Monday, May 31, 2021

Fat One

 

She was born chubby

Little fat one, they said

She's so cute, rubbing her soft legs

Squeezing her tight

That fat baby 

Became a little girl

All she wanted 

Was to be big

A big girl

Big like her brother, 

Big and strong

Slowly 

She came to realise

The world around her

Didn't want that 

They wanted her to stay small

And cute

And not take up too much space

They told her she was lovely

When she was slim

They looked the other way

When she wasn't

Or they looked through her

Or called her names

They taught her

That the more of her existing

The less she was worth

And When there was less of her

They told her how good she looked

Eventually she believed them

But she still wanted 

To be big

To be strong

So she hid herself away

In a body made with

Bacon and bread and wine and laziness

She knew, that deep inside

were cheekbones and kindness and a desirable woman

She knew

Who was in there

If they wanted to find her

She was in there

A big, strong, kind one.




Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Living Sober

 Why not make it public? I've not been drunk, nor has a drop of alcohol passed through my body in 121 days. This is an achievement and while I'm not quite ready to sing the song of sobriety from the rooftops, I am feeling better about myself, my health, my bank balance and my future.

Ironically it started with a trip to the Doctor to get myself some valium to float me through the holiday period without my kids. They were to be away for Christmas and my heart, head, ego hurt to know I wouldn't be with them. People would ask of my plans for the holidays and I would inwardly cringe when the inevitable pity look came, probably due to my tendency for oversharing and longing to roll in my self made self pity. 

Doctor Kev is six feet tall and full of muscles. Probably a little top heavy, but who am I to judge? He has a God poster on his wall and a sympathetic gaze and before I had finished my first sentence I'm ugly crying and reaching for his tissues. He's encouraging, but direct. I have a drinking problem and if I do something about it I will feel better. It's that simple and that complicated all at once. I leave his office with a script for Naltrexone and 30 Valium (thank you Dr Kev and God Bless), a weight off my shoulders but a dread rising in my throat that I've just committed to stop drinking. He gives me the number of a lady who is a sober helper and I text her immediately and organise a time to meet in a few days time. 

I drink that night, hoping it will numb the pain or even lift me out of it, just for old times sake. It doesn't. I argue with a friend, my anxiety is a rock in my stomach and I spend too much money on gin and tonics, smoke cigarettes and hate myself. A regular occurrence, but the others have blurred into one another over time and now I'm left with this - a shitty last night of drinking. 

Now for some extra truth telling - the drinking problem itself. We can probably go back 26 years to my first drinks - oblivion, excitement, emergence of a different me (one that was much less inhibited and 'straight') - I drank to get drunk from my very first drink. So, for 10 years that was normal - binge drinking on the weekend. It was fun, frivolous, easy. It was easy. Until it wasn't.

I got pregnant at 26 and managed to stay relatively sober for a year or two. Friday nights were still for drinking too much, even if it was at home watching a movie with my partner. Weekends were for relaxing and recovering. Another baby at 31, sobriety for maybe a year. Still drinking, but not often drunk. Still depressed but blaming a lack of sleep and the remnants of grief for that.

For the next 5 years I drank more. More wine, whiskey, beer and gin. Most nights. I broke my hand in 2015 and added codeine to the mix - what a joyful collaboration that produced. Hazy, distant, repetitive evenings, feelings squashed deep inside of me, trying to swallow them with every glass, poison them into submission. 

Then in 2017, somehow I managed to grasp a hold onto something that I'd been shutting out for a long time and I came out. As a lesbian. Despite having a male partner and two gorgeous kids. Despite having worked at this 'normal' and reputable life for 14 years. I fell in love with a beautiful woman, moved into my own house, shared care of the kids 50/50 and started my new life. That from the very first day involved drinking. I mean - I could do what I wanted now, I was free to be me! 

That was almost four years ago. The relationship didn't work out, but the lesbianism has stayed.  I don't regret it, but I regret the hurt it caused. I drank the guilt, the loneliness, the shame away. I drank every day, because I could. It was my companion, my netflix and chill, my collaborator. My friend, the whiskey bottle, the wine glass, the cold beer. I woke up every morning angry with myself, hating myself because I'd done it again. Couldn't just have one, could never just have one. Weak. Sad. Pathetic. Repeat.

The idea of stopping was non existent to me. I just hoped one day I could have enough self control to tone it down, drink like a 'normal person'. It turns out - I'm not normal. Don't want to be. Don't need to be.

Becoming sober. Thank god for the valium. I go through about 20 tablets in the first 10 days, under the Doctor's orders, just don't drink. I go to an AA meeting, then another and another. I like when people clap me for my days of sobriety, I wish my friends would do the same. I start smoking weed again, because I'll be fucked if I can make a positive change in my life without counteracting it with something negative. One thing at a time. It helps me sleep, which is a blessing because once the valium is finished I am an insomniac - I just can't get to sleep. I hate it, being left alone in the quiet with just my head. Gradually though, I start to remember who I am. I have a good brain. It just needs a little time, and a little retraining. I meditate, a little. Exercise, a little. Write, a little. I don't drink. I stop wanting to, but am left with another hole and a fucktonne of emotions that have been hiding under the booze for so long. Untangling these is gonna take some work.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

A Trial

I start taking them on a Saturday. Take half with food in the morning. There is no wave of release, no fuzzy cloud of inner warmth, just a waiting game, a longing for a remedy.
Sunday. Anxiety. Swirling thoughts. Tears. I go for a swim, slowly, calmly, mildly motivated.
Monday. I'm very conscious. Aware of myself. My tummy feels different and makes lots of gurgling noises. It's hard to eat - which is very unusual for me. I have an awful nightmare - a huge cat shaped like a devil comes flying down to earth and no one is worried but me. I'm unsettled.
Tuesday. A thin veil seems to exist around my brain. My mean girl has quietened and when she does raise her voice my mind says No. Not today.
Wednesday. I bounce out of bed. It's hard to focus and I keep finding myself staring into space. Still no sign of my mean girl returning.
Thursday. I chat with me Mum. People ask how I am and I say - I'm okay. Without crying. It's not quite a numbness, more of a nonchalance. I'm not doing much self improvement and I drank too much last night so there are moments of anxiety but nothing too much. I scroll through my phone a lot.
Friday. Full tablet with breakfast. Later in the day I feel the swirling, in my stomach, my forehead and my heart. It's hard to focus on work. I feel calm though, not emotional about anything.
Saturday. I am anxious. I drink two coffees, which doesn't help. I go to writing group and I feel agitated. My ex girlfriend is here and even though we are supposed to still be friends I want her away from me, away from this, separate from my life. I want to leave early but I'm ashamed. I want to storm out and leave them all wondering if I'm ok? I'm also hungry.
Another girl is here. One I wish for closeness with. One who I'm in love with the idea of, her smoky voice, her clever wit, her hidden pain. No doubt my image of her will evaporate into falsehoods but I like having her as a potential potential.
I'm having a terrible time concentrating. I feel like a fraud. Here. At work. As a Mum. As myself.
Week 2 brings low concentration span and little motivation. Although I have started to stretch, morning and afternoon. It doesn't hurt as much after a few days and it's so low impact it's perfect for me. My body is fat. Has fat. It's sore in a lot of places, my neck, my lower back, my stomach. I don't know if it's normal. 
Tuesday is a disaster, lots of lolling about, screen time is overboard. I really want Wednesday to be better, for me to be better. It's also apparent that I'm the only one who can make this happen and I feel frozen in time at the prospect of change. I want it, I want to be better, to look better but the actual doing of it feels out of my control. Within reach, easily accessible but for a part of my brain that says - no, not today. Everytime. For years. 
Maybe it will help if I create a plan, throw a couple of goals together and break them down into smaller, achievable wins. The stretching is a start. Sleeping without throwing my leg across my body is the next bit. Writing, for 10-15 minutes at a time, everyday. Should be easy enough. I say now.

I tend to start things with a vengeance then peter out just as quickly. The good and the bad Clare, jostling for ownership over me. The divide that exists between the two because they are often so different.
I'll keep popping them for now. Wait for the magic to happen. Blame myself when it doesn't. Been there, done that, haven't given in yet.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Old Friends


Old Friends

There are these girls I’ve known since - well since I can remember. I think Annie was the first to start hanging out with me. I didn’t like her for a long time, I still don’t really, but she’s part of my life. She comes around some days and it’s like someone pulled the plug out of the bathtub that is me and the water that swirls through is nothing but a flood of fear.
Annie’s real name is anxiety. There are pills I can take, drop dead Fred style, that could make her disappear. But I don’t know who I am without her.

Debbie is a lot calmer and completely dependable - wherever I go I know she’ll find her way back to me. She’s a cat, a dog, she’s my shadow. I don’t know how to ask her to leave. And if she did leave I’m afraid of all the comfort I could lose that we have together. She knows me. I know her. It’s easier, at the same time as being a terrible strain. She’s like the friend who just wants to hang out, not doing much but she’s always there. She doesn’t seem to have anywhere else to go. Her full name is Depression. Most of you have probably met her, got to know her, hung out with her.

Then there’s Pamela. Weird name that doesn’t really suit her. She’s hard to engage with, hard to make sense of and fuck she thinks she knows everything. She’s very one-eyed Pamela and lately she has become a regular visitor. She’s the one who tells you the things the others won’t. She’s the one who can really get under your skin. Her other name? Paranoia.

Then there’s me. The one who holds them all together, tightly wrapped within my memories, my brain pathways. If I don’t have them - who am I left with? 

So here we are in quarantine together. Gardening, drinking beers, smoking weed, writing words. Totally Netflix and chilling together. It’s not so bad and when it is - all I can do is to name them, notice them and try not to let them boss me around too much. I don't know how to manage everyone. Their needs, wants, their ownership over me. Maybe I take the magic pills? Maybe I show them some understanding, show myself some compassion? I've tried. I’m tired.

Old friends. They know you. You know them. They remind you of people you lost, people you loved, people who brought them round to meet you. How do you unwrap the binds that tie you together? How do you let them go? Truthfully - I'm not sure I want them to go. I don’t know who I am without them. They have been here with me, for so long.

Maybe I should be thanking them for helping me become who I am.
Maybe I should be thanking them for preparing me so well for isolation.
Maybe I should be thanking them for staying in touch all these years. 
Maybe I thank them for all they have done and wish them adieu. Cut them loose. Set them free.

It's an insane world but in it there is one sanity, the loyalty of old friends.
And that's what I've got.

Monday, November 11, 2019

2019

I turned forty in July and now suddenly it's just about November and the end of another decade is nigh. I remember twenty years ago, celebrating the turn of the century, life so full of promise and stretching so far ahead of us.
Here I am, laptop on my knees, typing away. Trying to make record of an ordinary life without being too self indulgent or oversharing. Perhaps it's too late for that, although I suppose not because this, after all, is a clean slate.
This year has seen the addition of Al the Cat and Sylvie the Wolfhound to our home. Al was immediately a comfort - always keen to snuggle in close, doing funny cat things, purring like a lawnmower at the slightest belly scratch. We fell in love, immediately and remain so, despite the challenges a kitty litter poses to a relaxed family dynamic.
Sylvie came along unexpectedly but also fatefully. This oversized scruffy and oh so loving dog found a place in my heart and gradually the kids as well. She talks like Scooby Doo, snuggles in close and has the most lovely nature - asides from a solid stubborn streak and the ability to run about 70km per hour. I love her.
Then there is these beautiful kids who I get to be Mum to. My boy, 13 and a half and almost a man. He's mature but fun, cheeky, laidback, passionate (about footy) and caring. I adore him. Now to help guide him into manhood. We'll be right. Then my girl, 9 years old, clever, funny, kind and still so loving. Today she laid her head on me and let me play with her hair while we watched tv. She is a gift from heaven. They both are.
Possibly I spend too much time just chilling with them, watching movies, eating snacks. I reread that sentence and know it can't be true - I spend time with them. It's wonderful - relaxed, caring, funny. I'm alright as a Mum.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Naked PG




I'ts been quite a time since I've had an intimate touch except my own and I feel that my lady garden needs some maintenance. . 
She has been unchartered territory for many moons. We have grown, both lonelier as well as lovelier. Although she feels coarser, furrier, more prevalent. We need to start anew and agree it's time to try something different, something free-ing and bold, representative of who I am now. Naked in my own truth. Emerge from behind the curtains...We need a new beginning, a trimming away of the angst and solitude, a welcome mat and a tidy entrance.
So I expose my genitals to a stranger, on a plastic bed that feels too narrow, with a brilliant fluro light staring down at me and a strange poster of a well oiled man on the beach just within my vision.
The stranger is a friendly Irish lass who despite being 15 years younger than me calls me Pet and Darlin'. I'm nervous, but feel strangely comforted by her. She's seen a hundred vagina's. She knows what she's doing. 
Then she slathers lava hot wax onto my labia and time stands still. 
My mind however is screaming with pain. Many, many crosswords. She keeps lathering the burning wax onto my special, sensitive vagina and I am in shock. How could this be happening? Why would I pay for this? Should I tell her to stop? I want to scream out but I have this weird shame about being so bushy that I say nothing. Just breathe.
It seems to be over and she stands back to examine my newly sculpted vulva with the eye of an artist. I wish I could look at myself the same way she does me. So intimately. With pride. Satisfaction. Happy with the result.
I'm disturbed from this thought by her lovely voice and to my own surprise when she asks in her pleasant Irish lilt if I would "like my bum done" I say Oh, yes please. Programmed into me as a young girl - yes please. I can't dwell on this now as she instructs me to lift my legs up and wrap my arms around them. In an instant my sweet, yet slightly hairy rosebud-like anus is on fire, as she tears pieces of my soul out of me. 

All done darl, she tells me and I'm left to wipe myself down with wet wipes and despite the fact my labia minora are stuck together like kissing cousins I quickly pay my dues and waddle out of there. I go straight to the bathroom and do a wee that sprays out in 7 different directions and am shocked by the pink, angry skin hidden under my stomachs sweet cushion of indulgence . My vagina is angry, and hurt, and wants me to know all about it. I don't know what to tell her. 

It takes a few days, but she settles down and the results are reasonable - a little bit lighter, little bit fresher. Yet she looks so...vulnerable. Like a timid child. Not like the warrior chief she once was. 
I can't offer this wounded soldier up to the world, I can't have her be the hidden part of myself, saved for special occassions. She needs more time to be alone, recover and grow stronger and wiser. Much like my heart probably does.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Day Two

Another marvellous day. I wake at 7, shower, head to yoga down the road which is closed for three days due to Bali Celebration, head back to hotel, eat healthy breakfast, drink fresh juice and read my magnificent book Vol 2 of the KingKiller Chronicles which is full of wonderful stories and I completely submerge myself.
Mum and I have massages, sleep, swim and read and head out about 3pm to explore Seminyak. Lot's of shops, lots of special price for you darling, lots of amazing and unsettling smells. The Balinese are a beautiful people always so ready with a smile and laughter. We watch the sunset at the beach whilst drinking Bintang and round our day off by indulging in suckling pork and mojitos. Amazing.
Enjoying my time with Mum, companionable and relaxed.
My only problem at this point is the lack of lesbians. I'm gaydar-ing and very few are rearing my antenna...where are you ladies? I shall do some googling tonight and see if I can find a hotspot...the search for the elusive lady gay begins. Wish me luck.