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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How to ruin a child in 30 minutes

Last week I'm certain I made my first big parenting mistake. The type of mistake that will be dissected in therapy in 20 years time by my now permanently damaged child.

I'm wary to not dedicate too many of these efforts to my children as I am well aware they're not everyone's bag however I think this is something all of you can relate to.

My eldest daughter, the beautiful Chella is my carbon copy, just remove the incessant need to show off. On more than one occasion we have been likened to Edina and Saffy (for those of you familiar with Ab Fab this does not bode well for me). Marchella is ridiculously smart, thoughtful, quiet and conservative. I am, well, the opposite of most of those things.

On Thursday she woke up feeling a little under the weather so I kept her home from school. After a bit of a nap she rallied and we decided to get the 86 to Smith St and trawl the bargain shops for some awesome stuff for her lolly bags. (Her birthday party was on Saturday)

We walked past one of those hair salons that are so uber they don't need any signage. I said to Chella, "how about a hair cut?" She'd been sporting the same hairstyle her entire existence and I thought she may like a bit of a change for her party... Yep, there was my first mistake. I applied my need to make myself over for EVERY occasion to my nearly 9 year old daughter. The very kid who has worn the same coloured converse since she was 3 years old. She reluctantly agreed so we entered the aforementioned uber salon.

The hairdresser asked what we'd like and Chella muttered "just a trim" I of course steam rolled her and said "let's go for something groovy and a bit shorter"....

Fast forward 30 minutes later and we have a little girl slamming her hood over her head in a flood of tears storming out of the hairdressers. OH DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN, IT WAS TRULY TERRIBLE. Not the hair cut - she looked hot. I'm talking about THE GUILT. She sobbed all the way home, she locked herself in her room and cried some more. I coaxed her out with some chocolate and the Glee box set I'd been saving for her birthday.

I had inflicted a haircut on my daughter she didn't want, wasn't ready for and couldn't change. In the past there was nothing I couldn't fix with money, love, shouting or glitter. I COULD NOT MAKE THE HAIR GROW BACK. Marchella knew it and I knew it- I had failed BIG TIME.

If you are reading this and thinking to yourself "Jesus what's the big deal its only a haircut" then clearly you've never had one you truly hated. When you're 9 years old it's important to assimilate. Those who stand out are quickly shamed and taken down by the herd. This haircut was far different to the shiny blonde and brown ponytails all the other girls in her class sport.

She woke up Friday morning refusing to go to school. There was nothing I could do to get her to get out of bed and get dressed. I tried. You know when you pick a kid up and they go "boneless"- heavy and slippery all of a sudden. It was pointless. YES I admit it - I let my kid stay home from school due to a bad haircut.

I gave her the "people love you for what you are on the inside not what your head looks like" speech- no dice. I don't even believe that crap why should she? Nine year old kids are scary arse bitches, I don't think I could face them now as an adult. There had also been a slight bullying incident a few weeks before so she was extra sensitive to teasing..

On Saturday nine of her friends came over to celebrate her birthday and she was filled with anxiety. I was sweating bullets, their response to her new look would determine the level of permanent damage I had done. The first child arrived and screeched "Chella you look so cool" the second one arrives and squealed "I'm cutting my hair next week".... It was much the same story for the remaining seven girls, Oh THANK THE LORD BABY JESUS! They liked it, they really liked it.

We are day on day 5 of new hair-cut and I am happy to report she can now look in the mirror. Without crying...... Kill me.

I have learned a very valuable lesson here, don't do make-overs on people you live with. Oh and kids should be allowed to express themselves as they please, don't force your ideas on others blah blah blah.

Have an amazing week!

E x

P.S. I would like to have put a picture up of the haircut however I am already on very thin ice with my eldest so I thought it best not to.

P.P.S My Grandfather came through the operation, he is still in the high dependancy ward but was well enough to cut his own feeding tube as it was "annoying" him.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

No snappy title this week folks. Just a letter to my Grandfather Ted.

Dear Grandfather Ted,

Right now you are in your 8th hour of surgery. All of us are worried and anxiously waiting for news from the theatre. 

You're a tough old bugger and I thank God for that on this day. To date 245 skin cancers removed from your body, a heart attack, two broken hips, a bung knee, bowel cancer and now this Melanoma that had wrapped itself around your jaw bone. 

At 80 years of age most people would just decide that they've had a good run of it and not opt for the highly invasive and dangerous surgery you've decided to go for. Grandad, you, by no stretch of the imagination are “most people”.

Our family is complicated, I don't remember the last time everyone was speaking to everyone. Perfect harmony has always eluded us however I think most families can claim the same. Presently things are at their worst amongst all of your children but we will not dwell on that right now. Right now I need to remember the times you and I had together- which were always unique and hilarious.

You and I have always had our own bond being the designated “family trouble makers”, your trouble a little more serious than mine but who knows what I may be capable of in the future!

You once told Mum to “back off the girl”  at dinner when she was laying into me about my "bad attitude" and that the only bad thing you could see about me was that I was an "over-achieving little shit". I have never thanked you for that but need you to know to a then 14 year old mis-understood, sad little girl, your defence of my honour meant an imeasurable amount. You were the first person in our family to stand up for me, so thank you.

Thank you for:

  • Taking me yabbying.
  • Hunting for witchetty grubs.
  • Collecting Yowies and then sticking them on your ute.
  • Collecting elephants.
  • Frequently telling me how proud you are of me.
  • Boasting about me to the boys at “The Federal”
  • Teaching me to drive.
  • Getting drunk and telling totally inappropriate (according to Nanna) stories.
  • Having glitter in your gear stick.
  • Being a champion footballer.
  • Loving me BECAUSE of me not IN-SPITE of it.
  • Busting Aunty Rachael out of school the day I was born to come down and see me even though Nanna forbid it.

I'm getting a bit teary now, actually more than teary; there's snot and much hiccuping involved so I'll wrap it up.

I love you Grandad, we've never actually said that to each other as emotional sincerity is not a strong point of our families. I hope it's not too late to say it now.

Emy x

A moment of quiet reflection for both of us on a big day.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gays of my life.

When asked to describe myself by someone on twitter this week I went with 30% Punky Brewster, 20% Dame Edna, 15% CC Bloom, 5% Orphan Annie and the rest a mix of anxiety, vodka and glitter.

I am camp as tits. There is no denying it. My 6 best friends in the whole world are gay men. For those of you who follow me on twitter you will be WELL aware of this. These boys have been with me a very long time, I would lay down and die for them. Between them- a writer, director/model, fashion designer, make-up artist, jewelry designer and University lecturer. I thought perhaps you'd all like to meet the men in my life, it may start to read like an intro for perfect match however that's perfect in itself - considering the subject matter. 

Let's meet them, I am going to go in order of appearance in my life..

Michael - Friends since 1991

I met Michael in year 7, we attended the same high school and were thrust together because our Mothers shared a work place. We had somewhat of an under-cover friendship, me being the jock him being the theater nerd. I didn't see him for 10 years after I left school and then he re-appeared in my life 3 years ago, ironically when he was grappling with his sexuality. He came out, he went back in and then he came back out again.(Note to reader:It would appear that I am some sort of oracle for young men who are straddling the lines of homo land and hetero ville.) Michael is my moral compass, he is also the smartest person I know. He is the one I call in my darkest hours. He is a very talented writer and has his 1st feature film coming out next year. Michael has an understanding of Disney Musicals akin to none. His 4 main fears in life are; environmental catastrophe, fundamentalism, snake bites and getting fat.  

Lyndon - Friends since 1998

Lyndon was born fabulous.He is the most UNIQUE person I have ever met. He has a depth that precious few get to see and some life rules that need to be witnessed to be believed. 
HE LOVES CHEAP. This man is the bargain shopper to END ALL bargain shoppers... Lyndon is much older than he looks and has never had any sort of cosmetic surgery - WHY? This man has not raised his eyebrows since 1995 such is his self control, he often scolds me for frowning and smiling to aggressively. "Emy, do you know why I have not one wrinkle? It's called self control. I don't move anything from my nose up". 
He is a designer and has a very successful label called "Stevie".
Lyndon and I spend an obscene amount of time watching vintage soapies together. 

Dan - Friends since 1999

Clearly Dan is beautiful. That is the least interesting thing about him. We bonded over our mutual love of Joan Cusack one day while I tried on bathers. He was working and managed to coax me out of the change room by giving a Kath Day-Knight esq speech.  Dan is an up and coming director, writer and producer. He's is, also,  SEX -ON- LEGS -oozes it. Women, men and probably animals find him near impossible to resist. He's a complicated soul and the lowest maintenance of all my boys. We float in an out of each others lives with huge intensity. I think sometimes after we've been together we both feel the need to retreat to our respective worlds for a small period of time to recover! 

Todd - Friends since 1999

Hot Toddy and I met on the dance floor. My children also know him as "hot Toddy" that's just how he rolls. He is an amazing dancer and the master of picking up, the man has moves that would blow your mind! Todd is passionate, stubborn, generous and kind. He is a jewelry designer - amongst other things and feels the perfect tan can fix most things. Toddy is the wild one of this lot, every big night I ever have has involved him. He rides a vespar and looks best in a tight white t-shirt. 

Tre - Friends since 2000

"Treyonce" is my gorgeous blue eyed Gaysian. He is a make-up artist and some what of an enigma.. Tre is quite the Thai lady in that he's an amazing wheeler and dealer. Tre has been known to get us some amazing upgrades in our time. Find whatever it is you desire and Tre will get a "deal" on it for you. He is very generous and often presents me with goodie bags full of make-up samples and sequined leggings! Tre's adventurous, easy going and glamourous. Each season he sets himself a theme to follow fashion wise, this year - ladies and gentlemen we're on a fashion safari.

Dean - Friends since 2008

Dean is a relatively recent addition. I met him when I was living in Perth, Dean is an entirely different beast to the other yahoos. He's quiet, reflective and still. Dean held me together when I was falling apart in the most spectacular way. He has rushed to my aid on numerous occasions and never once held my foul behavior against me. I have vomited in his car, cried in his arms and done the Paris underground gay scene with him - we're tight. I think when Dean first met me he was relieved to discover that there was a more disturbed and sensitive soul out there than him! Dean is the scholar of this bunch, Masters, Phd's blah blah blah. 

So there you have it, a self indulgent  reference point of the some of the most important people in my life. Now when I write of them in the weeks to come you'll feel as though you're right there with us.

I sincerely hope you have friends like mine.

E x

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I am promising to change your life here. ACTUAL CHANGE.

I'm have a fountain, no a mountain, no a Herculean amount of passion pouring out of every pore and opening of my body for what I am about to write. The last time I felt this way about a book was when I was an angry 13 year old and one glorious day discovered “God are you there? It's me Margaret” by Judy Blume... Things clicked into place, keys fit locks and I felt like I wasn't alone in my adolescent hell. 

Well my friends, I can announce another such book has come my way. A book that seems to speak to the very heart of my inner dialogue. The dialogue that sometimes encourages me to buy an entire chocolate cake just so I can violently shove my hand in the middle and obliterate it's perfection..(just me?)

Lets lay all the crap down. We all live for human connection, to find like minded people who get us. When you're weird like me that can be a very rare occurrence. I'm the girl who eats in the shower, loves musicals, men with moustaches, have an irrational hatred of Jennifer Anniston, collect porcelain owls and wooden horses, wears sequins and pearls before noon and believes there is no excuse for flat shoes after six. My parental role model is Homer Simpson and I love watching vintage soapies, hours and hours of vintage soapies. As I said - connection for me is rare. I feel like this book gets me... (YES I realise how disturbing that last sentence is) 

It's had a lot of hype. This presented a huge problem for me. Embarrassingly enough; I have made a sport of avoiding movies and books that have big hype surrounding them. 

“I'll show you massive movie conglomerate, you won't get MY $14.50 bitches”

"No! I'm not going to read a book just because it's number one on the New York times best seller list"

 I relented ONCE this year and for the record- FUCKING HATED "Girl with the dragon tattoo". 
I know it's a pathetic protest and I probably miss out on some quality content but I just cannot let it go.

The book I'm speaking of was given a reprieve form my petty protest as it received a review that intrigued me. The reviewer said something along the lines of: “This is a novel of such quality that I envy anyone who gets to sit down and read it for the first time” For some reason those words really struck a chord with me, what a beautiful sentiment. I purchased a copy of the book that day.

I'm not going to regale you with lines form the book nor am I even going to tell you what it's about only that it's real. Proper, legit REAL. If I was being a wanker I'd say it's extremely poignant in many passages.

It touches on the subtle nuances of day to day life with such force that you feel like you've been punched with a velvet glove. You're left wandering why you found these brilliant yet obvious revelations so hard to articulate in the first place. It took my breathe away on several occasions, I also found it immensely confronting. It hit very close to home. I saw aspects I don't like about myself in most of the characters – male and female. To see some of my most dark and inner thoughts on the page of a widely available book was both horrifying and a relief.

Literally thousands of reviews have been written about this book, it even made Oprah's book club list for shit's sake. There is nothing I can say that hasn't already been said – in a far more articulate and sensible way than I could ever manage. All I'll say is that I connected with this book, it has changed me.

It's called Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.

Buy it yesterday.

Have a thought provoking week.

E. x