October, 2021

“I’m so exhausted, how is it only Monday?” says the message I just sent to a co-worker. 

It’s ten past five in the afternoon and I’m in the same room that I’ve been in pretty much all day, from the moment I woke up. I’ve transitioned from my bed, to the adjoining ensuite, briefly to the kitchen, back to this same room, logged on to the computer, worked 8 hours and now I’m lying back in bed in a half-hearted attempt to unwind. It is not going well. If I can muster up the energy, perhaps I’ll do an exercise class via zoom, in, you guessed it, this same room. I know moving to some music will momentarily make me feel better but knowing that the feeling of joy will be so fleeting doesn’t make me enthused to get changed into work out gear. Knowing that all there is to do after is wander to the shower, then eventually back to bed isn’t much of a driver either. 

I’m lucky to have work, but nothing about the slog of getting through the day when my desk is only a meter from my bed makes me feel all that lucky. But I shouldn’t complain. I have so many friends who haven’t worked for months now. If I allow myself to feel anything other than fortunate for the regular wage, I’ll be racked with guilt. Be thankful, that’s what I have to tell myself.  

It’s a cycle of psychological self-harm. Remind yourself, some people have it far worse, many of them close friends, hate yourself for feeling so negative when in contrast you’re ‘so lucky’, feel sad that your friends are having such a bad time, hate yourself for feeling sad instead of being able to help them. Try to help them, try to find an end in sight. Feel like a failure. Repeat.  

It’s been weeks since I started to emotionally shut down. At first it was a gradual decline, but I have felt it become steeper in the past week or so. I can’t exactly put it into words, but now I really know what people mean when they use the phrase ‘shell of a person’. I feel like I’ve developed a kind of harsh exoskeleton that acts to protect me, not letting much of the bad in, but at the same time completely blocking out the good, the nice, the warmth. I really feel nothing. And feeling nothing weirdly hurts, it aches, a whole-body pain but numb at the same time. It’s survival mode, I know. I’m doing it to sustain myself, subconsciously and to enable myself to still try desperately, somehow to support those around me. To be the good friend that I would like to pride myself on being. I don’t feel like I can. 

I’ve known my best friend since we were five. Even back when we first started kissing boys, I always imagined her as a mum. I never imagined that when she had a child it would be at least six months, possibly longer before I met him. I’d always thought I’d be one of the first bad influences in my best mates’ kids’ life. 

Last year I watched a wedding via live stream and cried buckets full of tears of happiness for my friend as she married the love of her life – as well as a few tears of sadness that I couldn’t be there to share the joy. There was a small part of me that enjoyed the novelty of not wearing heels and drinking without having to organise a lift home. This year I tuned into my grandmother’s funeral on live stream. I certainly cried, but for the most part I just felt numb. There was no novelty in the surreal feeling of watching my family grieve through a screen as if they were actors on a low budget show, knowing that they were having that experience at the exact same time as I was, many miles away. 

Every day I walk past signs that remind me how long it’s been going on – the once creepily adorable spoonvilles are run down and tattered, rainbows in windows made to distract children in 2020 are faded and my favourite local pub has a depressing statement in the window. 

Last year, when it came to cases, 700 was a figure that terrified me. This year, 1,800 is oddly just a number. Interstate friends have questioned, how do you feel about the numbers? I can’t. I can’t because I don’t really feel. I ache. 

On social media my interstate friends share semi conspiratorial posts; ‘do you really know anyone who’s had COVID’? They don’t. We do. Last year I knew those who had it. This year, I know of the unavoidable cases who made it to ICU, they were waiting for vaccination that hadn’t been made available to them – it should have. 

How will we emerge? Broken each in our own way. Last year we all spoke with pride in the resilience we showed. This year, there will be many of us who carry this pain for a long time to come. I know I will.   

Let’s Just Make This Shit Up as We Go Along.

Have you, as a qualified adult individual, ever sat in a meeting, a professional business meeting in your grown up adult joby job and felt like you might be a child playing ‘work’ for the day? And have you ever shared this feeling out loud with your (awesome) co-workers only for them to absolutely agree? I don’t think it’s imposter syndrome, before you go down that path (even though in some way it likely is) but what I think it might be, is the fact that we really are all just big kids pretending to be what we think adults should be, like a solid 90% of the time. 

Recently, in a professional environment I explained to someone that it was okay to not know how to tackle a task because “we’re all just making it up as we go along and really nobody actually knows what they’re doing, most of us are just play acting” which, to be honest, I thought what just general knowledge, but she was like “wow. I never thought about it like that before.”

For a few hours after that exchange, I was mildly worried that my jokey throw away attempt at a comforting comment may have profoundly impacted a 30 something year old woman’s life. Surely, she had taken a moment, when feeling lost or overwhelmed at some stage to consider that maybe everybody else was feeling that way too or at least has done at some stage? 

I feel like we’re regularly shown examples of people who are (in their own words) absolutely “killing it” yet everybody is hesitant to talk about the fact that we’re all just yes and-ing our way through the day.   

Sure, as somebody pointed out when I posted this on Facebook, ”some people really do know what they’re doing some of the time” and sure, he was right – for example I know how to drive a car, for the most part, how to feed myself fairly well and how to not burn my house down, in general, amongst other things but what’s the end game? Now that surely, nobody knows. Why am I going to work every day (other than the fact that I’m a bad ass who likes to impress everyone by being totally sick at my job but also loves to pay my bills and buy shit)? What’s the point?  

But let’s take a moment to calm down. I didn’t intend for this post to turn into a fully-fledged existential crisis but I’m starting to get worried that this is where we’re headed – so I’ll change course real quick. 

I guess what I came here to say was that while most of the time (for me, at least) life feels like a big old improv game that you’re not qualified to be part of, you’re probably not alone and also, why would you want it any other way? Because those people who seem like they know what they’re doing most of the time, don’t they just come off like boring know it all assholes? And who wants to be like that? Certainly not me. 

How Dancing Kept me Dandy all Through the Pandy

I’m not sure that there has been a day that’s gone by in which I haven’t danced. 

For all my thirty-one years on this planet, I’ve jigged and jived and boogied along, through the good, the bad and even just the bland (my feet tapping about under the table to music only existing in my head throughout some of the most mind-numbing meetings that have ever existed). 

The joy that I feel when moving to music compares to nothing else, all my favourite memories involve me busting a move, so I am sure you’d be surprised to hear me say that for years and years I’ve been terrified to engage with formal dance classes. 

As kid I’d get my groove on every year for my drama school’s end of year performance but at that time I all about the ‘serious’ acting – I wasn’t in it for the jubilant musical theatre numbers that we were forced to perform to keep our parents happy. When I stopped doing drama classes, I stopped engaging with any form of structured dance class and I didn’t feel like I’d lost anything whatsoever. I was, however, always the first and always the most sober on a sweaty dance floor at teenage parties. 

Friends of mine did dance classes outside of school and they just seemed too cool. I was not cool, a feeling that permeated deep down into my soul, rippling through all my extremities. I never felt like I’d be accepted into any form of dance class – they were for effortlessly cool girls who looked a way that I felt I didn’t. But boy was I wrong, and I wish I’d known it sooner. 

I found freeform dancing in my early 20s through the incredible No Lights No Lycra, a space that has stolen my heart a million times over, but when the pandemic hit, I realised that I needed something a little more; a connection, a community, an identity, and a motivation. 

I’d encountered Mix Tape and the gorgeous Annabella a few years prior when conducting a photoshoot and it was love at first sight– but sometimes a love that strong can be intimidating! It took me until we were forced to join classes via zoom for me to give it a red hot go and immediately, I was hooked. All though 2020 I sweated up a storm most weeknights and all Saturday morning as I danced along to 80s hits and booty shakin RnB bangers. I loved every second of it, and even on the days when I felt like the weight of the world had me down, if I could manage to get up, tune in and bust it out, I knew I’d feel a million times better. 

As the world began to return to a semblance of normal, I started to get scared – would I lose the brilliant experience that I’d gained throughout the year? Would I be able to hack it at an in-person class away from the safety of my bedroom? I swallowed down my fears and pulled together my post isolation courage to push me along and signed up to an in-person session and guess what? It was even more fun than via Zoom. 

As 2021 kicked into gear I wanted to go full in – I signed up to two performance classes and worked my way towards a cute little concert with new pals that I’d met along the way. It was, without a doubt the best way I could have kicked off the year. I should never have been intimidated by those dance classes way back when because guess what? Women are the best and women cheering each other on in the way that we all did as we worked towards and then pulled off an awesome performance was just the most brilliant feeling. I am so grateful that I was able to experience that, learn from that and know that I now want to go back and do it time and time again. 

Repeated lockdowns have meant that we needed to cancel our second performance course of the year and return to zoom classes, but knowing that I can tune in and dance it out has made what is otherwise a pretty shitty situation pretty darn awesome for the fifty or so minutes that the tunes are blarring, the moves are happening and the zoom is the place to be. 

“Why Don’t You Just Walk Then”- AKA The Reason My Mum’s Hair Started Going Grey

I don’t recall ever running away from home as a kid – but I do recall almost scaring my mum to death when I decided to walk to the Ashton kindy fete. 

The year was 1995, as a shy five-year-old, I was surprisingly keen on the local social scene – the highlight in my calendar was the kindergarten fete. 

I present, a shy adorable 5 year old

I’d been looking forward to that fateful (geddit?!) Sunday in September for what felt like months. It was likely only days, but because like most five-year old’s I had an attention span of a hungry Labrador, it felt like I’d been counting down to the event for the entire year. I was only a recent kindy graduate, my career as a big schoolgirl had just launched. The carefree days of endless the sand pit play that kindy offered was fresh in my mind, as was the taste of those Styrofoam craft noodles that I’d occasionally nibble on when the teachers weren’t looking. 

I woke up early that morning (okay, so I don’t actually remember specifics like that but I’m trying to set a scene here so just let me use a little creative licence) and was excited as soon as I opened my little peepers. I imagine that I threw the quilt off of me, sat bolt right up in bed and squealed with glee “kindy fete!” just like a character in an American tween film but even more pint sized. I would have been adorable. The reality was probably way less cinematic; I probably woke up sleep picking my nose– I have nothing to base this on, that’s just the kind of five-year-old that I imagine I was. With almost one hundred percent certainty though, there was a cat sleeping on my head, attempting to suffocate me in the way that cats were put on this earth to do. 

Another thing that I remember as a fact is that I started my painful line of questioning almost as soon as the day began. In the kitchen mum was preparing breakfast; “when are we going to the Kindy fete?” I enquired. “Later” she replied, ignorant to the fact that as a tiny human my concept of the passing of time wasn’t top notch. When kids in cars ask, “are we there yet?” it’s not to be annoying (okay, sometimes it absolutely is) but it’s also because they don’t bloody know. Location and timing are concepts that you’re not fully aware of at five. Heck, at 30 I’m still baffled as to why some days (the ones where I’m working) drag along slowly while others (Saturdays and Sundays) race by with wild abandon. 

At the time that this day unfolded, back in ‘95, my mum was twenty-nine. When my mum was a year younger than I am now, her Sunday meant mopping the floors while a painful five-year-old followed her around, undoing all her hard work and nagging her to near insanity. She also had to put up with my brother who at that stage was three and probably still pretty damn cute – though that wouldn’t last long. 

Does our cute-ness outweigh our annoyingness? I’ll let you be the judge….(also Mum made us these PJs, she was so talented and we were so evil)

By mid-morning Mum was beginning to crack – I saw this as a victory on my behalf; I’d worn her down and I’d finally get to go to the kindy fete. After about the thousandth time questioning “when are we going to the kindy fete?” her answer changed. She quickly and grumpily snapped “well how about you walk then?” and with that I turned on my heels and hightailed away. She probably assumed she had upset me but as a five-year-old I’d yet to grasp the concept of sarcasm, instead she’d filled me with enthusiasm and resolve – I would in fact walk there.  

A quick Google search today tells me the journey from home to the location of the kindy fete was almost 8km. A one hour and thirty-eight-minute walk for a grown adult – apparently. If I’d had access to Google Maps or it has even existed back then, I’m sure I probably still would have given the walk a good crack. Not wanting to be the only one to get into trouble, I rounded up my brother and convinced him to tag along. As I mentioned though, he was only three (well, three and a half) so there wasn’t too much convincing needed. I grabbed my little handbag and what ended up being five dollars in gold coins (an amount that I thought would go a long way) and out the gate and up the road we headed. 

Now in defence of my parents, for anyone wondering how they could just let us walk straight out the gate and up the road, the truth is, they wouldn’t have seen us. It was a big yard and a big house, plenty of places for us to be that weren’t right under their feet – meaning we could easily escape undetected. The road we had to walk along, Greenhill road, had a speed limit of 80km per hour. Cars zoomed on by, but that didn’t bother us because just like wild animals we didn’t get have the cognitive ability to fully comprehend the danger of high speedy traffic. We were just happy to be on our way. 

An additional cute pic to distract from how evil we were – also please enjoy the jumper that my Mum (I think) is wearing here and how it looks like a bad carpet – sorry mum but you’ve made better fashion choices in your time…

I remember stopping to wee but I don’t recall either of us feeling tired or tempted to turn back. We took weeing turns in a ditch at the side of the road hiding behind a tree. Not long after that, our journey was cut short. Dad pulled up with a stern look on his face and told us that we needed to get in the car. We’d made it 1.5km – an impressive effort, which I fact checked just now with another quick Google. Dad seemed angry and I remember being a bit surprised at that. As much as I guessed that I might have done something wrong, I could also say with all honestly that Mum had told me to do it. With that firmly mentioned, Dad quickly resolved that he couldn’t be mad at us – but he could, he figured, be a little bit mad at Mum. Instead of driving straight home, Dad drove us to one of his friends houses. I didn’t realise until later that this was his way of making Mum stew, thinking it had taken him longer to find us. Mean but probably justified – she had, after all, flippantly told a child to take an 8km walk (sorry Mum!) 

In my Mum’s defence (and I will defend that woman until the end, through thick and thin, especially now that I’ve read extensively about pelvic floors and birth trauma. All mothers are saints for loving their children after the pain they inflict upon their bodies. Sorry, tangent) but yes, in her defence, she was twenty-nine and raising two kids, working and keeping house. I’m still too flaky to commit to keeping a pet alive. I want a dog, but my brain has convinced me it will somehow jump off the balcony – so I can’t even conceptualize the worst-case scenarios I’d drum up with a kid in the world. My Mum was not to blame… entirely. Despite that, Dad still made her sweat it out a bit. When we finally came home, she was a wreck. Part of me feels a bit guilty about the stress I put her through that day, but if I started to think about all the stressful scenarios that I should feel retrospective guilt about I’d need more therapy than I can afford – so I’d rather just bury that thought. 

Eventually we did get to the kindy fete – after Mum finished the cleaning. I don’t actually remember much about it, but I do remember that Mum bought me a beaded necklace with my name spelled out on it. It cost $7. She emphasized that if I’d made it there on my own, with the $5 I had in my purse that I wouldn’t have been able to get it. I’m not sure what point she was trying to make though. 

For many years the story of my attempted adventure to the kindy fete was shared by my parents. I’m not sure if it was an anecdote meant to display my fierce determination or express the fact that all parents fuck up sometimes. Either way it taught me a valuable lesson – one which could be used for both good and evil: never say something to a child that you wouldn’t want them to take absolutely seriously. 

Butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth….

Seven Things I learned this Cum Tree Season

As spring starts to ease into summer and the air becomes clearer, the scent of the previous months begins to fade, with many breathing a sigh of relief. From about the beginning of September each year, people are on guard, keeping a look out for white petals beginning to bud on trees in what were previously safe and innocent suburban neighbourhoods. As the branches begin to bloom on the visually stunning Ornamental Pears, an awful smell begins to suffocate anyone who dares leave their home.

 

Cum Trees hold a special place in my heart, I was first made aware of their existence about five years ago by my dear mother. A brief and bizarre phone call altered me to the fact that the beautiful trees that I passed on my morning walks were not as innocent as they seemed. The phone call began abruptly;

Me: Hi Mum
Her: Alicia, did you know that there are trees that smell like cum?
Me: What?
Her: Semen, Alicia, the trees, they smell like semen!
Me: Ummm okay (gross, talking to my mum about body stuff…nah kidding, this is tame by our standards)
Her: That’s all, I just wanted you to know (hangs up)

image via onlinetrees.com.au (a real website)

 

At first, I was dubious – I hadn’t experienced it myself and no one else had mentioned it, and while I mostly trust my Mum, she was known to come out with some…interesting things. It wasn’t long, however, before I experienced it for myself. Since that very moment I have dedicated my life* to informing others of the existence of these stunning monstrosities. Each year this unfolds differently – 2019 was no exception but this time around I learned a trick or two along the way…so I share with you, the seven things I learned this cum tree season.

 

  1. There are many names for the humble cum tree 

    A radio segment discussing the tree brought up many a creative term to describe it and its unique scent. There was the obvious; cum, semen, jizz, spunk and then there were some that were a touch more descriptive. I’ll leave them out of this article because my grandma will likely read it, but if you’ve stumbled on this post then you probably have access to google; search for yourself.

  2. The world has awoken to the tree 

    2019 heralded a revolution in the discussion of cum trees. Their existence exploded over twitter as spring arrived. Blogs, articles and talk back radio chats followed. I wish I had jumped on the trend earlier rather than just chatting about it with my friends – I could have earned myself some easy cash! At least with an increase of awareness the reactions when I bring them up are somewhat less judgemental.

  3. Never start a new job during cum tree season
    I started a new job at the beginning of September and what do you know? Our car park was packed full of trees, with more lining the walk to the nearest shopping centre where most staff journey daily for their lunch break. At least fifty trees in total, if not more. It wasn’t long before I was walking with a co-worker, biting my tongue and not saying a thing. Of course one of them commented on the smell, saying “ough, these trees smell awful, kind of like bleach and dead fish…” they trailed off and I just couldn’t help it, responding “but you know what they really smell like, right?”It was from that moment on that I am sure at least two of my co-workers knew me as the cum girl. Suppose it’s not the worst reason why I could be known as ‘the cum girl’ I guess.
  4. Cum Trees are a great equaliser
    As far as I know however I didn’t become known as ‘cum girl’ around the office, in fact, I made friends (I think) and for the weeks following we bonded over our shared disdain for the smell. We took joy in introducing others to the knowledge of what the smell evoked in our minds, we mentioned articles we had spotted online, we spoke the stench had made evening jogging difficult (well they mentioned that, I could not relate). The shared experience served us well and helped us bide the time until the new Bachelorette season started, and we had yet another shared experience to bond over; our love for Bachelorette Angie and dislike of many of the men.
  5. Not all mums are like my Mum 

    Every time I mention that my Mum introduced me the idea that these trees smelled like cum, please raise an eyebrow. Doesn’t your mum talk to you about what cum smells like? Your Mum sounds heaps boring then. Sucks to be you.

  6. Allergies are no joke 

    This year I began to fear the trees for a new reason; I am now a person who gets pretty sneezy in spring. While sneezing isn’t so bad, sneezing seven or more times in a row isn’t much fun, especially a little bit of wee happens to come out on sneeze number eight. Whoops.

  7. Not all scents are equal 

    “That’s not what cum smells like” – a rare comment but one that is raised from time to time. I’ve heard about pineapple changing the taste but is there a science to changing the smell? We’ll never know**

 

So that, folks, is my takeaway this spring. We can all breath a sigh of relief knowing that the season has passed for another year – in the southern hemisphere at least, a good reason to not travel anywhere and to stay safe here in order to avoid holidaying in a place where they may exist. Or just never leave the house, the safest option of all.

 

*Every spring, whenever I get a whiff of the trees and am around others

**scientists will probably know but I am a writer, not a scientist

Growing-Old Pains

Last week I hurt my back while putting on pants. They weren’t complicated pants (whatever that means) and it wasn’t just a ‘ouch that hurt a little bit’ pain. It was a ‘looks like I’m stuck in bed requiring assistance when I need to go to the toilet’ kind of pain.
It fucking hurt.

I read an entire book (that wasn’t written by J.K Rowling) in less than a day, I used a heat pack in the middle of spring and ate all the Panadol in the house (okay, not all of it. I buy it in bulk because it’s cheaper…but I ate some of it. Down the hatch just like candy).
I lay there and wondered if this was just how I was now; I was absolutely pathetic.
I think I could have handled it if I’d hurt myself doing something cool like jumping off a building or doing a cartwheel. Heck, I would have been alright with it if I’d at least done something to trigger it at all, but I was just a regular twenty-eight-year-old lady putting on some pants on a Sunday morning – after having spent two hours procrastinating about going to the gym.

Perhaps the injury was subconscious; maybe that’s how little I wanted to go to the gym. Though, maybe I’m just getting old.

 

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As a point of reference, here is me as a teenager. I believe that I made growing pains look inappropriately sexy. Enjoy?

When I was a teenager I had awful growing pains, I guess I’ve come full circle and now I’ve gone and got myself some aging pains.

It wasn’t so long ago that I was thinking about all the injuries that my mum has had over the years and I was thinking to myself how she must have been cursed and how I was the blessed one. I think I may have cursed myself by doing that.

Eight long hours (give or take, I suppose) I lay flat on my back while the sun shone outside. All I could do was whinge in the general direction of my boyfriend.

To his credit he was an absolute legend, making me a tasty sandwich and offering to source something a little stronger to numb my pain (which I politely declined in order to preserve both of our integrities, though I suppose he surrendered his long ago). He even offered to wipe my butt, should I have any troubles with that while taking myself to the loo, which sounds like true love but felt like a potentially relationship ending move.
I politely declined that offer too.
Finally, he offered to order me an Uber, should I require urgent medical assistance. Now THAT is the definition of true love.

I dosed up, went to bed and woke up mildly better. I shuffled to the bulk billing doctor in the morning and was prescribed anti-inflammatory meds, glad to be told that it “probably wasn’t cancer” – always my first conclusion after viewing WebMD.

A week later and I’ve been told to go see; a chiropractor, a myotherapist and an osteopath by caring friends and family who have seen me wince in pain.

Predictably I have taken up none of their advice.

I did, however, go to an optometrist and ordered myself some funky new glasses because glasses make you look smart.

I also went to a Body Balance class and did most of the poses so I guess there’s hope for me yet, though I’m not ashamed to admit that the part I enjoyed the most was the relaxation at the end and the bit where the instructor told us that we were all beautiful strong and superior human beings for making it to the gym on a Sunday morning (a vague interpretation of her words).

WriteMore Short Story Submission

A little while ago I entered a short story in the ‘WriteMore’ writing competition in the Moreland council. I didn’t win anything (but I got a snazzy certificate and a went to a fun writers talk) but I thought I would share what I wrote so that someone gets to read it.

The story had to be 500 words or less, clearly set in the Moreland City Council area and be ‘funny’ or ‘inspirational’ – the theme was ‘What I love about Moreland’ …so here’s what I put together…!!!

*****

I didn’t intend for this behaviour to turn into a weekly ritual however it seems that I’ve created a little Saturday morning tradition for myself.
You’d think that I might be happier if my early mornings were spent in a more traditionally productive manner; a jog through tree lined streets or a bountiful visit to a farmer’s market, but secretly I adore this little routine that I have gotten myself into.
I don’t need to set myself an alarm, which is weird because I’ve never been much of a morning person. As if it were magic, from the day I moved in to my pokey little apartment on Champ Street I’ve been up with the birds – although I’m usually woken by the less natural sound of a shrieking siren. This gives me a chance to grab a moment on the balcony to experience vivid pink and orange hues above a majestic suburban castle fit for royalty, forgetting for a moment the far more sinister reality of the architecture – too pretty to be a notorious prison I think…
On a Saturday morning though, I can’t linger too long because I have important business which I must attend to.

Showered and ready to go I jump on my bike and the mist of my own warm breath clouds my vision as I huff and puff my way down Sydney road on this icy yet sunny winter morning.

No more than ten minutes riding and I arrive at my destination, lock my bike up, take a quick (but subtle) look to make sure that there’s no one I know around – tick – and I’m ready to take some time to indulge.
You see, I make sure I get this little treat is over and done with nice and early – less chance of being caught and more opportunity to truly enjoy this embarrassingly guilty pleasure. It was when I first caught a tram down this part of Sydney road that I knew I had truly found my happy place…never before in my life had I seen more white lace and tulle in the one suburb. It was like I’d died and gone to wedding heaven – the fantasies of this single twenty-something were neatly housed behind glass windows. Intricate details and delicate beading that every time I take a moment to look at makes my heart beat a little faster.
I’m working up the nerve to go through the front door someday – but I don’t know if I could come up with a fake love story good enough to convince one of the shop assistants to let me shimmy into one of those breathtaking gowns.

Good thing there’s no shortage of handsome baristas around the place, typically wearing their hearts on their sleeves – ready to be subtly manipulated (read: trapped) into the kind of situation that would facilitate the occasion to purchase one of these gowns. Sigh. Maybe my obsession is why I’m still single? No, I just don’t think I’ve found the right café yet.

 

Adelaide Fringe 2018 – The Best By Far

I sit at home on my couch in Melbourne writing a reflection of my shortest yet most absolutely brilliant Adelaide Fringe festival so far.

It’s the last weekend of Fringe, my boyfriend has jumped on a plane to head over for the final weekend party and I’m here with beer, my laptop and party tunes playing from the TV (which has made me realise that Mandy Moore’s ‘Candy’ really didn’t get the credit it deserved- or maybe that beer is stronger than I thought…)
I’m a bit sad – it’s the first time I’m missing the closing weekend party since I was 17 and I don’t know if I’ll survive without getting loose on the dance floor while everyone sings along to Toto’s Africa and the DJ pauses the chorus and it’s just people screaming I BLESS THE RAINS DOWN IN AFRICA into the Adelaide parklands (happens every year, you can’t deny  crowd of overtired artists what they really want)… but I had to come back to reality – it would have been far too easy to stay existing in the beautiful yet exhausting world that was this years amazingly wonderful festival!

Despite the fact that I was only in Adelaide for half of the festival, and the fact that I saw far fewer shows than I have in recent years, it was still my favourite. Without a doubt.

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I mean for starters, we got a bloody half page in the BLOODY ‘Tiser. The height of Adelaidian Journalistic Integrity. Bless their attempt to write a news headline…

 

I’ve been performing in some form or another for the past five years and I’ve been seeing shows since I was a kid – really getting into the flow of things when I hit year 12 at school but this year was different because I got perform a show which I co-wrote with my wonderful friend Mikayla Lynch and people really loved it! That’s not to say that I haven’t been in shows people have loved before (if people hadn’t liked the other stuff I probably wouldn’t have kept doing shows…) but for some reason I was more worried about this one. For starters I was writing for two characters – I’d written stand up as myself and performed improv as a character but I’d never really, in a setting where pride and money was on the line, written for one!
I was working with some who I hadn’t worked with before and even worse, we were located in different states meaning that collaboration sessions had to occur via Skype with work flow being managed via online programs (I bloody LOVE Trello!).
Our venue fell through at the last minute.
I didn’t know if I could pull this off (I had faith in Mikayla but I was more worried that I’d make her look bad…)

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We got to perform in Rundle Mall and even children liked it (I had to not say ‘bloody’) and Mi kicked me in the boob and it was a beautiful bin fire and I loved it. 

 

But I really wanted to do it! The original and very vague idea for the show was born out of a real bad time – cold wintery Melbourne in which I was having a pretty awful time mentally. Work sucked hardcore and I was still figuring out how to make new friends in a new city (making friends is hard as an adult!) but I was heading to my favourite No Lights No Lycra regularly to keep my spirits up. It was dancing around like an absolute twat that I had the first idea – and Mikaya’s name popped into my mind – and from there, I messaged here and things…just…rolled.

Oh and the venue falling through? The AMAZING Raj House team stepped us and gave us a home at the last minute!

Flash forward to February and we’d sold tickets…we had reviewers coming…we had 10 shows booked in plus spots at variety nights and we were shitting ourselves – would people ‘get’ these two weird characters we had written? Would they get the jokes? Would they think we were being serious…was it obvious enough? Would our bits fall out of our costumes?

But it worked. It. Just. Worked.

Probably because we worked our assess off to make sure that it did.

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On the last night our Tech Joel wore a gold leotard. He did not take much convincing. 

And I saw some amazing shows. And I danced with amazing people and I drank too much beer (and some champagne that came in a can…which was…a thing that happened)

So read this please and make me feel less sad about missing the last weekend of Fringe – because I’m just bloody thankful I got to be apart of it and have a bloody AMAZING time (and maybe…keep an eye out for Cheryl and Chardee at a festival or on a computer screen near you…cough…cough).

P.S have a read of some of our sikkkkk reviews (including an beautiful **** review below)

Weekend Notes

All Over Adelaide

The BLOODY Advertiser 

Stage Whispers 

How To Survive The Adelaide Fringe

This little article, originally published here; https://adelady.com.au/how-to-survive-the-adelaide-fringe/ was a piece written in the character of Chardee (played by moi!), along with her buddy Cheryl (the wonderful Mikayla Lynch) who recently performed at the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

Fringe has arrived and just like Christmas (but without your weird auntie Sharon getting drunk and taking her teeth out) it’s exciting, confronting, and sometimes a little bit overwhelming.
Without a doubt it’s the best time to be in Adelaide; the weather’s great, all your mates are out and there a million and one things to do but it’s always good to grab a little advice – so we got in touch with a couple of ladies who know exactly how to help out. Performing their sassy show, Get Sweatyin the exciting new Rajopolis hub at Raj House, Cheryl and Chardee (alter egos of Adelaide girls Mikayla Lynch and Alicia Norton) are two semi-professional aerobics instructors who are to Fringe what Dolly Doctor was to your teenage woes. We’ve got the questions (that you’re too afraid to ask) and they’ve got the guide…on how to make it through Fringe and come out the other side with your sanity and dignity (mostly) intact.

Dress for comfort (but also for fashion)

Chardee: I’ve got thighs that do a little bit more than just kiss and combined with the brutal February heat, well all of a sudden it’s like a water slide down there and not in a good way. It’s difficult to get a park in the city and if walking is on the agenda things get a bit…ouchie. My Fringe fashion advice is to always add a sneaky pair of bike shorties under your cute summer dress – because you never know when the dreaded chafe could hit.

Cheryl: Be bold, fringe is the perfect time to pull out that sequined cat-suit you own, take that baby out and rock it. I mean what’s holding you back?

Pace yourself

Chardee: Just like a good love making session, Fringe is a marathon, not a sprint. You’ve got a whole month (and a touch) to survive, so don’t try and pack it all into one weekend – enjoy the entire ride!

Cheryl: Take a bloody risk! See that show that caught your eye, worst case it will make for a good story.

Networking is not a dirty word

Chardee: You never know who might offer to buy you a drink at the Fringe bar later that night – be nice to everyone because they could be keeping you hydrated / providing you with dancing juice later in the night!

Cheryl: Fringe is the perfect time to make international lifelong friends. Also, a great time to be single, if you know what I mean!

Plan…but not too much

Chardee: make a list of shows you REALLY want to see (cough) *ours* (cough) and pre-purchase your tickets to them – you do not want to miss out when everyone else finds out how great we are…but you also need to leave room for those cheeky surprises….

Cheryl: I’m a big planner, but fringe is the one time where you have to loosen that grip on the diary. Don’t forget to pick your kids up from school, but be open to new experiences.

Just say yes!

Chardee: Your mum would probably tell you otherwise but this is that one time of the year when you can follow a guy dressed as a pirate down a dark alley way and it will probably end well…probably.

Cheryl: What have you got to lose?

…but sometimes say no…

Chardee: I promise that you can’t go out and get Fringe-y every night. We’re trained professionals, at the peak of our profession (well okay, we’re semi-professional and we get puffed out pretty easily) and even we need a break sometimes.

It’s okay to say no, the Winter Olympics is on the telly and some of those athletes are pretty easy on the eye…plus you can’t sit on the couch without pants and a bra in The Garden of Unearthly delights…and sometimes we all just need some bra-free time.

Cheryl: pace yourself babe, no one wants to be the person that misses the party because they hit the pre-drinks too hard. It’s the same with Fringe. Manage that energy. Keep yourself safe.

Food is more than just midnight fries

Chardee: it’s easy to forget about vegetables that aren’t fast, fried and made of potato…make some time, room and effort and get an apple in your chops. It’ll boost your immune system, keep you regular and help you look as hot in leotards as Cheryl and I do.

Cheryl: Look, I take impeccable care of my machine, but it’s a temptation to eat burritos every night. Pre-make some meals, pop em in the fridge. Take care of yourself.

Sleep before you’re dead

Chardee: If there’s one question that people always ask me without a doubt its “Chardee, how do you stay so hot?” and while it’s not really a simple answer, I need to make people satisfied so I tell them that sleep is just so bloody important – and it’s not a straight up lie. You’ll need to make sure you get some solid sleep to make it through Fringe alive!

Cheryl: I am big fan of a nap, you can make time to close those peepers.

Dance like everybody is watching

Chardee: No matter how ridiculously you dance, there’s always going to be someone at Fringe going harder and crazier who’s far less inhibited – so let you’re freak flag fly and combine exercise with fun on the d-floor and if you’re stuck for moves then grab a ticket to our show!

Cheryl: Here’s the thing, YOU CAN DANCE. Even if your repertoire is Kate Bush moves, rock those. I am all about a good boogie and if you are too come join us!

27 Thoughts I’ve Had Since Turning 27…

It’s been almost a month since I turned 27, an incredibly freezing cold and unremarkable one. Sure I’ve cried at work (standard) and sipped red wine from a bottle mid week (like a thirsty baby whose parents should really be punished) but otherwise life has been a little uneventful. This has allowed my mind plenty of time to wander and I truly hoped to have written at least 4,000 more words on a sneaky little novel that I may or may not be working on…instead I’ve just done this – a list of 27 thoughts that have squeezed into my mind since celebrating the date of my birth.
Don’t hate me because you ain’t me? Yeah just pity me because you’re probably doing better than me…

  • This feels just like 26
  • Surprisingly hangovers hurt less. Or I drink less…drinking is expensive.
  • (While having a sneaky perv at a bunch of boys doing some footy training) damn, that is some tasty talent out there…oh wait…I think I used to baby sit that one. Shit.
  • I thought I’d be more impressed by myself by now. I have gotten very good at playing ‘adult’ though. Fooled them all.
  • I thought I’d feel wiser…more worldly…over night
  • My mum had a school aged child when she was my age…me!
  • Is it normal that I felt slightly aroused when my boyfriend announced that he had already completed his tax return? And it’s only August?
  • This cake is nice and all but do you think I’d lose my job if I demanded an acapella group performing Up Town Girl for next years birthday?
  • If I go crazy then will you still call me super man?
  • If I’m alive and well will you be there holding my hand?
  • What ever did happened to that band 3 Doors Down?
  • How Bootylicious is too Bootylicious?
  • I wonder how much snot I have produced in my life so far. Like if I wanted to put it all in a jar, how big would that jar have to be?
  • Why didn’t the guy in the TLC Waterfalls video just use a condom? It was the 90s, he should have known better.I guess if he had worn a condom TLC wouldn’t have written Waterfalls and that would have been a shame.
  • I should probably start listening to music from this decade
  • I think in the form of questions a lot…does that make me a philosopher? Or do they have to be intelligent questions for that to be a thing?
  • I haven’t done anything good enough to make me eligible to join the 27 club which is kind of a bummer…but at least I won’t die this year. Probably. It doesn’t actually work like that, does it?
  • Maybe if I stopped wasting my time on writing stuff like this then I could actually do something good…maybe
  • Why does it seem that they always play the same episodes of Sex and the City and Law and Order SVU on TV? Or do I just tune in whenever those episodes happen to be playing? Is someone playing a big TV joke on me? Why would I be important enough for someone to do that?
  • Am I being neurotic?
  • What even is neurotic?
  • Oh I just looked it up. Yep. I am actually super neurotic. I got nervous going to the swimming pool the other day because I was worried that there was a heap of swimming pool etiquette I didn’t know and I would make a dick of myself. It took me three hours to talk myself into going to the pool and guess what? I had a lovely time. Except my hair kept smelling like chlorine for days…even after I washed it. I wonder if people noticed…
  • Every time I see a cat I think about what it would be like to eat a cat first, then I want to pat it second. Is that weird? I don’t think I would like the taste. I imagine it would be like plain chicken which really isn’t a thing that I like. Or tiger. I think a cat would taste similar to a tiger. I’ve never tasted tiger. Though I do think that neither of those things would taste like lion – it’s just logical.
  • Is it possible to sing the theme tune to Arthur the Aardvark and still feel sad?
  • Am I the only one who finds Eternal Flame by the Bangles to be super creepy?
  • I wonder if people can tell that my legs are hairy under my stockings
  • Shit, my long term plan as a child was to get married at 27. I guess I’ve got 11 or so months to make that happen – anyone willing to help a sister out?

 

…Tune the next time I write a post to find out if my plan is on track…the marriage one that is.