Forewarned

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You know how you see those predict-a-text errors? And you laugh and wonder how on earth that could happen? This is one of my favourites, partly because my beloved’s name is Lauren:

Now, I’m someone who reads these and thinks, “How the hell did that happen? Surely not!”. However, I am now on the other side of it. Friends, I dropped a clanger yesterday. So big and so bad and so very totally unaware. Honestly. It took me ages to work out what I had exactly said.

It started when I asked my friends on Facebook if anyone had a pair of forearm crutches that I could borrow while I am at a Writers Festival this week. From experience, the grounds at this Festival site are pretty uneven, and I do not want to anger my ankle this close to surgery. So here we go:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Yup. I asked for foreskin crutches. Not forearm.

It continued:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Over forty comments later, and the madness continued.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

It got even worse when my sister got in on the act: she sent me a text, saying “Sheepskin looks nothing like foreskin”. I thought about it, then replied with, “I meant forearm, not sheepskin”. At least I can blame auto-correct.

But here’s the thing: My particular phone won’t even predict its own brand name! Yet it’s quite happy to fling random foreskins into my social media. So obviously, friends, I have to ask: Have you ever had an auto-correct fail?

 

I will be careful around videos

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I was totally on the radio today. I’d like to tell you I’d been harbouring this secret and practising in private for months, but in all honesty I got a call about an hour before it went to air. I let social media do the spreading of the news, rang my beloved and organised to meet her at home. 

Then I got COMPLETELY LOST. 

What is usually a ten minute drive took me a good 25. Keep in mind that the call I got was only an hour before this particular ABC show started. I was chewing through time as I swore at random cows and hurtled down streets that I tried to convince myself looked familiar. 

They didn’t. 

I essentially ended up returning to where I started, and beginning again – minus the damn short cuts. 

I arrived home to a flurry of fur, a bemused beloved and a bladder threatening to burst. But there was no TIME to wee and no TIME to play and no TIME to reassure. 

The phone rang. 

It was the ABC. 

This is the interview… I kick in at around the 6 minute mark. After me is the awesome Jessie Ansons. I’ll have to warn her… video apparently tried to kill radio stars, at one point! 

Raw

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No, not like a tiger. 

Or maybe. Maybe, a little bit like a tiger. 

The last time I wrote, I was telling you about the foot surgeon. I saw him the day of our anniversary, and afterwards my beloved whisked me away for the night. We went to the Hunter Valley for the night, and I fell in love with her all over again. We visited one of her favourite places, the Tunnel of Beer: 

Her beer tasting paddle. The one on the right tasted like dog bum. Image by The Naughty Corner.

Her beer tasting paddle. The one on the right tasted like dog bum. Image by The Naughty Corner.

We had such a great time away. 

Then… the next day or so happened. The guts of the drama is irrelevant here, but the point of what I am writing is that it left me feeling so raw. And it was a spiral of emotion that just got worse… and worse… and worse. After three days of raw, I woke up in tears today and before I knew it, I was gazing at a craft knife and contemplating. 

Dark times. 

Tunnel vision. 

A mind collapsing from the inside. 

And I thought about it. I admit it: I held the craft knife and I felt every single bump on the handle. I saw the way the steel of it glinted under the light. I recalled the bite of it, the burn of it, the release of it. I stood, transfixed in a still, deep pool of memory and temptation and rawness. 

And I put it down, turned, and walked away. 

Outside, followed by my furry tribe. 

This isn’t a how-to of avoiding self harm. This isn’t a yay me! post. 

This is the reality of mental health. The reality of how a bad day or a few bad days can spiral out of control until you’re facing a coping mechanism you thought you’d left behind. Just as an asthmatic can have an attack after months and years of wellness and treatment, so too can someone with depression. And it might just be a one-off. It might be based in a perfectly logical reason, but sometimes those perfectly logical reasons grab hold of perfectly illogical self-talk and together they combine to create a beast of a tiger; a tiger that might have been crouching and appearing tame behind the bars of a zoo, but a tiger just the same.

The fact? I didn’t do it.

But god, I wanted to.

What does this mean now?

It showed me how deep I slipped. How raw I felt at my very core. And that it’s time for some increased self-care.

I need to remember that the guilt of it and the shame of it – they’re not me. That the people who love me and the people who are in my life – they’re not conditional. They’re forever. Whatever. Forever. 

Even as I write this, there are people in my exact situation who don’t know these things. I’m going to be fine. And I know that because I realised that what I was feeling wasn’t normal for me. That is a skill and it is so, so helpful.  

Know yourself. Recognise your raw. 

See it, and walk away from it. 

How do you do it? Do you get raw

Step in time

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This is one of my favourite clips ever: 

How bloody fantastic would it be to twirl Mary around on the rooftops of London, leaping and jumping like you could have total faith in your ankles? Dick Van Dyke, I envy you. And while I am fulfilling the last part of your name, the jumping and twirling bits have been beyond me for many years. 

I have an ankle that was damaged quite badly several years ago. Seven years ago, actually. I fell down some steps at work, completely severing one ligament and high grade tears in two other ligaments in my right ankle. I also broke the bones, but it was the ligament damage that finished off my days of dancing on rooftops. 

Fast forward seven years, subsequent fractures and even more sprains, strains and auto mobiles (not so much the auto mobiles but it just fit nicely) and I’m on a cruise ship with my beloved. On holidays. Being normal and relaxing and walking in a completely sober state back to our cabin, and I fell over the instability of my right ankle and listen to the bones crack (again) and felt the popping of ligaments (again). 

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

This was a standard holiday photo for us. 

But it’s when you realise that you can’t even go on holidays without breaking your ankle, that you know something needs to be done. 

So yesterday I met a lovely foot surgeon. I’d waited three months to see him. That’s three months of limping around in CAM boots, crutches, braces, support socks. It’s a long time. Particularly when you add the previous 7 years to it. So I was actually very anxious about seeing him. And when I get anxious, I tend to get nervous. And when I am anxious and nervous, it is highly likely that I will speak without thinking. I’ll forget to engage my brain. 

Surgeon: Hello, I’m Dr Foot Surgeon (not his real name). You’re Kellie? You look very familiar, where do I know you from? 

Me: Well… Do you watch a lot of porn?

My Beloved: Shrinks into her seat.

Surgeon: Well. That’s one I haven’t heard before. Should I Google you and see what comes up?  

Me: BAHAHAHAHAHAHA! By the way, this is my beloved (not her real name). 

My Beloved: Shrinks further into her seat.

Surgeon: Oh, are you in these porn clips too?

The man is a saint. 

It set a great tone for what was a bloody hard appointment. Because we’d literally just overheard him talking with another person about their ankle, and that the public system had a wait time of around 18 months. The other patient asked a totally reasonable question: “What do I do for the next 18 months?” 

I tuned out then, in a mix of panic and heart-sink. 

I couldn’t do another 18 months. 

Anyway, surgeon came in and we greeted each other in the way I just described to you (yes, REALLY). He played around with my foot and proceeded to measure the instability of my ankle by pulling on it. He was able to pull my foot a good inch (at least) away from the end of my leg. Which was peculiar because I discovered that pulling my foot away from my leg actually resulted in yanking my tummy and making me feel quite ill. It was kind of gross. 

What was worrying though was the measure of surprise on his face. And on his Intern’s face. 

Dr Foot Surgeon explained the surgery that was needed and told me of the wait for such an operation. 

Now, this is where my story ends differently from the other patient’s. 

I have hospital cover. No other private health cover, just hospital. A wise investment from when my mental health was needing more support, which has proven to come in handy when it comes to getting things like carpal tunnel repaired. I told him of my health cover, and he is able to give me a new ankle relatively soon. 

I’m seeing him in August to do the hospital paperwork. 

I suspect I’ll have a newly constructed ankle by the end of August/September. 

And I’m really, really grateful. 

It’s hard though, to imagine how I would cope if I had to wait another 18 months. At least I am somewhat used to this. The other patient looked like she had sustained a fairly recent injury – which may not have been a long term issue for her like mine is for me. How shitty it must be to be on the beginning of that journey into ankle hell. 

It’s also hard to understand why having private health cuts that wait time down so enormously. I get that I pay for it and therefore can jump those wait lists by getting my ankle repaired privately, but what I don’t understand is how there can be a 14 month difference in waiting times. 

So, while I am fucking stoked and relieved and excited about finally getting surgery, I have to say I feel pretty sad for the other patient. I hope she finds a way to manage her pain and her mobility. And I hope that by having private health and getting my foot repaired privately, I free up a spot in the public system for her. 

Am I the only one who wants to step in time? Have you had ankle surgery? What’s the recovery like? Will I ever be able to dance with Mary Poppins on the rooftops of London? 

And now we are three

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Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Around about three years ago, I met this chick who surprised me with her height. Literally. I thought she had run away from the restaurant we had dinner in, for our first ever date. Turns out she was just very short. Compact. Fun size. A people mcnugget, but amazingly generous, patient and downright hilarious. 

Fast forward three years, and my beloved continues to rock my world. 

Tomorrow is our third anniversary. Ready? Aaaand… awwwwwww!

I’m probably not going to post tomorrow, because I’ll be busy getting my rocks off celebrating in a dignified manner with my beloved. 

But here is a snippet of information for you: There is no “Happy Anniversary” card that caters for the three year lesbian relationship. Another snippet? If we wanted to get married on our anniversary, we’d have to do it internationally, which would mean that none of our family or friends could be there. One more? People use our relationship as a derogatory term (“That’s so gay”); as a hateful insult (“You faggot!”) and as a classification that results in ongoing fear, hatred, self loathing, and inequality (“Homo!”). 

In three years, I’m yet to work out what part of my love for my beloved is derogatory, hateful, insulting, violent, or negative. 

Coming out wouldn’t be such a big deal if we were a little more aware of what love actually is. 

Because this is what is denied equality: Two chicks, who found themselves in each other. Hours and days and weeks and months and years together. Three dogs, a cat, and two teenagers. Amazing friends. Beautiful family. Functional. Yep, we argue and clash and disagree. But we’d do that even if one of us had a penis. Working things through. Growing. Changing. Adapting. Living, thriving, loving. 

And totally not allowed to be married in the country we live in. 

Maybe in another three years, things will be different. 

This time last year, I was busily preparing the most offensive cupcakes in the world

This year, I have a pressie tucked away, and an appointment with the ankle surgeon tomorrow afternoon. Does it get any better than this? 

Happy anniversary, beloved. I hope you don’t fall over the dog mats and land under the table again tonight. 

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Stories of Stuff – Throw it

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I’ve been letting my inner story-teller loose with a series called Stories of Stuff. To find other pieces in this category, head to The Usual Suspects drop down box (on the right column) and select Stories of Stuff from the categories there. 

Throw It

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

The humble tennis ball, snatched from lofty Wimbledon ambitions and tossed repetitively in the backyard of many households. 

We throw it for dogs, who chase after it, tails wagging, then with a quick snatch and about face, hurtle back to the thrower for it to happen again… and again… and again. 

The dog gets exercise and interaction. Energy is burnt, bonds are made, needs are met. 

From the other end of the ball, it looks different. 

Inside. It is cold and dim and moods are dancing on the precipice of an abyss. Fear and apathy and tiredness and the real killer, boredom. Every move and motion is too hard. The dog nudges feet, wags tail, and returns to sleep. 

We’ve all given up. 

The jug boils, and the effort to create a mug of warmth is worth the heat spreading through fingers, palms, wrists and up arms. 

The dog has noticed movement, and scurries hopefully to the back door. 

You sigh, and agree. Collapse onto the back steps, coffee in one hand, ball in the other. 

Throw it! she says with her eyes, dancing impatiently. 

You throw the ball. For the moment that your arm is extended, the sun touches your skin and dusts vitamin D onto your skin. 

You throw the ball. The birdsong and leaves rustling stoke your ears. 

You throw the ball. The dog looks upwards and you follow her gaze, seeing a cockatoo in the tree. 

You throw the ball. The speed of the dog captures your attention and you start timing her. 

You throw the ball. She trips up the steps and you laugh. 

You throw the ball. The throws are getting bigger now, and you are cheering the dog on. 

You throw the ball. You’re smiling. Life has taken a turn. 

Distraction. Engagement. Laughter. Joy. Hope. 

You throw the ball, and step away from the edge. 

You throw the ball, and offer joy to a wet nose. 

You throw the ball, and set aside every other thing that has been fighting for your attention. 

Throw it! Throw it! 

You throw the ball. 

Lapped

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There’s been huge responses all across Australia after a prominent Olympian ended speculation and confirmed that he is gay. 

Comments are divided. 

It doesn’t matter, leave him alone! shouts one corner, while the other bellows in a triumphant tone, We knew it!

It’s a big thing, to come out. And I imagine it is even harder after denying it for the duration of your career, and in turn a significant chunk of your life. 

The real thing to consider is why? Why did he choose to deny it? What is wrong with our culture that it is still so hard for people to be who they are? What is it about sporting life that made it impossible for this man to be at ease with his sexuality before now? 

We can claim to be happy for him. We can say that we knew it and that it doesn’t matter and create memos that welcome him out of the closet. But we’ve still fucked up as a society when someone’s sexuality is breaking news. 

Think about it. 

Would you be able to come out without considering repercussions? Could you happily make a statement that risked ostracising you from your peers, your family, your friends? Would you be at ease to answer in the affirmative, knowing that your answer immediately prevents you from marrying the person you love? 

The real reason this is news is because it exposes a lie. 

Olympic-Size Pool

A lie that we as a society tell ourselves every frigging day. 

We say we accept sexuality. We say that we don’t discriminate and we make the outraged noises over inequality and injustice. But when we cheer say we knew it when a man reveals his sexuality? We’re not accepting it, or him, as normal. 

Why does he even have to tell us, one way or another? 

Why isn’t what he has already given to Australia enough? If he wanted to be a role model for same sex attracted Australians, maybe he would have done so. I tend to think that offering the example of an active lifestyle and achieving goals is probably equally valid. 

He doesn’t owe anyone an explanation of his sexuality. That’s between him and his penis. 

Maybe it’s a chance for us as a society to talk about what makes it still so hard to come out, so hard for people to embrace who they are. 

What are your thoughts?