Feeds:
Posts
Comments

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

So, yeah. Still here.

I traipsed around this week. I found a new friend, she’s kinda like me, but then my total opposite, and we drove down south, down the coast a bit. Wandered around the forest. Lost the car keys at the beach. Smoked. Drank.

Fuck it.

I’m not this perfect mother but I keep it together ok. Sometimes I am this perfect mother, and I make vegetarian meals from scratch, we do yoga and read and have a house full of kids and I love every one of them, really. Being around children is so healing and simplistic and just…light. I know life means something, and I just have to find it. I’ve always been quiet, serious, and then not. By contrast, my son is just this eternally happy soul, bubbly and funny and he shines. But he’s me, and I worry. So much.

It’s this obsession that has lead me to the realisation that I should see someone, that being scared of the health system isn’t enough of a reason not to any more. I worry that something awful will happen to him, that he’ll become a drug addict, that something will go wrong on a week like this one, when he’s with his father and I’m not there to control every situation. I’ve dreamt of his funeral, of him growing up and talking about me in therapy. It’s a cruel irony that he slept through the night at two weeks old, this tiny baby, and has ever since, but I would check him four times a night.

I did take some painkillers, about half an hour ago, I think they make me run on a bit.

Anyway, yeah, I annoy myself with all this. I beat up on myself, get over it, at your age this is embarrassing, lose some fucking weight, whatever. If it was that easy don’t you think I would?

Sometimes I feel like, if I figured out exactly where it all went wrong, and how to fix it, time would kinda invert and roll back on itself, and I’d get a do-over.

I have to let it go, again and again.

Ash x

When I crash, it’s like this leaching hole of nothingness, and then frantic manic activity while I try to claw my way out. It’s cigarettes and beer and sedatives and sex. It’s sneaky and insidious and before I know it, I don’t want to get out of bed, the horses’ shoes are falling off and I don’t know what we’re going to have for dinner again. So much of this is internal, and well-hidden, but it’s seeping out, and people are actually noticing. I can’t hide behind ‘treatment’, or ‘just tired’ anymore, and I don’t want to be like this. No-one believes I’m mentally ill, just traumatised, but when does one melt into the other? Where is this blurred line?

Recovery is yoga, vegetarianism and writing. It’s light and warmth, friends and work. Quiet productivity. I just, I can’t keep this cycle going. I can’t get out of it either. It hurts. I got through cancer and separation and abuse and judgement, but this is fucking my life up. It doesn’t feel fair. Like I’ve said before, there’s no balance, there’s no ‘go through hell now and then things will level out’ trade-off.

I know I could do well at life, on my terms, if I could get out of this. When I’m well, I’m dynamic, I get shit done, I’m bright. When I’m not ok, I systematically destroy that, like knocking down sandcastles at the beach. I fought SO HARD for what we have. I took on someone I love when I wanted to just give in, and say ‘you know what? Have the house. Fucking burn it down’. I fought myself and I fought him. I sold things and took out loans and I neglected myself so my son wouldn’t have to see any more pain.

On the surface, it was worth it.

Dig a little deeper, maybe not.

I love this. When I get what I want, I never want it again.

Ash x

ps – if you like me – #cometothepartycourtneylove I have a significant birthday coming up and I can live in hope ;)

Being single has blown me wide open. A couple of years ago I could never have imagined myself being deliberately, consciously alone, craving that time with myself rather than just as a default, in-between state. My relationships have gotten deeper, including with my son, as we’ve adjusted to life being how it is; feeling full instead of that man shaped space next to me.

It makes me smile when my friends and family crack one liners like ‘someone needs to make an honest woman out of you’, ‘you’re hell on men’, and the ever-popular ‘I can understand you being a commitment-phobe now, after everything’. I’m not alone. I’m not commitment phobic. I’m committed to my friends and my son and my life but mostly I’m committed to myself, and there’s something special about that. It makes me laugh when well-meaning relatives click their tongues and sympathise, ‘the right one will come along when you’re not looking for him’.

Maybe he will, and maybe he won’t. and I’ll be whole either way. I haven’t had an actual date in probably a year and occasionally I’d like to go on one, but then I just do something nice for myself instead. I have a market stall with my best friend now, and I love meeting people and getting to know customers – people reveal so much about themselves when there’s no expectations and no formality. It’s so cool, all these quirky amazing people from all walks of life. I love it.

I’m getting along better with Bailey’s dad, we’re not quite friends, but we’re communicating effectively. I want good things for him. We’re not looking like dragging each other through court now, and I know we could get into a massive argument tomorrow, throw goodwill out the window and try to destroy each other, but I don’t think it will happen. This feels like a genuine shift. I stood up for myself – without shouting, arguing or attacking. And it worked, I think. He can’t walk all over me and he respects me as the parent who sticks by Bailey no matter what, who finds solutions and doesn’t make him into someone he’s not. I respect him as Bailey’s father who loves him, and I leave them to their relationship, even though it’s not my ideal. That letting go is hard, but it has to happen, and I do it again and again.

There’s this sense of freedom and possibility that has come with being single for me, once I got through the (horrific, gut-wrenching, sickness inducing) pain of separation, that is. I’ve been able to get to know myself, be authentic and uncompromising. I think our education system would put my son through pain, so I pulled him out and he stays home. I lived at the beach for a year because I felt like it. I came back because I thought it was our best option. I sell hemp products because I believe that’s important. I didn’t have to debate with anyone about those decisions. I didn’t have to consider anyone’s feelings except mine and my now 7 year old son’s.

I’m not shunning the idea of a relationship, but I’m loving where I’m at, especially after how long it took me to get here. This has been the hardest, most worthwhile work of my life. When I have a bad day, I know it’s just a day, and I don’t need anyone to fix it for me. I had never experienced being able to soothe myself. I’ve always been with someone or pining over someone or had a fall-back person. This whole ‘love yourself and life is not bullshit’ thing actually holds some credibility, who knew?

Sunsets are just as beautiful alone.

Ash xx

Last night, I had the strangest dream (I sailed away to China, on a little rowboat to find ya). No, I dreamt I was dead, really dead, and I could see everything and know what happened, but then there was God, and I realised I’ve been wrong all these years, and oh fuck there is a God, and what happens now?

Even asleep, I knew I wouldn’t have done much differently anyway. Actually, a god-like figure in my life probably would have just given me someone else to fight with, to pull back from, to blame for my own shortcomings.

Anyway, I could also see everyone I love, and some I don’t, and what was going to happen in each persons life and how inevitable it all is. It was devastating watching people throw themselves on fires of drugs and dysfunction and burning nothingness, having no idea.

Hmm.

So, this morning, I got up, went to work. Didn’t feel like doing too much, so came home and felt shitty. Last week I blitzed the place, washed the horses, worked everyone, premade feeds, scrubbed waters. I have a feral pony here, supposed to be in work, I’m probably doing a quarter of what I should be.

This is recovery. This is coping.

Turns out it’s not all physical. My brain throws out the weirdest shit some days and I get these thoughts that go around and round, oh God, is there a way I can be made to do mainstream treatment, what if my car blows up, I have no money, blah blah blah. I got so used to living with anxiety for actual reasons that now my brain looks for them. Things are actually good! And getting better, and I’m so grateful.

Ash xx

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

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 246 other followers