This is not a diet blog part two: How I cried in the kitchen and lived to tell the tale

I have an awful habit of comparing myself to other people.  I do it with near obsessive constancy. I compare my writing ability to anyone who as much as composes a sentence on Facebook about their baby’s hair, I compare how I look in a t-shirt, I compare funniness, ease of conversation, walking ability, nonchalance, taste in literature, I’m not really picky. You do something that I also might want to maybe do, and chances are I’ve wondered if you do it better.  I have another awful habit, that of being so obscured in my vision by others achievements (or indeed, basic daily functions) that I become convinced incrementally, every time someone does something* that I am the most stupidly average person in the world. That by comparison everything I do must be fairly shit. I have a third awful habit. This one I think I’m only just learning I do (my friends will be face-palming in their lack of surprise but I’m pretty slow, alright) as I watch myself tell me I’m probably naff anyway, all the time. Here’s how it goes:

  1. I do something/think about doing something.
  2. I assume it is/will be shit.
  3. I make verbal pronouncements to that affect.
  4. I hereby save anyone who would have been disappointed/angry/embarrassed at my efforts  the bother of saying so, having cleverly circumvented their criticisms with my own.

Hahahaha. I am the most nefarious mastermind of all time.

It’s not like I spend my time crying about my lack of philosophy skills or not-quite-right skinny legs or am completely unaware of any mote of skill I might possess (my playlists, I kid you not, are award-winning**), I just am super good at pre-empting the sad faces I feel I’m sure to receive by trying my bestest at some stuff and very aware of people that are good at stuff that I dig. Which is normal. Maybe.

To whit:

I read Marieke Hardy’s book You’ll Be Sorry When I’m Dead (several months ago now, I’ve been brewing this for a little while) and I dug the shit out of it.

I had assumed the book would be funny and shoot-from-the-hip-honest, but to find it soft and elegant in parts and so bleedingly straightforward you wanted to call her up and say “thanks for being so sweet I’m also a right spaz” was a little unexpected. I found it totally mesmerizing and obviously hilarious.

After I read it I was a little desolate. She is just… so… good. AND she’s only a few years older than me AND she’s been writing columns for everyone for ever AND she’s written a TV show AND started the successful and entirely whimsical and lovely “Women of Letters” thing AND NOW A BOOK.

I began to resent my life. How have I ended up this bland and irritatingly unprovocative woman, at only five years Ms Hardy’s junior? How am I not writing columns for some such over a glass of wine or laughing loudly in public places with my roughly-the-same-amount- of-famous artist/writer/musician chums? I blame my friends. Why, as a middle class Australian attending a private Christian school I could not have had the decency to fall in with a crowd of no good, up all night, lets do whatever the hell we want, everything was beautiful and nothing hurt types is beyond me. How’s a girl supposed to accumulate ex’s like empties and anecdotes that would make your nostrils sting when the gang she hangs out with is PG at the most?

I at several points during and after reading thought “OK. We’ll just have to drink a shit load more. It’s not too late for that at least”.

I was also at several points during and after reading, when my disgust at my stubborn refusal to be anything but a regular, non-alcoholic person had stepped out to have a smoke, convinced that Marieke and I would be magical and life-long friends, should we ever meet (you see, in a secret cavern in my mind lurks the stupidly confident Carlynne, the one who still believes she will one day appear as a telepath with mad fighting skills in an indie superhero flick and who fortunately (or not, depending on viewpoint) takes over when I’m on the dance floor. Now, having read Marieke Hardy’s wonderful book, the weeny, inner, vim filled Carlynne cheerily tells me that one day, Marieke will stumble across this blog, be both stunned and chuffed by my skillful wordplay and humble affectations of hero worship and ring her publisher to tell them they’ve got another hit on their hands. She (inner sociopath Carlynne), was responsible for my 11 year old “Mark Gosseler’s limo breaking down out the front of my house and he has to wait for a tow but I’m not phased by his celebrity or blindingly white smile and he’s really impressed by that so we fall in love” fantasy and I suspect this one will be as unrealized) but mostly it was “aaaiii- my blinding lack of publishable material! Woe” and the gnashing of metaphorical teeth etc.

Now you see I write a little bit, but my only semi regular outlet (what you’re viewing. Gorgeous isn’t it) is a blog dedicated to how undeniably pedestrian my efforts are. Also note that I was here comparing myself to a woman who has actually attempted to do things that I’ve never tried. So of course I haven’t had the same level of success, publishers outside of my brain don’t ring unknown bloggers and ask permission to publish them. But by reading and bemoaning how much better she is, I got to remind myself that I’d probably never have her level of success anyway just to keep drilling the point home. You dig?

This is obviously all very amusing and Carlynne-like, but actually the last couple of months of the year, despite my powerhouse 30-is-still-alright-with-me performance got a little shit. I was both busy and exhausted, I was in the throes of a bout of loneliness to rival any I’d had for a few years that was kicked off, unfortunately, by a really lovely wedding and only exacerbated by the hideous timing of my first viewing of Jane Eyre, I had thrown a sort of unsuccessful weekend party a couple of weeks ago, I had put on weight and felt fat and inelegant most of the time, I doubted myself in social situations; I was for once, almost convinced that what I say about myself a lot is true.

It all culminated one night when faced with icing a mountain of gingerbread that I’d rather ambitiously constructed the night before and that refused to be iced either well or expediently in my bursting into tears over biscuits cut into the shapes of trees, bells and ninjas. Not a high point.

I went home to Adelaide shortly after and got a lot of rest, which was what was dearly needed, and also a lot of thinking time. I began to breathe again and found myself at the beginning of a new year, rather hopefully musing on the changes I wished I could make.

Wrapped in the protective cocoon of my mum’s house, far away from most responsibilities and the pressures I’d placed on myself, I decided that as no one else could claim to be in charge of making my life more palletable to me other than… me, that I would seize the dubious power of the Yule-Tide and make the new year an opportunity to be better. And not in a “you’re shit- be less shit” way.

Firstly I realised that being so thoroughly convinced of my shittitude was very, very unhealthy. I would need to work on that. Secondly, if I want to be healthier, in a physical sense, then I can choose to do that! I am a capable, mobile woman! If I want to eat better and exercise more, than by jove what’s stopping me? Huzzah! And finally, if I want to be a writer, then I probably need to fucking write! There’s no conceivable point lying around moaning about how successful someone else is when you don’t even update your blog regularly. Being good at something has to be worked on. Surely. So I resolved to be better, and while I was at it, better at being me.

And so, 2012 began, and with it a slightly more updated version of Carlynne.

More on that later…

Ps. I was planning on writing this closer to the start of the new year, but luckily enough, I’m hideously disorganized and have therefore had time to heal even more thoroughly than I did in my post-horrid-times time.

Pps. I honestly don’t write this stuff in the hope that people will read and feel sorry for “poor badly self-esteemed me”. I really do find this the best way of processing my thoughts, need the drive of a published medium to push me to write and also figure if someone else who thinks they’re naff reads it then maybe they’ll find something better to do with their time than think they’re naff.

*It has to be something I enjoy/feel is important. I am in no way envious of any athletes, sports players or producers of dub-step, reggae or trance music.

**Of course I’m kidding. There are no awards for playlists. Or are there?! Oh my gosh. If there are, that’s weird but please nominate me. I’ll enjoy another chance to be self depreciating.

Sure, birthdays are stupid, but I like them anyway

I am 30 now. It’s like, official, and stuff. I got a letter from the Queen, man.

That’s not true. But you’re allowed to lie when you’re 30.

So, a couple of horrifically self indulgent posts coming your* way. Post birthday’s fault. Blame the birthday.

* I love referring to the internet like it’s actually a person reading this, and it’s obsessively watching my every move, nodding and saying “uh-huh, yep, yep” when I tell it my ridiculous tripe quota for the month has just doubled. And it maybe has a picture tacked up on its wall of me, and sometimes when its house mate isn’t around it kisses the picture. Yes, the internet is in love with me. What?

Slightly below slightly above average

Oh Internet. Let me tell you a little something.

Turns out me making a list of things to do before I’m 30 was a great idea in theory, but a really poorly thought out one in the staggeringly disorganized reality of my day to day existence.

Hahahahaaaa uugh.

I will not, you can be sure, get all of the list done. I can say this with some certainty as my birthday is less than 3 weeks off and I am yet to even conceive of how to fish, let alone catch a barrumundi, and of course have not leapt from a plane. I have no plans to do either of these mid-assignment time and can also not go back in time to stop myself buying new books, bully myself into walking daily and take up both French classes and dancing lessons. Le sigh.

I do however have a couple of important updates along the “perhaps I’m not completely useless” line. Squee!

No. 36. Knit things. I, have been knitting up a sort of casual and spaced out storm.. or more accurately two flattish pieces of knitted wool that could become scarves for either people or, I’m hoping, bike racks. I have to tell you- it’s all about knit one purl one. Who knew.

28. Develop less irritating and useless crushes. Ha! hahahahaHAHA! I’ve done it! I don’t even really know how, but


It’s amazing. When I see a dude on the tram and he’s all sporting a beard and wearing an excellent shirt or reading a good novel instead of staring at him at intervals, inner voice manically repeating “lookatmelookatmelookatme” while trying to simultaneously sit up straighter, suck in gut and turn face ninety degrees so he sees my hair properly OR  even more embarrassingly, trying to casually reveal one of my tattoos (shame spiral); I now don’t give a crap. Ha!


See I’ve realized something very important. Not every guy I see on the tram/the street/at uni/at a café is going to fall madly in love with me. Say, whaaa? I know.

Most aren’t even going to notice me and this is ok. Mathematically speaking (can I do that? Do I need a licence? Don’t tell anyone), all of these dudes I notice around the joint, and even the ones that I more than notice, that I meet and am friends with, aren’t going to be someone that I will wind up biking cutely down Bruswick street with. And, even if they are someone that that is going to happen with, chances are they’ll work it out when we’re hanging out and I’m being normal, rather than when I’m swishing my hair slightly and hoping they can hear Cold War Kids coming from my iPod speakers.

I cannot will these connections and I no longer want to, especially when willing them leaves me feeling stupidly shitty and hurt for the twenty-seventh time because I’ve decided from a series of secret and hidden clues that boy x is in love with me but has not told me yet because he needs me to be more available and less intimidating.

If boy x is indeed in love with me, or as is more likely, wants to grab a beer, then he can ask me, and we can hang out, and I can not be a giant overthinking spaz ball who ends up analyzing every word he utters, comparing herself to every girl he talks to and crying because the mean man didn’t have the decency to like her back.

You see this way, and here’s the best part, I get to enjoy myself, something that was largely shat on by my citizenship in the land of liking.

So catchya round, Crushton, hopefully not for a long long while though.

32. Get to know family I don’t keep in touch with. Whole other entry just posted.

And most importantly I think- 19. Understand what it means to grow up.

I never wanted to be one of those people who every birthday shrieks and covers their faces screaming “no oh god why me why is it always me” or, as is more realistic, complains a little about getting older every year. It didn’t make sense to me. Birthdays come whether you complain or not, and it seemed to me, you don’t want to complain away the one day a year you get presents for essentially not dying, you want to eat all the cake.

Despite this, a few years ago, I came perilously close to being that person.

I turned 26 and the knowledge that this would keep on happening, that though I still felt 19 and was for all intents and purposes, homeless and unemployed, I was no longer in my early twenties, and that there was every chance I would grow old and die dawned on me with a horrific thud that resounded deep in my viscera. No one told me it would be utterly terrifying.

Mild break down later, I went on to be a 27 year old, with a similar but less intense freak out about officially moving in to my late twenties, then, surprisingly, I turned 28. It was here that myself and a similarly aged friend did the maths and realized we were 12 years off of 40.

We very nearly lost our minds.

Since then I have been dreading 30. Not because I won’t party any more, not because of my skin sagging and the jokes from friends, but because I am most definitely not a 30 year old.

I believe I’ve made no secret of the fact that I feel my moving into adulthood has been some sort of embarrassing paperwork error on someone else’s part. I am stupid, laugh loudly, still enjoy slurpees and cartoons etc etc.

Though I joke about it, there has been many a moment of real fear in there as I contemplate my life after 30 watching people wear beige and be convincing about things they understand as I tie up my cons and move on to another in a series of casual jobs.

When I was newly 26, and lying on the floor in a morass of undignified horror, I paused in my wailing to ask my good friend Caryn, if she ever freaked out about getting older. “do you ever feel like you’re not the right age?” I whispered down the phone.

Caryn, a beacon of hope in a stupid, probably sugar induced frenzy, sagely replied “actually, I feel more like myself every year.”

At the time I was stumped but had the good sense to hope that one day I would understand how or what she meant.

And now that day has arrived. Somehow, slowly and insidiously, without really noticing it happening, I’ve arrived somewhere calm. Somewhere I’m happy to be, where 30 is actually something I’m really excited about. It snuck up on me like a sneaky little maturity ninja or responsibility ghost and now I feel like 30 is something I want to put on with my favourite shoes and go dancing in.

It’s a whole mess of things that have not all come together at once, but have rather been growing in me and around me, some for nearly 30 years. It’s about how I have a job now that I love, and that helps me to feel like I can do things for the first time ever. I am excited by the new things I can learn and encouraged by creativity rather than intimidated by it. I am comfortable but still challenged by my faith and though I’ve had times this year when I thought it was all a bunch of shit, I am happily trapped here once again. I live in a fabulous area of Melbourne that helps me feel alive and connected. I write more than I did before and I feel like I do an ok job sometimes. I am the happiest and most satisfied with who I am, how I look and how I spend my time that I’ve ever been- in short, I feel more like myself than I ever have.

I am still a huge spaz of course, but I’ve learnt that everyone does everything differently and the way I do 29- 30 doesn’t have to be the way that others have. I completely dug my 20’s and it will still be surreal when I meet various 23 year olds and I tell them I’m a whole different survey box, but if 30 means more of this learning how to be myself bidness, then bring that shit on.

So that is all the things I’m writing about for now because my internet was weird and i’ve been busy and tired (and at the microbrew showcase) and I will do more writing later. Like you even care. Shut up.

…Love you. x