Tag Archives: love

Back to the start

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The most common question I get asked is, “How did you get started?”.

Now, I know they’re not asking questions regarding how I was conceived because god knows I don’t want to discuss or imagine this. No, generally this question is asked when people see photos like this:

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Undesirable No. 1 

As an aside, people look at me fitting into one leg of my jeans or shorts or in this case, jean shorts, and comment that I’m half the size. In terms of weight loss, no. I’ve now officially lost over a third of my body weight. So I’m not half the size. Or half the person. Maybe that’s my brain being factual, or maybe it is the actual facts in answer to a statement where I have missed the point. Anything is possible. But my money would be on the latter option.

Anyway, how did I get started?

For me, the answer is this: Find a reason.

It needs to be a good one. An overarching reason. A reason that will make you tie your shoe laces and go, even when it’s cold or you’re sad or too busy or too stressed. It has to be a big reason, a reason that resonates with the core of your being and your will.

Nudging obesity related health conditions was not a big enough reason.

Being in constant pain was not a big enough reason.

Slow, unfit, hugely overweight: not big enough reasons, not for me.

Hating my body, and myself for what I’d let it become? Still not there.

Because all of these reasons, which are good reasons, weren’t enough for me to act.

For me, the big enough reason happened 14 years ago. But I didn’t turn it into a reason until July of 2015. Almost two years ago. So it took twelve years to realise the reason was there. It also took a considerable mind shift.

14 years ago, my mum died very suddenly.

She had some health issues, and was overweight.

There are things I won’t ever forget from the night she died.

It’s easy and natural to be stuck in grief.

But the thing is, I knew I was heading down a path to recreate this moment for my people. I was barrelling down the road that was going to put my people through the same thing. And when I looked at them and thought about them, I couldn’t understand why I would put them through that. For some of them, it would be the second time they would have to confront these experiences.

And so that cloak of mourning and grief had to be changed.

It became the hand on my back, pushing me forwards. It became the reminder on to the too cold too tired too hard days. It became the furnace that rose up from the pit of my belly and told me I could do this. It became the momentum behind my walking and running, the power in my weight lifting, the reason to scan my gym card or to sign up for yet another fun run.

When I hit the 50kg gone point, my aunt told me that I had realised mum’s goal.

And as my health improved, as well as my fitness, I had realised my own.

I’ve dodged a bullet, not only for myself but also for my people. And it comes down to that reason.

Essentially, my reason was love.

My reason was about changing the way that most painful moment changed my life. It took 12 years to get there, fortunately that was OK. But I don’t know how much time there was going to be to find that reason. I have no idea where I would have been today if I hadn’t started.

It’s a sobering thought.

Here’s something I know, though:

If you find a reason – and it must be a big one – then you’ve started. From there, it’s about moving. Find something you’ve enjoyed in the past. Walking? Swimming? Skipping? Set those beginning goals low. Walk to the mailbox and back each day. Walk in water if you’re sore. It’s not about speed, because you’re not racing anyone. It’s not about distance, because even marathon runners start small.

It’s just about starting.

And then remembering why you started.

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I won’t ever stop wanting my mum back. But I also know that the last thing she ever gave me was the power to save my life.

Which seems fitting, given she gave me that life in the first place.

 

Extended

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A couple of weekends ago I had to fly to Brisbane. It was for a 90th birthday, a beautiful gentleman who, when asked what it felt like to be 90, replied with, “Up the shit!”.

The last time I flew was around two years ago. That flight, I was heading to Melbourne. I remember the angst on the lead up to the flight.

I knew without a doubt that I would need a seat belt extension. Some people don’t even know what they are, or even that they exist. You know the seat belt they use in the safety briefing before you take off? Well that can click into both ends of the standard seat belt on a flight, thus extending the length of the belt so that every passenger can be safe. I rang the airline to get the seat measurements. I wanted to be sure that my sizeable bottom would fit. I contemplated booking two seats, so that my overflow wouldn’t affect the person sitting in the same row as me.

Because that’s one of the things I used to worry about, that my too-bigness would infringe upon other people. That taking up too much space would inconvenience the people around me. That I should do whatever I could to make amends for being the size I was.

That I should wear a sign, apologising for myself.

For me, my weight was a shame that I wore on the outside for the world to see. I took on the stares and the comments. I absorbed the giggles from children in the street. I carried every single one of the observations about my size and even though they were pointy and hot and uncomfortable, I carried them close to myself until they became myself and there I was, a walking ball of shame and grief and sadness and disappointment.

For me, my size mattered, 100%. And a lot of my time was spent trying to minimise it. I’d sit hunched and curled into a ball. I’d move with a nimbleness that belied my size when I felt like I was in someone’s way. I’d stand rather than sit, lest I break a chair or block an aisle.

Now, I still stand. But it’s more about not wanting to sit still. And now, when I do sit, I tend to sprawl in a most unladylike manner. Because screw being a lady.

When I booked the flights to Brisbane, that little voice made me wonder. Would I still need a seat belt extension? I’ve tried and tried again to explain how hard it is for your brain to catch up when your body changes. I knew that in losing over 50kg, the chances of me needing that extension were pretty slim. But what if. What if I hadn’t really changed my body shape that much? What if that apron of skin was going to be still too big for the standard seat belt?

Turns out, it wasn’t.

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And it also turns out that the tray coming down is a thing. The tray never used to come down. Not even close.

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No worries.

These are the victories that, for the run of the mill person, seem a little odd. If you don’t even realise that a seat belt extension is a thing, then what’s to celebrate if a normal aeroplane seat belt fits you?

Here’s what’s to celebrate:

I didn’t have to walk sideways up the aisle. I didn’t have to whisper that I needed an extension when I boarded, and hold it close to my body as I took my seat so that nobody would notice. I didn’t have to tuck it down the side of my seat when I got off the plane, trying to hide the shame I felt. I didn’t have to pre-book a specific seat at the window, so I could at least spread in one direction in an attempt to minimise the impact I had on the person sitting next to me.

You might think I am being too hard on myself. You might think that most people wouldn’t care.

If that’s the case then thank you, you’re a human with a beautiful heart.

But the reality is that a lot of people are not like that, particularly with strangers.

I’ve discovered that as a whole, society still believes that fat is something that people choose and therefore something they can quickly change. And as a result we have created what seem to be quick fixes for this problem. I’ve always been very careful to state clearly that for me, what was going to work was earning every single gram lost through sheer hard determination, through pushing my body, through walking and running and riding endless kilometres and lifting and pushing and pulling different weights. I had to respect what I had done in order to maintain the weight loss. For me, and I can only speak for myself, that’s what I had to do. Not everyone’s solution looks like that. But I can’t speak for everyone, only for myself.

As the seat belt clicked shut, and I tightened the strap, it sounded like victory.

But in my victory, as in any victory, I remembered the battles lost in winning the war.

So to the me in the plane. Taking up space. Wearing an extension. Desperate for the flight to end:

I’d rather you were safe with the extension on. You have an equal right to be on board this flight. Where are you going? Are you excited? Who are you seeing? Don’t let this moment rob you of your joy regarding travel. You go, you get there, you have an absolute blast. Because regardless of your size, you matter. Your heart is ticking, your soul is full and your smile lights a room.

Extensively.

 

Yes I Can.

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I started doing this thing at the gym. Powercamp. It’s crossfit. Something I’ve wanted to do for ages and my trainer said it was time to give it a go, so I did.

For most people this would be another step forwards in their getting fit journey, as wanky as that sounds.

For me?

Good grief, what a frigging challenge.

Not so much the actual doing of Powercamp, but what goes along with it. New people. Unfamiliar routines. A different trainer running it. Today was session number three and I finally hit the panic wall.

What was different today? Well, number one, I was tired. There was meant to be some shitstorm weather here last night so the fur babies slept with me. Yes they’re cute, but how much sleep do you think I got?

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Number two, the exercises I didn’t know how to do outnumbered the ones I did know how to do. And number three? We had to work with a partner.

Cue rising panic.

To my credit, I didn’t do what I wanted to do. I stayed. Did a different warm up on the rower, so outside of the Powercamp room. And I have to right say how amazing the trainer was – she didn’t give me the option to leave, instead she directed me to something that would give me some headspace to refocus myself. When I’d rowed and calmed slightly, she came over and told me I’d be working with another woman. Rising panic once again – what if I slowed her down, what if I wasn’t as fit or as fast as her, what if what if what if!!!

But here’s the thing.

There was a list of about eight different things we had to do, and we had to (between us) complete 100 of each thing in the time limit. And together, my partner and I almost finished the list. We missed the skipping (which was good as I had a full bladder) and the planking. But we did a lot of that list. More than I thought I would get through.

Here’s the other thing.

As we worked together, I actually enjoyed it. And I liked the partner work out. And I kept up with her.

I finished the session and went to meet my personal trainer, who asked how it went. I told her about panic and why. And she delivered a firm but wise slap to my brain. Told me in no uncertain times that I need to get my head together and realise that I am fit and strong and able. That she wasn’t going to let anyone put shit on me, and reminded me that at this gym, nobody puts shit on anyone anyway (She’s right, by the way. If you’re a Novocastrian, check out Planet Fitness at Charlestown).

And so I had a bit of a think.

The reality is that in 12 months I’ve dropped close to 40kg. I’ve gained muscle and strength. Life is so much easier now. I can do so much more. The size of my clothing has changed dramatically, my rings don’t fit, oddly enough my glasses now look enormous and even my shoes have become slightly too big. I can see those things and I feel a little flicker of pride every day because of it.

But the un-seeable things. My fitness. My confidence. My belief in my own ability. Trusting myself and my new body (even as a work in progress). These things, I am struggling to accept.

After being so unfit for so long, it’s hard to remember (let alone understand) that things are different now.

I don’t know what the solution is here. I get the feeling it’s a practice thing – I need to remind myself that I can do things. That I am totally able. That even when my Aspy brain wants to panic, the reality is that I am more than physically able to conquer the challenges that Powercamp presents. I need to remember reality. That it’s going to take time to get used to this body and it’s fitness and strength.

And I need to remember how much I’ve achieved.

It’s hard. But I’m a stubborn cow. So my new mantra has become this:

Yes I can.

Yes I can.

Yes I can.

Five

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I just did a very small amount of research to learn what milestones the average five year old child should be closing in on. Now, we all know there is no average child, and that these things should be fluid to allow for individual quirks and development, and so on and so forth. But hang in there with me. This is the site I went off, if you’re keen.

The milestones are in four categories: social, communication, cognition and physical. At five years old, kids should be:

  • wanting to please their friends, and be like their friends
  • showing concern and sympathy for others
  • speaking clearly and telling stories
  • counting to ten
  • copying shapes
  • using the toilet independently
  • balancing on one foot

… as well as several other key things.

Now look. I don’t know how much I agree with this list. I’ve met adults who struggle with some of them, and childhood seems to be such a small window, doesn’t it.

If I had to write a list for what I’d want five year olds to be able to do, it would look kind of like this:

  • know who you are, and what you like and what you don’t like – but be open to trying new things
  • know that even though some things might seem scary, with people you trust helping you they might not be so scary after a while
  • be able to be as independent as you need to be in given situations
  • be able to play on your own happily
  • be able to play in a group happily
  • treat people, and yourself, nicely
  • be excitable and silly and roll on the grass at every opportunity

Beloved and I are celebrating five years together today.

When she left for work this morning, I told her our jobs today were to come up with a list of five highlights. Here are mine.

1. Beloved is able to grow her love for other people. She never seems to have an empty love bucket, and she shares that stuff widely. When we meet new people, she welcomes them openly. When we make new friends, they are friends for life. She’s like the Magic Pudding, but with love.

2. When she laughs she laughs loudly and it cannot be contained. It’s frigging awesome. The people around her start laughing and then she laughs more and it carries on and on. It’s just the best.

3. When I broke my leg on the cruise she tried to not get off at the different ports, because she didn’t want to leave me. I made her get off, but to think she’d prefer to shove me around in a wheelchair instead of seeing some beautiful islands blew me away. And she didn’t bitch about it, didn’t complain – the broken leg didn’t bother her one iota. Not because she didn’t care, but because for her, it was more about the being – not about the doing.

4. I have a collection of photos of my beloved bending over. She might be looking for a DVD, or weeding a garden, or putting shoes on – any time her bum is up in the air, I take a photo. And every single time, she looks at me with the same expression on her face. Shock, and a kind of bewildered “Again?” look. I tell her I am going to make a Beloved Bum Calendar but I haven’t (yet). But this is the thing. She seems to enjoy my quirks, my humour, my strange little heart. And she’s made me see that maybe, just maybe, I’m not as bad as I used to think I was. So I will continue to photograph her arse. Because it makes me laugh, but not as much as the expression on her face when she hears the camera snap.

5. Finally. Beloved has been through so much with me. Surgeries. The Aspergers diagnosis. My stubbornness. My lack of flexibility when it comes to achieving something. My over-parenting of the fur babies. My frustration with her technology skills. But she keeps on loving and she keeps on adapting and she keeps on telling me it’s OK. And with her next to me, it usually is.

My list of milestones for a five year old are pretty much a summation of our relationship.

And I wouldn’t change a thing.

They came to dance

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13428361_1084188311627816_6294657720373394192_n Like the rest of the world I’ve been totally horrified and dismayed by the tragic shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Beloved and I both are reeling from this act of senseless violence. It’s been constantly on our minds and we’ve talked about it many times.

We’re in Australia, so geographically not close to Orlando. But the people who died, the people who had their life ripped from them: they’re members of our community. And as gay women, the sense of grief is strong.

Imagine.

Sexual orientation is such a deeply personal thing. People spend years in closets and unshared spaces, coming to terms with who they are. Some people never ever come out of those places, the sense of shame or guilt driving them to a life of pretence and half living. And then you find out about a place you can go to. A place where you won’t be stared at. Judged. Laughed at. Brutally beaten. Cruelly taunted. A safe place. A safe place for people just like you.

And so, you go. You meet people. You might dance with someone of the same sex for the first time ever. You might finally say those words – “Yes, I’m gay”. You feel the exhilaration of freedom; the weight lifting from your shoulders as you gaze around and see people who are like you but happy and open and themselves. And in that moment a life outside of the closet no longer seems so scary. You have a community. You have a people. You are part of something bigger and you are totally, utterly safe. And like everyone else there, you dance.

Then it changes.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6 7 8 9.

10.

11. 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22.

23.

24. 25. 26.

27 28.

293031323334353637383940. 41. 42.

43.

44.

45.

46.

47.

48. 49.

50.

The dance floor slowly empties.

Joy turns to chaos.

Life turns to death.

Freedom turns to oppression.

The closet becomes the only safe place once again.

You hear tears. Worse than that, you hear phones ringing and going unanswered. Worse still, you hear sobs desperately trying to be stifled.

And worse still, you hear silence where there should be no silence, silence where silence is the devastating reality of no further noise.

This is not about religion. This is not about creed or colour. This is not about gun laws or lack thereof.

This is about people. About a community attacked. About the right to be yourself, being snatched away and scrunched up like some used piece of cling film and flung carelessly into the bin.

They came to dance. To dance.

But now, the steps have changed.

I don’t know what to do from here. From Australia the reality is that I don’t know a single person who was at Pulse, and it’s really unlikely that I will ever go there. But I’ve been to gay venues. There’s a pride festival coming up later this year that beloved and I are going to. But the question dangles.

Will we be safe?

We can’t live, constantly scared that our love might flick the switch for someone who has a problem with it. But maybe we’ve had a reminder that we also can’t assume that what is normal for us, for our loved ones, for our community – we can’t assume that everyone is as welcoming or inclusive as we are. Because ours is a community that was primarily forged through exclusion.

For someone to enter that community, to go to a place that is safe for that community, and to singe handedly destroy exactly what it stands for: maybe that is what’s at the heart of the way beloved and I are feeling. That the physical safeness of our safe spaces are so utterly vulnerable.

But our hearts are strong.

And as a community, we love fiercely.

Yes, we will be targeted. Yes, we will be discriminated against. We will be judged. Denied freedoms. Experience shame. We will forge connections and explore life and get to know that person we kept in the closet, and when we come out you can be sure that the Mardi Gras Parade will be storming proudly through our hearts and our heads as each footstep shows that we are not alone and we are not less than anyone else.

We still can’t get married.

But we can love.

And from what I can see, that’s the true safe space.

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I’m back

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Hello ye readers of this blog! I disappeared for a while there, nothing sinister – I simply neglected to renew my domain and it wasn’t until I got very annoyed at the reminder emails and therefore IGNORED them until they stopped that I decided the host of this blog had learned it’s lesson, and therefore I would renew the domain. So I’m back in all my Naughty Corner glory. Did you miss me?

It’s funny, the blog has been down for a few months now and I thought I’d be back full of stories and tales to tell. But really I have no major tales. If you’re a fan on Facebook then you’ve been getting regular updates: negligent gyno appointment resulting in surgery with a good gyno; dog cuddling teddy bear; Sound of Music memefest; beloved’s daughter’s 21st. The fun never stops. But if you’re not a fan you should be because it’ll give you a smile.

Rightio. My last blog post was regarding David Bowie. That’s still so sad, isn’t it. Such a talent who gave so much. And that’s the thing about creative types, they just give for the sake of creating.

A fair bit has happened, now I think of it.

I got a medal for completing a fun run:

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Image by The Naughty Corner

Beloved and I had a trip to Melbourne, to visit the flatmate who is no longer the flatmate and also the Great Ocean Road. We saw this cool little rock village, check it out:

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Image by Beloved.

We had a month of amazing live music, including Melissa Etheridge, Violent Femmes, SuperJesus and Hoodoo Gurus. It reminded me how much I love my music and I have been playing heaps more guitar as a result.

And, remember how I told you I was going to the gym in an attempt to get fit and lose some weight?

Well, I got the shock of my life recently. I had been tagged in a photo on Facebook, at a size that was my starting point. I’d been feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere, and while I wasn’t planning on throwing in the towel I was absolutely over feeling so frustrated. But then that photo! I saw it and almost spat my coffee out. Because I knew my Scout shirt doesn’t fit like that anymore. Here’s the comparison:

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Six months of hard work. 

So, you know. Life has been trundling along. The ups, the downs, the in betweens. But the way I am navigating it is changing. I rely on that exercise every day to clear my head, to do something that I have grown to love, to just be a part of the world. And when I see that photo above, I know without a doubt that I have well and truly earned every centimetre of difference. No short cuts. No quick fix. Just hard work. It’s given way to goals and dreams and I’m doing more than I ever thought I would be able to, and I have earned it. Yes there is still a long way to go. But I’m doing it.

And I’m pretty fucking proud of that.

How are things with you?

 

Colour Me Rainbow

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Like the rest of Australia I awoke to the beautiful news that the United States Supreme Court has ruled in favour of marriage equality throughout all of America. And I’ve opened up WordPress on my computer to blog about this, and there’s a rainbow banner. And I’ve had rainbow profile pictures beaming out at me all day on Facebook, and post after post on Instagram celebrating and tears and smiles and laughter and beaming and finally finally being able to say I do and 54 years of waiting, for these two:

Congratulations, Jack and George. Source: time.com

Congratulations, Jack and George. Source: time.com

And I’ve watched as one by one, my friends have tinted their profile pictures with rainbows. I’ve grinned stupidly at the joy and the tears on faces captured by media.

I’m celebrating the joy that my friends, regardless of orientation, have at this ruling. I’m thankful for each of their little rainbow faces. I’m building hope that one day, this will happen in Australia, too. I’m imagining the parties and the text messages and the hugs that are lasting a little longer, and the tingling of anticipation between couples as they wait to see if a proposal is around the corner for them, now it’s legal.

And this is all just about love. It’s just love.

And we’re celebrating it.

And it’s the best thing in the world.

I love this, by Mary Lambert. You might get a bit of dust in your eye or something.

“I can’t change, even if I try, even if I wanted to… My love, my love, my love… She keeps me warm.”

The Crescent Moon – Now she is two

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Two years ago, I was in my car driving to a hospital to be there for the birth of a precious little creature. And the way time passes, it just so happens that two years later, Little Miss A turns two. Little Miss A, it has been a long time since I have seen you. We live in different states now. I miss you. I miss your sister and I miss your mums very much. 

I’m re-publishing a piece I wrote for you, Little Miss A. It remains one of my favourite pieces ever, because it reminds me of how totally privileged I felt to be there, under the crescent moon, with your heart beating strongly as a part of the universe. 

Happy birthday.

Image: Supplied

Little Miss A, at 2. Image supplied.

Although I don’t know it, there is a crescent moon in the sky.

You were born on the day of a night of the crescent moon.

When I arrived at the hospital, your sister met my eyes and smiled. Our eyes became mirrors of excitement and confusion, with neither of us sure of what was happening but both knowing it was something big. Your sister and I touched hands, and she wriggled in her wheelchair, arching her perfect three-year-old neck so that she could follow me, with her eyes, to where I would sit.

Your sister and I hid our nerves and our tears by looking at magazines. I laughed when she paid too much attention to a male underwear model, but really I was waiting to hear if you had been born.

Your mum is one of my best friends, you see. She’d asked me to be in the hospital for the day you arrived. You were in a hurry, though, and dates were brought forward, then times, until finally, by the time I made it, you were already well and truly on the way.

Behind a closed door, they were setting you free from the confines of your protective cocoon.

But here with me, on the other side of the door, was your sister.

Your big sister.

She was in her chair, surrounded as always by people who love her. To love her is to join her family, and to join her family is to be loved.

And you were going to join this family.

Your sister and I read the names on the walls, and looked at pictures. I paced, and waited.

I was excited about meeting you, yes – but more than that, I wanted to see your mum.

The afternoon was coming to a close by the time you arrived. You were carried out. You were held as if you were as fragile as a hand grenade. You were presented with awe and delight and shock.

We made all the same noises at the same time.

Even your sister.

You were passed from heart to heart, and tears were fought and poured in equal measure. You were greeted and snuggled and talked to, your photo taken with every passing second as you found your place in this life.

Ten fingers, ten toes. Perfect eyes, perfect hair, perfect lungs. And immediately, naturally, accepted into a perfect family.

A perfect family, who knows and embraces imperfection as perfection.

You are alive. You are a life.

In this moment, in this heartbeat, in this world – that is enough.

You were perfect.

And you are perfect.

And to know you is to love you.

And they held hands

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And they held hands

Several years ago now, I walked into Tafe and started my Diploma in Community Services. And I remember this girl joining us a bit late, a girl who spoke of her passion for shoes. She said that even though she loves shoes she is often barefoot, and I decided that I like her. Now it could well be that the girl who said she liked shoes but didn’t really wear them often might not have been the girl I’m about to write about, which is the problem with having a memory that remembers words but not so much faces. But I think I got this one right.

Her name was, and is, Sally. I’ve written about her before, she’s the face behind The House of Damask and also A Little Bit Purry. After Tafe finished, it turned out that Sal and I had created a bit of a friendship that has stood the test of a relatively short time. She’s awesome and I love her guts. So it’s only fitting really, that I wish her every single happiness in all the world.

A couple of months ago, Sal came over for dinner. Her man friend doesn’t like food that is red. Or something like that, so when Sal comes for dinner I make food with red in it, specifically lasagne. Once, I sent her home with a full lasagne to cut up for lunches. Because that is what I do. Anyway anyway, Sal came over for dinner and asked me if I would play the ukulele at her wedding. And I agreed.

But first, the engagement party!

Right?

WRONG.

Sal and her beau, BriBri, had a might big surprise planned. How exciting! The engagement party was going to be the wedding! How brilliant is that!

Here’s my beloved and I at the party while it was still an engagement party:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

And then Sal gestured to me and Beloved grabbed the ukulele and Sal magically turned into a bride and her gorgeous Pop walked her down a makeshift aisle and they held hands and I played Somewhere Over The Rainbow and her Pop walked proudly with his Sal’s hand held so tightly, with tears and love and it was just beautiful.

This is Sal and her Bri Bri getting married, and you can see Pop and Nan behind them, watching. And Pop and Nan are holding hands and helping each other through.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

The thing about weddings, I’ve found, is that while they celebrate love and joy and happiness and all that crap, they also highlight the absent friends and family. But last night, there was a pressing in of love atmosphere, acknowledging the missing but using that acknowledgement to increase the love and support. Hearts were full.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Here’s something funny about this wedding (aside from the fact that it was meant to be an engagement party): I’d met a lot of the attendees, at Sal’s 30th. Which you might recall, was cat themed. And I dressed up as a cat in a kitty litter tray. Remember this?

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Anyway, I spent a lot of the night being called “Oh, Kel! Kitty litter Kel!”, which is quite a strange thing to be known as.

We left after my beloved performed a particularly rousing rendition of Devil Went Down To Georgia, which is her signature karaoke hit. And somehow amongst all the dancing and the loving and the smiles and the hands and the laughter and the people, I wound up with the bridal bouquet, which is peculiar given that it isn’t legal for me to get married (yet), but it doesn’t matter. Because the point of all the hand holding and the loving and the dancing and the kitty litter and the surprising and the people and the laughter was love.

Just love.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

The Red Parrot

Standard

Ah, Melbourne. I’ve just arrived home after a visit to the flatmate who isn’t my flatmate any more. I had a great time, experiencing her city and visiting her local hangouts. It was great. Grey… but great.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Even the graffiti seemed more friendly than what is thrown around in Sydney:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

In fact, the constant overwhelming feeling I get from Melbourne is best summed up like this:

Source: buzzfeed.com

Source: buzzfeed.com

I was reminded of a few things while I was there.

I was reminded of friendship. Of the difference it makes. Of my good fortune with the people in my life, and the friendships that time and distance just don’t interfere with. That there are bonds that tie people together, creating joins that just can’t be broken. And it’s a beautiful thing, to have friends like this. It really is.

I was reminded that people matter. No, I mean really matter. There was a piece of street art, dedicated to a woman that I am guessing was a regular figure in the streets. And I missed my chance to get a photo of it, but that someone had taken the time to create it really made me smile. And there was the Bead Man, with his red beads. And the groups of people sitting together that seemed to be connected simply by time and space.

And I was reminded of the ways I tend to walk through the world with the ill-fitting shoes of Aspergers making things slightly difficult for me. We were at a cafe and a cheeky chap approached us and pointed out a red parrot. I turned to look for the bird, and was still looking as I heard the flatmate who isn’t my flatmate any more laughing with the cheeky chap in question. I couldn’t see the red parrot anywhere. But it turns out that it was a sneaky ploy to swipe some wedges. And it did not occur to me at any stage to question the existence of the red parrot decoy. And I know this is kind of minor, but there are things I just don’t get, and things I do that seem out of place and odd and peculiar.

And I was reminded of this and it made me sad, and the flight home was long because I was caught up in thoughts and grief and sadness and anger and missing my friend and wanting to be home and really being nowhere, just hovering over the world in a plane full of strangers that probably all had their own internal dialogues happening. And hovering in the plane and looking at the sky and the clouds and then the tree tops and the patchwork quilt of life and stories and people, and seeing it but not being of it, and seeing it and knowing that even when I land I’m still not of it.

And when I got home and my beloved picked me up and we had dinner and talked and laughed and shared stories, I was reminded that you don’t need to be of the world to just bloody well exist in it. And not just exist but also make a difference in it, either good or bad, and live and be and breathe and hope and aspire and daydream and achieve or not achieve and to sometimes believe that there are red parrots, because you believe in the ability of nature to impact a city and capture attention and become worth speaking about.

To sometimes believe that there are red parrots. Because you believe in the ability of nature to impact a city. To impact a city, and capture attention. To capture attention, and become worth speaking about.

Become worth speaking about.