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Origins #27

13 Jan

I promised at the end of origins #26 that I’d give you some insight into how I grew up because it’ll become relevant to the story, so buckle your seatbelts, because my back story is so fully of Jerry Springer type shit that you probably won’t even believe it.

This one’s epic so don’t expect to get through it in one go…

My family

Like most people of my generation, I was born to a man and a woman. My mother had already had two daughters to her first husband before I arrived. They were 9 and 7 years old respectively when I showed up, and my little brother, also born to my father, would join us about a year and a half later.

So right off the bat, I’ve got two half sisters and a brother, but my father had already had a son to another woman, so I had another half brother. I only met him once though, so I don’t think of him as family.

I would eventually learn that when my mother was 19, she’d gotten pregnant to some handsome young foreigner who promptly skipped out on her, leaving her too embarrassed to admit the situation to her parents, and gaving that child up for adoption. So, technically speaking, I have another half brother out in the world.

But wait… there’s more!

My mother and father never married. In fact, my father was out of the picture before my brother was even born. My mother then found a man who already had 3 daughters of his own, and married him, making him my stepfather. His daughters were older than my sisters and lived with their mother, but technically this added 3 stepsisters to my already complex family.

Say what!?

So, technically I have 2 half sisters, 3 step sisters, 2 half brothers (one of whom I’ve never met and the other I only met once), and one full blood brother.

But when I talk about my family, I refer to my two half sisters as my sisters, and my full blood brother as my brother, and even though I called him ‘Dad’ most of my childhood, I refer to my stepfather as my stepfather, and only ever refer to my father as my father, neither of them ever get the title Dad these days.

The story begins

My sisters and their father

As I mentioned, my mother had her first son at the age of 19 but gave him up for adoption. That would have been back in 1968. Then in 1970 my mother met and married Les Harland, and they would go on to have my sisters, Erica in late 1970, and Kylie in 1972.

I don’t know when Les and my mother divorced, but I know that before that happened, Les molested both Erica and Kylie, and I know that he did this repeatedly. I also know he was a taxi driver with a gambling addiction, so what money he did make, burned through his pockets so quickly he might as well not have made any at all.

Sadly, I believe it was the gambling, not the sexual assault that caused the divorce. I’m not sure if my Mum knew of the abuse at the time but it became common knowledge in the family before the girls eventually moved out of home. Nothing was ever done about it and it drives me crazy.

My father, me, and my brother

I’m not sure how long my mother had to get by as a single parent of two young daughters, but I she must have known my father since at least 1978, because I was born in 1979. My father, Henry, was an alcoholic. I knew that since I was little, but it wasn’t until 2016 that I would learn that he was also violent and that he would sometimes come home drunk and climb into bed with my sisters, claiming it was all just a mistake the next day.

Come 1981, with my brother Alex still in her womb, my mother and father went their separate ways. I didn’t know anything about what caused the end of their relationship when I was a kid. All I knew was there was a time my father was around, and then he wasn’t around any more.

I was told repeatedly as a kid that because my parents were never married, making me a bastard. I think that’s why I always assumed I was the result of an accidental pregnancy.

My father didn’t disappear completely. He would visit us on Christmas and Easter and our birthdays. And then just on Christmas, and maybe our birthdays. And then maybe our birthdays. And then just text messages.

I know my father went bankrupt. I know he lost his drivers license for 10 years. I know I look a lot like him. I know he left behind his first son, and then he left my brother and I behind as well, and then he took up with a lady who already had two sons and was a father to them.

Love your neighbour

With my father gone and my mother with 3 children and one on the way, she had very little choice but to move into the cheapest place she could find. That would be a block of flats in one of the cheapest suburbs in Perth at the time.

Being the only parent, she had to work, which meant she had to rely on people to baby-sit. The problem was, my mother had moved to Perth from a small country town and didn’t really know many people, least of all in this new suburb, so she had to make friends with her neighbours and have them baby-sit us.

I would later learn that one of those neighbours who babysat us was imprisoned for molesting children.

The kids need a man in the house

My mother was of the opinion that children need a father, and I’m sure the idea of no being dependent on neighbours to baby-sit spurred her on too, so she made sure to find a man to play the role of father to her now 4 children. My mother married my stepfather, Des, in the early 80s, but I couldn’t tell you the year.

My first memory of Des, which might actually be my first ever memory, is of telling Des I’d race him to our new HomesWest (government) house.

I remember running my little legs off down the footpath. I remember that I beat him. I was about 4 years old and yet I outran a fully grown man. The fact that Des smoked at least a  pack of Winfield Blues every day probably had something to do with my victory.

Our new house was in a different part of that same, very poor suburb my Mum we had all been living in, but I remember being overwhelmed with excitement that we didn’t have to live in the flats any more.

Plenty of fish in the sea

So, how did my mother meet my stepfather? I didn’t find out until about 15 years later, but they actually met through a dating agency. Back in the day that was seen as a somewhat embarrassing thing, but my mother had four kids so I’m not surprised she went that path, but let me tell you why Des ended up going that route.

Des was mentally ill. I believe that was what caused his divorce from the mother of his daughters. Des had worked at a shoe factory for 30 years and had a mental breakdown along the way. I assume that either that caused the divorce, or that the divorce caused the breakdown.

Either way, he got a fortnightly needle in the bum to keep him in check, and he smoked all those cigarettes as a form of self medicating. He said they calmed him down. He’d sit there in a cloud of smoke lighting the next cigarette while he’s still smoking the current one, just to avoid the few seconds between them.

Us kids new that Des was sick, but we didn’t know exactly what that meant. We just knew he was ‘crazy’ and that he’d had electroshock therapy.

Like so many other parts of my life, it wasn’t until many years later that I’d find out the actual condition Des had. I remember very clearly reading the black typewritten text on the yellowed paper, it said “Schizophrenia”. If I hadn’t seen that document, I’m not sure I would have ever found out.

A big family in a little house

It was a three bedroom house so Mum and Des were in the master bedroom. Erica and Kylie were in one bedroom, and Alex and I in the other room.

We must have been there before I started pre-primary because I remember very distinctly one time Mum picked me up from Kindergarten to bring me home to that house…

As Mum took a right hand turn the door on my left swung open, not having been properly closed, and I rolled out of that open door. I don’t know if I was actually buckled into a seat belt or not but by caution or dumb luck I ended up tangled upside down in that brown, ratty, old, non self-tightening belt, dangling millimetres from the road. No harm, no foul, I suppose.

So if I was still in kindy, I was younger than 5, which means Alex was about 3, Kylie was about 12 and Erica was roughly 14. Until recently I remembered those early days very fondly. That would change as a result of the rest of what happens in the origins story.

It’s not like there weren’t bad times, I just didn’t think about them very often. I guess that was part of my technique of choosing to not care about things as a way to stop them affecting me.

Bad things

I’m not super keen to tell you the bad things, but I think it really helps explain a lot of why the rest of the origins story plays out the way it does.

For starters, I grew up around two girls who had been sexually abused, that in itself is a very bad thing. My sisters both struggled to cope with the fallout of being abused. Of course they struggled, they were little girls who had been violated and they wouldn’t have had the skills to properly process all the feelings that come with such a violation. They also weren’t taken to anyone to help them understand the situation, and worst of all, the perpetrator was never even arrested for his crimes. In fact, the police were never even informed that these crimes were committed.

Erica’s way of dealing with having been molested was to turn in on herself and become a very quiet, timid girl who just wanted to be alone as much as possible. Kylie went the other way. She became aggressive and loud and in-your-face, and she became quite violent.

Dealing with Kylie

Kylie, being 7 years older than me, had a significant height and weight advantage over me, and I’d been told I was never allowed to hit a girl, no matter what. That meant as futile as my defences might have been against someone so much older, I wasn’t even allowed to fight back. Unfortunately for me Kylie knew that too.

She used to torment me. She used to straight up torture me.

Kylie would learn all these martial arts moves and use them against me. She’d bend my arm behind my back and sit on me to hold me in place, then she’d punch me with one  knuckle pushed out to give me a “dead arm” or a “dead leg“, or one of each, or all four limbs at once, depending on her mood.

Then there were the pressure points, Chinese burns, the camel bites, the hair pulling, the ear twisting, the head locks, the good old fashioned kicks to any and every part of my body, but the biggest prize in Kylie’s eyes, was to get me right in the balls.

Logically I know there’s no shame in being Even though I know mathematically there should be no shame in that for me, it’s hard to ignore the fact that you were beaten by a girl, especially because Kylie would point that out to me while she was beating the shit out of me. She’d literally say things like “You’re getting beat up by a girl,” or “I’m just a girl, I can’t hurt a boy,” and my least favourite of all… “Are you gonna cry?” which would of course be said in repetition while she hit me over and over until the pain overwhelmed my tiny little body and eventually the tears would come out.

I hated the pain but what I hated more was someone forcing me to do what they wanted, and enjoying making me feel weak. The fact that I wasn’t allowed to fight back made it so much worse.

You might think that because Kylie tortured me that I didn’t care for her, but you’d be wrong. I loved her dearly. I hated that she hurt me, but because she was so smart she was fun to play games with and she was witty and funny and just fun to be around. Despite all the shit she put me through, she was probably my favourite sibling.

I loved her so much that seeing her accidentally run through a glass door and get all cut up left me so traumatised and upset that I urinated blood for a few days afterwards.

Dealing with Des

I knew Des was ‘crazy’ but I didn’t know what that meant, exactly, but I knew he’d act really weird sometimes and that I’d have no idea why. I’d say something that everyone else in the room understood to mean one thing, but Des would take it as a personal attack. Even as a little kid I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so I’d try really hard to word things as inoffensively as possible, but he’d always find new ways to be offended by me.

Des was one of those people who claim to be Christian but never go to church and completely ignore the basic teachings of the bible. Regardless, he was quite focussed on God and Jesus and the devil.

One day, very early on when I was maybe 6, Des told me that he knew that Alex, my little brother was second coming of Jesus, and that I was the Antichrist. I didn’t even know what the Antichrist was. I had to ask the guy at the Church the rest of us actually did go to what it meant, and he just said “the devil”.

So Alex was all that is good, and I was all that is evil. That’s a hell of a thing to hear when you’re barely old enough to tie up your own shoes.

Another important thing about Des was the fact that he was almost completely illiterate, which meant that I was able to read more than him by about mid-way through year one (5/6 years old). Des hated that. When I would try to read my little golden books I loved so much, he’d accuse me of trying to rub it in that I was smarter than him.

And Des sure didn’t mind giving a hiding. Any chance he got he’d belt my scrawny little frame until I was a blubbering mess. Sometimes I couldn’t sleep because I was so sore that night. Sometimes it was a few nights later before I could get comfortable again.

When Des hit me, it was terrifying. Obviously getting smacked is going to be scary for a little kid, but Des would get this look in his eyes. They’d bulge out a bit and it was like an animal was attacking you. I don’t know how else to describe it but the scariest part of all was not knowing if he’d stop.

Sometimes he’d at least start out trying to be playful. He’d tickle me and I’d laugh, and then he’d keep tickling me for too long and I’d scream at him to stop, but he’d keep tickling me. He’d hold me down and keep tickling me and he’d ask “what, are you gonna cry?” “Are you a little cry baby?” And, big shock, a little kid will cry if you do that to them long enough.

He’d pull that whole “Are you gonna cry?” thing when it didn’t start out so playful as well. Sometimes he just wanted to prove that he was stronger than me, so he’d just hold me down and poke me, or just say mean shit to me, or keep smacking me, or whatever else would come to his mind, but it was always with the same goal… of making me cry.

Dealing with Des, part 2

Des was violent, and certainly that was something I disliked about him, but physical pain dissipates so quickly. The things that stick with a kid, or at least this kid, are the things people say, and Des just loved to tell me things.

He’d tell me that I was ugly. That I was a “slow learner” (that era’s equivalent to retard). He’d tell me I was useless, and selfish, and greedy, that I was weak, that I had a stupid smile, and that I dumb, that I was stupid, that I was too skinny, and worthless, and on and on.

A couple of his absolutely favourites were, “No girl will ever want you.” and “You’ll never keep a job.

It’s hard to know how often he said those things. I didn’t like to hear them so I tried very hard to not let them in, and I managed to forget about them for a very long time. When I was reminded that I was told all those sorts of things, it felt like I must have heard them every single day of my childhood, but I’m sure it couldn’t have been that frequently. I can assure you though, that it was a very, very regular occurrence for me to hear those sorts of things.

Dealing with Des, part 3

I was not Des’ only target. Des didn’t like Kylie much either. Kylie was smart and the older she got, the harder it became for anyone to make Kylie do anything she didn’t want to do.

Kylie was a straight A student in primary school but that all changed when she started high school. All of a sudden she wanted to be with the cool kids and she focused her attention on that instead of school. Her grades plummeted and her lack of respect for authority started to put her at odds with Des.

They were at each other constantly. They’d scream at each other, and swear, and sometimes Des would smack her and if he did Kylie would fight back.

Our little 3 bedroom HomesWest home wasn’t big enough for the two of ’em, and I bet the whole suburb could hear it. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that this battle escalated over time.

The peak of their battle happened while I was still quite young. I estimate Kylie being around 15 at the time, making me about 8.

I remember Des and Kylie yelling at each other. I remember looking at them while they screamed at each other. Kylie’s hair whipping about as she moved. Des’ eyes bulging in that way that always meant trouble. His white singlet yellowed from wear and from absorbing the smoke of innumerable cigarettes. The cheap, grey, dress pants and belt he always wore around the house even though he never went anywhere or did anything.

I remember his hands around her throat.

I remember her ripping at his fingers for all she was worth.

I remember the stance of a man in his 40s wringing the neck of a young teenage girl, with him the aggressor, leaning forward, and her the desperate, overpowered victim, in a pose of sheer terror.

I remember standing there in my pyjamas wanting desperately to do something, and I remember not being able to move. I couldn’t even make a noise.

I remember the moment he dropped her limp body and how it collapsed into the ground.

I remember believing my sister was dead.

It felt like hours went by.

And then she suddenly made this ungodly noise, this revolting, animalistic heave of inhalation. It might well have been the most awful noise I had ever heard, but to me it was the most beautiful sound that could ever exist, it was the sound of my sister coming back from the dead.

And do you know what happened next?

My mother told us all he didn’t mean it. My mother genuinely believed we could all just carry on living the way we had before.

That didn’t work so well for Des. He had another nervous breakdown. He went back to Greylands for about 6 weeks and got some more electroshock therapy.

Seeya later Kylie

Prize for the least surprising moment of this story goes to the fact that Kylie moved out almost immediately after Des tried to kill her. She went off to live with some friends and very quickly got in over her head with drugs and alcohol.

She met a man who somehow puts up with the chaos that she continues to generate even to this day and managed to have 4 children with him. The first was born when Kylie was 19.

Kylie accidentally killed their second child in her sleep by rolling onto him when he was just 11 days old. She told the rest of the world that her baby was a victim of SIDS. I didn’t find out the truth until 20 years after the fact.

Her other 3 children would go through a hectic upbringing surrounded by constant drug use and alcohol.

Seeya later Erica

Erica moved out within the same year as Kylie because she’d just finished year 12. She went off to live with my grandparents in a small country town. Erica had gotten progressively more religious as the years went on and the small town environment suited her well.

She would meet a man and have a child to him, only for the father of her child to disappear on her.

Due to her religion, Erica thought she should be able to forgive her father for molesting her, so when he came knocking looking for a place to live, having been kicked out by everyone else he knew, she took pity on him and let him move into her house with her and her young child.

I was very angry about it and made that well known, but people are going to do what they’re going to do.

It turned out that I was wrong about what would happen, but I was 100% right that letting that monster into her house was a terrible idea. See, as far as I know he didn’t touch Erica’s son, but he did leave his fucking cigarette lighter on the coffee table and leave Erica’s 5 year old son alone in the house with the cigarette lighter.

The house burned to the ground. Erica had no insurance.

I’m very thankful to say that the community rallied around Erica and her boy and they bought her a new house on the same block. I don’t tend to appreciate religion but I hope there’s a God out there who can reward those good people in the afterlife, and I hope there’s a devil to take care of Les Harland.

Where was my Mum in all this?

She was working.

Des got a disability pension but it all went on cigarettes. Just after he nearly killed Kylie he was smoking 100 cigarettes a day and his pension didn’t even cover his cigarettes at that point.

So my Mum had to work to cover all the bills, and holy shit did she ever work! She cleaned houses and was often gone for 12 or 14 hours a day, sometimes 7 days a week. Once a week she’d round Alex and I up to go deliver newspapers and we’d use the $4 we each made to buy our Red Rooster for dinner.

If my Mum could pick up some work washing dishes, or cleaning an office, or anything like that, she’d take it on. Whatever she could do, she would do.

My Mum made sure we had enough money to get by. Now, if you ever saw how skinny us kids were you might disagree, but we none of us starved to death. Sure, the other kids made fun of the holes in my clothes, and they made fun of how long I went without hair cuts, and that you my toes poked out of my shoes, and that I had to wear clothes I’d long since outgrown, but I’m still here and you don’t get much for being fashionable in primary school anyway.

One more thing about Mum working. Des would sit on the front porch waiting all day for her to come home. He’d sit there and stare at the street desperately nervous that this would be the day she wouldn’t come home.

He was right

Kylie left us. Erica left us. Turned out it was only a matter of time before Mum left us.

I’d finished school and had my first job when my Mum finally pulled the pin. Believe it or not, I didn’t see it coming at all.

My Mum and Des had never had a good relationship. They’d scream at each other and throw shit at each other and occasionally a plate or a coffee cup would explode on a wall between phrases like “You don’t fucking love me you lying bitch!” and “I’ve been working all day and you haven’t even done the dishes!” and “I’ll leave! I’ll fucking leave! Don’t you test me!”

You’d think the writing was on the wall in amongst the shattered porcelain, but I genuinely didn’t see it coming because they’d had this horrible, co-dependent relationship for 16 years by the time it finally broke.

I have no problem with my mother leaving my stepfather. It was the right thing for her to do. I wish she’d done it earlier.

What I do have a problem with is how my Mum finished things up. She just didn’t come home.

She didn’t fucking warn me and it was days before I knew what had happened to her. That was pretty stressful but it only got worse when she finally did contact me because she told me she’d spoken to HomesWest, the government housing body who she rented the house through and told them she was moving out. You have to have a certain number of people staying in your house to qualify for HomesWest and with Mum gone, we didn’t qualify any more.

So not only did my parents just break-up and my Mum had gone missing for days, I was now due to be evicted, effectively scheduled to be homeless.

For fuck’s sake.

Seeya Grandad

It’s difficult to cram a whole life into a single post but this story just wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include my Grandfather.

I’ve told you about my father, the alcoholic bankrupt. I’ve told you about my sisters’ father, the child molesting gambling addict; and I’ve told you about my stepfather, the schizophrenic stepdaughter strangler and all round child abuser.

As far as male role models they left a lot to be desired, but that didn’t matter because I had my Grandfather.

When World War II broke out my Grandad was too young to go, so he lied about his age and went anyway. He was shot through the knee and captured and was a prisoner of war for five years. He eventually gets back to Australia and he goes home and starts a farm, and does alright with that farm too. Not bad for a bloke who can no longer bend his left leg!

And as the world progressed, so did he. When he bought a Datsun ute, all his mates had a go at him for buying a Japanese vehicle. He said, simply “The war is over. We need to move on.”

And for a man who’d been through so much and worked so damned hard and seen his daughter make such bad decisions with men, he was nothing but adoring of his grandchildren, regardless of how they came about. He was always ready to have a laugh and always had a joke to tell.

I don’t know if the other kids felt the same but he made me feel special every time I saw him. He called me a special nickname that nobody else in the world ever called me and he’d pick me up and put me on his shoulders like fathers do in the movies. He played cricket with us into his 70s!

I got the short straw with a lot of things, but I had a legend of a grandfather and I’ll be forever thankful for that.

But my Grandfather left us too.

It happened just after I found out my Mum had left Des and I found out I was staring down an upcoming homelessness. Des got a call at home from someone looking for my Mum to let her know her father had been rushed to a hospital in Perth.

Des relayed the message to me when I came home for  my break in my shift at the pizza store. I wanted to call the pizza store to cancel my shift so I could go to the hospital but Des wouldn’t let me use the phone. He told me that my grandfather was ok, that I’d be able to see him tomorrow, that I should let him get some rest.

I argued but I was going to need all the money I could get for when we were evicted and Des seemed so certain that my Grandad was alright and that it wasn’t urgent and I was due back at work and I didn’t know what to do, so I went back to work.

When I got home 4 or so hours later, Des told me my Grandfather had passed away while I was at work.

I was devastated.

A few days later I found that document with Des’s diagnosis that I mentioned earlier. That word Schizophrenia answered a lot of questions.

The leftovers

I didn’t talk much about Alex. He was a good kid but a bit socially awkward. I love him but I didn’t treated him very well. I wasn’t nearly as violent to him as Kylie was to me, but we had our fair share of tussles and I always won, except for the time he chased me AND GOT ME with a steaming hot iron.

After Mum left us, I moved in with friends. It was great fun but after a few years I went back to study and moved in with my Mum, my brother, his wife, and their newborn child.

About a year and a half into that Mum tells me that she’s buying a house and that her, my brother and my brother’s wife would be going thirds in the mortgage.

That meant… I had nowhere to live… again.

So I moved in with some people I’d met through my studies. One of them used to many drugs and slipped into a drug induced psychosis which lead him to believe I was trying to hook up with his pregnant girlfriend, which wouldn’t be such a big deal if he hadn’t studied Muay Thai Kickboxing for 15 years and collected all his rage into a fist and king hit me while I was cleaning up after one of his parties.

He knocked me out and fractured my skull in the process. I don’t know how or why I didn’t fall over while that happened but he guy who x-rayed my skull said I’m lucky I didn’t because I would have very likely died.

After that I started a small business, played in a few bands got involved with that girlfriend I was with for 6 years. Literally nothing happened in that 6 years except for me getting fat, working really hard, driving my car at the race track and finally getting my job at Everlong.

Now back to the actual story

I hope this was remotely interesting to read. I think it’s necessary information for what’s ahead in the origins story and I’ll refer back to this a lot to help things make sense as the story continues.

Hopefully you feel like you know me a little better. I wasn’t lying about the Jerry Springer shit, was I?!

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The Queen of Queef

11 Aug

I’m not saying she’s a crazy bitch but chances are a lot of other people would think so…

Then again, if your life’s goal involves a queefs scoreboard and a microphone pressed against your birth canal, who am I to judge? Just be aware that you might not be as revered as you hope.

Crazy bitch tip: Dedication to a skill is generally a good thing, but be sure that skill is useful.

 

Who should pay on a date?

19 Jun

The question “Who should pay on a date?” comes up often. I listen to a few podcasts from New York and I hear a lot of the female guests talking about how they’ll go out on dates with guys they have no interest in whatsoever just to get a free meal and some drinks. That’s some stupid shit right there. Not to say that you shouldn’t let someone pay for your night out but don’t let that be the only reason you’re going out with them.

To trade your time for ‘treats’ is pretty gross. A lot of the women I’ve heard telling these stories later explain that they hook up with the guys as a sort of trade-off, sometimes even going to the extent of sleeping with them. One of these girls started her story off by saying how creepy and gross and old the guy who took her out was, and how she only went out with him because he offered to take her to a really ritzy restaurant; but by the end of the story she’s back at his place giving him head! She had absolutely no interest in the guy and  no intention of seeing him again, but then he offered to take her to another nice restaurant and, what do you know… she agreed!

That’s! fucking! crazy!

I’m not a fan of the “how to attract/catch/get/trap/capture/cage-up the [person] of your dreams” things, but I saw this particular explanation come up on Reddit about who should pay on dates, and I think the point this bloke makes is excellent.

“Treat the guy you’re interested in as well as you’d treat your best friend.” Now that’s some damned good advice, right there.

And how’s that chick’s form? “I’ve been seeing a guy for 5 months and he’s starting to suggest that I contribute to the cost of dinner when we go out!” Yeah, NO SHIT! because it’s fucking mental that you’ve been involved with someone for 5 months and haven’t paid for a single dinner!

Holy mother of crap! I cannot understand where people get these ideas from. Even if you’re going out with a billionaire you should still buy a round of drinks or whatever from time to time. It’s just courtesy!

So who pays on a date? The human beings that consumed the meal. If someone offers to cover the whole bill themselves you should at least offer to cover your share anyway, and if they refuse you should appreciate the fact that someone was so happy to spend time with you that they willingly paid their hard-earned money to treat you to a meal.

Crazy bitch tip: At least offer to pay your share.

If you are reading this you are too close

30 May

Happy birthday, Callum.

Origins #23

23 May

After yet another awkward moment with my boss’s daughter I was trying to ignore the bombardment of mockery from my colleagues regarding the fact that she’d spent the night at my place. I’d made it through the day, despite the surprise meeting, and had escaped the office at last.

I spent the rest of that day trying to figure out how to deal with my very complex situation. I had found myself between the proverbial rock and hard place and there was no obvious way out. Rene had asked me to keep the situation secret, so I couldn’t talk to anyone about it, which meant I had to put up with all this teasing despite currently trying to deal with being rejected by a girl who had literally demanded that I ask her out.

I really needed to talk to someone about it. Like, realllllly needed to, but I’d agreed not to. So I stared holes in the walls and ceiling hunting for a way to not get too stressed out about it all. Even though I was confident I’d figure it out, there was still emotion to it.

The scenario had hit me like a tonne of bricks. I was hurting very, very badly but I don’t think I was capable of understanding just how deeply I’d been cut. All I knew at that point was I wanted the situation to change as soon as possible. I don’t remember that night especially well, but I’m sure I didn’t sleep a wink.

Another day, another billion jokes about fucking the boss’s daughter

I trudged off to work again. I’d been knackered the day before but I had gone another night without sleep, so I was completely annihilated. And the jokes came my way all day long.

I tried to politely deny their insinuations as they come in from my colleagues in my little room. I tried to dissuade their innuendos as they came from colleagues from other rooms around the building. I tried to calm the tide as they started coming in via email from our head office. I couldn’t keep up with them. They came in faster than I could read them.

It was not an easy day.

I wasn’t sure how to cope with it, and I wanted Rene to at least see what I was dealing with, so I collated a few of the more ‘entertaining’ emails and forwarded them to her. Rene replied that it looked like everyone was having fun and that she wished she could get in there and fire a few responses back.

But… Powderfinger!

If you recall from earlier, my favourite band were doing a farewell tour before retiring. I had tickets to their show that night. I was physically and emotionally exhausted, but there was no way in hell I’d miss that show.

Powderfinger always had the ability to articulate the world I’d been living in and convert what I’d been dealing with in my life into a form of music that resonated deeply in me.

I assume their music sounds dated to anyone listening for the first time so many year’s later, but they were hugely influential on me when I first heard them as a 16 year old kid in high school.

In a lot of ways Powderfinger played the role of providing a soundtrack to key events of my life. When I left school and started to work as a pizza delivery boy I would listen to Internationalist on loop for hours on end in my car. When I went back to study multimedia they’d be on high rotation on my clunky portable CD player and my very first mp3 player. They seemed to be at every major music festival so I’d often see them live and be ever amazed by their ability to grab a crowd by the ears and leave everyone smiling at the end.

I wasn’t alone in liking them. They were Australia’s biggest band for nearly a decade. They won all the awards an Aussie band can win and were heralded by critics and punters alike.

I was 31 at that point and I suppose their retirement shouldn’t have been as important to me as it was. Something I had always enjoyed was coming to an end. One more thing was being taken away from me. For reasons that I’ll explain a little later, I had always found those moments difficult.

Nevertheless, I could be sad about it later. I had one more chance to see them live with thousands of other die-hard fans, and that’s exactly what I was going to do.

Exhaustion? Bullshit! Grab us a drink

There was one solution for any and all problems where I grew up, and that was alcohol. I’d always thought that a very primitive approach to problem solving, but I was out of ideas and I wasn’t about to waste the last opportunity I had to see Powderfinger, so I met up with my friends for a drink before the show.

We found our way to some fancypants bar a very short walk from the venue and proceeded to do our very best impression of liquor consumption machines. It’s funny the way a quiet drink leads to a loud drink. In this case it lead us to the loudest of all drinks; a drink I had only recently become accustomed with in Europe… Absinthe.

Being a fancy pants bar, they not only had Absinthe, they did the whole ritual of  burning the sugar with the fancy spoon and everything.

 

You know there’s something wrong when the bar tender’s going to that level of complexity and all you’re thinking is “just get me the fucking alcohol, mate.”

A few more rounds (or ten) and it was time to go to the show! I might not have known exactly who or where I was but I was ready to have a good time.

HOLY SHIT. THEY’RE SINGING MY LIFE AT ME.

Powderfinger were known for writing songs that people related to. Even completely sober I related to those songs. Half full of absinthe, dealing with everything I was dealing with, the impact was amplified.

I mean, they started with this…

and then threw this in.

I’m sure you get the idea.

They played a bunch of brilliant songs. The crowd was loving it. The band was loving it, and letting us know it too. It was a big love-in. They even played that same stones track I’d heard them playing as I foolishly leaned in to try and kiss Rene only a few days prior.

It was as good a show as anyone could have asked for, and like many other things in my life at that point, it was coming to an end weather I liked it or not. The appropriateness of the moment was not missed by anyone as they finished a bittersweet night with thousands of people singing along to their most beloved, most bittersweet song.

And with that a present became past

The encore had been and gone. The second encore had been and gone. That was the last time I’ll ever feel the buzz of joy that always tingled its way through a packed crowd at a Powderfinger show.

It was over. The thousands of screaming fans begging for more couldn’t change that reality and eventually we rall ealised that and began the inch by inch shuffle to the exits.

I was forlorn. The nostalgia had drowned me. That moment in time summed up exactly how I was feeling about my life. Everything was on the verge of slipping away and there was nothing I could do about it.

What’s that you say, alcohol?

You think I should send Rene an email? Oh surely you jest, old friend. Now is hardly the time for such things!

Oh how I wish I had not listened to my old friend alcohol, but I didn’t recognise him hidden in that disguise as my new friend Absinthe. So after I got home from that very sentimental show, I sent Rene a very sentimental email.

I can assure you that if there is a way to convert a cringe directly into an email, I managed to do so that night. I don’t remember much of what I wrote, but I know it included the following concepts:

“You don’t need to reply to this.”

“I really don’t understand what happened.”

“I like you more when you let your guard down.”

“If you get your head around whatever you’re dealing with and want to hang out, I’ve got some free time Sunday”

Oh God, the shame! It’s so humiliating to think about the fact that I actually hit send on that. Fuck.

embarrased

Just one of many, many, many more cringey things to come though.

 

Next time…

Rene replies to the email she didn’t have to reply to and my sneaky little buddy Absinthe gives me a few days rest before he doing his level best to kill me.

Overly Attached Girlfriend’s Great Grandmother 

15 May

Shit Psychology

14 May

I’m not a psychologist in any way, shape, or form, but I’ve read some books here and there and I enjoy contemplating the way the human mind works.

A lot of people refer to their problems as their shit and got to thinking about why that is. I started imagining emotional issues as actual shit on people, and thus the theory of Shit Psychology was born.

need-help-pigpen

Here’s a little story to illustrate my theory.

A shit story

Imagine a little kid at a farm having a good time being a kid. Then the kid’s stepfather pushes him into the pig pen and laughs as the poor kids slips around on the ground amongst all that shit. The kid cries. His stepfather laughs and laughs. Bad situation all round.

A shitty situation

The kid didn’t like what just happened at all and wants to remove all evidence of the experience, but there aren’t any showers or baths in this fictional place, so the kid wipes off what he can and has to settle for that being enough. Unfortunately the kid now stinks of shit and, despite his best efforts, there’s still quite a bit of shit all over him, especially in the areas he can’t reach or see.

The kid goes to school and tries to act normal but all the other kids are steering clear of him because he smells so badly. When he tries go near his mates and they walk away he asks what’s wrong, they tell him they can see that he’s got shit all over him and they can’t stand the smell.

This poor kid can’t do anything about the situation so he lies, telling them it’s just normal dirt and it doesn’t even smell that bad. His friend’s senses are more believable than his lies, so they leave anyway.

Shitty friends

Within a few days he’s used to the smell and  doesn’t notice anymore. He starts to see the shit as part of who he is. In some ways he’s even proud that he hasn’t just given up on life because of the shit that was put on him. He sees it as evidence of his bravery to overcome tough shituations.

He starts to make new friends. These new friends aren’t as judgemental as his old friends. A lot of his new friends have a lot of dirty marks just like his but they assure him it’s definitely not shit, and they don’t question him when he asserts that his marks are only mud stains.

His new friends are different to his old friends in a lot of ways. When he walks through town with his new freinds, people practically run to get out of their way.

Shitty behaviour

His new friends also have a weird thing where they like to throw dog shit at people. They’ll  grab all the shit from the dog shit bins at local parks and find some kids walking by themselves and bombard them with all that dogshit. His new friend’s hands get more and more covered in shit in the process but they can’t seem to help themselves from doing it.

Eventually our protagonist starts to participate in this shit show. He knows it’s not nice but he finds there’s something satisfying about seeing someone else go from completely clean to being covered in just as much shit as he is. He convinces himself it’s not so bad anyway, you get used to the smell after a while and really it just makes his targets stronger in the long run.

Despite his efforts to convince himself it’s alright, he always feels bad about it afterwards. He wakes up in the middle of the night thinking about it sometimes.

Shit rolls down hill

The kid grows into a man, he gets involved with a woman from his group of shitty friends and they convince each other there’s nothing wrong with being covered in shit. She acts really weird sometimes, but so does he, so they put up with each other and their shitty behaviour because they’re sure that everyone else is just as shitty as they are.

Neither of them are really happy though, so they catch themselves looking at other people. Eventually his girlfriend catches him with another woman and ends things.

He doesn’t mind though, because he likes this other woman more. His mistress has her own shit, and has a kid as well. He notices that even the kid has some shit too, so he feels like he fits with them and he’s willing to put up with the kid in order to be with her, so he moves in with his mistress.

He has a great time with her, but that damned kid is more of a chore than he could ever have imagined. He starts to resent that kid immensely, but he’s so attracted to the kids mother, that he marries her anyway.

A shitty cycle

One day his wife tells him they’re all going to a farm to teach the kid about the animals. He begrudgingly  participates in their little field trip, knowing that if he doesn’t go, she’ll get angry at him and he won’t get any that night.

While they’re walking around the farm, and he’s hating every minute of it, his wife has to go to the toilet. His now step-kid looks so happy there, playing with the piglets in front of that pig pen.

He notices that his step kid has got hardly any shit on him. Compared to his mother and step-father, he’s almost clean. Without even thinking about it he kicks that little kid right into the pig pen, watching him land face first and come up screaming with a mouthful of pig shit.

He laughs and laughs at that stupid little kid as he slips around in the shit.

Washed up

That little kid climbs out of the pig pen as his mother returns from the toilet. She sees her son there, covered head to toe in shit and she knows immediately this moment could change his life for the worse. She tells her husband who is still laughing hysterically at the stuation that she wants a divorce, grabs her kid and rushes straight of to a Professional-Shit-Yeast-Crap-Help Office to start on removing as much of that shit as they can as soon as possible.

See, at the PSYCH office, they have basins and sinks and flanels, and they have these really cool little lasers which they use to shrink the individual shit particles.

Unfortunately they can’t get all the shit off you quickly, or easily, and it’s really expensive, but it’s either that or be left spending the rest of your life trying to convince yourself and everyone around you that you’re not covered in shit.

Back to the theory

So, that short story is my way of explaining how i think Shit Psychology works. People with emotional problems tend to be more willing to ignore the emotional problems of the people in their lives and it’s very difficult to be surrounded by people with emotional problems and not end up being affected by those people.

A lot of people who experience difficult circumstances try to ignore away the impact, but that just doesn’t work. All it does is bring into contact with people who are busy trying to ignore their own shit and all sorts of chaos comes from that.

Like in the story, most of the shit we get on us is not even our fault, it’s the result of other people dumping their shit on us.

There’s no point pretending that you don’t have shit to deal with. If you do, your best course of action is to go to the pople who are trained in helping you clean your shit off. Therapists and Psychologists are there specifically to help people get rid of their shit and in doing so, help give people their best chance at happiness.

Crazy bitch tip: Got shit to deal with? Go to the professional shit removers.

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