Saturday, May 4, 2013

That old chestnut.

So they're here again. The ole 'what am I doing with my life?' blues.

I must admit, I get hit with these at least monthly. And they creep up on me, usually when I'm feeling my happiest.

Case in point:

This week I officially passed my probation period at my new job. I successfully rode my beautiful  bike over 40kms. I bought not one, but two new dresses. I make a delicious breakfast. I enjoyed every minute of this week, every minute of the life I have made for myself.

But while making dinner tonight, I started to feel flat. I knew I had to go work on my novel and I wasn't feeling it at all.

It's really hard, chasing the dream of being a writer. Because life is consumed by things that aren't writing, things you love to do, people you love to spend time with. In the moment, your life can be wonderful. But when you remember you're not yet where you want to be, then everything else feels pointless.

I assume this is the same for all creative types, trying to make it as an actor, but spending all day making coffees in a great cafe with an excellent bunch of people who genuinely make you laugh. Or making music on the weekends, while working in a Centerlink office during the week, and finding yourself surprisingly happy when you get promoted to team leader. Even though you aren't supposed to be doing these things. You're supposed to be an artist. You're supposed to be heard.

And your day job isn't supposed to make you happy. You're colleagues aren't supposed to make you laugh. You're supposed to be a tortured soul, only truly happy when creating.

But I'm really happy at work. And I'm really happy being lazy and watching House of Cards. And I'm happy to not write everyday.

Can I still be a "writer" if I decide not to finish my novel this year? Can I still be a "writer" if I don't post a blog a week? Can I instead, live my life in the moment, enjoying the moment? And if that moment calls me to write, like it did just now, then write in that moment, not forcing myself to speak anything else than the truth in that moment?

Not without monthly visits from the blues, you can't. Not without questioning what it's all for. Not without feeling guilty for wasting precious writing time. Not without doubting who you even are.

Sometimes, when I'm happy, I wonder if the titles "girlfriend" and "mother" (of Shaun) are the only ones I really need. But I still like to introduce myself as "writer". Whatever that looks like.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

My Opinion, Your Opinion

Today I bought my first bike. It's not the first bike I've ever had, but it's the first one I bought myself.

She's very pretty and is black with a cane basket. I was planning on buying a second hand bike, but Ceres was flat out and the line was huge so I drove Mr McGoo to the bike shop I pass on my walk into work to "suss it out".

She was in the doorway. And she was the one.

Three years ago, I was looking for a puppy. I had two criteria, he had to be a boy, and he had to be a rescue. Steve, my housemate at the time, and I would spend every Saturday at the Lost Dogs Home or RSPCA visiting the puppies & dogs. Our agent was taking ages getting back to us with the landlords permission "I'm sure it'll be okay but we'll just have to check" and I couldn't bare another weekend visiting pups and not taking one home.

So that Saturday, we went to Ikea. Somewhere between the car park and the Ikea entrance, we saw Shaun, in the window at Pets Paradise.

Shaun was 14 weeks old, twice the size of the other puppies in his pen. The shop assistant told us he was half off. He had outstayed his welcome at the shop. I knew he was my dog. I placed him on hold and that Monday we had the okay from the landlord. Shaun moved in with us on Tuesday.

I'm telling you this story, because living in Brunswick, there is an expectation your dog has come from a shelter, or get out of our suburb you evil animal torturer. I get asked every day two questions: how old is he (because they assume he is still a pup) and where did you rescue him from?

I have to hang my head in shame, and assure them that the pet shop were ready to hand him over to the pound anyway, as he had now cost them more than they would get back for him. Besides, he was my soul mate and he found me.

Anyway, I'm really hoping I don't have to live with this same guilt with my new bicycle. And if you have something to say about me buying from a store and not gumtree, say it to my face.

Because this girl is my soul mate too. I'm a terrible bike rider, I've never been able to get my bum off the seat, or take my hand off the bars to indicate, but with this girl, riding was easy. We were a fit.

But just before I signed on the dotted line, I turned to Mr McGoo and checked:
Is it cool, or is it try-hard?

My whole life I feel I have got this wrong. The hot pink satin dress I bought because I looked super pretty and my friends took years to tell me was the worst dress they had ever seen. The set of three wooden giraffes I picked up in Bali for a bargin. The crocs... just kidding. Even I know crocs are awful.

I have learned not to trust my judgement when it comes to fashion. Or my opinion on most things. And the line between actual vintage and "pretend" vintage is pretty unclear. Friends of Couture have figured it out. Kmart havent. I don't know if Samson Cycles have. But Richard said it was cool and I trust him because he wears pinstripe.

Anyway, I'm not putting up a photo because I couldn't bare to find out we got it wrong and I will be ridiculed all the way down Brunswick St. My ignorance is my bliss and she is my perfection.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lucy's Easter Message (Happy Birthday Shaun)

As most of you know, I've been busy visiting churches this year. I didn't go yesterday, it was my 'off' week (besides, church at Easter? how cliche) but I did spend some time thinking about what Easter means to me.

When I was in church, Easter was my favourite time of the year. As Christians we got to proudly exclaim that "Jesus was risen!" on our Facebook pages and not be ridiculed. We got to go to church more times than in an average week, and it was a good excuse to guilt our friends and relies to come along with us.

But it's been a few years now since Easter has been a religious holiday for me. So this weekend? Yeah, I was really happy for a long break. I've started my new job and it's wonderful, but nice to have a rest and a few mornings in bed. Also it's MICF time, and we had lots of tickets to lots of shows. Also I had good food with good friends.

But my baby boy Shaun turns three this week, and I thought I'd share a little about life I've learned from my beaglier for my Easter message.

1 - Cuddles are great, and will change your life. Have cuddles everyday.
2 - Walks are also great. Smell the air, make friends with the people you pass, prance.
3 - A kind heart and a positive attitude are more important than skills and tricks. People want to be around you because of who you are, not what you can do.
4 - Embrace your youth. Don't be in a hurry to grow up and be slower, more careful. Take risks, do spins and eat your dinner fast.
5 - Don't waste time looking in the mirror when there are far more interesting things to look at than your own reflection. Take in the view around you. Don't be proud.
6 - Get a dog. They make your life better.

Happy Easter, Happy Long Weekend, or Happy Chocolate-fest.

Love you X

Saturday, March 16, 2013


This week I've decided to introduce you to my friend - Jacob. I met Jacob almost two and a half years ago when I finished my first year at writing school. I fell in love with him instantly, and knew I wanted to tell his story. 

This is the first chapter of the manuscript I've been working on the last few years. I hope you like it. Lucy X

Last week, I fell in love. Dad always told me that when it happens, you just know. He also said it was unlikely to happen when you were eleven and I should ‘relax’, so I guess he doesn’t know everything. Because I’m in love. I’ve met the girl I want to spend the rest of my life with. My heart races when she walks in the room. I go to sleep thinking about her and I dream about her and when I wake up I jump out of bed because I know it’s nearly time to see her.

But then I see her and get too nervous to speak. My face goes red and my hands start to shake and I look away because she’s cool and pretty and I’m boring and lame. Like on Wednesday Pap tried to give me a kiss goodbye but I didn’t want her to see and I jumped out of the car and didn’t even say goodbye to him. I’ll have to say sorry later. Pap’s pretty sensitive. He says things like he ‘can’t sleep without a kiss and a cuddle goodnight from his best boy’. I’ve told Pap I’m too old for him to keep talking to me like that but he doesn’t listen. Pap’s getting pretty good at ignoring all my requests lately. Like when I asked him not to wear sparkly scarves to my parent/teacher night, or not to call Sally’s mum ‘darling’, or not to wear too many of his ‘glam’ rings to my school concert. Dad’s different than Pap, he’s more like a regular dad, but Pap can be totally embarrassing. He talks high and gets squealy and excited sometimes.

I’d wanted to talk to Pap in the car about my girl, but I didn’t know what to say. He doesn’t think I need to have a girlfriend until I’m at least like, sixteen. But I can’t wait that long. Someone might steal her from me.

Here’s what I know about love:

1.   You can love all different kinds of things. For example: I love my cat, Shaun. I think he’s going to die soon, and I heard Dad and Pap talking about getting me a puppy, which I would also love. If it’s a boy I think I’ll call him Dylan. If it’s a girl (I hope it’s not a girl, but I will still love it if it is) I’ll call it Carrie, after the girl from channel ten who reads the news.

2.    You can also love certain types of food, like chocolate and ice cream and you can also hate different types of food like salmon and tomatoes. I love going to the movies with Uncle Tristan and I love when Grandma comes to visit and brings me a new video game. I love video games.

3.     You can love people in different kinds of ways. My dads are gay, so they hold hands and kiss and stuff. My grandma and my auntie and uncle love me and I love them too, but we don’t hold hands and kiss and pat each other’s bums when we walk past.

4.     You can love someone you’ve never met. Like Carrie from the TV and my mum and Poppy. They both died when I was a baby and never met them. Well, like I did but I can’t remember. Mum died just after giving birth to me and Poppy died a week later because he was hit by a car because the driver was drunk. My dads say you should never drink and drive and it’s illegal and bad and I’ll never do it. Pap said my parents loved me so much that’s why they asked him and Dad to be my new family. Like, they wanted me to live in the best possible house and have the best parents. Once when I was having a fight with Dad, I told him that Mum would be angry at him for talking to me like that because she trusted him with me and he got so upset he couldn’t look at me for the rest of the day. Pap was really mad when he found out. I was grounded for a week and couldn’t go to Sally’s and couldn’t play Xbox. I’ve never said anything like that again.

5.     It’s better to have loved and lost than never loved at all. (I don’t know what this means, but when I asked Auntie Amy what she thought of love she told me that, and like, she’s never been married or had kids so she probably doesn’t know what it means either.)

That’s it. Not a lot but I’m only eleven and I’m still learning about stuff. But I know enough to know I’m in love.

I sat on the bench and waited for Sally. Someone called out ‘homo’ as they walked past but I ignored it. I’m used to it now. How stupid can some people be? Like, you can catch gay from being around it?

I think I’m pretty lucky with my dads. They let me watch whatever I want on TV and if I don’t eat all my dinner I still get dessert. Sally only has a mum because her dad left. These kids with their mum and dad and big brother and dog who think they have it all make me sad. I saw this kid from school, Derek Coleman, at the supermarket. His dad hit him over the head for knocking something over. It was an accident, and he hit him.  My dads only ever smacked me if I said something really rude. And never over the head. And never since I went to high school.

Sally’s car pulled up outside school and I watched her kiss her mum goodbye and hop out of the car. Sally never worries about what anyone thinks of her. I reckon that’s brave. I’d never be that brave. She’s pretty too, like, she could be in a Kmart catalogue or something. Some guy went up to her mum at the supermarket and told her. Apparently he was a kid modeling agent, but it still freaked Sally’s mum out. She does have nice hair though. It’s blonde and long and straight and mine’s short and dark and a bit curly. She spotted me straight away and skipped over.

‘Sally, I saw her.’

‘Good morning, Jacob,’ she said, rolling her big brown eyes at me. I didn’t care.

‘I saw her. She’s so beautiful. I’m in love.’

Sally told me I was being stupid, that you’re not allowed to love your teacher. But I can’t help it.

‘I’m going to tell her how I feel.’

‘Sure, Jacob. And what do you think that’s going to achieve?’ Sally is always so logical. I think it’s because she’s a year older than me. She reckons she’s smarter and sees things in black and white, where as I see things in technicolor. I met Sally in third grade. I’d skipped grade two and she was the only person who was nice to me. Everyone else called me a show off. She’s the only one in the class who can beat me at algebraic equations.

‘I don’t know. But I have to.’ ‘Do you want to kiss her?’ ‘What? No way.’ ‘Do you want to date her?’ ‘Date her? What does that even mean?’ ‘You know, go to the movies and stuff.’ ‘I don’t think she’d be allowed to go to the movies with me. Would she?’

‘See?’ said Sally, enjoying my discomfort. ‘There is absolutely no point telling Miss Mackey that you love her.’

I hate the way Sally says ‘love’. All sarcastic and stuff. Like I don’t know what it means.

‘You told Billy Black you loved him.’

‘Shut up,’ she spat. I’d broken our golden rule – never talk about Billy Black.

            Billy was in eighth grade, and was in Sally’s advanced science class. She thought he touched her hand on purpose when they were dissecting a mouse. Apparently, he was just trying to grab the knife back off her. But she didn’t know this until after she wrote him a letter telling him how her heart started beating really fast when she felt his hand on hers and after he photocopied it and put it in everyone’s locker. Sally didn’t come back to school for a week, until her mum busted her hiding out at the museum. Her mum was really angry because she caught the bus to the city on her own and the principal was really angry because she didn’t go to her classes when she was supposed to and Sally got grounded and detention. She’d never been in trouble before and she cried for hours. I did detention with her, because she was so sad. And because detention was with Miss Mackey.

That was before I knew I loved her. Back then I just knew like, I wanted to be around her.

I know Sally is right. Miss Mackey is my teacher. I can’t be her boyfriend. But want to tell her, because I want to know if she loves me too.

But I won’t write a letter. I learnt from Sally’s mistake. Never say anything you can’t deny if you change your mind or someone is teasing you. This is high school after all.

I decided I’d better apologise to Sally, or she’d sulk all day, and I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to until PE. Grade seven and eight are combined for PE and my neighbour, Sam, is in the class. He doesn’t mind talking to me, even though I’m younger than him. Sometimes I bug him when I talk too much about science or video games. He gets bored and tries to talk about sport, but there’s only so much I know about sport, so I get bored then and we have to try and find something else to talk about. Sometimes, we don’t talk at all. We just walk home together, listening to our iPods. People think Sam’s my brother, ‘cos he’s got short, dark, curly hair too. He looks heaps older than me. He looks sixteen, at least. Pap said it’s his ‘strong jaw’. I don’t have a strong jaw. I don’t have a strong anything. I’m the smallest boy in my class. But that’s ‘cos I’m the youngest. I wasn’t the smallest when I was in class with kids my own age. But at least I’m bigger than Sally. She’s really tiny.

‘Sally, I’m sorry. Of course this is a different situation and you are much smarter and more mature than me and I was wrong and you were right. Please forgive me.’

Dad always says my mum was the queen of sarcasm. She would say exactly what you wanted to hear while really saying ‘you’re a total twat’. I try this technique on Sally sometimes because she is really smart at Math and Science but she only ever hears what she wants to hear.

‘Of course I forgive you,’ she shrugged. ‘We got time for a coffee before home room?’ ‘Got fifteen minutes.’ ‘Perfect.’ And she linked her arm in mine and skipped me off to the canteen.

In case you’re worried, we don’t really drink coffee in high school. It’s just what you say because ‘have we got time for a warm milk with chocolate on top?’ sounds seriously lame. Sam plays hockey with this kid from a private school who reckons they serve real coffee. Sam reckons he’s full of it. You can’t serve kids coffee, even if their parents are rich.

I’m lucky I’ve got Sally as my friend. She says she likes hanging out with me more than the girls in her class ‘cos they always talk about lip gloss and boys and she couldn’t care less about lip gloss or boys.

‘Hey, gayboy! Didn’t your mummy pack your lunch today?’

Pap tells me the best thing to do with boys like Derek Coleman is to ignore them. He says they only pick on me because they’re jealous of what I have. But he always teases me about the things I don’t have, like a mum too, so I’m not sure if Pap’s right.

‘Hey, Derek! Steal your dad’s jokes again?’

Sally was a good mate; she always came up with a comeback before I did.

‘Least I’ve got a dad,’ Derek smirked. ‘Hey, why don’t you borrow one of gayboy’s?’

‘Why don’t you get a brain?’ I mocked. Like I said, Sally was better with comebacks than me.

I’ve never actually been in a fight. I’ve heard about them happening, but like, we never get three sentences in before a teacher pops their head around the corner and breaks it up.  Today it was Mr Morris, from the science department. He likes me and Sally the best because we always stay back to help clean up the lab. I know; it’s lame. But we get As, and we don’t want that to change.

‘Alright, what’s going on here?’

I panicked. I hate getting in trouble. I used to get in trouble in primary school for climbing the fence to get the ball back but I hit it over and I’d get yelled at by the other kids if I didn’t get it back so I couldn’t win. The principal told me to be careful, getting in trouble was much worse in high school.

‘Jacob was calling me dumb,’ Derek blurted out.

‘Only because you called him GAYBOY,’ Sally spat back.

‘Alright, that’s enough. Derek is that true?’

‘That he called me dumb?’


‘Yes, Sir,’ he answered, kicking his heel into the carpet.

‘I’ll see you in my office at lunch thanks, Derek. Off you go now.’

Derek muttered under his breath and stormed off. We’ll see him again after recess anyway, he’s in Miss Mackey’s religion class with us. But he never plays up in front of Miss Mackey. Come to think of it, no one plays up in Miss Mackey’s class.

‘You all right, Jacob?’ he asked me.

I nodded. I actually hate when teachers ask me if I’m okay. They treat me like I’m a baby and I’ll cry if anyone says something mean about my gay dads. But I’ve never cried. I don’t feel sorry for myself. And I wish no one else did. But I was really glad I wasn’t in trouble.

I felt sorry for myself once. I was in fourth grade, and we’d just been taught about homosexuality in Life Ed. They brought someone from outside the school to talk to us about it, like it was too full on for any of the existing schoolteachers to handle. But they’d obviously not told this lady about my family, and she was a bit of an idiot. Seriously, if she was the ‘specialist’ on this topic, I’d hate to see her working in another profession, like medicine. She’d probably kill everyone.  

The class was awful, everyone was making pointed questions at my expense and she just kept answering them, not realising they were all winding her - and me - up. Eventually, I just walked out of the classroom and out of school. But I didn’t go home. I waited next door for Sam.

Sam was good to talk to. He just let me sulk about it all, how sometimes I wished I had a normal family. When I was done whingeing a good hour later, he asked me the best question anyone has ever asked me:

‘You wanna go live somewhere else?’

            And I didn’t.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Where the heart is

I'm desperate to be back home. My mum is sick, and I hate not being there for her. Not being able to make her cups of tea, or go with her to appointments, or hold her hand and make her feel better. This week, my home has been Hobart, because that's where my heart is.

It's times like this I regret moving away. When things are good, they're great. But when things are bad, I may as well be a million miles away. Then even if I'd stayed in Hobart, my dad left. Many of my friends left. I would still find myself away from the people I love.

Because the best way to solve puzzles is to draw a mind map - you'll have to imagine a picture with my heart in the middle. My heart has four branches:

Hobart, where I spent twenty one years of my life learning how to read & write, make friends, ride a bike, drive a car, dance, sing, drink, fall in love.

Melbourne, where I've lived for four years, and found freedom, self acceptance, cafe breakfasts, cider, a beagle named Shaun and my soul mate.

The Sunshine Coast, home of my dad and wicked step mother, my favourite cousins and their beautiful children and my grandpa and his girlfriend, Joan.

And New York City, where I spend three weeks in 2010 and still haven't ever been able to move on from.

So if you look at it one way, I'm a lucky girl with a big heart full of love. OR you can look at it this way (this is the way I am looking at it today):

Now, no matter where I live, my heart always be broken. I'll never be totally at home in one place. I'll never be able to drive the streets anywhere else like I can in Hobart, remembering walking home from school to my grandparents house, where I had my first kiss, the doorsteps I curled up on while having a nap on a drunk walk home, the church I dreamed one day I would buy and convert into a trendy loft for me and my friends. But, if I live in Hobart, I won't have the lifestyle I have in Melbourne, the family I have made for myself here. I won't have the job opportunities, Cere's cafe, Sydney Road and Shaun won't have Brighton Beach or Albert St Park.

If I move to the Sunshine Coast, I'll be closer to my dad, but further from my mum. I'd be hot, all the time, and I don't do sweaty well. I'd be greasy from the sunscreen I'd be forced to wear daily due to my alabaster skin. I would also have to hang out with Queensland people. But I'd get to spend the precious last few years of my Grandpa's life being someone more than a stranger. I'd get to see my little cousins grow up, be a real part of their life. And I wouldn't have to wear stockings in winter.

I'd move to New York in a heart beat, except for the fact I would have to leave everyone I know and love and everything I'm good at and Shaun behind. And I don't have a green card. How long would  NYC be the city of my dreams if I was broke, and alone?

Because ultimately, my heart lives in people. It lives in my mum and my big brother. It lives in my old friends from Primary school, from High school, the people who knew me when I was in cargo pants and a red, polar fleece vest with skate shoes. It lives with my new friends and family in Melbourne, the people who helped me find the person I wanted to be. It lives in Shaun and Mr McGoo, the best roomies a girl could hope for. It lives in every member of my family, Dad and Sally-Ann, even those in New Zealand, Sydney,  England. It lives in Steve in Canada, in Tracy in England and in Chris wherever decides his next home will be.

So maybe we can't be everywhere at once, but if we're lucky, we can find love wherever we go.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Would you like fries with that?

For Christmas, a good friend gave me a "happiness journal". It's used to prompt writing and journaling and general wonderful feelings. Chapter one has us listing the things we would like in our life to make us happy. My list was pretty straight forward:

- see a movie every week
- travel the world
- be as healthy and fit as I can
- be a successful opinion-ist
- have a big family (and I don't mean lots of kids here...)
- rescue animals and children
- read a book a week
- have a veggie garden and chickens
- go out for breakfast once a week
- work really hard for myself

I hate this list. Here's why.

When I was headed home to Tassie for Xmas, I stopped at Oporto for dinner. I wasn't feeling well, and hate flying when I'm feeling a bit trashy in the stomach. I ordered a veggie wrap, and a Coke (because nothing settles a seedy tummy like the burn of Coca-cola)

Did I want to upsize it and get fries? No thanks, I'm really not hungry enough to eat all this as it is.

I waited 13 minutes for that wrap (well done BTW, Essendon Airport Oporto) during which time I had the chance to read my receipt and the menu often enough to realise that getting "fries" would have cost me an extra two cents.

Yes. Yes, you spotty faced, greasy haired, rude teller. Yes I would like fries for TWO CENTS.

Edit: For the sake of the poetry I'm calling Oporto's chips, fries. I'm pretty sure they were chips, not fries. I like to be honest with you when I can. Also I'm not sure my teller was spotty faced, or greasy haired. But he was rude - so that's how I remember him.

You know what else I'd like now you mention it? Everything on my list. Everything you are telling me may be a possibility for my life. Yes thanks, I'll take it.

Why is it, we can be perfectly happy with where we are, what we've ordered, until we know that there is better. Better value for money. More time with people you love. More success and satisfaction. There are things I can do to make the world better.

I haven't finished chapter one of my journal yet, and I'm sure its not designed to drive me to depression. But, if happiness is only true when it is shared (see; If you're happy and you know it) can it also only be true when it is complete?

Or, am I constantly searching for ways to feel unhappy? For ways to explain away how wonderful the world can be, because sometimes, it's not perfect? I only have to list the things in my life that are good - a man who loves me, a perfect apartment, handsome friends,  a beaglier who likes to lick - to know I am blessed. I am happy. But the quest for happiness, for success, for fulfillment, often stop me enjoying every moment.

I've got a week off starting Tuesday. My holiday challenge is to write everyday about what I have to be grateful for. Why everything I have, right now, is enough. In fact, it's more than enough, it's perfect.