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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Can't see the depression for the mustaches...

Depression is a bitch.

It's lonely, boring, dark and it hurts.

I have battled with it for as long as I can remember. Right now, I'm good as gold. That is always a fluid statement though.

I know I probably seem like the last person you'd find weekly in the fetal position on the bathroom floor at 3am crying hysterically into a pile of towels so not to wake the children. Well I am.

And I'm sure I'm not alone.

I'd like to have a short chat about depression and suicide. Not sexy topics I know. Uncomfortable for many. Too be honest I don't give a shit if it makes the vast majority of people uncomfortable. Enough is enough. I know people, high profile people who suffer from depression. I know everyone of you reading this now have had it effect your life in some form yet for most people it's still the big fat weeping elephant in the corner.

A young man killed himself last week in Prahran, I saw them covering his body on the tracks near Commercial road. You didn't hear about it because the media are not allowed to report on suicides as there are fears it may spark copycats and also it is obviously very distressing for the victims family. Sometimes I think the media should report on it as I think most people would be shocked at just how prevalent it has become. Suicide rates in Australia are ridiculously high, especially amongst young men.

On December 6th, 2008 a man very dear to me killed himself. He was the most talented, kind hearted, funny, humble and intelligent person in my life. He hid his depression from all of us, only those closest to him truly knew the depth of his pain. Ironically, Richard was a comedian. Having said that, I know quite a few male comedians and quite a few of them have battled with the black dog from time to time.
It was Richard's funeral that made me realise I needed tackle my own demons. If it could overpower someone as amazing as him, what hope did I have?

This month, many men have grown mustaches to show their support for mens health including male depression. While I absolutely support the idea behind Movember I just worry the absurd mustache is in danger of distracting from the REAL ISSUE they are trying to bring awareness to. I know a few blokes who have grown mustaches and when I enquired as to how I could donate I recieved a blank stare in response. They were just using Movember as an excuse to put porn star strips above their top lips because "everyone else was."

Statistics show that men are hit harder by depression than women as they are less likely to talk about it. Thats why the suicide rates are vastly higher among men than women. Movemeber is an awesome idea, but it's not enough. I know talking about depression and suicide is, well, depressing. It's not ideal dinner party conversation but maybe it should be.

I just ask that the next time you see a young man looking disturbingly like Adolph Hitler or a young Tom Selleck, spare a thought for WHY they look so ridiculous and ask them how you can donate.

If you are feeling shithouse, so bad it hurts to get out of bed. TELL SOMEONE. Tell me if you need to, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
beyondblue Information Line: 1300 22 46 36

Life line: 13 11 14
Mens Line Australia: 1300 78 99 78

Salvo Counselling Line: 1300 36 36 22

SANE Australia Helpline: 1800 18 

Everyone deserves their little bit of peace.

E x

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brown paper bags don't always mean porn. Sometimes, it's much worse.

On Saturday mornings my husband goes out riding with a group. Yes, I VERY generously allow him out of the dungeon once a week for some fresh air and sunlight. 

He and the rest of the bike nerd brigade head out in their tres un-flattering and ridiculously expensive skin tight red lycra jumpsuits into the Dandenongs and do manly things. (Spitting, farting, weeing out the side of their nicks you get the idea)  

When he gets home he is usually so tired and grateful I can get him to do pretty much whatever I want. Cleaning, cooking, child rearing he is but compliant putty in my hands. It's a win win for both of us! 
So when he got home from his ride 3 Saturdays ago and announced he needed to go into the city to "pick something up" I then found myself getting all Angela Lansbury on his arse. (if you're under 30 here's her wiki page

Em-"What do you mean? You've been gone all morning, it's family time now" (Note to reader "family time" usually consists of me escaping from the house to get a coffee and read the paper)

Scotty- "I'll only be an hour or so, I have to go into the city to pick something I ordered up and then I'll come straight home."

Em- "SOMETHING?! What is this mysterious package? Are you some sort of a drug mule now?" (I always go to worse case scenario to throw him off.)

Scotty- "Yes Emy, I've joined an international drug cartel. See you soon."


He totes did.

So I waited, I waited HARD. When I heard the front gate open his hands were empty.. I tried to pretend I was faffing with something near the front door so he didn't feel completely ambushed when he walked in, it was a VERY weak attempt.

Emy: "So WHERE'S the package Scott?"

Scotty: "Inside my jacket"

Emy: "Let's have it then"

Scotty: "What? No! It's none of your business" (Red flag, bull.)

I'll spare you the rest of this particular argument. It ended with him producing a (da da da daaaaa)
brown paper bag....

Of course my first thought was PORN. What else comes in brown paper bags? Liquor? Cigars? Nope it had the shape and weight of porn. I was relieved, I have no issue with porn. I'm not all that into it but I get that it's pretty much the sole reason for the Internet being invented. 

He took the reading material out of the brown paper bag and I totally expected to see "Revenge of the Slutty McSlut Sluts 3" or something along those lines.

My friends, what he took out was far worse.... Twas a book.... Entitle:

"The way of the Superior Man" - A spiritual guide to MASTERING the challenges of WOMEN, work and sexual desire" 

He'd bought a SELF HELP BOOK.

I of course read the above title as "The way of the MASSIVE WANKER who wants to MASTER his woman, Em Rusciano"

Disclaimer: I have nothing against those who turn to self help books. I guess as someone who has suffered from a severe mental illness I scoff at those who turn to books instead of hard drugs (prescription kind) and therapy. HOWEVER, I also know sometimes you just gotta do what ever gets you through and gives you a bit of hope. So if you are reading a self helper now and loving it sick, carry on with my blessing.

I also feel there are a lot of opportunistic chirpy morons out there who write these books filled with empty, new age bullshit promises that prey on the overweight, sad, lonely, clinically depressed and the divorced and often deliver nothing. Also, these same chirpy morons are CASHING IN.

According to "Americans spent $11 billion in 2008 on self-improvement books, CDs, seminars, coaching and stress-management programs--13.6% more than they did back in 2005, according to Marketdata Enterprises, Latest forecast: 6.2% annual growth through 2012."

The other thing is- my husband is a high performance coach. He helps dissatisfied executives, elite athletes and everyday people find balance in their lives. He is essentially a walking self helper, he's the best there is. Why was he now turning to a BOOK? I thought I knew why. Obviously he had a problem with the one thing he couldn't life coach his way out of, ME!

I was irrationally upset and felt very threatened by the whole situation. Every time I would catch him reading it I would make a big point of sighing and shaking my head, To his credit - DID NOT BAT AN EYELID. 

He read the thing in a week. He said it was a great and I should think about reading it. HA! As if I would give him the satisfaction and AS IF I would EVER stoop to the "self help" level of pathetic.

I started reading it yesterday. In secret. It's good. It has some wanky language but the overall message can only BENEFIT our marriage. He was doing a positive thing for us, I had managed to build it up in my mind as an attack on me. It wasn't. Damn him and his evolving self.

I knew it was going to be ok when I read the last line of the intro..

"Stop waiting.Feel everything.Love achingly.Give impeccably.Let go."

My husband loves me in his own quiet, reserved way. Sometimes, I want FIREWORKS and ROSES...

If this book can deliver something close to that then I'm OK with it.

Be kind to yourself - That's for free!

E x

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Why sex and GPS don't mix.

This is a a cautionary tale and a moral dilema, lets call it a "cautalema"... This story was told to me over the weekend by an old friend who I had not seen in 10 years. By the time he had finished I had gone through so many emotions I thought I'd started menopause. 

Before I begin I must explain to you that you will need to leave any sort of judgement, homophobia, shock and political correctness at the door. If you don't feel you can then best you stop now and come back next week. I need you all to look at this in terms of being HUMAN and nothing else. 

Also, the key player in this story is an iphone app called "Grindr". Wikipedia explains it as: 

"A geosocial networking application for the iPhoneiPod touch, and iPad. The app makes use of the device geolocation, which allows users to access other gay and bisexual men within close proximity. This is accomplished through a simple user interface that displays a grid of representative pictures of men, arranged from nearest to farthest away. Tapping on a picture will display a brief profile for that user, as well as the option to chat, send pictures, and share one's location."

Basically it's speed dating via GPS for gay men who are not looking for anything meaningful.
I have several friends who have become so addicted to this app they are incapable of holding a normal conversation anymore as they are constantly checking their Grindr profile for nearby sex options. The iphone beeps, a photo appears (I won't go into detail on the types of photos that get bandied around. Let's just say NONE of them would be on Mum's mantle) and they disappear to meet the headless torso they've just ogled.

It's crass, brash and frightens the hell out of me. I've ask them what if it's some freak posing as a gay man trying to lure them to his house with the intention of chopping them up into little pieces. They laugh at me and tell me to stop being such a "mother".

Here comes the the very true tale..

My friend Barry* is a lovely guy. He's handsome, reliable, punctual, family orientated and painfully shy. He moved to Sydney 9 years ago to pursue his now flourishing career and also thought that since he was fresh out of the closet his chances of meeting someone would be greater in Sydney. Grindr isn't for everyone, it's for brave, forward men who aren't afraid to throw cation to the wind. Grindr is Barry's worst nightmare, poor darling has only had 2 long term relationships and finds it very hard to meet men due to his crippling shyness. Against his better judgement, he decided to give Grindr a go. 

At first Barry would just chat with blokes and when the idea of a meeting was suggested he'd panic and swiftly block the man from his profile. However, one night after a few beers he decided he'd just bite the bullet and accept the next invitation extended to him....

He turned on his profile and had a look at the men who were within walking distance of him.. Being in Surrey Hills quite a few popped up. He saw a picture of one that he quite liked and was only 500m away so he clicked on the profile and had a look. The guy was olive skinned, muscular had long eyelashes and a kind face. The fact that he had his face in the photo was a relief for Barry as usually it's only "waist down" shots. They exchanged a few polite messages and finally it was decided Barry would go to this guys apartment.

He gave himself the pep talks to end all pep talks and walked the short distance to the man's apartment. He got in the lift and waited to be buzzed up. The man said he'd meet Barry in the hallway so as he arrived at the correct floor a rush of nervous excitement swept through his body. The doors to the lift opened and he looked expectantly to see his Greek adonis with the kind face......

He looked left, he looked right he walked out of the lift and fell over a small man in a wheel chair. 


I'll take a brief break from the story to tell you that as he was telling us this we were in a very crowded Sydney pub all gathered in to try and hear him over the din. When Barry dropped the wheelchair bombshell the gasp echoed around the room so loudly the DJ stopped playing.

So. He walked out of the lift and shin boned himself on the edge of a wheelchair.

"Barry?" the small man asked....
(At this point someone says - "Tell me you lied. Tell me you said no.")
"Err yes, yes I'm Barry" Barry answered.
"Great, that didn't take you long, come in. Can you try and be a bit quiet my Mother and Grandmother are asleep in the next room" 

Barry, being the polite person he his followed the man back into his apartment with the sleeping kin and didn't know what to do. WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Yes of course disabled people deserve healthy sex lives. No it should not make a difference if someone is in a wheelchair but it does doesn't it? Especially if you're not been expecting it.

Various theories were being thrown around the pub at this point, one of my other boys said he would have been upfront immediately and said "you didn't mention this" (pointing in the general direction of the wheelchair) and would then have promptly left. 

Barry is not that guy. He's not one to assert himself and he's certainly not one to make someone else feel terrible. So, he went inside the man's apartment and did what was expected of him. The logistics of this hook up were a nightmare but that's not for this blog to dissect, however I will say the term "wheelchair mono" was used.  Barry said it was awkward, awful and humiliating for both of them. He could not believe after all the angst and worry about going on Grindr his first experience led him to a man who lived with his Mother and Grandmother and was wheelchair bound as well. He asked me what I would have done, I said the guilt and my innate need to make everything ok would have taken over and I probably would have gone through with it also.

Needless to say he's never been on Grindr again.

Word on the street is "straight" Grindr is in production as we speak.

E x

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Keeping it nice at the races.

Yesterday I was disbursed by my employer the 7pm Project to cover the Melbourne cup. There are still two big days left on the spring racing carnival and I just felt some sort of an intervention needed to be done after viewing the many disturbing sights I saw yesterday.

I give you: 
Em's guide to keeping it nice at the races - because as we all know, the difference between triumph and tragedy can be just half a length or just half a Champagne.

1. Shoes on AT ALL TIMES ladies. I CANNOT stress this enough. If you cannot go the distance don't wear the footwear simple as that. In fact do not remove any part of your outfit unless it's a jacket. The Melbourne cup is not the place to get your kit off and dance like it's 1999.

2. Do not allow yourself to get completely horizontal AT ANY POINT. Having a cheeky Nanna nap is not a good look. 

3. Do not under any circumstances use a garden bed for a toilet/rest area.

4. Have a sober friend who's sole purpose is to maintain the groups dignity.

5. Chugging Champers STRAIGHT from the bottle is a no no.

6. Have either cleavage OR legs out. Repeat "OR" not "AND".

7. Decent underwear as it can get windy.

8. The only "mounting" of a filly should be happening on the track NOT OFF.

9. Do not let your boyfriend "design" your outfit and keep it for a "surprise" on the day. When you watch the video below please take note of the poor blonde girl in the silk cream and green number. Wardrobe malfunctions were occurring every time the wind changed.

10. If it's going to rain be prepared. Cutting a hole in a garbage bag is just not a good look. Also the "drowned rat" look is so last year.

Thus ends my public service announcement. If you missed it, below is the link to my Melbourne Cup 7pm project story. You have to go about 5 minutes in before it starts.

Keep it nice, think of your Mother.

E x