56: My Mister

I know that you have been feeling left out after I wrote about my ex-boyfriends recently. You really shouldn’t because I married you and I talk about you far more often. I have been trying to think of what I can say about you. This is a very public setting after all. When I wrote about my exes I didn’t care what other people thought about them. I want to protect you from the scrutiny of others. Yes, I am aware that you don’t care what anyone thinks of you, you tell me that every time I get too self conscious. You have suggested that if we were to separate then I would suddenly become inspired as I was after breaking up with the others. I suppose in many ways that is correct, there is a reason why they say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. It could also be said that after a break up we experience clarity and can better assess what we liked and disliked about the other person. I live with you. I have done so since May 2014. We are married. I see you almost every day, with the exception of the time we spend visiting our families away from one another. 

I suppose I could imagine the things I would miss about you if you were to leave. I know I would miss your enthusiasm for new technology and the way you can discuss the details in length even though you know I have no idea what you’re saying. It is satisfying to see that you love what you do and as your wife that makes me proud. 

I would miss watching you interact with our pets, the affection you give towards your ferret or how you talk to the cats as though they understand you. I also love to watch you interact with children, the patience you afford them is nothing like the way you interact with any adults. You engage with them in a playful manner that makes me smile and assures me you will be a good father. 

I would miss your strange interests that you pursue on a whim, like that day you spent hours researching how to make your own mozzarella or the week you converted all our empty jars into terrariums. It’s adorable and random but it’s a part of why we understand one another. 

I would miss the way you discuss my university assignments with me. The subjects I am doing are no where near your wheel house yet you try your best to ask questions and comprehend my work. 

I would miss seeing the progress you have made. When we met you weren’t a very social person, your confidence was low and you didn’t get out much. Now people are always approaching me to say how much you have changed, you connect with people more, you make eye contact when you barely ever did before, you go out and meet new people, you have even started your own business. I know people try to credit me for pushing you but it’s you who has been making the effort and overcoming your fears. You make me proud and it is worth all the arguments we had while I was trying to break you out of your shell.

I would miss watching Netflix with you before bed. I don’t love that you always steal my pillow or that you always turn the brightness up far too much, but it is our routine and I miss it whenever you’re not here.

I would miss the way you always act like you don’t know what something tastes like just so you can steal a bite. We both know you know what ice cream tastes like, we both know you like it, but I always give it anyway so you can take a bite and pretend it’s the first time. I would miss how much you love certain foods, you get so passionate about the things you like, it’s cute and it’s infectious. 

I would miss having someone to eat my pickle at fast food restaurants. I always remove it from my burger and give it to you. It feels like such a waste now if you’re not there and I have to just throw it away. We joked when we first started dating that true love is finding someone who will eat the pickle from your cheeseburger.

I would miss you bringing me peanut m&ms. Clearly you remember that I bought some for myself three years ago because now they’re the treat you go to when you want to surprise me even though we both know they’re not my favourite, you know they’re a safe option and that’s good enough. It’s practically our tradition now and that makes me like them even more.

I would miss the way you try to calm me down by changing the subject. Whether I’m angry, sad, or anxious, you manage to distract me in a way that doesn’t make me feel like my feelings are being dismissed. I don’t know how you do it, you’re sneaky, I love you for it. The best bit is that we always double back once I’ve calmed down so I don’t feel like nothing got resolved or that my feelings don’t matter to you.

I would miss having you around. We have shared this house for three years, which is longer than I lived here alone. You get on my nerves, we argue, we irritate each other, but we still care about one another. We can both me ridiculously stubborn and value our independence but at the end of day we love each other. 

There are so many more things I could say but I will leave it there. I hope you’re satisfied. I hope this didn’t bore the heck out of all my readers who aren’t my husband. 

55: Why I don’t like goats.

I want to start off with a disclaimer; if any of my old housemates happen to stumble upon this, rest assured that living with you was great as I got some fun stories out of the experience. These were great people but the situation itself was very strange to me and I just wanted to share my experience.




I once lived in a share house with three other people. This isn’t uncommon when you’re young and trying to pay the bills. We were all performing arts students in some capacity. I had completed my course the year before but I found myself in this living situation because of who I was dating at the time. I usually prefer to live alone or sharing my space with only my partner. My boyfriend at the time was much more inclined to share with his friends therefore the house was already established when I moved in. I had been friends with this guy for about a year and when the friendship evolved I found myself living at his house. The house he shared with two other women and occasionally some others. 
There were two large bedrooms, two living spaces, one bathroom, a kitchen and dining area, and a small bedroom/office area. My then boyfriend was living in one of the rooms while the other bedroom was empty. The smallest room was full of random furniture and the person who had once occupied it had recently moved out. This is when things get interesting. As I mentioned earlier, there were three people living in this household yet two of the bedrooms were vacant. 

You might be wondering where the two women were staying? The two women had annexed off the living room by nailing blankets to the ceiling and the polished wood floor! The living room furniture was squashed in to a small living space at the back of the house while the main, much larger, living space was being used as a makeshift bedroom. This seemed ridiculous to me but I tried to bite my tongue. These people had been living in this arrangement before I came along so it wasn’t up to me to interfere. Not long after I began staying in the house one of the women moved in to the empty bedroom while one remained in the living room. 

This was a strange environment to suddenly enter in to. I didn’t know these people. The woman who continued sleeping in the living room would write on the walls and skate in the house. She had lived in a lot of squats in Melbourne and was always full of interesting stories, such as her previous living arrangement where all the household were using the same towel. I always made sure to keep track of my towel after that story. There was also always a puzzlingly large number of toothbrushes in the bathroom which prompted me to keep mine separated.
The other woman was vegan and had encouraged a mutual friend to eat vegan food most of the time also. One day both the housemates were away in the city and this friend of ours came over with a great deal of raw salmon they had purchased from the deli and ate it all ravenously, presumably taking advantage of the break in their vegan diet, I found this extremely amusing. For a group of people living on a vegan diet, a suspicious amount of our non-vegan food would go missing. There were two fridges in this house but no obvious organisation. It was extremely confusing for any outsider.
The house was a private rental, which meant that the owner had left some furniture on the property… Including two pets! One had died before I moved in but the large fish tank remained as a sad reminder. The other was a bright blue yabbie, who lost a claw after my cats moved into the house with me, we quickly returned him to his owner before any more harm could befall him. There were also four couches and an outdoor dining set left for us to use. (It always seemed to me that four couches was a tad excessive.) The pet situation escalated when the vegan housemate came home one day with a baby goat. They expected to let this goat live in the backyard, however, our backyard did not have any lawn for the goat to chew on. The yard was all rocky pebbles, which meant that the young goat would often resort to climbing on the outdoor furniture which belonged to the owner of the house. As the goat got older we began to worry that it might accidentally damage the furniture so I would have to go out and scold the animal. This didn’t work for very long as the goat learned to ram me in response. With shins covered in bruises my boyfriend and I were well and truly sick of this goat. The goat’s human mother was feeding it soy milk and leaving audio books playing for it while she was at work yet somehow this wasn’t stimulating enough for a growing billy. 
Eventually the end of the teaching year came along and both of the women moved out to return to Melbourne (the goat moving out along with them). I couldn’t wait to carefully tear down those blankets and reclaim our living room. We lived in the house for a year after everyone else had moved out. It was nice to spread out and use all the other rooms for their intended purposes.
I wrote a short story in high school about a group of friends who all share the house. In the story I had the main character buy an old motel and all of her friends moved in to the various rooms and made them their own. As a teenager the idea of all of my friends living with me in one huge house seemed like such an appealing idea. In reality my share house experience was very different. After my previous experience I can’t think of one friend with which I would willingly share a house. No offence to any of my friends out there, however, I enjoy the control and privacy I have in my own home. 

I do live with my husband and clearly I love him. Living together means we have so many opportunities to spend time with one another but we are adults with our own interests and therefore we find ourselves speeding our free time very independently. We are very introverted in the way we live and that’s the way I like it. We may go out and socialise but when we get home we unwind in our own space. The best part of my current living situation is the control I have over my own space and there’s not a single goat!!

54: A Glass Half Empty

I often get criticism for being too pessimistic. This really bothers me. I believe my anxiety caused me to become so pessimistic. I feel that if I prepare myself for the negative scenario I will be less disappointed. I’ve lived like this for years. Sure, I can see how this is a sad way to live my life, however, I find myself pleasantly surprised. When things go right I am happy, when things go wrong I can sigh and tell myself I expected it. 

I think of myself as unlucky. Not unlucky in a life and death kind of a way. Unlucky in the kind of way where I run in to things and trip over things more often than some. I never win raffles and if someone at the table is going to find hair in their food then it’s probably going to be me. My car will inevitably get a flat at the most inconvenient time and then it will start raining. The one time I got the courage to perform on stage in a play instead of behind the scenes; I got bronchitis! Things seem to break a lot when I’m around. My wedding day seemed to be one thing after another. I always seem to get lost. I’m just mildly unlucky.

Apparently saying that I’m unlucky out loud to other people makes me a pessimist. I feel like I’ve just learned to accept that sometimes things don’t go the way I want them to. Whenever I get sick I don’t expect to get better right away, this is because multiple times in the past I’ve struggled to shake a cold and then found out it was actually a chest infection. More often than not, I don’t just get over my sickness with some OJ and bed rest. I suppose I should have more hope in these situations. Maybe that’s the difference between an optimist and a pessimist? 

I don’t mean to be so negative. Maybe it’s all just a coping mechanism? I don’t do it to bring down the people around me. My outlook isn’t as cheerful as others but does that make me a bad person? I’ve tried to be more positive in the past but it just feels fake. I struggle not to make it seem like I’m lying to myself. I don’t want to be the lady with the bad attitude. I accept good things when they happen but I don’t trust myself to hold on to hope for too long. I want to. I try to. Is that all part of being depressed? 

I was told that it’s all about my attitude. I need to just decide to be happy. That if I think good things will happen then they will. Life is what you make it. I struggle with this concept because so much is out of our control in this world. A good spirit doesn’t always make things better. Hoping things will run smoothly doesn’t make it so. 
I will admit that it might make situations easier to handle if you believe that there is good in everything. I look around this world and I see so many examples that just seem so unfair and unjust. I wish it was as easy as a smile. I wish good things always happened to people with a positive attitude but that’s not always true. I also don’t think that when bad things happen to people who are all out of hope that it’s their fault for not seeing the silver lining. I will try harder to be positive for the people around me. I suppose at least I can make the people around me feel happy and hopeful and that in itself will be good. 

53: Sitting with my Sadness (and analysing anger.)

I have been in therapy, seeing a psychologist, for years. I have a history of depression and anxiety. I have been trying cognitive behaviour therapies since I was 4 years old. In my late teens I started trying what my psychologist referred to as acceptance commitment therapy. A.C.T. was the most helpful method I have ever encountered. I began to allow myself to have emotions and have thoughts without trying to control and suppress my feelings. This really helped me to relax and be able to really sit with my feelings and experience them. By doing this I have been able to analyse the way I think and why I react to things in certain ways. Instead of trying not to be anxious I am able to find why I am feeling anxious. When I am sad I look at why. Sometimes the answer is that I have a chemical imbalance or a predisposition, but usually I find that something has triggered a thought in my head and then I spiral. It had helped me feel in control. 

One of the things I have struggled with the most during this process is allowing myself to have negative emotions. I feel as though we are told from a very early age to suppress these feelings. Don’t cry. Don’t be afraid. Don’t worry. Don’t be angry. Don’t be jealous. Don’t be sad. In this way we don’t learn to look inward at why we feel this way or how we can make ourselves feel more comfortable emotionally. We only learn that we shouldn’t feel these things. We know we will be scolded for reacting negatively to a situation. Instead of learning how to have feelings appropriately.

The problem with suppressing these feelings is that when you can’t hold it in anymore you explode. So many people I know have encountered this, when everything just becomes far too much to handle, you find yourself experiencing all these feelings you have ignored all at once. Without acknowledging your feelings and dealing with them, you can become overwhelmed. Sure, some people never have this problem, but in my experience I have found many more who have.
In some ways I had to learn to “self soothe”, to sit with my fear or my anger or my sadness. I let myself cry it out. I let my emotions dissipate naturally and this occurred much faster than when I tried to force them away. So often I have been told to “move on” or “that’s enough” because “there’s no point getting worked up” or “we have been through this”, instead of letting go in my own time. My feelings make other people uncomfortable. I know this. I know that I am an extrovert and when I feel good I want to share it and when I feel bad I seek the acknowledgement of others. I want to be told that my feelings are valid, because even now I feel I need permission to feel. 
I find myself getting more upset now when my feelings are met with disapproval. Once I accepted this new way of feelings it was harder to let other people dictate how I should have my emotions. I know it’s trendy to dismiss people, especially millennials, for having too many feelings. I know that it comes across as self indulgent to allow myself to stop and listen to my emotions. I know how much it bothers my family to hear me repeating myself out loud as I try to process the thoughts my brain keeps playing on repeat. I am sorry that my feelings are causing an inconvenience to those around me. However, the old way caused much more inconvenience to myself. It disrupted my life because these thoughts and feelings never really went away, I was just ignoring them until they became too loud. I didn’t want to feel anything until I couldn’t function at all because of all my built up fizz, bubbling to the surface, overflowing, drowning me. 

We should all me allowed to feel things. I don’t expect anyone else to “fix” my negative feelings. I will find a way to resolve. First I need to know the cause. I need to sit with my body and my mind. I need to look within. I need to hold my feelings like a glowing crystal ball. I need to turn it over in my hands and take in every angle. I need to run my fingers along it, to feel the textures, the warmth or the cold, the smooth or the rough. I need to breathe in and out and take my time, and as I do the ball will get smaller and smaller, and it will become easier to hold. It won’t disappear but it will get smaller. The next time that ball expands and I have to deal with it again it won’t take as long, I will recognise it, remember the details, I can recall how it shrunk away and have faith that it will do so again. 

My feelings are more familiar now. I can soothe myself. I tell myself my feelings are justified because I know why it is I am feeling them. I know myself better now. I trust myself. I still have to remind myself to take time to listen to my inner self. Ignoring my feelings means I am not being honest to myself. I have to remember that I am important. I’ve been told it’s a waste of time dwelling on feelings but life is full of feelings and ignoring the negative is only experiencing half of life.

52: Expecto Patronum

It’s been a while since I’ve discussed something nerdy. This is going to fulfil that requirement as I want to discuss the concept of the patronus charm. If you are not a fan of Harry Potter, let me bring you up to speed. In JK Rowling’s Wizarding World there is a magical charm used to protect yourself against dementors, which are large soul sucking creatures. Obviously the dementors are a physical representation of depression as they make you feel unbearably sad and literally suck the life from you. The patronus charm is cast by conjuring your happiest memory. The spell is supposedly very difficult to cast successfully. Those witches and wizards will know that they have cast the spell correctly as an apparition made of light in the form of an animal will appear to fend off the attacker. 

According to Pottermore “the patronus is the awakened secret self that lies dormant until needed”, there is a quiz on the website which will provide you with your patronus animal from a preset list. I remain unconvinced by this method of determining what my patronus animal would be. There seems to be a few set rules for what your patronus will be. 
1) It represents protection. Whether this is protection given by the strongest part of yourself or representative of another person or trait.

2) It is unlikely to be your favourite animal. In rare cases a person will conjure a patronus in the form of your favourite animal but this is usually a sign of eccentricity. “Here is a wizard who may not be able to hide their essential self in common life, who may, indeed, parade tendencies that others might prefer to conceal.” (source

3) The form of a patronus can change throughout your lifetime. This is usually caused by a shift in your character whether caused by love or grief. 

4) Usually the animal is native to your own country.

5) It is possible, although extremely rare, for a patronus to take on the form of an extinct or mythological creature.
Having covered all that, I have been curious what this would mean for me. If I were a witch in the Harry Potter universe, what form would my patronus take? I have compiled a list of animals and why I think they might be likely.

Octopus:

Specifically, a blue ringed octopus. These creatures are native to Australia, fulfilling one of the main criteria. The blue ringed octopus is quite small, approximately 5 to 8 inches, yet deadly to humans. They are calm creatures but if handled or irritated they will kill you. Octopuses fascinate me as they are extremely intelligent creatures despite looking very strange. 

Duck:

Ducks are not my favourite animal yet my family seems to associate them with me. When I was a teenager, and a student of photography, I found that ducks were willing to allow me to approach them for photographs. Ducks trust me for some reason. I believe in a lot of way I am similar to ducks. The shape of my feet, for instance, makes me an exceptional swimmer. Also I find that ducks are often considered clumsy or foolish, which are traits I inhabit also. I think it would be amusing to have a duck defend you from a dementor. In many ways ducks are representative of childhood and happiness so I suppose it would make an appropriate patronus.

Cat:

Ask anyone in my life what animal they associate with me and they will answer cats. I have half a dozen pet cats. They are my favourite commonly domesticated animal. I don’t think they would be my patronus however as I don’t believe my subconscious is similar to a cat in any way. 

Platypus:

As with the duck and octopus I have an affinity with aquatic or semi aquatic animals so I think my patronus would be an animal comfortable in water. The platypus is another animal native to Australia. While this animal appears to be a Frankenstein’s monster of many other animals, it is truely unique. A marsupial with webbed feet and a duck’s bill, it is covered in sleek fur similar to a beaver. The male of the species has a secret defensive in the form of a poisonous spur on its rear legs. This poison is extremely painful to humans and deadly to dogs. I believe a platypus would be a surprising patronus yet fitting.

Seahorse:

I love seahorses, they are definitely on my top five list of animals. My favourite thing about seahorses is just how bad they seem to be at survival. In some cases if a seahorse were to let go of it’s anchor object with it’s tail it could float away in the current and not have the strength to return to it’s spot. For a marine animal, the seahorse is not a satisfactory swimmer, moving very slowly and using a lot of energy. Such a fragile creature would be very much inappropriate as a patronus.

Albatross:

Birds are a common patronus so why not the albatross? Albatrosses are large seabirds, some of the largest flying birds in the world, with wingspans up to 12 feet. They’re exceptional fliers and can travel large distances with very little exertion. The albatross has been used as a metaphor for a curse or burden since the publication of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. Albatrosses can be considered a good or bad omen depending on the circumstances.

Frog:

My grandmother hated frogs. My family having a dark senses of humour, would purchase ceramic frogs for my grandmother to display around her home and in her garden. As much as she disliked frogs her grandchildren began to associate frogs with her. My comforting memories of my beloved grandmother can be illustrated by the presence of frogs, therefore I would not be surprised if after her death my patronus changed formed to a frog.

As this is all a work of fiction I will never know what my patronus would be, just as no other fan can ever know for sure. It is fascinating to speculate however.

51: A scary label

Feminism has been a complex and controversial topic since it’s conception. The struggle for equality of the sexes precedes the 20th century. However, most people would associate the suffragette movement of the late 19th century with the beginning of modern feminism. First wave feminists fought for the rights of women to vote and hold fundamental human rights. A second wave came and went along with the ebb and flow of societal changes over time, bringing us to the modern third wave feminist movement. Whenever, wherever, and in whatever form women’s rights activists have presented themselves there have also been those who oppose and criticise the movement. This remains true today. Along with the growing visibility of gender fluid identification and non-binary individuals, the way in which society views gender, sexuality and equality has been evolving. Feminism should play a large role in this progression but as with any change there are those who resist. The way society views feminism has changed in the last few decades as we have seen women gain more rights and move significantly closer to the goal of gender equality. Some segments of society therefore view modern feminism as redundant and believe the movement has fulfilled its purpose. Some believe men and women have achieved equality and therefore feminism has changed functionality in an attempt to elevate women to a level of power above men. Some women have also criticised feminism as they feel more comfortable in the traditional gender roles. The internet allows these groups to voice their criticism loudly and spread their views far and wide. The current political atmosphere continues to demonstrate the importance for equality movements such as feminism. In Australia and globally, feminism is just as controversial as ever.

This is why labelling yourself as a feminist is terrifying. When Emma Watson gave her speech in September 2014 to launch the UN He for She campaign her words really resonated with me. “I decided that I was a feminist, and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists. Apparently, I’m among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, and anti-men. Unattractive, even.” (source). Since I was young and first heard of what a feminist was I felt the identified my beliefs. However I find myself afraid to openly mention my viewpoint on equality. Especially on the internet. 

I own a shirt with the word “feminist” written in thick black letters across a plain white crew neck. My husband hates this shirt. The first time he saw me wear it he rolled his eyes. A reaction I am very accustomed to receiving, especially from men. “I’m just afraid for your safety” he explained. “I hope you weren’t planning on wearing that in public” He continued. I have argued with my husband about this in the past. He isn’t anti feminist but he doesn’t believe in taking a strong stand for or against anything. I can’t imagine living my life in this way. The fact of the matter is that he was voicing my internal fears. I don’t think I am comfortable wearing that shirt out in public. I feel like I will receive criticism and present myself as a target. We live in a small country town and I don’t trust that every person in this area shares my progressive outlook. It’s a shame.

I acknowledge that even within the feminist movement there has been issues with what feminist are actually advocating. It’s a complicated topic. There is so much exclusion in this world. It’s sad to see exclusivity within groups who should be fighting for equality and acceptance. I don’t want to have to be afraid of voicing my opinion in this world. I just hold on to hope that one day we can all find happiness and live in harmony.

50: What I have learned since switching to reusable menstrual products

I have to start this off with a warning. I’m about to talk about menstruation. I’m going to be very open and honest. If you have a problem with that then you probably should not read on.

It has been about eight months since I switched to using cloth menstrual pads. I made the decision based on the way my skin was reacting to disposable pads. I was experiencing unusually long periods due to a hormone imbalance which meant that I was exposed to disposable pads for longer than the usual amount of time. I come from a family of escema sufferers and sensitive skin is just a given for us. A lot of products can give my mother, my sister, and myself, a rash. I am the luckiest of the bunch with the least sensitive skin but after sometimes weeks of using chemically treated disposable pads my skin was not happy.

I had been researching reusable menstrual products for a few years because I knew that my sister was having a similar problem and switched to a menstrual cup (similar to the commonly known Diva Cup). I have never been a fan of using internal menstrual products such as tampons, my personal preference is external protection, so a cup was not a good option for me. Coincidentally around the time I was starting to seriously consider swapping to a less irritating product, i had began teaching myself how to sew. My grandmother had passed away a few months prior and I was sewing as a way to feel connected to her. She bought me a sewing machine for my eighteenth birthday which had barely been used since, although it’s getting plenty of use now.

It only took a couple of YouTube videos before I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to make my own cloth pads. The first one I made was constructed from an old T-shirt and a face washing towel cut and layered to fit. I had sewed it by hand which made it less structurally sound than is ideal but it did the job. I was inspired to make more.

I’ve now made over a hundred cloth pads in various styles and different fabrics. I’ve become much better at sewing and now know my sewing machine like the back of my hand. My sister and a family friend have received sets of the pads from me but I don’t think I will sell them to the public.

I now use cloth pads exclusively. My cycle is much more comfortable and I don’t break out in a rash from the chemicals in disposable products anymore. I find myself excited to get my period for the first time in my life. I love the patterns and how comfortable the cloth is. Yet I still hesitate to tell people that I make pads and it’s even more intimidating to let people know I actually use them. I expect that people will think they’re “disgusting” or “unhygienic”. My husband is surprisingly supportive of my choice. My family know about my project and I’m now known as the “green” one for wanting to avoid chemicals and reduce my waste production. The few friends I’ve talked to about it have been accepting of my choice to my surprise. I’m sure I will get mixed reactions when this goes up however.

The thing I have noticed the most is that people are more comfortable talking about menstruation than you would first expect. Using cloth pads has made me much more comfortable with my body and my period. In the end it is a normal occurrence, yet I spent so many years ashamed and confused. I was uncomfortable with my own bodily functions. I am so grateful that cloth pads have changed my life and my outlook. If anyone is reading this because they’re considering the switch. I would definitely recommend trying it. If you’re reading this and you’re finding yourself repulsed… that’s your viewpoint and I respect that.