Monthly Archives: May 2012
I’ve been so pumped about this project for ages and FINALLY I can let the cat outta the bag. Introducing: Betty and the Betties! Squee!
This is a new project my sister started up – an acapella girls group with a focus on bringing a 40′s war-time style twist to some rocking Aussie contemporary classics. We’ve been meeting up in secret (love saying that as it’s the closest I’m ever gonna get to being a glamour spy-puss in this life) over the past few months and I am really stoked by this budding collab.
Lots of singing, giggles and slightly illegal doses of hairspray and lippie. What’s not to love?
Have a beautiful weekend folks.
Spotted an ad the other day for this cute little theatre currently on the market in Tassie.
Ever since I’ve been dreaming about an alternate reality where we buy a theatre in a tiny little town in a stunningly gorgeous-but-isolated nugget of Australia. It really is just a sitcom waiting to be written.
As, it would seem, is much of life.
Yesterday starts out like any other.
I drop the kids at school, drop Cass to daycare, I kiss them all goodbye. I manage to sneak in a quiet coffee and to-do list session before taking a seat in the doctor’s office to get my latest test results. Nothing too serious, nothing too surprising, just the usual pesky thyroid issues and a bit of low iron. All good.
Then, just as we are wrapping things up, I say “Oh, it’s probably nothing, but I just noticed a couple of days ago I have this sore spot on my right breast.”
The doctor asks me where. I point to it. He feels it and compares it to my right one. Then he says the words that suddenly pull everything into a different focus, like one of those sequences in the movie where the protagonist is standing still but the background goes all warped: “I can feel a lump there.”
Seeing the look on my face, he tells me not to panic, the fact it is tender is actually a good sign, he prints out an ultrasound request, smiles and says not to worry as it won’t help anyway. I smile. I walk out. I am numb. I shouldn’t worry. He’s right. Chill out. It’s nothing. No point in stressing.
I get in the car. I call and book the ultrasound: 4pm this afternoon. Good. All sorted. I sit in the car for a few minutes just staring. I snap out of it and call my hubby. “The doctor found a lump.”
I hang up and cry.
My hubby comes home. We talk, hold hands and watch Kill Bill 2.
I try not to let my mind go there but at some point, the dam wall bursts. I know, I mean really KNOW what it is to lose your mother as a child and I would never wish it on anybody, let alone my own babies. My mum was 33 when she died…and I am now 33.
I berate myself for being so melodramatic. It’s probably nothing, I’m probably putting myself through the emotional ringer for absolutely no reason. I’m going to feel stupid when they tell me it’s nothing. But somewhere in there is that nagging thought, “What if this is bad?”
I go for the ultrasound. The woman doing it reminds me of the butch boarding-house supervisor at my old school, except this woman seems friendly. One would hope so. She is about to know my boobs more intimately than I know them myself.
She pours the (thankfully warm) lube all over them and does her thing. It feels like my boobs are mouse pads and her ultrasound-thingy is the mouse, clicking its way through cyberspace. I don’t look at the screen.
She tells me that from her perspective it looks good. Thank GOD. I smile. But I want to cry. To let out the relief. It ain’t final, I know that, but already her confidence makes me breathe easier. It’s gonna be okay.
I pick the kids up from school. After the upset of even glimpsing for a moment the mere possibility of a threat to the family, I somehow expect them to be on the same page. To leap into the car, cover me in kisses with an orchestral soundtrack that punctuates perfectly the emotion of a family that’s realised how lucky they are just to be together. Instead the older two immediately start fighting and littlest starts screaming because he wants to play the X-Box. We don’t have an X-Box. He’s just seen one at the library.
I look at hubby. He looks at me. We laugh.
So it looks like it’s gonna be all good. Thank high heavens. I can go back to normal now. Only…I can’t.
Being confronted by the possibility of life being cut short, even for such a small space of time, but for the time that it was it felt such a REAL possibility, has changed me.
To put this in context, the past couple of months I have spent feeling quite overwhelmed by options. A great problem to have, granted, but one that has left me feeling quite dizzy and anxious and uncertain about the best path of action to take. What kind of life do we want as a family? Where should I be for my career? How do we want to spend our time?
Yesterday, even for a moment, I am granted what I see at the time as a traumatising experience, yet later see is an incredible possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain some hugely-needed perspective.
Yesterday, I ask myself, honestly, if this IS it…if the news IS bad…if there is a possibility that I only have a short time left here, what would I do?
And with that, I have instant clarity.
What needs to be focused on:
Family. That the family is the most important thing – not just our immediate little five-some, but ALL of our family. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, great-grandparents, even our friends who I consider part of this group…I would focus on spending fantastic time with these people. NO DOUBT. This is possibly not that mind-blowing in its revelation, in that I’ve always known that family is the most important thing, but my point is that even fostering the kids’ relationships with their extended family is numero uno, above career, above anything, really.
Place. I instantly know that I want to live somewhere that creatively inspires me and has a real sense of community. I think this criteria could be filled by any number of places, but I do know that I need to feel that connection to a place. A kind of magic, if you will. I want to love where I live. And if time is limited, I would move there now.
Writing. I am actually surprised that this comes up – part of me thought that perhaps if I only had a short time left I would forget about the career stuff altogether and just hide myself away in a cave with my babies (which, don’t get me wrong, does sound appealing) but the fact that writing one project in particular comes up shows me that deep down, I really do feel like creating is that important. Important enough to be prioritised even if life was cut short. One of the things that overwhelms me sometimes is how MANY ridiculous big projects I have on the back burner. Will I ever get them off that thing and fire up the oven and get them in there? Well finally when I think, “what if there is not a whole lifetime to get it all done?”, I know exactly what I want to focus on. Just one project. A writing project.
Clarity through crisis.
Oh palm-slap. I really am Pollyanna.
Last Friday I had the great privilege of being a panelist at the “Motherhood and Me” forum held by Kids on the Coast. A bunch of mums, gathered together in quite an informal fashion to ogle each other’s offspring (or was that just me? Seriously, my ovaries started to whisper to me again. Luckily I hushed them up by flashing them a stretch-mark), munch on morning tea and chat all things parenting.
It was in between sessions, however, when I started chatting to a lovely lady from the audience that a REAL moment hit.
Somewhere in the conversation, she casually mentioned that she was on antidepressants, but that she didn’t usually make that public because of the stigma associated with it. I nodded in understanding and then confessed that I’d just gone back on them too. I think we both felt better.
This relief at ‘coming clean’ , even to a stranger, is, I think, a perfect example of how simple support can be.
Supporting each other doesn’t have to be about about trying to help each other achieve sterling heights of prowess in parenting/jobs/life, it doesn’t even have to be about hold handing, mind-blowing deep and meaningfuls from a lifelong friend (of course I love those too) but can be as simple as being honest with each other, even if that person is a stranger. It was such a reminder of the power we have to relieve each other of our guilt, our shame, our darkness simply by admitting “me too.”
(Sorry if this is getting a bit Oprah for ya. But you know, that’s me. Love me, love my bullshit.)
You know what’s crazy? As part of my car accident stuff, I had to go see a psychologist for an assessment. Part of his job was to see how much trauma I had in my life BEFORE the accident, to put into context the effect of the trauma from the accident itself. As I was telling him the facts of my childhood, with no opinions, mind you, just FACTS and I saw the look on his face, it suddenly dawned on me…my childhood really was traumatic. I’d never really thought about it before. I mean, of course, my mum died and that sucked, but even other stuff (her physically abusive partner, moving house a lot, being bullied in primary school, I won’t go on but blah blah blah) …I’m honestly not sharing this as a “poor me” thing, but rather just to explain that up until recently, I’d never actually looked at that and realised that it wasn’t exactly a solid foundation for a well balanced mental state.
No wonder I’m in comedy.
Anyhoo, I’m rambling but my point is that in playing my minuscule part in the world, I’m gonna at east make a concerted effort to let more of me hang out. The ugly bits, the awful bits, the epic moments of fail. For me and for you.
Yes I’m back on anti-depressants.
Yes they are helping me hugely.
Yes a large part of me feels like a freaking failure at being back on them but you know what? Being off them wasn’t making me a winner either. And let me tell you, walking into the doctor’s office last week, sitting down and bawling my eyes out over his desk saying “I think I need to go back on them,” is, I think, one of the most humbling things I’ve done. And I think THAT – not being back on medication itself, but rather, being willing to admit that I need help – makes me a winner.
(I cringe even as I type that last sentence, but I’m leaving it in anyway. See? My ego is doing battle with my inner critic. WHO WILL WIN? They’re both ripped like Conan the Barbarian. It’s anybody’s game.)
What I really want to say is that whoever you are, random person of cyberspace, if you are or have been struggling, if you know what depression is – and I mean you really KNOW, if you feel like you’re failing at life, if you feel like a royal twat for even whinging about such self-indulgent crap when the world is as it is, if you’re in need of help, then let me just say, for what it’s worth:
The most FAQ in any interview I do – I love saying that as if it’s a regular occurrence (which it is, of course…ehem) – is “how do you balance performing and family life?”
My answer to that is:
a) I don’t. Not with any real success, anyway. It’s a bit of a mess, really; however…
b) The way we cope is by embracing the seasonality of it. That is, there are seasons of insane busy-ness, followed by seasons of down-time.
Right now were in the downtime season. It’s all about the family, which I am so, so, SO enjoying. There is the odd gig here and there, but after the crazy months of festival fever at the start of 2012, it’s been so lovely lately to just shut myself off from the world of comedy, social media, blogging and the rest for a bit and just focus on soaking up my dear lil family. Well, between sicknesses (I am battling a mo-fo of a virus as I type).
Anyway, just wanted to say thank you so much if you’ve been checking in here for more regular updates; please forgive me my absence, I – and the fam – have just been craving this season something chronic round here. I’ll be back soon.
Please forgive the slack blogging of late. Friday just gone, both myself and the little Cass-meister were in ANOTHER FREAKING CAR CRASH. Ugh. I cannot believe it. I do confess I believe I that mere moments after impact I yelled out the exact words “Are you f****ing kidding me?!”
Seriously. Really? Grrr.
The good news is it was not nearly as traumatising as the head-on collision of 2010; this one was a pretty seriously violent rear-ender, us having the back of our car taken out by a poor young p-plater. I really felt bad for her; she made a stupid mistake, seemed genuinely gutted about it, especially when she saw me pull littlest out of the car, I stood there in disbelief while she started crying and I involuntarily gave her a hug, trying to comfort her and Cass together. Mother Hen is apparently my default “in shock” setting.
Anyhoo, it tops off quite a crazy year thus far. I am sore and bracing myself for more physio shortly. Aye carumba.
I will return to my regular blogging schedule shortly.
In the meantime, please entertain yourself with these stunning displays of my Draw Something genius.