a personal essay but then realise I don’t have the brain space to follow it through.
I think about what I’d do if I knew for sure I had 5 years, 10 years, 40 years.
And then I think, fuck it, it will sort itself out.
So I start thinking about other things. I walked through the supermarket the other day, on autopilot, and all of a sudden it felt like the most alien experience. I actually looked at people and wished I could connect with them. and a part of me wanted to interrupt their conversations about weather, money, their partners annoying habits. I want to ask them if they believe in God, when was the last time they cried, do they believe in love or think that it’s a chemical reaction, are they doing what they want with life.
I don’t know.
Like I said, weird brain. I don’t give a shit about what you’re having for dinner, how you wish these cold nights would ease up, which political party you support. I want to know something real.
And, an update.
Everything is still ok here, I’ve been sick – not dramatic sick but just mediocre, feeling generally shitty and exhausted kind of sick. I’ve been wanting to sleep 16 hours a day – anyone who knows me would know my usual stance on sleep, I’ve always struggled to get six hours. I feel like my mind and body have finally said ‘enough’. And that’s not a bad thing.
I haven’t been here, I’ve had this headache just on one side for like…weeks…and screen time seems to make it worse. I should be dropping some medications this weekend so I’m hoping that eases it, because I really would like to get more into blogging, and aim for something like 3 posts a week :). While I’m having a good day I’m going to go and check out all of your blogs – I always miss you guys when I have a break.
The weather has warmed up, so we’ve been getting in some beach time
Crappy iPhone photos, but you get the idea.
I’ve been feeling like I might kind of like meet someone, at some point.
I know I’ve said I ‘don’t agree’ with blended families (wow, bitter and hurt and scared much?) but, I dunno, it seems mean to force myself to go through life alone, just because it’s not the way I wanted it.
Kinda reeks of throwing toys out of the pram, right?
I’m a little lonely. I know now that I don’t need a partner, but I’d like one.
Someone funny with sparkly eyes and a nice smile, who is kind to my son without trying to parent him. Who can string a sentence together.
Up until a few months ago, I dated a lot. And I made a heap of new friends (yes, really) and rekindled old relationships. I fucked up a lot, also. I know I’m too picky, but I don’t see the point in getting serious with someone, when there’s a pretty clear deal-breaker.
Someone that never wants to move out of Perth. Someone who gets blind drunk every night and doesn’t see a problem. Someone who has a child the same age, and is at the other end of the parenting spectrum.
And there’s the whole me feeling totally unlovable thing, because really, would you date a single mum with cancer? So when a guy is nice to me, or says he’s interested, I never quite buy it. And I have practically run screaming from a couple of genuinely nice people – but I’m trying not to be so insane.
With guys my age, they’re generally at the ‘get smashed all the time’ or ‘wanting to settle down, get married and have kids’ stage, and I haven’t found a lot that are in between that. Not that I’m only willing to date guys my age, but I generally see guys I’m friends with from school, or used to work with, or whatever and they tend to be in that range.
What I’d really like, is to just meet someone, and have one of those instant attraction things. I probably wouldn’t admit this anywhere else, but I’m a total romantic, and I love all that love at first sight, soulmates, eyes catching across a room stuff. I’ve never ‘looked’ for a relationship before, they’ve always just developed, so I feel kinda lost. I don’t feel good about dating sites – I’m kinda organically minded in lots of ways, I guess. Like a ‘if it’s meant to be, I wouldn’t have to make any effort’ mindset. Not quite, but close enough.
I guess that’s one of the reasons things not working out with Craig shattered me so much, it felt like my belief system was totally shaken. Because it should have worked out, and it didn’t.
So – where does one meet a nice guy? How did you and your significant other meet?
ps – goes without saying that my bloods are looking really really excellent or I wouldn’t be thinking about dragging anyone else into all this. Just don’t wanna jinx it til I get full results xx
Alternate title: Life is crazy, when you are.
Sometimes, I just don’t know where to start. When Bailey was 4 months old and we brought our first house just before I was diagnosed with cancer? The first memory I have of my Dad being in hospital, his Doctor sneaking me into the ICU and being so frightened of the screens, the beeping, finally seeing what his eyes look like behind glasses after hydraulic acid pouring onto his face? The first time I was assaulted as a child? As an adult? My Mum ringing to say she’d found a house overseas, and would see us on holidays? When I witnessed a suicide? When my husband left us? When I left our house? When I (finally but inevitably) developed delayed C-PTSD?
My mind is so fucked up, that if nothing horrible and life altering and traumatic happens for awhile, I get so anxious, and feel sick and heavier in my chest every day, until something does spazz me out.
And then I deal, and recover. And feel normal – whatever that is, for a little while.
I’d really like the normal patches to last longer.
I’d like to not feel as if I need crisis, instability.
I don’t think I come across ‘crazy’ to most people, I’m lucky to make friends very easily. I probably come across happy, or ‘a bit of a hippy, really centred’ (from my newest friend) even while I’m counting down the hours until I can get out of my head with a drink, or write here, or crawl out my soul and into someone else’s.
‘I like the frantic. I like you’ said another friend ‘but you have to like it too.’
I don’t really, but I’m bored without it.
I remember when I was first really sick, some distant family member gave me a copy of ‘You Can Heal Your Life’. I was really offended, because (unless I’m missing something, I didn’t read it cover to cover) it pretty much insinuates that you kind of choose your own illnesses – I think cancer was hanging onto resentment or some such thing. I was actually at a really well, happy point in my life leading up to being diagnosed.
So I don’t buy that, to that extreme anyway, but I do believe that stress can manifest itself in physical illness. Of course it can.
So I end up in this thought loop, is my life crazy/intense/dramatic/whatever because I am, or is the other way around?
Things have been quiet lately, my neighbour has stopped calling me a whore over the fence, treatment is ok with no major ups and downs, things are still static with Craig, I’m not dating, I’m making a conscious effort to not bring drama into my life…
I’m. so. bored.
And I feel boring socially, because I don’t have a funny story about the latest date I went on, I haven’t been in any life threatening situations, no-ones seriously upset me, I’m not getting drunk…
I think I got so used to being extreme, I don’t know how to not be.
How does everyone else do this ‘normal’ thing?