• Eighteen and a half years

    Sebastian is dead. I have felt like I can’t do anything without acknowledging his death, I can’t write anything about my life without talking about this huge fucking loss and how everything is different now. But I haven’t had the strength until now. I mean, let’s be honest – I haven’t been drunk enough to talk about it until now.

    And let’s let this just be a one paragraph digression. In the past two years I have done very well at learning how to deal with my feelings without resorting to alcohol. I sit and I process things. But that means processing and feeling becomes the primary response (as it should be) and recording those feelings becomes a distant thought. If you read back through twenty something years of posts on Hubris, you’ll see I speak “my truth” more when I’ve been drinking – and you’ll see that my previous counsellor even kind of encouraged that as a way to actually feel things. So this is somewhat of a conundrum for someone who’s been doing a lot of work to only drink in a more mindful way. And that’s why though Sebastian died in August, I’m only at the point now in February where I feel I can write about it now, and that’s only because I want to write a year in review and all that crap, but I can’t make him just one paragraph in a great big piece. He absolutely deserves his own entry.

    Did you meet Sebastian? Here is the first online journal entry when I talk about adopting him on January 26, 2003. He was five weeks old then, more ears than cat, and he fit in the palm of my hand. I brought him home from the pet shop and we sat on the floor in the kitchen and I held him and told him what his name would be. He gave me a brown shower one morning, and I threatened to wax my flatmate’s balls after he stuck a giant “Rock FM” sticker to Seb who didn’t even notice. When Iva moved in with her two female cats, Seb made mounting them motions, even they were all fixed, but we’d still find them all cuddled up on the spare bed in the lounge. He slept with me every night and bit the toes of boys who stayed in my bed overnight.

    I can’t write out 18 and a half years of history. You know the basics. I moved back to Wellington at the end of 2003 and had to sedate Sebby for the flight down. My parents loved him when I lived with them – their cat did not. Seb put up with horrible flatmates who didn’t like him in Newtown. I can still hear him crying from the night he got locked up in a warehouse in Newtown and a member of Two Lane Blacktop tried to help me bust him out in the morning and got covered in wood chips for his trouble.

    Seb came into his own when I moved to Hataitai with my sister Anji and he had two people totally dedicated to him. He loved Bart and Smoo later when Anji went elsewhere. It was a strange thing to know that I wouldn’t be too surprised to wake up to street signs and blood on the bathroom walls from random drunken boy shenanigans but that they would absolutely feed my little man if I asked them to, and let him in and out when needed.

    It’s strange, I lived in Newtown for a couple of years after that but I was so caught up in a stupid boy for a while then that my memories of Sebastian at Immoral Terrace are few and far between. I know I left my bedroom window open for him which meant that someone almost climbed through it one night. I started taking two zopiclone a night (do NOT do that!) at the suggestion of my psychiatrist who later had a breakdown and left the country while I was hooked on sleeping pills witout any clinical notes to support it, so I can only imagine Sebastian enjoyed me sleeping that much, as he loved to crawl up into my left arm pit to cuddle with me.

    After Newtown there was a brief stay with my parents again where I learned just how much a cat could be weaponised in a passive aggressive battle – “oh your mother’s still not up to feed you? well I guess I’ll feed you then!” before a six week stay at the Aro end of the Terrace. On the first afternoon i was there, Seb went outside and disappeared under the house, but even though I was worried, I was confident enough that he was bonded to me that he’d come straight back when he was done exploring – and he did.

    When I moved into my first ever place by myself, I wondered if I’d have to teach him how to use the cat door that I had especially installed. Nope. That fucking slut had clearly been going in and out of someone else’s house with all the skill and confidence he demonstrated going in and out of the cat door at Scarborough Terrace.

    At one stage I wondered where the heck he was spending all his time, and pondered on Twitter if I should attach a camera to his calendar. I received a tweet back from my neighbour – who I didn’t know followed that account – saying all I’d see was the inside of her cupboards. She sent me pics of his butt disappearing into her cabinets to prove it. After his death she sent me a whole cache of pics of him, snuggled with her boyfriend at the time on their bed, interrupting her yoga shoots or sniffing her flat lays of smoothie ingredients. He always was a slut.

    And that was the amazing thing about Sebby. He was so chill with everyone. I believe this is because of how many people were coming and going in Volcanic Street when he was a baby – I guess there are benefits to living in what was practically a youth hostel. He was just such a chill dude. Mostly.

    Of course in 2012, when Florence showed up and decided to adopt me, Seb had plenty of reason to be less chill. Here was this whole other cat deciding to sleep on HIS bed, to be on HIS human, to take the place in front of HIS heater – and of course that happened around the same time that I started my first grown up relationship when it wasn’t just another cat in my bed but another woman too. He wasn’t happy at first, but then he understood that he was still top dog, and wasn’t nearly as threatened. Sheryl always talked about how important it was for her to charm him., not Florence, since that was who was really in control. There was nothing better than mornings in bed with her, the paper and two cats.

    And when there was no more Sheryl, there was still a Sebastian. He was always there for me when I cried – not necessarily running to comfort me outside of his own schedule, but he definitely knew when I was upset. Honestly, fucking hell – imagine you had to see me cry almost all the times I cried in 18 and a half years. Imagine you had to deal with my highs and lows. That cat was a goddamn hero.

    When I bought my house in Thorndon, I was happy to let him out first thing when the cat door was installed, because I knew he’d come back to me. Florence used to love jumping out the upstairs window and making her way down to the ground again. One day he followed her and was still stuck on the roof unsure what to do next when I heard her coming back in through the cat flap.

    Of course Thorndon meant a dog in the garden and sometimes in the house. I feel bad for Trixie as to how quickly she was whipped by the cats to be afraid of them. Sometimes I would sit in the garden with Seb on one side of me and Florence on the other – both of them very staunch in their dislike for each other – and Trixie would want to come for pats, but couldn’t get past my guardians unless she pushed through the weeds at the back. Sometimes she’d come in to eat the food the cats had snobbed and run out with half a bag of catfood in her mouth – but Lorde help her if Seb or Flo ever saw her and took a swipe.

    Too many people in the house continued to be a theme as I took in AirBnB guests to pay for a trip to Mexico. Florence was deaf by then, screaming every morning like Fran Drescher for food and Seb would be bemused by her – like shut up Flo but oh, there’s food happening now? I can dig that. They had chosen their own sides of me to sleep on by then, though things got a little more complicated when Flo started burrowing under the blankets for my warmth and Seb didn’t know.

    At this stage I need to write about how he disappeared for six days, and when he showed up again, his back left leg was all bung. But it still makes me cry thinking about how he managed to drag himself home to me though he was basically screaming in pain, so we will just leave it there. I so wish more of you could have met him before his injury. You know how great he was at sitting in a corner so regal and handsome waiting for you to lavish attention and treats on him? Yeah that but times a million.

    After Florence died, I think it took him a while to adjust back to having ALL of my attention, but he liked it. At parties, he’d hold court in the corner of the couch, waiting for people to pat him and feed him treats. At Boom popups he’d lie on my bed – having climbed up the little stairs on an extra box – and watch people getting changed, always hoping for treats.

    During the first lockdown, when D had a brain aneurism, everything after that didn’t matter, once D was home safe. So this is where we come to second lockdown in August 2021. I was burnt out and grateful for an excuse to pause Boom stuff, and I was happy to just be home and just chill with Sebby. Until I noticed his breathing was a little laboured. I took him for some steamy showers to break up congestion, but that didn’t do anything, so I made him a vet appointment to get some antibiotics.

    We were at Level 4 so I couldn’t go into the vet’s with him. I had to put him in his cage – which he got into so patiently, ever since his accident he always knew that that vet meant getting better, even when it meant two kinds of painkiller a day and arthritis shots once a month – and leave it on the bottom of the vet’s stairs, like I was leaving my baby outside a church. But they’d take his temperature and prescribe some antibiotics, he’d be chill, it was fine. Except that it turned out they suspected he had fluid on his lungs and they wanted to scan him. I agreed, and howled in my car. The vet came outside in a mask and told me he thought Seb had lymphoma, and that in a cat his age, there wasn’t really anything they could do, and that he was in a lot of pain. I knew they were saying it was time to say goodbye, but at level 4, I didn’t want to do that without being there. I asked what we could do, and they told me they’d put in a drip and a two metre line, and I could come in wearing a mask and gloves, and hold Sebby for ten minutes under the regulations, and they could give him the drugs from a distance.

    How do you say goodbye to someone who’d been there half your life in ten minutes? I’m actually in a way grateful that it happened that way because Seb was inside while I howled in the carpark and bawled my eyes out as they set things up inside. I’m so pleased he didn’t have to see me like that. I hate that I was wearing a mask and gloves when I went in to see him, but he was just lying in his open cage, chilled out, line going into his paw that hurt a bit so I couldn’t pick him up. But I stroked him and told him how proud I was of him, what a good boy he was. I reminded him of how when I first got him and carried him home from the Balmoral shops how we sat on the floor in the kitchen together, and how we had always been so bonded. I wanted to yell WAIT STOP when he was rubbing himself against the side of the cage, still seeking skritches, because how could you kill someone who just still wanted to be scratched under the ears? But I asked the vet to come in, and I stroked Sebastian, and I told him that I loved him, and the vet gave him the sleep and he went limp. My boy. My beautiful beautiful boy.

    It was Level 4 in New Zealand, which meant basically nothing but essential services were available, so when I was ready to talk about it – after doing a contactless dropoff of Tom’s birthday cake to Karen and wow if you think Brits are emotionally cold, imagine having to see someone you love when they know something incredibly devastating has happened to you and they can’t touch you – I told the internet that if they wanted to do something productive for me, I’d take donations towards the Sebastian and Florence tattoos I already had booked, since they couldn’t send me flowers. And I said that reminding people I had everything I needed, but also knowing I’d received four bunches of flowers when Flo had died, and knowing how I’d feel if I was in the place of people who loved me and how sometimes it’s nice to throw money at issues. So my friends paid for my cat tattoos – which were the same price as Seb’s final tests and cremation – and that makes them even more special.

    When we got to Level 2 my parents brought me a magnolia tree to plant and scatter his ashes under. I just cried a lot. I cried and cried and cried. I’m crying now as I write this, which is right and good, because fuuuuuuuck. That sweet boy meant everything to me.

    Soon I will tell you other things about 2021, and I’ll talk to you about Callie and Katie. But I’d held off for far too long telling the story of Sebastian, and I still feel I haven’t done him any justice because I haven’t told a single anecdote – like the tragedy of Will’s ham, for starters. But at least I started. And I’ve got him tattooed on my arm and inside my heart, so there will be stories forever.

  • Pink moon, pink lady

    Pink moon, pink lady

    When you haven’t used your words in a while, it becomes even harder to put them down. You think oh, I must write about that, and I must write about that, and I must write about that, and then that all becomes too weighty and you can’t write about anything. And meanwhile your brain churns and churns and oh hey remember that silly thing you said in 2003? Because I SURE DO.

    There has been a super pink super lesbian super moon or something recently. I’ll blame that for the malaise. Has it been depression or anxiety that made the floor lava? Anxiession? Depriety? Either way, it just meant hiding in bed with Sebastian, who is still my most wonderful fluffy boi, despite a few health scares and an evergrowing awareness that he’s running out the clock. Now a couple of days later when I’ve been moving my body more and eating vegetables and ticking off tasks to be more productive I’m almost furious at how much better I feel, like IT’S ALL SO SIMPLE. But then we get into the chicken and egg scenario, and wonder why they couldn’t both come simultaneously.

    Fat has been on my mind a lot. I mean, obviously it has, it’s my business. I organised a fat swim in January and went on a hydroslide for the first time in 25 years. When I sat up there, feeling a bit scared although the size of the tube assured me I would not pull a Homer and get stuck, I thought to myself “Well, if I can be brave enough to start a business, I can be brave enough to go down a hydroslide”. That’s now the name of a talk someone is going to give at Camp Boom in November this year, which is fucking awesome. Also fucking awesome? This video of me at the recent fat swim in April:

    Living my best fat life

    And so the fat swim thing will take me to Auckland in three weeks (May 22, come along! And/or let’s hang out while I’m there) and I’m already dreading packing. Well, more specifically, the opening of the Trans-Tasman bubble takes me to Auckland so I’ve decided to put on a fat swim while I’m up there as well as booking in a solid night of crying a year’s worth of tears on the bosom on my most beloved. I’ve also booked a trip to Christchurch to go to the fat babe pool party down there, and to ride the choo choo train back to Wellington. Sara and I had a night in Taup? last year when we went to check out the venue for Camp Boom (have I mentioned Camp lately? You should come to it). Saj and I went to Marlborough for a day on the ferry to do a wine tour and get out of Wellington. I’m trying to do that whole do something new, New Zealand, thing. I do it from a world of privilege.

    Recently I read a book (I’ve read 14 books so far this year, amazingly) called Letters from Skye which is, strangely enough, a novel told in the form of letters, and it made me think of the person I used to have email correspondence with when I was 21 after he emailed me saying he read my journal and it made him happy and he wanted to send me a present. The last time I thought about English Mark so much was when I was reading Three Women and pondering grooming and age difference and all of the many many awful things in that book made me think about so many awful relationships or things that have happened. But in this case, I just miss the story-telling. At 40 chances are I’m barren so who even knows if there’ll be someone to think about me but it might be nice for them to have some stories of mine if they do end up existing.

    I’ve been contemplating this as well because I’m booked in for my first ever tattoo. Previous ideas I’ve had for tattoos are things that I am super super relieved I never got, so I’m worried about what if I change my mind? But I keep my paper diary from 1996 and 1997, and Hubris stretches back to 1998, and those are my stories, I own them. I haven’t deleted them despite some of the gross language I use and bullshit that I express because they’re part of me, so I figure a tattoo will be the same. Besides, who could ever regret a COVFEFE tattoo?

    At some stage, maybe around 2005, I started a word document copying in all my old journal entries and annotating them and adding in all the <!—secret comment tag special comments – – > and even then there was plenty of stuff I couldn’t figure out what the hell I was talking about, so sorry about it, future me. But hey, here’s something I want you to know, future me – you’re pretty great. Like I really hope you have learned to listen to the 100 people who say nice things and not focus on the 1 person who doesn’t, but even if you haven’t got that, you’re still pretty great.

    Tomorrow is Saj’s birthday party and Nors’s farewell, but I am not thinking about that part yet. Does not compute. Even with vaccinations on the horizon, the thought of travel to the UK is still a big no. I will settle for Melbourne for Jo’s birthday in June. I can’t believe it’s been a year since we went to Level 3. The loneliness of Level 4 still seems so fresh. But this means it’s also been a year since I’ve been in my once-new job, and a year since I eased alcohol back into my life in a very different capacity. You’ll still find me grizzling on Twitter about how unfair it is to know that when I’ve had a shitty day and all I wanna do is get drunk I don’t because I know it won’t help. But you’ll also find me with unwelcome hangovers after 50th birthday party sing-along Grease on an empty stomach. Balance, my friend, balance.

  • 2020 in review

    2020 in review

    Check this out, I’m writing before the year’s even ended! I’m very impressed with myself. In fact, that’s actually the theme for 2020. I am impressed with myself, and what I achieved and what I survived. Go me! Okay, let’s get into the same questions that I answer every year.

    1. What did you do in 2020 that you’d never done before?
    • Spent over four months completely sober (I haven’t done that since I was 16?)
    • Had a six figure salary (briefly!)
    • Wrote a video script for the Prime Minister
    • Organised a camp for 32 babes
    • Took classes in Te Reo and NZSL
    • Had relationships with four different people (not at once)
    • Successfully processed my PTSD with EMDR ( Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Do you know how amazing it is to be able to go to the dental hygienist and not worry about having a flashback and panic attack? I hope you do.

    2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

    The resolutions I made for 2020?

    Go on a date with Dan – well that won’t happen, and I haven’t met Mittens instead either.
    Buy a new bed & couch – done! And for good measure I installed new flooring throughout my house and a brand new kitchen too.
    Pay my mother back at least 3k for House of Boom – 2/3 ain’t bad
    Get a new job – yes! Two of them in fact. The job I was in at the start of the year I lasted less than three months in, because there was no way for me to achieve anything in it, but I love my job now and I actually get to make a difference.
    Organise a Camp Boom – YES! This happened in early November – read more about it here. It was so much hard work but I am incredibly proud of what I achieved and the space that I (and many others) created for the attendees.

    So new resolutions? I don’t have any specific ones actually, beyond throwing another Camp, but I know I will have to have a very serious discussion with myself when it gets close to December about whether or not to continue doing House of Boom beyond three years.

    3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
    My old work partner Amy did.

    4. Did anyone close to you die?
    It was a close call, but thank fuck, no one did.

    5. What countries did you visit?
    Um hello, 2020! Instead, I did domestic travel. In February I went to the Fat Babe Pool Party in Auckland. I went to Martinborough for a weekend with my family after lockdown, I went on a fancy mindfulness retreat in the Hawkes Bay in September and tomorrow I am going to Taranaki for two nights.

    6. What would you like to have in 2021 that you lacked in 2020?
    A relationship that lasts, with Facebook status. I am fucking OVER being people’s hidden away dirty little secret.

    7. What date from 2020 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
    December 19 when I finally got to have my season four photoshoot, that had been planned for a year in advance, which had shifted location from R&D’s house to Anna’s sister’s house, then was cancelled due to lockdown, then was supposed to be in a fancy hotel and then ended up being in my kitchen. I don’t have the pictures back yet but it was marvellous being with my Boomettes again having spent the whole year just taking photos of myself. And I rolled with all the punches of a changing roster of Boomettes and people not showing up at the last minute and we got it DONE. Boom.

    8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
    Surviving. Obviously 2020 was a fucking nightmare for everyone, but to be honest my hardest times were possibly pre-COVID. I wrote about all of that very extensively on here. There were various pop-ups of shitty stuff throughout the year to keep me on my toes, but I dealt with those too. And Camp Boom! That was my other biggest success.

    9. What was your biggest failure?
    Financial management. I’m gutted I haven’t paid back Mum that last of the money she lent Boom, and I know I need to take a very good look at Boom’s finances and stop propping it up out of my own pocket. I would have liked to have made money on Camp, but eight people got scholarships and had experiences they said were life-changing, and who can put a price on that?

    10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
    I had two COVID tests and my last massuese went “WOW” at the size of the knot in my shoulders, but physically things have been okay. Mentally I have continued to work on taking care of myself.

    11. What was the best thing you bought?
    A ticket to the mindfulness retreat I went on and my new kitchen tiles:

    Green! And purple! Hurry for my gorgeous new kitchen!

    12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

    Always the answer to this will be Jo. But also everyone who supported me when I needed it – like Elizabeth who I know on Twitter but not very well, who came over to play Bananagrams with me at the start of the year because she thought I might like to hang out with people who I didn’t normally drink with (and she was absolutely right). Sara was always at my side when I needed catsitting or Boom things done. My family who helped me through my renovation even when I was behaving like a sulky little brat.

    13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
    COVID deniers. Right wing assholes. Centerist politics.

    14. Where did most of your money go?
    On me. You know it’s the way of my people to throw money at our problems and I spent thousands on counselling – which I very much needed, reparations, expensive gym subscription, fitness clothes, meditation apps, mindfulness retreats. I’m incredibly fucking privileged that I was able to do that, and I don’t take that privilege lightly.

    15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
    Camp Boom! Who wouldn’t get excited about being able to surround themselves with fat babes and wine tasting and yoga and belly-dancing and clothes swaps and life drawing?

    16. What song will always remind you of 2020?
    During lockdown I was determined to stay active to keep my brain okay, and I will always remember dancing to ‘Blinding Lights’ by the Weeknd and bawling my eyes out because the man I loved was in hospital with a brain aneurysm and no one could be with him and all I could do was keep dancing while I cried. ‘Too Much’ by Carly Rae Jepsen was also on the playlist and also made me think about myself too much.

    17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
    Fatter and so so much happier.

    18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
    Dancing and swimming.

    19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
    Wasting time on stupid clicky clicky Property Brothers game.

    20. How will you be spending Christmas?
    I spent 90 minutes or so baking my mother her beloved Spekkoek multi-layered cake, and then I went up to their house with my sisters & their partners to eat too much and just have a nice surprisingly chill evening with mountains of presents.

    21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
    Jo of course, and Zoom counselling sessions, plus of course a million trillion Zoom work sessions.

    22. Did you fall in love in 2020?
    Not quite. Definitely fell for a beautiful babe, but she called it off before I could fall too hard, so I guess I’m grateful for small mercies!

    23. How many one-night stands?
    If we’re defining it as meeting someone and having sex with them then never seeing them again, none!

    24. What was your favorite TV program?
    Shrill. My tolerance for media without fat people is shrinking rapidly.

    25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
    No. I’ve spent too much time on mindfulness to hate people!

    26. What was the best book you read?
    Two books – On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous which was just breathtakingly beautiful and sad and powerful, and Three Women which made me shake and ache in recognition.

    27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
    I dunno if I discovered much, I think there was definitely a lot of reverting to old music for comfort.

    28. What did you want and get?
    An amazing birthday party, a kitchen renovation, to do a bunch of stuff for Boom like Camp.

    29. What did you want and not get?
    To hug Jo – either on my 40th birthday or hers. A lasting relationship with facebook status.

    30. What was your favorite film of this year?
    I actually went to the movies this year! The last movie I saw at the theatres was the second in the Hunger Games. Anna, Sara and I went to see Birds of Prey at the Embassy and I absolutely loved it.

    31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
    I turned 40. On my actual birthday I’d already postponed family dinner since Karen was still in hospital so I was supposed to get a massage and have dinner with Anji, but instead I got a COVID test and cried at my mother from a distance when she dropped off flowers for me. So many people sent me flowers! I was so lucky!

    Luckily my test came back negative so I was able to go ahead with my 40th dinner plans – I treated a bunch of people to dinner in a private room at Tinakori Bistro and it was amazing. I made this speech which I may as well reproduce here for posterity:

    Thank you all for coming tonight. I’ve been planning this for a long time – since February in fact when Jo booked her flight over – though obviously that didn’t happen. And then last week when I had to go get a covid test and I was worried this wasn’t going to be able to go ahead, I was freaking out but determined to be chill about it. It’s the roadblock in the third act I have to overcome, I said, this is the part where the Spice Girls discover the bomb on the bus – but they make it to Albert Hall in the end and everyone has a wonderful time.

    The reason this dinner is such a big deal is because I planned it when I had no idea what my life would be like, or if I’d even have anyone to celebrate with. I didn’t know who I was if I wasn’t the funny pervy drunkard. I didn’t know if anyone could stand to be around me when I hated myself so much. So I want to thank you all. Thank you for having soda with me when I couldn’t drink. Thank you for holding me when I couldn’t stop crying. Thank you for supporting my business when I wanted to burn it all to the ground. Thank you for loving me when I couldn’t love myself.

    The first third of the year is basically just one giant blur to me and I like that because it’s unrecognisable to me now. Things are chill in my life now. Things are GOOD. And that’s because of you all. So let’s eat some good food, have a drink because it’s tasty, not to kill our anxiety, and then let’s have a kani kani. Cheers!


    32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
    A safe tran-Tasman bubble so I could have hugged Jo more.

    33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2020?
    My name in NZSL is the sign for ‘Rainbow’ so I think that sums it up very well.

    34. Who kept you sane?
    So many people. It was a team effort. But I am also going to have to give special credit to me, because I did the mahi. Also my neighbour Kate was particularly supportive during lockdown because I could cry at her from two metres in our garden, and swap her wine that I wasn’t drinking for butter so I didn’t have to go the terrible anxiety-creating supermarkets.

    35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
    I don’t actually know. I was so raw for a lot of the year I don’t know if i had much of a sex drive.

    36. What political issue stirred you the most?
    Fat liberation (body positivity is learning to love your body – fat liberation is making sure you’re never taught to hate it in the first place)

    37. Who did you miss?
    Dan.

    38. Who was the best new person you met?
    Nors. She is an utter delight and I’m sure she likes my puns more than she pretends. Also all the fat babes I met for Boom-related activities.

    39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019
    I matter to people and I deserve to be happy too.

    40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
    All my life (hey!)
    I’ve had to fight to stay
    You were right, love takes time, hey, hey

  • An exit strategy

    An exit strategy

    At my last session with my psychologist, a couple of weeks ago, conducted via Zoom, me on my bed, her in her pristine kitchen, I told her I thought I was ready to graduate for now. A health crisis for someone I cared about had passed the critical stage (though it will have a long tail), my unfulfilling job was over, I was going to get a hug that weekend as we entered level 3 and I had kept it together pretty well throughout solitary lockdown. So I asked her how to introduce alcohol to my life again.

    I know what you’re thinking, why did I bother stopping if I was just going to start again? But it was always my intention to be able to have a drink in a different way than I had used alcohol in the past, once I was ready for it. How can I know if I’ve truly actually changed me otherwise? If alcohol is always verboten, then it’s always this black shadow looming over me. I’m stubborn enough that I want to know that I can choose to drink, but choose to drink in a way that meets my values. And I love food & wine together. It’s part of my hospitable nature. So we talked about setting baselines. How much did I want to drink, when did I want to drink, what outcomes were acceptable to me? I said that I wanted to continue to not drink alone throughout lockdown, and generally not drink by myself unless it’s _a_ glass of wine with a nice dinner I’ve cooked – not a bottle of wine and some toast instead of eating vegetables. I won’t drink in times of H.A.L.T – hunger (read: instead of food), anger, loneliness or tiredness (read: exhaustion). I will drive to events more so that I stick to a two glass maximum. And I will allow myself occasional nights with more for celebrations, like my upcoming 40th birthday. And if that becomes too much, and I can’t drink in a way that aligns with my values and I run the risk of hurting people including myself again, then I’ll stop for good. It was a really encouraging conversation, and it allowed me to be proud of what I’ve actually achieved.

    I had my first half glass of rose that Saturday when I got to go to BAMJI’s for dinner at level 3. It wasn’t that amazing, but the half glass of red after dinner was incredibly lush. Since then I’ve had a glass of wine on a date, and a glass of bubbly and a small Bailey’s at a family dinner when we reached level 2. It was nice to not have anxiety about where the next glass of wine was coming from knowing that I actually just couldn’t have any more. I send a picture of every glass to Jo as a weird way of being accountable, which makes a nice change for her from the neverending repeats of photos of my butt I normally send her. I must admit that every clink of Tom’s wineglass on a glass table when we’ve been doing pub quiz over Zoom has given me a Pavlovian response, and I’m really looking forward to going wine tasting this weekend in Martinborough, but I think a lot of that is about a return to normalcy, albeit a better normal.

    That date was lovely but ultimately I am not in a good place to have a relationship. After I called it off, someone sent her screenshots of a closed-group conversation I’d had when I’d talked about the reasons I stopped drinking and the specific harms I had caused, so that wasn’t….great. I will always hold myself accountable, and you should too, and I recognise the importance of keeping other people safe. And I’ll talk about my actions if you ask me – and I’ve written about it pretty in-depth here on Hubris too. But knowing someone I trusted (though I’m not sure who) felt the need to take those screenshots in the first place – well that’s really not a great feeling. To be honest, being reminded about it (not that I had ever forgotten, that I ever woke up without thinking about it) was also a really gross feeling, but that’s something I need to carry anyway. I might have to check back in with my counsellor, which I am extremely lucky to be in a position to do.    

    Other than that, I am excited and scared to be able to go to the gym and go swimming again. I avoided it this week because Karen was having surgery and I wanted to keep my bubble real tight but our family is going to Martinborough this weekend so it’s time to get out in the big bad world again. I’m going to have to stop wearing my Jo Jo Jim Jams every day, boo. They really are the very best garments for lockdown, but I’ve had a couple of issues with some size 1 pants actually being size 3 which is a nightmare. In better news I have new dresses to pick up this weekend which I am certain will all be gorgeous since they’re made right here in Wellington and it’s a pattern we’ve done before, just in new colours, so that’s good Boom news. I’m still debating whether or not to order more Jim Jams. Why is being a business bitch so hard? Anyway, lunch is almost over so I had better try and tidy a few things before the eagerly anticipated return of MY CLEANER (#bougie) and getting to see darling Sara this afternoon who is coming to catsit. I hope you’re doing okay. Let’s pretend it’s 2003 – leave me a comment and tell me how things are.

  • Bubble life

    Bubble life

    Maybe this is just how we live now. At first, you are proud of how well you’re doing. You manage your time. You eat vegetables. You make appointments to talk to your friends online. You worry about family members. You check in on how people are doing. You think to yourself that if this had to happen, at least you are at your very best possible self to do it, being sober, having a counsellor, having re-learnt how good it is to move your body, having learnt how to sit in your feelings, having done so very much work on yourself this shitty shitty year. You remind yourself that one of the best things you can do for the people who love you is to take care of yourself so that’s one less thing for them to worry about.

    So you swallow your disappointments about not being able to do a fashion shoot with your gorgeous Boomettes and realise that no, you won’t get to have your glass of wine at your April 17 launch party. You drag your furniture around to clear a space to shoot photos of yourself and grimace through having to look at literally hundreds of photos where your face is dumb or your body is not showing off the clothes properly and try to be kind to yourself. 

    You launch your season FOXY AS FUCK online with a half hour facebook livestream then have to painstakingly caption that because there’s no way that Youtube can understand your slurred very kuwi accent.

    Let me talk you through the new collection. It’ll be fun, I promise!

    Your heart fills with joy when people trust you and your work enough to order four thousand dollars worth even though there’s no sign of when you’ll be able to deliver it. 

    And then, project over, you find yourself with a lack of purpose. Everything aches from sitting at a laptop at your dining room table. The urge to just stay asleep grows. You’d do anything to be touched. One night when you’re lying spooning with your cat, he gets a fright and viciously sinks his teeth into the fleshy part of your hand. Your twitter friends convince you to call the doctor. You circle the red on your hand with a vivid and watch anxiously as it grows down your wrist while you wait for the chemist to call you and say your antibiotics are ready. You’ve been hospitalised for cellulitis before and do NOT want to go back. You know you’re cat-astrophising, but it’s still scary going into the pharmacy, when someone won’t stand two metres away from you and the chemist is wearing a welding mask. You cry about the only thing in your bubble turning on you and then you feel fucking pathetic for being such a wimp when so many people have it so much worse so you donate to Women’s Refuge because throwing money at your feelings is what you do best. 

    Did you mention how bougie you’ve become – even more so than usual. Your attempts to avoid the supermarket have led to sourdough bread delivery, and Dutch cheese delivery and Italian deli delivery. You rationalise this to yourself by saying you’re supporting small businesses, when maybe the reality is that food is all there’s left to enjoy. You curse yourself when after sending treats to a friend you forget to change your delivery address and she gets your order of pop tarts too and then they’re all sold out. You try to remember to eat regularly so you can take your antibiotics but they make you sleepy and you find yourself crying more. You tell your counsellor this is punishment for thinking that you were handling this well and then you wonder if it’s creepy to ask about her dog when you see the dog bowls behind her. You are so tired of seeing your face on screen in video chat. 

    Your bougie decaf coffee turns out not to be as decaffinated as the brand you’re used to and you end up staying awake until 6am playing the Property Brothers game, and because it takes you a couple of days to realise it’s the coffee that’s the problem, you also get major physical anxiety and heart palpitations. No amount of guided meditation can fix that, but luckily there are benzos and zopis to be had later though the nausea lasts all day.

    There are moments of lightness too. Your neighbour is a fucking delight who swaps you butter for wine that you weren’t going to drink anyway. When you’re doing a massive zoom call with friends to do a pub quiz that involves no less than three internet connected devices in one house, one man forgets that he’s not wearing pants and you all recoil from the screen when he gets out of bed. You cackle yourself hoarse at Taskmaster and delight in being able to track down items your friends need (coffee filters, olive oil) from local suppliers. You plan iso-dates with cute girls you’ve started talking to on OKC. You somehow trick yourself into relating to Laura Ingalls Wilder in The Long Winter, partly because you’re reading another book about white people surviving a cruel winter on a prairie. Because obviously being limited to deciding whether to go clockwise or windershins around the block on your semi daily walk is exactly the same kind of isolation. You resign from your job that doesn’t align with your values or deliver any sense of fulfillment and feel guilty because you have another job to go to when so many are struggling right now. 

    You try to do good things like hanging cardboard easter eggs in the bushes around your property for passers-by to hunt for. You develop a schedule of weekly small gifts for your neighbours as the only people you can really access right now – fancy bodywash from your ridiculous collection, homemade scented candles, episodes of TV you think they’ll like. You share trivia quizzes so people have small moments of other things to do. You desperately wish there would be another site like the Toast or The Hairpin where you could read clever funny things, and are eternally grateful to The Niche for turning you on to Taskmaster.

    And then you get devastating news about people you love and you can’t be there and it just fucking SUCKS. You send cheese and pasta and track down a lawn-mowing company and it feels so fucking inadequate. You get angry at yourself for feeling inadequate because IT’S NOT FUCKING ABOUT YOU. You write lists of things to talk to your counsellor about in your next session. You walk around the block clockwise. You meditate. You dance to Kanye West even though he’s cancelled. You update your journal. You stay in your bubble. You carry on. 

  • 2019 in review

    2019 in review

    So 2020 is some kind of bullshit right? Remember how we thought 2016 was rubbish? Oh us sweet summer children. Anyway. Before I start a series of posts about lockdown, or, as may be familiar to many of us, hey now the whole world has depression, let’s cast our mind back to 2019 before those memories are lost in the mist. I didn’t do one of these for 2018 and I’m bummed about that, so I don’t want to lose another year.

    1. What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before?

    • Continued to run my own business
    • Was invited to speak at an international conference (but couldn’t go because gallbladder)
    • Had an organ removed
    • Had 47 orgasms in one weekend
    • Squirted
    • Was in a serious-to-me relationship with two people as their unicorn

    2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

    I think the resolutions I made for 2019 were about House of Boom, and making sure I put out four seasons of it. I’m yet to release season four, but it’s getting there.

    The resolutions I made for 2020? Ahahahah.

    1. Go on a date with (male lover)
    2. Buy a new bed & couch
    3. Pay my mother back at least 3k for House of Boom
    4. Get a new job
    5. Organise a Camp Boom

    Obviously I am no longer with D, so sadly there will be no date. I pivoted that to ‘Meet Mittens’ instead but Mittens is also on lockdown. I bought the bed & couch before 2019 ended actually, I have got a new job, but 3 & 5 are very much on hold because of Covid-19.

    3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

    Demelza did! And I was so so so so overjoyed for her.

    4. Did anyone close to you die?

    My beautiful wee Florence. The magnolia tree we planted for her has new growth on it and sometimes I go and talk to it when I’m missing her.

    5. What countries did you visit?

    Just Tasmania and Brisbane to see Jo. I couldn’t make it to the conference I was supposed to speak at because I was post surgery and utterly exhausted. I also went to Nelson and Palmerston North and Otaki for a couple of nights, that’s pretty exotic right?

    6. What would you like to have in 2020 that you lacked in 2019?

    If I was answering this like it was December 30, I’d say facebook status and a positive bank balance for Boom.

    7. What date from 2019 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

    October 16. I threw a ‘Fuck Depression’ party, and some of the guests very literally did exactly that and fucked the depression right outta me.

    8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

    Keeping Boom going throughout a lot of personal stresses.

    9. What was your biggest failure?

    Am I answering this as if it was December 30? Or do I talk about how I fucked up everything when drunk and scared on December 31? Because that.

    10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

    A lot of pain from gallstones, then the surgery. Also some very sore knees from shenanigans that were totally worth it.

    11. What was the best thing you bought?

    Everything I bought for Boom that I got to buy from other small businesses.

    12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

    Sara for all the support she gave to me in Boom. Anji & Bambi and my Boomettes for all the photoshoots. Various workmates who made the best of very hard times and gave me many hugs when I needed them. R&D for the magical times.

    13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

    Management.

    14. Where did most of your money go?

    House of Boom

    15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

    Unicorning

    16. What song will always remind you of 2019?

    The National – ‘I need my girl’

    17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

    If I was writing this on Dec 30? I am fatter, happier and poorer.

    18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

    Dancing and fucking. And swimming in the ocean, as per usual.

    19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

    Dealing with upper management’s bullshit, stressing out about Boom.

    20. How will you be spending Christmas?

    I had Xmas with the lovers early. Then on the day I went to my cousin’s for a drink, then my family and I gathered at BAMJI’s and sat in the garden a lot.

    21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

    Jo, then a lot of time messaging the lovers at the end of the year

    22. Did you fall in love in 2019?

    Yes but I never got to say it.

    23. How many one-night stands?

    One.

    24. What was your favorite TV program?

    Hmmm – the same as 2017’s answers – The Good Fight, Brooklyn Nine Nine (OH MY HEART!), Bob’s Burgers. I also discovered the soothing powers of bland cop shows liek The Rookie and 9-1-1.

    25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

    Yup. Ruined a whole agency’s comms team.

    26. What was the best book you read?

    Oh this one’s hard to remember. I read a lot of books at the start of 2020 so I can’t remember what was when.

    27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

    I don’t remember.

    28. What did you want and get?

    To see Jo, a relationship.

    29. What did you want and not get?

    A great new job, Facebook status, making money from House of Boom.

    30. What was your favorite film of this year?

    I don’t watch movies, don’t be ridiculous.

    31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

    I turned 39.  I organised a big dinner at Dragons, then we went to Karaoke and it was ridiculous amounts of fun. My family and I had the suckling pig at Lulu and it was less fun cos it was cold and I was stressed out that they wouldn’t bring us wine quick enough.

    32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

    Being able to keep the job I loved without that dude coming in and fucking it all up.

    33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2019?

    Representing my brand, yo.

    34. What kept you sane?

    Jo, angry drinks with workmates (did that keep me sane or did that contribute to my mental health badness? I think we know the answer to that now), and the glorious relationship that started when I needed it most.

    35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

    Maybe Anika Moa?

    36. What political issue stirred you the most?

    Feminism as a whole, inequality in New Zealand and rape culture. SAME AS EVERY YEAR.

    37. Who did you miss?

    Jo, not seeing her for like nine months was absolutely fucking pants.

    38. Who was the best new person you met?

    R&D.

    39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019:

    Trust your instincts.

    40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

    “1 + 1 + 1; it ain’t two”

  • EMDR 4 PTSD OMG WTF BBQ LOL

    EMDR 4 PTSD OMG WTF BBQ LOL

    I’m going to speak extensively about rape in this post. Specifically my rape. You, sadly may have your own, but this one is mine. Yeah, that’s right, that boring one from ten years ago that I don’t shut up about. So if you want to go off and look at kittens instead, or memes about songs to sing when you’re washing your hands, that’s completely fine. I won’t be writing about anything else in this post except for PTSD and how it felt to use EMDR to treat it yesterday. So you won’t be missing out.

    But Friday morning, I had an appointment with the dental hygienist. I was years overdue but in my extensive lists of trying to fix everything about me (although I was just sitting the other day and I felt for the first time that I wasn’t broken – that I’m a person with problems and some sadness, sure, but not fundamentally broken), I knew it was a box I had to tick off. So it was a different branch of the clinic that I normally see, but I figured they shared notes. She asked me if there was anything new I had to tell her and I said that I can get quite panicky because of my PTSD but that I’d taken a benzo, and it was worse with the dentist because he was a guy, so I’d probably be fine. I laid down in the chair quite happy while she went to find out why all the electricity had gone out in it. I got this, I thought, it will be okay.

    Narrator: she was not okay.

    At one stage I opened my eyes and realised how close to my head she was, and all of a sudden I could feel it all again, a ghost weight pinning me down, looming over me. I tried to breathe deep, to think about what my feet were up to, but my hands became claws and my chest tightened and I had to raise one to get her to stop. I sat up and started crying and apologising, so much apologising because of course that’s what happens and I was so ANGRY, that here I was, ten years later, and I couldn’t even get a simple fucking tooth clean done without inconveniencing another woman and do you think that David has ever had an anxiety attack in the dentist office? I doubt it. And the knowledge I’d caused someone else’s PTSD was pushing on me too. I wanted to run away but instead I blew my nose multiple times, apologised some more, she said it was fine, we got on with it. Every part of me felt crooked, sick. I went to go get something to eat to recover before going back to work. Everything was spacey and I couldn’t concentrate. It felt like I’d been hit by a truck.

    I felt incapable of doing basic tasks on the weekend, I just wanted to lie in bed and play Candy Crush and not think. That ghost presence was back, the weight of everyone I’ve ever been under when I wasn’t 100% into it, the blackout sex that I’ve had, all the reasons why I blamed myself at the time and why others probably still do. And you fucking better believe that I was angry with myself too for being weak, for being so affected when it was so long ago and of course at the same time there was the logical side trying to be nice to myself, to understand that trauma is trauma and how the body reacts isn’t something I can control. Thank fuck I had counselling booked for yesterday is all I can say.

    I barrelled in there a hot mess and told her briefly what had happened, not covering all the other things that had come up in the past fortnight, knowing that this was the thing I needed to work on even though it was going to be hard. We set up for EMDR, which meant dimming the lights and moving my chair so that she could sit on a rolling chair just in front of me. I was snotty and worried she’d be thinking about germs as I clutched her fancy velvet pillow because I can’t not play with somethign with my hands when I’m in that state. So the way that EMDR works is that you’re asked to think of a specific feeling or memory or image, and describe the very worst parts of it. That part came out easily – feeling trapped, feeling worthless, feeling like I deserved it and that it was my fault. And then you’re asked to describe how you would rather feel about the memory – that I am safe now, that it wasn’t my fault, and that I didn’t deserve it. Your therapist then moves their fingers backwards and forwards and you follow with your eyes until your vision starts to blur a little, and then you’re asked how you feel, and how that is manifesting itself in your body. I feel angry with myself for blaming myself, and I can feel myself shrinking in this chair, wanting to curl up into a ball. More hand movements – how do you feel? I feel angry at him because he’s not spending all his fucking money on therapy so he can get his teeth cleaned and that anger is making my fists clench. More hand movements, how do you feel? I feel calmer, I can feel that I’m breathing in deeper and my chest seems to be losening up. More hand movements, how do you feel? I’m thinking of the judgement of all the people who said stupid shit like “well how drunk were you?” and that’s making me curl up again. More hand movements, how do you feel? I hate that I did this to someone else, that I caused them this pain, that I hurt someone after I’d been hurt, that I am a violater and it makes me feel so fucking ashamed. More hand movements, how do you feel? Exhausted like I have been crying for a week and that we’ve been talking for hours. More hand movements, how do you feel? Calm, like I am sinking into this chair, like I have taken magnesium supplements and I am drifting off to sleep. More hand movements, how do you feel?

    And it goes on like this, for forty five minutes, and the mood swings are EXTREME. She asks occasionally how I would rate the feeling of being scared out of 10, and it moves from an 8 to a 2 to a 1 over the 45 minutes. My belief that it was not my fault and that I didn’t deserve it moves from a 3 to a 6. What is this fucking magic? I don’t know. I can tell you from the session before though that I still have the sensation of watching the feeling I needed to work on disappear away from me on the back of a train, waving goodbye from its caboose of terror.

    So will I be fine next time I have to go to the dentist? I don’t know, but I will be better than I am now. The first session, I felt so relaxed after. This one, not so much. I went to the gym afterwards and swam a little and soaked in the spa because you feel all that tension in your body so strongly. She warned me more thoughts will come up and more will need to be processed, and lo and behold, last night I started feeling the memory of the first time I was assaulted in a nightclub in Tokyo when I was 14, the bouncer in the bar pinning me to the wall in the toilet, shoving his tongue in my mouth and all of a sudden I could feel his tongue again, and I still can, and I felt tiny and helpless for a second, and definitely can feel the tension still, but I waved my fingers in my face and asked myself how I felt now. It was a cheap hack and definitely not proper EMDR but fuck it, it’s processing, right? Just like writing this out is too. It wasn’t my fault, I didn’t deserve it, and I am going to talk about it if I want to.

  • Wet

    Wet

    Because Demelza texted to ask, and not everyone who reads this is a text buddy, it’s probably time to give you an update on how I’m doing. I’m doing okay! I’m getting bi! Many parts of my body are sore right now, but that’s my phone’s fault for displaying me the wrong class schedule and so I thought I was going to a pilates session but it was actually a barre class and OW. Though I probably should not assume I wouldn’t be in pain if I had gone to a pilates session instead. You might not have heard from me for a couple of weeks but I’ve only been a gym member for ten days so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. 

    But at least i was correct in my memories of the EUPHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORIA of endorphins. If you see a fat girl walking down the street with very messy hair and a bi pride flag fringe grinning wildly, you would probably be correct in summarising that she has been swimming lengths, slowly but surely, or perhaps doing cardio and pulling things with her arms to build up back and arm muscles. The personal trainer showing me my routine (after my very insistent “I’m not here to lose weight!” and his very polite “we’re here to do whatever you want”) was a dude, and I am NOT USED to men touching me, except for D and that’s been a long time too, so when he was standing behind me with his hands on my back and shoulders, my body was like “oooh are we gonna do a sex now?” and I was like oh shut up body, you’re a terrible gay. 

    Speaking of the gays, holy crap was literally ever single queer I know in Wellington at Hannah Gadsby the other week? What a glorious collection of babes, and a wonderful show too. It was hot though, and my legs were cramping and so I’m relieved it wasn’t a second longer. It made me really happy I’d studied Art History in 7th form now.

    And talking of my hot queer body, what a fucking JOY it was to attend the Fat Babes Pool Party in Auckland on  Feb 15. I was proud of myself for going to an event where I knew hardly anyone and doing it sober. I met so many babes, networked my butt off for Boom and didn’t think negative thoughts about my body for a whole couple of hours. It was a wonderful experience being in South Auckland, I was one of the least colourful people there it felt like, compared to my usual black-clad public servant offices. It helped me decide that no, I don’t want to shut down Boom, I _do_ want to keep doing the work I’m doing even though finding out I lost $17,000 in the first year was pretty grim (though some of that includes mortgage payments since home office, and a whole new wardrobe for me).

    The hotel I stayed at in Auckland was dire, but I checked out very early in the morning to fly back to Jo who had arrived from Melbourne and was sleeping in my bed anyway. I cried on her a lot, of course. We ate an amazing meal at Rita. I got to meet her girlfriend who is a goddamn delight and it is wonderful to see them so happy together. Jo has acted like my executive assistant a little bit while she’s been here – calling my vet for me while I’ve been stuck in three hour meetings and dealing with the tradesman who recaulked my bathroom and gosh I wish I was rich enough to have a full time EA. 

    But of course the emotional support is the most important thing. The other night I intervened when I heard screams and a stranger was being assaulted, and looked after her for nine hours until the police finally got here (yes, I am contemplating making a complaint about their communication systems but also am aware of just what a sorry fucking state the world we live in is). The story isn’t mine to tell except from my perspective on it, which was it was a scary and horrible time that stirred up a lot of memories and connections as well. I am just really fucking glad that I was there, and I was sober, and that I was calm in a crisis the way I always hoped that I would be. And that Jo was there when my part was over and I could finally break down and sob. 

    Luckily i already had a counselling session booked the next day that I used to unpack things more and my manager understood why I took the day off. After counselling I went swimming and that was a good way to get out some of the adrenaline coursing through my body. My brain is still somewhat overloaded though, and that with my period coming up, things are feeling a bit grim in my head. I’m feeling stretched too thin (yes, after only one barre class, ha) like I am not taking good enough care of the people I love, when I’m prioritising settling into a gym routine instead of having lunches with people, that I am out of touch with the lives of lots of people I care about, and I’m feeling bad that I didn’t go to my mother’s birthday celebration that I organised because I’d been up all night waiting for the police, and then when my sisters showed up afterwards to bring me cake I was busy selling clothes to an Auckland Boom contact. But the logical part of me remembers the pile of Galentine’s treats that I sent out, and I know that taking good care of myself is the single best thing I can do for anyone who cares about me. So just as soon as the blood comes, I will feel happier. Until I start to bleed through everything of course. 

  • That last moment of optimism

    That last moment of optimism

    I drafted this at lunch, but before I could post it, it turns out I am not redeemable after all. So the bottom has dropped out of my world again, but I guess at least that’s finality? I don’t know if I’ll be up to writing much in the next little bit, so enjoy the optimism in this before reality set in.

    So, one whole month. Fucking hell. Let me take a moment to sit and reflect on this achievement before I dash off and order myself new shoes as a reward. 

    This January has been so fucking hard and honestly I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. A break up (? I mean, I guess. One little box emoji is not very much to go on but I’ll clutch at it anyway), endless uncertainty, being forced to confront all the fucking shitty stuff I have done over my lifetime, endless loneliness and depression, setting to work on myself with a psychologist and a personal trainer AND starting a new job and a new relationship, all without the fake-soft cushion of drunken oblivion? Bloody hell.  

    Yeah I know a lot of people do Dry January, and good for them (I mean this genuinely, but I’m aware it sounds snarky). I have at least two more months to go alcohol free before I can start to think about whether I want to bring it back into my life, in a greatly reduced form of course. And that’s a decision I’ll make with my psychologist, and I’ll be keeping well-free of the HALT triggers (that’s Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, if you’ve only just joined us). 

    People on the Daybreak app talk about how their partners don’t support them, or how their friends still want them to drink, and I just feel awful for them. Everyone who is still talking to me has been nothing but supportive. People have really stepped up for me and for that I will always be grateful and hope I can return the favour whenever it is needed. It’s been particularly good/strange to have people message me about how my posts have helped them examine their own relationships with alcohol. To have wonderful smart people still care about me when I was convinced I was the lowest of the low and undeserving of any sympathy played a huge part in being able to realise that I could still be redeemed. Your mileage, however, will of course vary on whether or not you believe I am redeemable too.

    Seb woke me up at 4am and I couldn’t get back to sleep so I lay there with my brain trying to tell my other part of my brain that I can’t control anyone else’s actions but mine, and that I can’t control what people think of me, but also just uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh just the unresolved missing and no closure. It would be better to focus on the happy things – like just how gorgeous Gabbi’s smile is and how nice it is to be snuggled up with her while watching the really violent Vikings – but also, there’s that whole ACT thing of sitting in your feelings and feeling them. It is most inconvenient of feelings to show up at 4am though. I was still awake at 6am and you can tell because today I was so tired I’m wearing all black (apart from rainbow jewellery of course) and I never wear all black. Pretty excited about a sleep in this weekend, hopefully. And another nap on my new couch. 

    Speaking of Seb, I took him to a new vet this week, which is just three minutes up the road and I really should have moved him over a lot sooner. The vet was a man, and I’ve normally had women vets, and because I have crushes on everyone who handles my pussy carefully I was like “oh yeah, that’s right, I’m bi!” (which is a strange thing to forget when one of the people I’m pining for is a man, but, brains).  He has gingervitis – Seb, that is, not the vet, as far as I know, but the vet does not want to operate because sedation at age 17 is not a great thing for cats, and after losing Florence to a stroke under sedation, I am inclined to agree. I want him to be as comfortable as possible but I cannot lose him now. He is my rock. My very furry rock. 

    The other day when Anna & Sara came over to play games, I opened up a bottle of alcohol-free rose, and the act of opening the bottle made me crave an actual drink so bad so I won’t be buying that again. Of course pot is illegal so obviously that’s not an option, but if it was, I’d still be thinking about it and whether or not I deserve to have any of the sharpness that’s coming at me softened. I’m trying not to use benzos too often either because I have so much to learn about functioning without a cushion. I’m just finishing up a period so hopefully sleep will improve with just the magnesium supplements and increased physical activity, and I definitely think the b12 is helping with my stress levels, though of course my brain does still go into overdrive on the thinking and reflection. I am looking forward to starting EMDR next week at counselling, although I am also scared because it’s yet another new thing and I will be trying my very best to be good at it, and I might try too hard as a consequence. We’ll see. 

    Work is really hard. I don’t remember how to do general comms. I need to upskill myself. And in other work, Boom right now is a waiting game for the Jo Jo Jim Jams and also the rest of season four. Luckily I have become very practiced at waiting, though my constant ARE WE THERE YET?????? messages to Jo might suggest a different story. I need to sell some stock so there is room for Jo to make it to her bed when she comes to stay. I get to see her in sixteen days. I can’t wait to take a nap with her. 

    Please keep telling me how good my skin looks, I am a very vain creature and I need the praise. 

  • Playing games

    Playing games

    The last time I hung out with my friend boy Stacey’s brother & partner, and sister & partner a year and a half ago or so, I’d been drinking all day at the Food Show, and had sore feet, yet I still managed to spend the evening making cocktails and winning at Sheriff of Nottingham by successfully smuggling many cocks into the village. Okay perhaps they were chickens. But either way, I looked forward to yesterday when I’d been invited to spend a day brunching and playing more board games. Of course though, the idea of another social event with people I didn’t know very well and when I wouldn’t be drinking made me feel super nervous.

    Turns out I shouldn’t have been at all. Other people weren’t drinking either, and there was tons of sparkling grape juice (though note to self: sugar hangovers are definitely a thing). I rose early enough to make scones. Being alcohol free means I can’t sleep in past 9am these days, which is actually excellent. I won one round of Knowledge is Power and thought I was going to win at some card game but I had to surrender my hand and go and take delivery of my new couch then come back. I came close to winning at Unstable Unicorns, but accidentally revealed my ginormous unicorn card and couldn’t quite make it. Boy did that game have my number though. Baby Unicorn cards. Horse with dildo cards. Polyamorous unicorn cards. Ginormous unicorn cards. Stop being me, game! I need to buy it for myself and soon, because there is definitely much more game playing in my future. Like in 90 minutes when Anna and G come over, for starters. I am proud of myself for hanging out and hopefully being a good guest and having a lot of fun.

    Today as the heat continued, I went to catch up with a friend I haven’t seen in possibly years, who is also going through a very hard time right now. I suddenly burst into tears when we were talking which is always fun, but the thing about old friends is that’s okay, you’ve been through a lot together, and you’re older and wiser now.

    Seb has come to terms with the fact that his little top nook on the old couch is gone, but that there’s now a whole chaise for him to claim as his own, once I put a box next to the new couch so he can more easily climb up. Cat accessibility is now my number one household concern with all these high new furniture items floating around the house.

    Speaking of home, you may recall that I painted my porch in rainbows. In response, my neighbours painted our fence black. I’m lying, it wasn’t actually in response, but I do like to pretend to be neighbours with beef (instead of them actually being the best bloody neighbours ever).

    No counselling appointment this week because she had no vacancies, so I’ll have to manage my brain by myself (and with the help of the wonderful people whose support has helped convince me that I must be worth it cos they’re not idiots). Countdowns have started for closure. In five days I get to buy myself a pair of one month dry shoes. And Jo will be here in three weeks, which is also when I go to Auckland for the Fat Babe Pool Party.

    Right now both my fringe and my nails are on the green end of turquoise instead of both being purple. I’m hoping I’ve shed the bad luck that apparently dark colours are at New Year’s, and maybe it was my fingers that were cursed. That’s a thing, right? The Case of the Cursed Fingers? People at work might not realise that my hair colour changes frequently, though they do comment on how nice it is to see someone wearing bright coloured clothes a lot. They’ll soon learn that’s me every day, hopefully. I might wear my ‘fat’ necklace to work too, because I’m not sure that I’m living my authentic self right now, trying to be polite and ignore the mountains of diet talk. I’m trying so hard to make a good first impression. I’m trying so hard at everything right now. I’m trying.