“I was waiting for a friend the other night and reading a George Orwell essay about socialism and England”
In recent years I’ve sported a short, asymmetrical ‘do that has kicked ass, jabbed my eyes frequently and led to many un-PC speculations about my sexuality.
It is quite short at the back. Think a brunette Ellen DeGeneres or a female boy. My hairline unfortunately extends a decent few inches below where the hair cut stops in two ragged and hairy tooth shapes, which when left unchecked leave me looking somewhat fur collared. One of the myriad benefits of said haircut is the opportunity to regularly shave my neck. Not only is this good exercise but it also provides a nice tempering to any unlikely aspirations I might have to ever be a real lady.
I didn’t ever stop to think about becoming a woman that shaves her neck when I was younger and much more starry eyed. But there’s a lot that changes when you grow up, and neck trimming it seems is par for the course in response to the life choices I’ve made.
I was at a party on NYE and chatting to a quasi-bearded friend (male). Because I was a few G&T’s in and because my frequent razoring has left me much more attune to the plight of those amply follicled, I mentioned, in what I’m sure was an appropriate moment to do so that I shave my neck. My conversational partner was a little shocked but only, I think, because it was not something he had considered before. He also pressed upon me the importance of blogging about this, as he too was several G&T’s in, and so here we are.
What I find interesting about any of this, because of course it’s patently clear that nothing else is, is that I am often embarrassed to admit to the neck shaving. It’s not really talked about over pizza or the water cooler or the whatever else, because it seems a little embarrassing to admit. And that shits me. I haven’t done anything wrong. I don’t want a hairy neck, because my do requires a certain shape to look like it is supposed to. That I find a hairy neck inherently unfeminine is a problem for another blog- today my beef is with all the crap we are not supposed to discuss.
I have a lovely friend, who after the turn of the year, asked me if I thought it was lame (paraphrasing a bit) that one of their resolutions was to make this year the one where they wound up in some sort of meaningful relationship.
I of course hushed them right up quick smart because to talk openly about one’s desire to find companionship can only mean that one is desperate and one can of course only find said coveted companionship when one is certainly not looking for it and doesn’t want it at all.
Actually I told my friend that they are excellent and brave.
We are often of the understanding that to talk out loud about being lonely, or looking for love is a little bit uncomfortable. Where did this idea come from? I know people who’ve been advised for years that they will find “the one” (please) when we’re “not looking” (honestly).
In a lovely paradox, we are supposed to soldier on happily in our singledom, knowing we’ll scare secret spouses-to-be away if we admit we’ve spotted them skulking in the underbrush, but we can’t ever talk about how happy we find our soldiering.
We are not allowed to say
“I am lonely and I find it entirely shit” but in equal and confusing measure
“perhaps I am super happy alone and get a lot more done”
is also off limits.
Similarly a parent is not supposed to say that sometimes they wish they hadn’t had children so they could play x-box all day.
Maybe it’s just the truth that is uncomfortable.
I am aware that there is often a time and a place for certain conversational topics- I will never, fucking EVER condone the Facebook over-share and I will probably not ever start a conversation with the words “I bleed monthly from my vagina and what do you think about that”- but, I don’t like the mystery and the hoo ha and the connotations that to admit certain things, to utter them out loud is to conjure the lord Voldemort of awkward societal topics. What’s the worst that can happen? Your friends might find out that you get gassy from eating apples? That you took secret pleasure from the getting the black shit out of your nose post-camping? That as much as I pretend to be still fairly keen and am afraid it will make me look like an unfeeling, unwomanly monster, and as much as I adore my nieces and nephews that I remain completely unconvinced that children are a thing I would ever want to grow in my body?
This is how the church ended up being a place where people are uncomfortable and ladies body parts got all the worst curse words.
I demand truth, for goodness sake, and the truth is this.
I am sad sometimes because I am alone. I am happy sometimes because I am alone. I don’t think I want children. I love, LOVE, sitting around and not doing anything. I hate it when you get lyrics to songs wrong. I like unhealthy foods. They taste good. I have kissed a grand total of one boy in my life, but have really wanted to kiss around six or seven. I am sometimes afraid of dying but most often I’m afraid I’ll not live well. Beans have been known to give me gas. I shave my neck sometimes, and bleed monthly from my vagina.
You might like it.
A summation of stuff, 2012 style (Because I need to remember things sometimes so I can keep my shit together. The asterisks are for what took me a little by surprise):
Dated, both speed and real (with dude)*
Fell in love quite a bit
Got punched soundly in the heart a few times
Crossed a mountain range
Visited my beloved Vincent in the Musee D’Orsee
Met Berlin. Approved.
Took a lovely rolling bike tour through Barcelona
Walked five days of the Camino/had five of the best days of my life
Saw Stephen Fry perform for five pounds (bargain)*
Was tattooed by a Bulgarian
Ate and enjoyed capsicum and lasagna. Presumed I must be growing up.*
Met Doctor Who and became an infinitely better person
Met so many excellent people it is a little ridiculous
Became a member of a church* and
Learnt to like Christians*
Saw Sufjan, Death Cab, Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Beck, Cake, Beirut (x2), Sigur Ros, Regurgitator. I remain as enamoured of music as ever
Increased tattoo coverage by 250%
Remembered countless times why I hate slow walkers but more times why I love humans
Was told off by a parent for swearing at the age of 30*
Felt thoroughly mediocre more times than I’m happy with
Was selfish, and lazy, and mean and was reminded why those are shitty ways to be
Met my new neiflings who are only two months old but are already strong and mighty and beautiful
Learnt that I am ok
Learnt that sadness is not the end of me
Went to two music festivals
Drank a lot
Wanted to write more
Committed petty acts of vandalism
Danced enough for several lifetimes
Watched the world not end: was pleased, though not surprised.
All in all, not a bad drop.
Dirt is good for digestion
I shook the base player from Regurgitator’s hand
People are marvellous
All music festivals should encourage people to pick up their shit
Fruity lexia does indeed make you sexier
Though Primal Scream could have been more literal about it, they were pretty good
BYO policy means a world of trashy canned beers that inevitably taste the same waiting for you to not care and drink warm
Organic toilets are the straight up dopest
No one cares what you look like when everyone looks like shit
Legitimate reason to eat beans straight from the can and eat Coke for breakfast
Future husband located (feel that his being a rockstar only helps my cause)
New appreciation for ready availability of soap
A weekend without Facebook, mirrors or mobile phones surrounded by trees, music and the most a-grade peeps known to man is a fucking good weekend
OLD PERSON CONFESSION: I have never been to a music festival before. I always wanted to, you know, ten years ago when Big Day Out still looked remotely interesting but it has never worked out. Until, that is, last weekend.
Harvest was the first festival happening near me with a line up that I felt justified the expense. So rock, right?
First off, very exciting. Yes. We all piled in to Kate’s car and sang along loudly to various, sunny-day-we’re-going-to-Harvest tunes, languidly cutting our way through the spring air. So exciting, all the way to Werribee where it was exciting in a 45 minute long traffic jam (spicing up the traffic jam portion of the day up nicely was meeting a car full of young hippie folks and gratefully accepting mouthfuls of mango, proffered by one through the car windows. Young hippies were also gracious enough to lob handfuls of large and scratchy red glitter into the backseat, and to plaster some to Paul’s face after licking it. Bless).
Harvest itself takes place in a super pretty and super large garden. They’d made good use of the space and there was whimsical decorations and performance spaces and delicacies galore which I had intended to like, thoroughly enjoy, and sprawl under and imbibe but after some wandering and a little art session,
the Silversun Pickups were on, and like, you go see the Silversun Pickups. And then you know, you get ice cream and you try to sit for a bit but then Mike Patton is yelling in Italian. You don’t ignore that kind of thing. So you wander back to the Great Lawn along with hundreds of other nomadic, dirty footed, sunburnt crazies, but then after he’s jumped around a bit and made Italian pop songs seem just ridiculously edgy, you realise you’ve got fifteen minutes till Cake and you still need to find a toilet and fill your water bottle and pay a dollar to put more sunscreen on because direct sunlight man, what a bitch, and by the time you make your way to the Windmill stage you’re missing Love You Madly which is your favourite, by the way.
So I’m watching Cake, and having just the best time, partially aware that it would be better if I hadn’t misplaced all my friends- the last two on account of the involuntary run I broke into on hearing the aforementioned song, when I of course begin to quietly panic about Beirut, starting in fifteen minutes. I send around a few messages and after five minutes manage to track down three of my companions and we join the large migration spilling back onto the Great Lawn and find a spot to sit and wait. I am by now quite stressed. Several of my group I haven’t seen for a few bands now, and I am plagued by the feeling of disorganization that must haunt the parents of small children at all times.
Beirut are marvelous, I adore them and they are marvelous. They are, I think, a little lost on such a huge stage and their music is perhaps suited to a slightly different venue (SERIOUSLY, I ADORE YOU, BEIRUT) and so when after they had finished and I was continuing my resolute possession of the piece of lawn and my friend Josh found us and was fucking happy out of his mind on the amazing time he’d had at Cake I got a bit pissed off. Josh. Shut up about what a great day you’re having.
I’m a jerk, it turns out.
People were leaving the lawn for Ben Folds, but I refused. No. No more seeing half of bands and watching the time. No. I will sit here for hours, surrounded by banana peels, water bottles and pot smokers. I don’t care.
Soon though, I actually didn’t care because Beck obliging came out and rocked all of my socks off. So that was nice. I don’t usually dig on the mega-skinny white boy thing but, damn. That man. Damn.
Then he left and I remained, parked on our bit of lawn dotted trash heap, aware in my viscera that Grizzly Bear were beginning to play somewhere tantalizingly close by. I just couldn’t do it. After constantly moving for the first two hours of being there, the only thing keeping me sane was my little patch of grass and forgetting everything else.
How, do people do these things with poise? How do you decide to watch one band that you love knowing that you’re missing another? How are you perched in trees and not stressed out of your mind about locating your similarly tanned friends and getting to some tent or other?
I don’t know if I like music festivals. Or at least not ones with a phat and tasty lineup. Too many treats and Carlynne gets cranky. Others blithely swan from stage to stage or sit in a giants bird’s nest between shows while I am tapping my invisible watch and internally screeching. I’ve always wanted to come to one of these, and I imagined myself bathed in the glow of all of my favourite music, and drinking in the sunlight and laughing with my friends but in reality THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEWHERE TO BE AND THE BEER IS CRAP AND SUN IS HOT, YOU GUYS.
In summation, I’m too old for this shit.
Lest you think it was a crappy old day, I will remind you that I saw the Siversun Pickups, Mike Patton, Cake, Beirut, Beck, and- Oh my goodness, Sigur ros*.
So, Cat Lady whining aside**, I saw some amazing bands, got a mango bite, and, not to be too tacky, may or may not have made my way with a couple friends into a backstage area where we may or may not have drank Moet with the string section of one of the bands and helped ourselves to said band’s leftover fruit and condiments. It wouldn’t do to name drop, but
Maybe I’m not too bad at this after all…
*If you can, ever, in any way, using any means, please- see them live. You don’t understand. If you have ever wanted to go somewhere else, Narnia, Middle Earth, Neverland, whatever; do yourself a favour and watch this band. You go away, and you’re somewhere quiet and beautiful and cacophonous and dark and heavenly and you forget that you’ve been standing for six hours and that the group of four who graciously pushed their way immediately in front of you after the band started haven’t stopped talking the entire time, or, that you’ve ever had a real problem in your life.
** Not quite done yet: pot- I don’t like the smell of it. It could be an age thing, but I don’t think I ever have. And, maybe it’s just me but is it polite to spark up a doobie in close proximity to my very pregnant friend Amber? I don’t know if it is.
And speaking of polite, if you want to talk, go sit in the fucking birds nest and talk! Don’t waltz in late, nearly knock me down with your little back pack and have a chat about how much you love the band that you’re missing because you’re talking over them. “Sigur Ros, is my happy music. They sound sad, but they’re also like, happy? You know?”. Honestly. Point me to my armchair.
How are you?
Just so you know, a few things have happened to me recently.
I know, I’ll give you a moment to catch your breath, but then we’ve got to keep moving; something else is using the Internet in ten minutes.
They weren’t super exciting things involving promotions or monkeys or super dramas things like my brother being kidnapped by terrorists and forced at gunpoint to construct a nuclear device. Just some things (one of them was making friends with an amazing Irishman -no, it wasn’t like that- another was walking over a mountain range -yes, it was cool and it does make me a little better than you) that have added up to me being a slightly different me than I was.
What they have wrought, in their little subtle-life-altering-Frankenstein-ie way, is Carlynne 3.1(the birthday came later but we’re pretending it’s all been timed really well).
Carlynne 3.1 doesn’t apologise for herself.
Now- to be clear, this is not in a douchey way. If I tread on your toe or diss your woman I’ll apologise the crap right out of you. Goodness- if I’m playing music too loud on the tram, please tell me! Because that is so impolite and I’m so sorry.
In the past though, some of the stuff I (and I’m sure actually a lot of other schmucks) have been apologizing for and the ways I’ve been sorry are things like this:
Feelings of noticeable discomfort around people who could reasonably be described as ‘Hipsters’ as am convinced that I am not quite as cool (I have too many emotions, and don’t wear t-shirts as nonchalantly), and they will see me as not as good, which they should be spared from, sorry cool people that I’m not cool-
Concern over certain items of clothing accentuating my wobbly arms, wobbly belly, large boobs or big frame and as said accentuation means that people will see them, I feel badly as these wobbly bits are obviously something that no one should be forced to look at I’m sorry world for the bits I will cover them all up for ever-
The certainty that all conversations I engage in are mostly my responsibility and that I need to be the most entertaining/sincere/wise/funny/lighthearted person ever witnessed and when a conversation veers off course or stalls or seems awkward that this is all self’s stinkin fault because of self’s failure to be one or all of the above; sorry chat buddy for not being radiant and wittastic constantly I’m sorry
And so on.
That’s a bit shit.
Carlynne 3.1 doesn’t care. She does not need to be intimidated by anyone, because this is all bullshit. She is a person just like all the other people are and this is ok even when she laughs too loud, or likes a Justin Beiber song, or plays with her iPhone in front of the ones in the great jeans and scraggy hair*.
She has realized that how she appears to passers by, friends and loved ones does not matter, that they will love her anyway if they matter and that she is fabulous and, it turns out, beautiful**. She has never allowed herself to say this aloud before.
Carlynne 3.1 knows that there are at least two parties involved in the conversations she is a part of (save for those she has with herself, and those are another story, for another blog post) and that if things don’t run as perfectly as the script she sees in her head that this is OK too. Also, she refuses to let silences be awkward. They are simply a lack of noise***.
So that’s some stuff.
Let’s move on now, hey?
*Carlynne 3.1 does not wish this post or any comments herein to be seen as an indictment on those of a Hipster persuasion- she has nothing against that lifestyle whatsoever. She has Hipster friends and an argument can easily be made, thanks to the nebulous definition of the Hipster, that she is in fact one herself, from time to time. You know, when the mood arises.
**The secret to this step is not a diet, or a tummy flattening undergarment, or a facelift- it is much simpler. It is deciding to believe it. Voila: Instant confidence. Who knew.
***Seriously the other day I interrupted these two dudes I barely knew as they were very clearly finishing a conversation and smiled benignly at them for around four minutes as they finished talking and prepared to leave the area. They looked politely at me from time to time, wondering why I was watching their boring chit-chat. I was quite comfortable there. Quite comfortable.
This is a story of being sad.
Not because it’s never been told before, or because this story of sadness is special or vast or because this story is one of the triumph of the human spirit against interminable odds or dragons or something.
Simply because I’ve told a lot of stories about being happy, or bored, or silly, and so I thought I would tell this one too.
Once there was a girl, and she got pretty sad for a bit.
In the shower (x2)
On her mother’s couch
On a Jetstar flight to Melbourne
In bed (x2)
In the office of the indescribably kind Indian GP at the end of her street
At her desk (x3)
The reasons why don’t matter so much; suffice to say she wanted something that she thought would make her life pretty excellent (forgetting in the mean time that her life was already, pretty excellent) and then discovered to her horror that the softly glowing future of her naïve desire was not to be.
So she cried a lot and listened to too much Damien Rice (lovely but inevitably unhelpful), and wondered if this thing that had made her sad (a small thing, as far as things go) had broken her a little.
Now- her sadness, in comparison to say, an ocean of such a thing was only a puddle, or a wee glass full of sadness. You might not have even noticed it floating gently behind her eyes if you had talked to her. But you see, it was a potent and a dark sadness, grown darker with infusions of her dreams, many months worth of denying and that most gruesome helper- hope. It weighed upon her chest.
She was a lucky girl, and as such was surrounded by a veritable forest of sensible friends (and an incomprehensibly nice doctor man) to help her lever the heavy sadness away. She was also blessed by having Things To Do, which meant that as much as she wanted to lay in her bed bleating sadly she could not. Thank heavens.
Here are some more things that helped her:
Staying off of Facebook
Staying away from beer
A magic mantra she chanted to herself when she got sad, consisting of a vision of how she wanted to feel when she was not sad anymore (and an easily reprogrammable brain- made so from years of memorising pop lyrics)
And so, the girl incrementally stopped dwelling in sadness, and got on with things. She had function. She had necessity. She had things she could do. And she remembered that before wanting the thing she had wanted that her life was really, really excellent.
She is aware that she will sound like a douchebag being sad for a couple of days then blogging about it like she knows anything other than a very little bit about bidding a repeated farewell to something you think would have been some kind of perfect, but sadness is something very vivid and sometimes very not discussed, and she believes in being open.
And so it is possible, that within your circle, or your sphere, or your hectagon, there are many many reasons to get out of bed, even on the days when that seems like utter fantasy. And hopefully if and when you are sad you will find yourself in a sensible forest and you can write a wee story like this one about the time that you were sad, and were lucky enough to learn again how not to be.
Manage to make headphones ‘work’ for me.
I listen to music sort of all the time. Fortunately headphones exist so I don’t have to be as unpopular as the wankers who listen to their Rhianna or LMAO streaming tinnily from their phones on the tram OR suffer the crippling back problems that surely inflict all who popularized the boombox back in the eighties.
Currently I roll a pink set of $20 sony’s or something like that. They’ve got those rubbery little inner ear bits which does make listening a much more enjoyable and more-likely-to-get-me-killed-by-fixies experience BUT they will insist on sliding casually and incrementally out of my ears with beyond irritating regularity.
So as I strut along to the Black Keys or Band of Skulls or S Club 7 I also have to squish the ear-buds back in every twenty metres or so. This as I’m sure you can understand is exponentially more complicated if I have anything at all in my hands to hold whilst squishing. So I’m rocking along, minding my own business, when I feel the tell-tale tickle of my stupid buds wriggling out to the cusp of my ear where they’re held in place by only the slightest amount of touch and a good feeling and will linger for almost as long as it will take to lift my hand from pocket or shift my coffee to the other hand and then fall merrily away. This is even more hateful than the stupidly intricate knots they manage to weave themselves into whilst sitting quietly in a bag (HOW DO THEY DO THAT).
Also it seems I must wear clothes embedded with series of hooks, snags and clever little wire pinchy parts because with the slightest schaffe or flail or regular arm or head or neck movement headphones are yanked violently from my ears leaving me outraged but impotent in the face of the certainty of its happening again.
I feel like other people are able to walk and wear these things and have it not be a huge friggin deal. Like, they manage to make it down the road without grunting in frustration and jamming the buds back in their effing ears for the eff-hundredth time, or swearing brutally as one errant bud swings glibly to their waist, inevitably pulling their twin down to join the fun. Am I so uncoordinated that I am magically transmuting my awkwardity to inanimate objects via spazmosis now? Yes. It seems so. This would explain why my gloves keep falling out of my pockets.
*this is one of the grossly outdated ones I mentioned a couple of posts ago. I now have huge fuck off yellow noise cancelling, ear owning ones that have rendered all previously mentioned issues redundant, have excellent sound quality, keep my ears toasty in the icy Melbourne wind and have also given me a healthy dose of “hey look at me, I’m the shit”.
Not get thoroughly and unhealthily attached to people I find on talk shows and somehow fall in love with and who are, for all intents and purposes, famous.
I wanted to watch videos of Catherine Tate and Dave Tennant this one time, because of course I did, so I googled and was rewarded with a clip of the both of them on the Graham Norton show. I’ve watched him before and find him quite the hilarion (I’m trying it out. Shut up). Also on the show was Josh Groban, fine, and this dude with dimples and a fantastically dry wit called Jon Richardson. I instantly was a wee bit smitten and so as we do when we like a boy, bought his book from the Internet without haste or really knowing a lot about it or whether it was actually any good. Two weeks later it arrived and three days after that I was in love with the man.
He’s fucking brilliant, right, but also, quite human, quite insane and sort of manages to deal with his problems with the state of the world by hating on it a little.
Such was the state of my obsession with Jon Richardson that I began the thought processes necessary to a. meet him or b. become a weird, sad stalker lady with spaghetti stains on my moo-moo. I was legitimately believing that something would be made better by our getting to meet.
The most worrying part -my firm and unwavering knowledge that we would be like, sooo perfect together aside- was when I tweeted him.
Oddly, he did not tweet back. There’s probably a back-log of single women who’ve found him on the YouTubes and who have come the realisation that they are what he needs to fix him make him happy that he has to work through, so I’ll give it some more time.
Side note: I managed to work this into a half-true performance in the style of a blog entry by a sad lonely woman about her meeting comedian Jon Richardson (except she didn’t she made it up because she’s crazy) for a subject at uni. Here’s to life imitating art.