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.

Things I have learnt in the past week

-I can be an “active” person

-getting out of bed when ones alarm goes off IS actually possible

-I crave approval like I crave hot beverages

-cheese; yes

-beer is still awesome, though

-when one comes upon a beer named “black lung” one should follow ones instincts and walk away

-protests can be tricky and rough and odd and divisive

-giant demon babies populate my city

-I am not as good a dancer as I think I am

-intentions don’t write essays

-the heady thrill of making friends with fun people is still like a drug to me

-balloons are magic

-tram inspectors are people too

-naps get better with age

-my memory is shit

-Paul Mercurio checked me out

-that last one was a lie

-flight booking ladies (I can’t remember their name) are very personable

-married men are good company (and I don’t mean that how it sounds), though

-being bid on and purchased by a married German is not not awkward

A summation of the film Mao’s Last Dancer, as texted between myself and my friend Jessica.

Me: Hey, I’m from China and I guess I want to dance. So I will. Tadaa!

Jess: But I want to be American oh wait no I don’t.

Me: I also kind of like this bird. Oh no, I don’t.

Jess: Dancey. Dance. Dah-dance. Snore.

Me: Ooh my parents are here.

Jess: Choked. Up. It’s cos I’m too limber. Emotions just leak out. Oh wait. Not they don’t cos I can’t act.

Me: I am now completely ambiguous towards my native communism. For some reason.

The end.

Some stuff

I have too much in my head. A small taste platter of what lurks within:

The world is so lovely, so lovely. And I spend a lot of time on facebook.

I jest about my mediocrity, but am concerned that it means I will fail at the things I find most important.

I read some of the work of this girl in my short fiction class and nearly disliked her based on envy alone and the envy threatened to close my throat.

The smell of rain today was wonderful and heavy.

My tooth may be in serious peril.

Opinions are important. Maybe. I don’t even know. But I don’t have mine all laid out like some people do and I wonder if that’s a big deal.

I love Melbourne.

Sometimes the wish that I could lose some weight nearly overtakes the wish that everyone would realise how cool they are and stop hating things.

My friend made some caramel slice and it’s basically just condensed milk with chocolate on top and it’s awesome.

I want to go away somewhere and think and breathe for like a week. Without facebook there to observe stoically.

Do you ever wish you could just tell people when you want to be mates with them, and ditch all the “oh, hey maaann..” bull? Me too.

I want to research anarchy and the bible and to start sticking shit up in public places.

I don’t feel well.

thanks for you time, interweb! You’re a doll.

Things I’m average at no. 398: Not being a sook- an addendum.

So I got word earlier that I didn’t get this job that I really really really wanted. It was a Good Job. It was a Grown Up Job. I wanted this job a lot. When I didn’t get it, I cried and made for myself a small cave within my bedding and lay there and cried some more.

I was full of woe because this shit brings to mind many other things I’m average at like, having a real job, being employable, being an adult etc. And though usually I enjoy the charm of being completely average, embrace it and nuzzle its neck even, sometimes I want to just like, be good at something. I feel this is normal.

And so I got super excited about this job, and imagined myself doing it, and loving it and thought about changing my study to fit around it, and then they said they didn’t want me and the world once again looked at me and shook its head “no, you aren’t good enough”. Damn, man! That shit is cold!*

Any hoo, the part of the story I didn’t mention (along with any details at all) in my previous post was that I was offered a job the other day, just not this one. This was my bestest, I Can Do This Job job, shining like the light of the sun, and the other job says “hey!” and I was like “Oh…I guess..” *hair toss*.

So here’s me, in my bed, not doing assignments or like, washing myself, reminding myself of my shittiness while wailing into my pillow because one place found someone better qualified while another said they would love to have me. SOOK MUCH?


So I’m in the Cave of Sadness, and I look at my wall through the Slits of Misery (my eyes) and I see all the crap I’ve stuck up there. Crap that I dig, to remind me of things that are diggable. And I realise my life is pretty effing sweet. You can read about it here, on my other blog (ohmygoshpleasedon’ttellwordpresshe’llkillme) where I post photos of things I’m glad about.

I think it’s ok to feel sad, obviously. Sometimes I think it’s really helpful. Personally I love to crank the Damien Rice and bemoan my existence. I certainly don’t want to imply that I think it’s wrong to grieve or to mourn, even things like not getting the job you thought would be so right for you.

It’s just that I’m self aware enough to know that this job wasn’t just a job. It was me saying to me, “this is your chance to get something on your own, something hard and good and worthwhile”. And I was saying back to me “dude does that mean if I don’t get it..” and then I would reply “Yep. It means you’re shit. Officially.” And then I blew it, and that means every crappy thing I’ve ever thought about myself came true in that moment.

But the thing is, I know other stuff about me, and I know I got one job, and I know I have a wall full up of pictures of travel and friends and love and light so maybe just maybe I was wrong about me, maybe I should suck it the hell up and maybe it’s not worth staying in the cave tomorrow.


*Apologies. I watched some Dave Chappelle earlier, it gets under my skin man.

My neighbour is SO. LOUD.

But not in a playing rock ‘n’ roll way, not in an interesting drunken rows with spouse way, in a “I have an impractically, incomprehensibly loud speaking voice and need to relate some anecdotes about doing laundry, building pergolas, and some face-eatingly boring tales regarding who attended which family function with what bottle of tasty red” way.

It’s like living next to Charlie Browns teacher when she’s older and more boring and has embraced the megaphone.

Things I’m average at No. 365: Liking the right stuff

I was having a little Facebook tete a tete earlier, via the comments section on a link a friend of mine posted. Apparently the video, an allegedly hilarious clip of Cowboy Hiphop as yet unwatched by me, has been removed from YouTube because of a violation of its use… or some such . Anyhoo, a friend of the original poster commented that he had seen the video briefly on Glee before violently throwing up and passing out, a response to his obvious hatred for the show. I wrote that I was bummed that not only had I missed the original video, but an episode of Glee too to which he replied (in a sort of companionable tone, one show choir hater to another) that Glee is the worst thing in the world. At this point I had to confess to him, and also to anyone who is reading this, that I was in fact, serious.

I love Glee.

There. I’ve said it. And actually I’m completely unashamed. It’s fun and light and involves singing and dancing, which I love (except when involving children under 12 as that is only creepy and uncomfortable) and it doesn’t take itself too seriously and I am ridiculously entertained by it.

Now, the crowd I run with (side bar to state that I don’t run, am not a character in The Outsiders and am not sure at all why I chose that phrase) are often a little bit cool. They’d deny it, say surely I’m talking about someone else, but they know deep down, that a lot of their opinions and tastes are the “right” ones to have. They hate Muse now that they’re doing songs for the Twilight soundtracks, they love Arrested Development and use text lingo ironically. I say all this not to make fun of them, I share a lot of their loves and their disloves, but to point out the kind of people I’d be offending if I came out as a Glee fan. As it happens I don’t actually care and most of them are interstate which means the subject doesn’t come up much, but if it did I’m sure I’d get some heads shaking. That’s just the way I roll. I’m a maverick.

More things I shouldn’t love but do:

Kevin Costner

Romantic Comedies

Possibly Beyonce, although she hovers over acceptable sometimes. So hard to tell.

Vampire related books, movies and TV shows

Kevin Costners Field of Dreams

Friends, the show not the people, although of course I love that kind too.

Rod Stewart

John Denver

Guy Sebastions Like it Like That

Some R’n’B


Some Hip Hop

Kevin Costners Waterworld

And I could continue. I used to say (as recently as last week) that I’m allowed to like some shit because I like so much good stuff, but it’s more accurate to say who the hell cares.

When it comes to film and television I’m supposed to like Seinfeld and hate the Vampire Diaries. I’m supposed to love the indie music, except when it gets too popular, and hate the Miley (I do, hate her, by the way..). I’m supposed to roll my eyes at misspelled text messages and if I’m really good, I’m supposed to forsake Facebook all together because of its obvious affiliation with all that is naff and its clearly pro-Stephanie Meyer leanings.

I don’t do all that very well. And this post is actually a good reminder to myself to quit once and for all taking social currency so seriously. Liking shit along with the not-shit keeps me in fun pretty much constantly. It is almost inconceivable how easily entertained I am, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Cool means too much work, not enough show choir.

Things I’m Average at No. 119: Knowing Shit About Shit*

Things happen all the time

Like, all the time. Some of them are bad, some are fun and some are awful. I, as it turns out, know very little about any of them. I have vague sort of opinions about stuff, about what I think is wrong and what is right. For one thing I think Tony Abbott should maybe stop opening his mouth and for another I think the extent to which we have fucked up our environment is a little hysterical.

When soldiers from Israel board a boat of activists and people wind up dead, that is horrifying. What people do to each other is grotesque, sometimes.

This particular tragedy brought to the fore how little I know about what is actually going on the world. It was seriously like “Israel? Right..They’re not the goodies. No. Are they in, Iraq? Or just near it..”. That is how poor my grasp on important gear is.

My ignorance is actually legendary. Well, no. It’s not, but within my head (and I choose to assume the heads of those I live with) it is sung about in halls where Vikings drink mead and toast the gods. When someone says they are an engineer, I still need a moment to imagine them doing anything but shovelling coal into a train engine in stripey overalls and a tall hat.

Except, as a sort of qualifier to the first statement, I do know shit about, like, actual shit. As in useless bits of bellybutton fluff info that no one cares about. Like I know a little som’ som’ about vagazzling, I know about snail slime, and I know the lyrics to just about every Celine Dion song (thank you mum) that exists.

So in summation, if you asked what the song “A New Day Has Come” is about, I would mention how it’s a break out classic, layering the themes of motherhood and a re-blossoming career side by side and that quite frankly, it gives me goosebumps. If, however, you were to ask me who Foucault is, I would respond with “ooh. Um.. Politics? Philosphy. He wrote… like, something big. Ish”.

Prioritise much?

*This particular item is not actually no 119 in a long list of things I’m average at. 119 is an arbitrary number chosen to give the impression that the things I am average at are so numerous, that were I to chronicle them the list that would result would be lengthy and its contents numbering beyond 119 and increasing exponentially as my self awareness about my deficits grow.