Fish and chips – Double Fist Pump

Even though things weren’t great growing up there are some good memories amongst the dark messy blob I still feel trapped in.

Being a country born and bred family we had meat and veg most nights. I never ate pasta until I left home and started my lustful romance with all things carbs. Once a month though my mother would announce we were having fish and chips. This usually had me grinning and imagining the fatty and greasy chips I was about to consume.

Fish and chip night, watching new episodes aired on television of the Simpsons and sipping on soft drink was one of my best memories.

Another memory that makes me smile is my rabbit, Peter. Peter had some serious long great genes for a long lifetime. He was big, white and had big red eyes. He was adorable although my pet had built up a little bit of an attitude after having my father’s working dogs think he was a sheep and run continuously around his hutch. I would sing little Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose and he would sit ignoring me.

Once Peter died though we got two rabbits. Meant to be the same sex but they had little bunnies so I guess they weren’t. This is where I learnt the lesson: psycho rabbit mums will eat their babies.

Coming from a family like mine, you grow up thinking that the way to interact with others is to put them down. It makes you feel better about yourself. Sad but true. This is what my family was all about. You could never say anything out of line to my parents though. They were excellent teachers and I always enjoyed my sister being told she was stupid and a waste of space. Kind of made me feel less alone.

Birthdays were always pretty special too. Not by my standards now but it was the one day my mother could fake smile as she handed a small and inexpensive gift to me. It was the one night you got to choose what was on the menu for dinner (limited choice to choose from but still a treat) and after dinner, my father would stagger to bed completely intoxicated and leave me and the rest of the family to a simple Sara-Lee cake to celebrate. Things felt tense when my father was around, he had a temper and step out of line just a bit and he would showcase that temper.

These are small memories but ones I treasure. They were the gold among the insurmountable dirt that it lay in.

 

How I met your mother

My GP recently asked where I’d met Michael. Before I had a chance to say anything she was eager to guess. She guess that we met in a psych ward. I wasn’t really sure how to respond to this one. I laughed hysterically before telling her the actual story.

It was the Young Witness newspaper where we met. I was 16, he was 23 (met not started dating). I had found myself in the office while doing work experience. Quite a weird thingy really, I sat going through the Yellow Pages the night before my form had to be in telling my careers advisor what industry I was keen to check out. I knew I wanted to write. I wanted to take photos and the amount of money I earnt wasn’t important in my career planning.

I was nervous the first day of work experience. Someone had told me that the editor was a complete prick and warned me to stay away from him. It turns out that I think this opinion was just an unfortunate timing thing where he had taken the heat from the previous editor.

I spent most of my time with Michael. He showed me how he did lay-out and the production of putting the paper together. The design process fascinated me and he told me that he rarely got out to cover stories because Quarking (the good ol’ Quark express days) and layout took time and it was like playing a game of Tetris.

I liked Michael. He listened to me. Nobody really listened to me at this point in my life. I wasn’t afraid to ask him questions either – something my parents had discouraged and tried to beat out of me. I tried giving him the impression I was a normal teenager that did all those teenage things.

I knew I wasn’t normal when I was involved in a creative process of writing a book. My experience of being a teenage was worlds apart from what the others in my class experienced. Work experience was liberating for me. It’s a strange thing to say because it’s the work environment; it’s not supposed to be fun. I could walk down the main street of Young. By myself. I could buy my lunch from the local bakery. I didn’t have to ask permission.

These small things made me excited about the world. Feeling free was addictive. I decided to go back to the Young Witness and do more work experience. I skipped one day of school each week, rode the bus over, walked about a km, and had to be home at the same time I would normally have from school. It was worth it all though.

It was this second time I got to know Michael more. We talked, laughed and it truly was the best conversation I’d had in my life. We spoke the same language it seemed.

Two years down the track from this point and I contacted Michael. I can’t tell you how nervous I was that he wouldn’t remember me. He did. I talked my mother in to letting me go and see him. I gave her the pretence of this is a good contact to have to get the job I want to do. I just wanted to see him though.

Sometime after this I summoned the courage to write a letter to him telling him I had feelings for him. I gave him strict instructions not to call my house but to write back. My father would’ve flipped because I was stopping business calls coming through and I didn’t want them to stand in the way of this small slice of me being an adult activity. I lied a lot to my parents to spend time with him. I stole postage stamps from them so I could post letters and I would race to check the post before my mother could. If there was anything for me I’d take it, stash it into my backpack, leave the rest of the letters in the post-box and read the letter while walking to school. I read them. I reread them.

I kept up the facade that I was the normal teenage but this became hard when he asked to see me on my 18th birthday. I had no idea how to do this. Every moment I spent with him to this point was all through a barrage of lies to my parents. I spent my time with him watching the clock and worried that they’d find out.

After school I got a job packing stone fruit in Young. I told my parents that the factory was the other side of Young and that it was a 5pm start. I moved in with Michael. My sister eventually found out I’d lied and told them though. After this job finished I stayed with Michael. I had escaped and wasn’t going back. Michael ‘paid my way’. Something that provoked the ‘she is getting fat’ from my mother and ‘she is a free-loader and needs to get a job’ from my father.

I have loved this man from the first time I met him. It upsets me to realise though that I have him and my children because of what my parents did to me. He was the first man that was kind to me.

A couple of years later we moved to Canberra, got jobs, played house and got married. I do need to leave you all with this though. In true Pittman style he married me with fly down. Yep, he had forgotten to do it up in the mad rush of it all.

 

 

 

 

My friend Larry

We’ve all heard that tragic woman give her menstrual cycle a name. Aunt Flo, Downtown Abbey, Bloody Buddy, Belly Devil, Girl Flu, Leak Week, Monthly vacation are just some of the ones I’ve heard. This is my segway into telling you about my friend Larry.

Larry is not my menstrual cycle. He is my depression and we are inseparable. Larry and I have been friends for some time now. I don’t spend as much time with anybody else as I do with Larry.

Laughing Laz is great at getting me to do really stupid and life-ending activities. A bit of the jealous type he is – he is always driving people away telling me that I can’t trust them like I can trust him and he is always pleased when he gets to spend time with me. When I’m at work, he is the one that says, fuck this shit and who cares about what your member wants you to do.

It’s an abusive relationship and he controls me. Every now and then I realise how abusive he is, I break the locks and I leave him, swearing I’ll never go back, but Larry is good at luring me into his world. He likes to take credit for where I end up. He is that friend that wants you to feel bad about yourself. Just about to take the picturesque road to the left which is straight, sunny and paved with beautiful flowers, Larry stops me and entices me down the road on the right. This road is cracked, it leads into the woods, it’s cold, and there is a chorus of frightful noises. I take the road on the right. Every single time.

Larry is always in my ear telling me that I’m not good enough. He tells me that I should stop torturing the people in this world and that I should go buy some rope. He is very insistent and unplugs me from the world.

He tells me to eat fried food. He tells me to throw it back up. He is constantly whispering about my weight and my appearance. He likes to remind me all the time that I wasn’t good enough to be loved by my parents. He proves to me that I’m a failure.

Larry is also a big Netflix fan. He is always telling me to watch things I shouldn’t and that upset me. Larry gets stronger every time you leave him.

Larry is my best friend. I never said Larry was a good person though. He is really quite the prick.

I’ve been a shitty Buddhist

I’ve been a shitty Buddhist

For some years now I’ve identified as a Buddhist but for the past six months I am not proud of the things I have done.

I’ve just gotten back from the 2017 Australasian Festival. This year was the Vajrapani Empowerment and teachings on the stages of the path to enlightenment with Gen-la Kelsang Jampa. This probably doesn’t mean much to you all but this was a very special festival. I rang in the New Year surrounded by my spiritual family, at my spiritual house and making prayers to Mother Ayra Tara.

Every single person I spoke with, at the festival, had an incredible story to tell of how they came to be a part of the Kadampa family.

The festival had me thinking of my origin story. I came to Buddhism some years ago as an extension on the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program I was doing. In typical Abby fashion I wanted to get to the top of the class and be cured within the month.

I went along to the Erindale class where I sat and heard the following quote that changed my life.

“Where would I find enough leather
To cover the entire surface of the earth?
But with leather soles beneath my feet,
It’s as if the whole world has been covered.”
Shantideva: A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life

So many things bother us—the peeps, mostly.

We blame other people or the situation for getting it wrong. We eyeball the hell out of what we think is the cause of our disturbance, we usually set out to try and fix it. We attempt to change the other person’s behavior or the situation into something we consider right, or at least something that will not bother us.

As we all know, we can’t control anyone else’s behavior, and we can’t make another person want to or be able to change. But we can always make the choice to shift our attention inward, to focus the lens of curiosity onto ourselves.

As I prayed to Ayra Tara and made offerings I thought back on the year 2016. I’d let my anger, jealousy, hatred take over. It was a fucking shit year but I should never have let go of my faith in Buddha, Dharma and my Sangha. Never. These things only make me stronger.

I sat in that temple on the verge of tears. I was home. I was surrounded by family, I was safe and in control.

I’ve been a fucking shitty Buddhist and without sounding like a total wanker; I will strive for enlightenment for all sentient beings. I won’t stop until I achieve it.

 

Things an 8 year old shouldn’t go to school and present as news … OMG!

My son loves YouTube. He can get lost for hours letting the auto play take him on a journey. For a long time he has been desperate to make a movie and upload it. Eagerly he wrote a list in his messy but still legible writing.

A couple of days ago Michael and Rory recorded a movie showing people how some new, geeky card game based on Star Wars characters.

For the last few days they’ve been editing the file. Its school news day and Rory is preparing his speech. He plans on talking about this YouTube video. He plans to tell everyone the purpose of the video, why he and his dad created one and chicks totally dig a boy that’s made a YouTube video.

‘So, did he tell you about how his news day went?’

‘Um, no. Did he tell you?’

It was at this point I learnt that Rory went to school and talked about my mental health issues and what it’s like to live with someone with these problems.

This is fantastic and all but a fair chunk of the presentation was spent talking about how mummy uses a blade and cuts her skin. She even writes words when cutting into her skin.

A whole classroom of beady eight year-old eyes attentive and hanging on every word and desperate to understand something that just doesn’t make sense.

‘They all had questions’. He then continued by boasting that it was the most popular news item of the whole year. Everyone wanted to know more.

Upon asking why he had abandoned his original plan he told us that the content of the YouTube video might have gone over their heads and that it didn’t seem appropriate. It might’ve scared some of his classmates. The kid is seriously fucking with me, right?

I’ve spent the last 24 hours hoping I never have to look his teacher in the eye ever again. OMG. I wonder how many parents had that sometimes-people-are-just-sad conversation. Regardless though I am very proud of how mature he is and how he is working to normalise these things. But, for fuck sake that was insane.

If you see me hiding in a shrub you’ll know Mrs Hadobas is close by. OMG.

Crazytown now has Netflix

I visit Crazytown often. My passport is swollen with stamps from my many visits. Crazytown is just my word for being really depressed.

According to my GP, who nearly fell off her chair in laughter, I’m not just a little sad.  I’m clinically depressed. Her face now stone and emotionless, people who are just a little sad don’t do the things you do’.

I always have a feeling of emptiness, anxiety and pessimism but Crazytown is usually when I’m thinking of stabbing my shrink in the neck with a box cutter because he didn’t listen to me.

Crazytown is me finishing work for the day and having no idea what happened during the day. All I can tell is that I haven’t had a productive day.

There is a man in black, known to many as Death, who lures me with promises of nothingness. He whispers to me that he can take the pain away. He smiles. He wants me to follow him. I think endlessly about how I can gain his approval and join him. He promises to love me if I come with him. He promises not to judge me. He promises me warmth and safety. It’s an obsession that he promises will solve all of my problems.

Crazy town is like a dark fog. I can’t see anyone else and they can’t see me. I’m scream but nobody hears. Maybe nobody cares. Nobody understands. Nobody feels the pain. But the man in black does.

Everyone tells me living is the best revenge but I’m not really living. I’m getting from one day to the next. They’ve already won. I’ve already put up the white flag but they are still firing at me with machine guns even though all my flesh has been damaged and torn. I’m already on the ground but they can’t stop firing.

‘You just need to’. In Crazytown this is a common phrase. As I approach each person they point their finger at me and tell me to just stop being like this. Stop it. Be normal. Are you even trying?

Every single day I try not to be this person you all see. I’m desperate to be someone else. It’s almost like I’m too stupid to learn.

People who love me get frustrated. I get frustrated. I don’t choose to be some whiny little bitch-tits emo.

I want the world to be full of yellow dresses, talking cartoon characters, icecream mountains and a house made of gingerbread. Until Willy Wonka sorts this out though, I curl up on my lounge with the television on in some hope of distraction.

The more I fight against death though the stronger he gets. He wants me and he is only just warming up. Fancy that, he wants me. Every single time I’m in Crazytown I have to wonder if I have the guts to fight the man in black off.

I’m angry

  • I’m angry that I’m still having the same conversation with my doctors.
  • I’m angry that weedles are ruining my life and taking all my pokeballs.
  • I’m angry when people promise things but never deliver. Don’t tell me you’ll do something with me if you don’t actually mean it. I’m not the girl to do that to
  • I’m angry that a house receives more love and affection than a daughter
  • I’m angry that I can’t trust my emotions. Am I being reasonable with this anger
  • I’m angry that I don’t sleep well
  • I’m angry I had to let my brother go
  • I’m angry that my life has been stolen from me
  • I’m angry I have to down as many tablets as I do just so I am palatable for others
  • I’m angry with how much all that medicine costs
  • I’m angry that my daughter refuses to listen
  • I’m angry when I’m left with my own thoughts. They scare me and I’d do anything to shut my brain up
  • I’m angry that I’m not the mother or wife they deserve
  • I’m angry that because I work and make money I am not eligible for most mental health services. What do they honestly think will come from all this anger? It won’t result in a hug-fest.
  • I’m angry that I’m completely alone in all of this
  • I’m angry that Cheers walked with little consequence. One minute alone in a room with him with me holding the knife is all I’d need. I’ve learnt where I need to stab him for him to bleed into his heart.
  • I’m angry that I don’t have many friends
  • I’m angry that for the last seven odd months I have heard nothing but my-mum-is-great from a lady at work eager to welcome a new baby into the world. Stop flaunting your Disney-life.
  • I’m angry that I’m travelling for work next week and I’m not sure how I’m going to manage that. I can barely look after myself and it doesn’t sound like there will be much Abby-alone-time
  • I’m angry that my birthday this year sucked. Spending it with a sick kid was fucked
  • I’m angry that I once again have my mother in-law living with us
  • I’m angry that I was the one who has had to find her a place to live. I just want her out of my fucking house
  • I’m angry that she tells me that all my misfortune is the devil taking control. Nothing like walking around on the devil’s hit-list
  • I’m angry that so much is explained by using the word God. God is a prick. God doesn’t exist. He is some magical perfect judging fuck that has been made up to make people a little nicer to each other. It’s not working!
  •  I’m angry that people are now thinking she-is-going-to-hell for that. I live hell. Every. Single. Day so bring it
  • I’m angry that my husband doesn’t obsess over me
  • I’m angry when he asks me where I’m going. I feel like he doesn’t trust me
  • I’m angry when he doesn’t ask where I’m going. Makes no fucking sense.
  • I’m angry that I want people to like me
  • I’m angry that I don’t know how to trust
  • I’m angry that I’m ugly on the inside and the outside
  • I’m angry that I don’t know how else to deal with things that don’t involve causing myself physical pain
  • I’m angry that all of this has come off the back of the desire to have money
  • I’m angry when the School’s Out guy rings me and bitches because I forgot to tell him Rory was sick
  • I’m angry that my rabbit isn’t nicer
  • I’m angry that I have to wash clothes
  • I’m angry when people bitch about the messiness of my car. Fuck off you judgemental bastards
  • I’m angry that I am so vulnerable in front of my doctors
  • I’m angry because Nesh turned out to be a wanker who made fun of me
  • I’m angry that my husband doesn’t want to adventure more
  • I’m angry because my kids make my life difficult
  • I’m angry when I can’t find the remotes
  • I’m angry when I’m cold
  • I’m angry that I’m not as fit as the Big Bird Lady and she also smells great
  • I’m angry that I have to go to work and maintain happy and positive
  • I’m angry I have to lie to people
  • I’m angry that I will never be able to relate to my children
  • I’m angry because I can’t have a conversation with someone about those ‘nice’ times when you were growing up
  • I’m angry that I have convinced myself that I’m not going to grow old
  • I’m angry at my fuck-wit siblings and their fucking bitchiness
  • I’m angry that my parents think they even have a role in Rory and Zali’s life. Quit with the Postman Pat shit. You aren’t helping yourself when you write those narky things in the cards about me. As if I’m going to let my children have your cards and crap
  • I’m angry that I feel like I have to have permission to spend money or to do anything
  • I’m angry that I get worried if I’ve been out too long
  • I’m angry that people shouting makes me shut-down
  • I’m angry when I put on weight
  • I’m angry that I feel like I can never breathe
  • I’m angry that I know the difference between a strangulating and breaking neck knot. I can even point it out in movies
  • I’m angry that I think of killing people as much as I do
  • I’m angry when someone assumes I can just start acting like everyone else
  • I’m angry when people say that thinking about them is letting them win. I know that. I hate myself because of it. Don’t really need validation on that one
  • I’m angry when people say that hurting them won’t make me feel any better. How would they know? It might. Don’t presume to know how much anger I have buried deep down
  • I’m angry that I can’t see when I take my glasses off. I’m really blind. See things in shapes and colours blind
  • I’m angry that I’m a female. Men have a sweet ride. No horrible lady-time and they don’t walk around fearing men. I once heard the quote, men worry that women will laugh at them. Women worry that men will beat them.
  • I’m angry that people younger than I am are more successful
  •  I’m angry that I find it difficult to do more than a couple of things and if I try to do it all I fall in a heap
  • I’m angry Katherine Zeising exists
  • I’m angry I was born into a loveless family. Fuck, I’m angry I was born
  • I’m angry at that fucking antique fucking leather lounge. I’d really like to burn that fucking thing
  • I’m angry that my little brother seems miserable
  • I’m angry that I can’t do anything about it. No court would let me have him over guardians that seem to have their shit together
  • I’m angry that my mother thinks that an appropriate santa gift is a fucking weight-loss belt for my little brother
  • I’m angry that I when I see my reflection
  • I’m angry when I hear my own voice
  • I’m angry when I analyse my own thoughts
  • I’m angry that people leave me
  • I’m angry that people lie tome
  • I’m angry that I’m never good enough
  • I’m angry that I look like my mother
  • I’m angry when I think about my other brother. I fucking hate him and want to attack him with a fucking axe. He is turning into the perfect little heartless bastard that my parents would be proud of
  • I’m angry that my eldest sister is such a fucking princess. Yes, we all know you have three children. We all know that they are perfect and that you are perfect. What you don’t know though is that nobody fucking cares about receiving a (no, three) newsletter in the first person of whatever stupid kid it is
  • I’m angry that my other sister has settled into the life that they want her to have. She is a gossiping, drunk.
  • I’m angry my father hasn’t drunk himself to death. Why do the mean old bastards have to live forever
  • I’m angry at every single word that has ever comes out of their mouths
  • I’m angry that I’m that invisible girl that is always in the way
  • I’m angry at all the times I’ve been scared of members of my own family
  • I’m angry that I have tricked myself into believing there was a happy end place
  • I’m angry at that court-approved councillor who used to text, make phone calls and forget my name
  • I’m angry that this isn’t even all the angry I am