It’s a long way to go to die.

As LP says in her song: it’s a long, long, long way to go to die.

It sure bloody is.

Because first I decided not to kill myself. I got good with my pain. Good enough that I wanted to stay. Found my reason, all that jazz. It actually took a fuck load of work, but that’s not why I’m here tonight.

After that came unexpected want. I wanted a future. A career, a path, this crazy life.

Here I am living it. Back in Uni, sights set, so close. It doesn’t even matter now if I don’t make it. This wanting has woken something in me. It was terrifying at first and I resented it. Wanting is so much harder. Quitting is always easier. Now though, my heart beats and my eyes search and I drink it all in.

I realize in all of this that unless a bus takes me out, or my heart stops from all that medication, I’m here for a long time. Not all of it will be a good time. I will smack someone if they make me see 90. Oh fate, don’t be so cruel. Just let me have it for a while.

Cos it’s a long long long way to go to die when you take your own hand out of the mix. So here I am. Standing tall. Forward focused with an overflowing tool box of therapy that’s getting me by. I’m unmedicated, on a break from therapy and on my way.

Just please, please, don’t make that road too long. This ole heart of mine couldn’t bear it. Take me mid laugh. Send me down the stairs with a cocktail in my hand. Let me interrupt a robbery and blow a kiss to a shooter as I step between his bullet and the guard. Take me fast, just freaking do it after I’ve seen this through ok?

Because I can go a long, long, long way now that I’ve seen what it’s worth. It’s everything. It’s mine. By Christ I want it.

X Bon

Toxic People

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I’ve learned something recently and it has freed me in ways I didn’t expect. The relief is enormous and the amusement an added bonus.

You see I have been dealing with a toxic person in my life for a couple of years now, and ceasing to care what this person thinks of me has been a long process. I’ve had to fake it until I made it. Oh boy, have I made it! The rewards are wonderful.  I realise that a lot of us have people in our lives that for one reason or another we simply cannot cut them out. Family, co-workers, friends spouses, whatever the case there are often people we simply cannot avoid. So I share this with you now, so that if you’re stuck like I was you can see that it can get better. They can’t control how you react to them. You do not have to be telling bitter stories about their cruel behavior forever.

There will come a time in your experience with a Toxic Person (TP) when they push you once too many.  When your inner voice screams ENOUGH. For me that happened and I felt the familiar heart thump of what I thought was adrenaline. That feeling of gearing up for a fight, the ‘oh shit, I’m going to have to say something’ feeling.  Only I realised that wasn’t it.  What I felt was akin to celebration. The same heart racing expectation, only this time I did nothing. I talked to my friends. I got support. I fact checked whether this person’s accusations were founded. As usual they were not. The relief washed over me like cool water.

I began to think of my TP as a spider in a jar. Striking repeatedly, yet unaware that no hits were landing.  TP became an amusing creature to watch. Fascinating, yet entirely harmless.  I even enjoyed shaking the jar from time to time. As with all insects TP became rapidly less interesting. Until finally I took the dusty jar down from the shelf and tipped it into the garden. Be gone little spider. Here’s the door slamming shut.  I won’t think of you.

So the secret of this approach actually relies on them. It makes it a little easier to cope with.  Toxic people will infiltrate and manipulate. It’s hard to get out sometimes, but you can if you let yourself see them for what they really are.  They are not magicians capable of making everyone around you agree with them.  They are nothing more than school yard bullies.  Some people will join you and see that one day. Some won’t. That’s not on you.  And yes, you do have to do some work your end. Ready yourself and neatly return their serve.  You don’t have to confront them if you don’t want to. Oh how they hate your silence more than your words! I needed to have some strong, repetitive self talk going. Here’s a few of my mantra’s:

I don’t care what you think.

I don’t care what you say about me.

I don’t like you anymore.

I can’t trust you.

If you can have this soundtrack playing in your head, the anger you feel next time they do or say something awful lessens.  The impact hurts less.  The urge to retaliate fades. Once that happens, you’ll find you are becoming free of them.  Next time you see them, that rush of emotion won’t happen.  Now it can be different if it is someone you despised from the start, the process is already half done.  But if it was someone you loved like a relative or friend, expect it to take longer. Do the work though.  You deserve to be happy and free of this person.

Unexpectedly I started to find my spider amusing.  They would say something hurtful and I would smile, causing them to stutter and redirect.  They do things and I do not pick up the phone or shoot out an angry text.  I simply laugh, maybe relate the story to my support people.  More and more often it simply slides away.  I have bag fulls of anecdotes.  As a writer they are now material when I create a despicable character. I have ‘get a load of this latest’ stories to share with my friends. Who shake their heads in horrified wonder.

So you see dear readers, my toxic person is only a byline in a story.  A sidenote.  Someone may ask ‘how did it go with such and such there today?’. It went fine.  I snorted my tea laughing, and let them think it was because they were funny. I stopped talking to them and found something better to do.

Their power over me is gone.  They might enjoy my silence for a time… until they need something from me again.  But I won’t be there to ask. I won’t answer that call.  If somehow the question comes to me, I will say No.  It took a while, but I’m really good at that part now.

Before I go, I should emphasize how important that word is. No becomes a tool, and then a way of life.  You might feel like you have to help them, maybe you care about their partner, or their children or whatever the case may be. Trust me, they will find someone else, or they will angrily cope just fine on their own. Never think that a TP is alone. They want you to think that, but they are expert manipulators and will always find someone else.  They might even use you to do it, start saying things like ‘oh they let me down so badly and now I’m in a tight jam with no support’… etc. Rest assured, they will always find a way.

So walk away. Conscience clear.  Go step into the sunshine. Learn from the experience so it doesn’t happen again. Be free.

And as always, stay weird peeps.

Love Bon.

xoxo

**NB: this advice is not suitable for abusive relationships. Domestic violence is very dangerous and outside my realm of experience.  Seek urgent help if you or someone you know is experiencing this.

Nothing Compares

So in my mid thirties I finally figured out what I want to do with my life.  Spoiler alert – it’s actually not watching Netflix compulsively forever and ever. I mean, who knew?

I turned it over (and over and over as I am want to do) until finally something made sense. I’ve gone back to uni to study Community Services. By the time I’m 40 I might just be able to help peeps like me. Or peeps like you. Or just people really. I want to help, I think I can, I hope I’ve got the stones for it. Time will tell, she’s a real bitch that way.

Anyway, I’m often not ‘here’ in my blog. But I am still here and I do still give a shit.

You can find me more often waffling on in a much more casual way on my Facebook page. Sometimes I Tweet too – but mostly I just fall into the Twittersphere and come up for air hours later not really sure what I logged on for.

In the meantime I shared this on Facebook, but I think it was important.  So I’ll put it here too and I’ll see you soon.

Stay weird guys, and for fuck’s sake – please take care. Of yourselves and of each other. No one knows what we go through like we do, so reach out if you can. You might just change someone’s whole day.

Fellow black dog fighters… Nothing Compares 2 U. No matter how dark it gets, there’s no one else like you. The world does need people like us. Hold on. And if you couldn’t, I hope you know somehow that you were loved and we don’t blame you. 

I Lied and said I was Ok.

If I ever let you think this was easy, I lied.

If you look at me and think I won the war against depression, I lied.

If I gave you the impression that I’m ok, then I said it wrong. Because every morning anxiety still pries my eyes open, while depression wants them to close.

Walking into any room, any time makes my heart thud so hard I want to turn and run. It does not matter if that room is filled with loved ones or strangers. I want to run away, and I’ll feel good doing it. I like it better when I’m on my own, but I hate feeling alone. I need the people in my life so much that if they realized exactly how much, it would shock them. The people I love are my anchor. They keep me here. They make me want to stay. So if I tell you I can do this on my own, I’m lying.

BPD still wrestles with me, every day is hard. If you think I’m not holding a clamped hand over its mouth, just to hear you speak, then I’m telling it wrong. I’m straining against the claws of a monster just to make it through the day. Some days I lose. Some days it forces me to watch the world pass like everyone got a pretty invitation to stand in the sunshine, while I’m stuck behind the glass and can’t feel it’s warmth.

Some days are good days. I’m starting to be able to string more than one together at a time. I was starting to rock through an entire week…

Then Fibro came along to add her 5 cents worth to the whole mess. She is the fiercest dictator I’ve washed up against so far. She tortures so invisibly that no one can see the scars. She’s an expert in making you forget she’s got her chains around me every minute. She hides in plain sight. She sees my good days and she laughs while she takes my feet from under me.

I didn’t chose to fight these battles. I’m no angel through it all. I can be so cruel it would suck your breath out. I’m so angry I’ll scream at the sky when I run out of things to be mad about. Resentment is my poison. It shows on my face, in the holes punched through plaster, in the burned bridges I leave in my wake. It could be so much fucking worse, but that doesn’t help me on the days I want to bash my head against a wall just to make it all stop.

The damndest thing keeps happening though. I keep feeling my lips curling up at the corners, my feet keep tapping, my heart bangs and I rise again. I tell my wrong brain to shut the fuck up and carry on. I’m learning to walk without limping as Fibro rattles through my central nervous system. I tell depression to shove it, even when anxiety puts a tremor in my voice. I turn the key in the ignition with shaking hands. I keep on going.

Recovery looks different for everyone. And it’s not fixed. It changes as I do. It’s a god damned bloody spectrum, and I’ve learned to be ok with that. But if I ever told you I was ok, that it was easy, then I bloody lied. I didn’t tell my story right.

I don’t want anyone to stumble across my blog and go well look at that, we can be fixed. Because we can’t. But we CAN manage life with all this nonsense. A good life even. I can never go back to the person I was ‘before’. I can be happy. I’m facing forward with anticipation for the first time in years. But let’s none of us pretend ‘happy’ is an attainable, fixed state. Cos that simply isn’t how life works. Adjust expectations, get comfy with the new version, make peace with it. When you look at me, know how much I’ve had to fight just to be stood there, looking right back at you.

My smile is real. That part I never lied about. This world might force me to my knees more often than I’d like, but I still have no poker face. The laugh is honest, the grin pure me. My strongest feature isn’t something I expected. I thought my weapon would be humour. It’s not. The force that keeps me going is pure, bull headed stubbornness. I’m a sore loser, so whenever my ailments think they’ve got me, I’ll up-end the game board right in their face and walk on.

Every time something comes along and tells me it’s going to take something away from me, I get up and fight to take it back. I’m that plucky little kid in the school yard. You’re watching her drag herself up off the gravel, nose bleeding, to turn around and spit on her bullies. Just when you think she hasn’t got it in her, she throws sand in their eyes and runs away. I didn’t know I had this much fight in me. I’m not a brave person. I fold like a piece of paper. I hate confrontation. And it’s not because I don’t want to argue over my change, or send a crappy meal back to the chef. It’s because I’m already tired of fighting.

The point of all this work, this endless battle? I found something to fight for. I didn’t know that. I thought I had nothing left to lose. Apparently even in my rawest, most flawed moments, I won’t lose my grip on the world. I lift my bowed head, scream FUCK YOU at roaring volumes and I stay. Every blow I expect to be the last straw… somehow isn’t.

This is mine. My ruined mind and broken body. It’s Mine. This life I live is Mine. The things I seek are Mine. The people I love are somehow Mine too. So maybe I’m not that brave little girl wrestling with her bullies. Maybe I’ve had enough. Maybe I’m also that stubborn, tantrum chucking little shit in the supermarket. Jumping up and down, turning heads, shamelessly screaming MINE, MINE, MINE!

So yeah, I lied. I let you think I wasn’t completely broken by all of this. I showed you the days I found my reason to stay alive, and I hid under the covers on the days when I couldn’t. Some days I rally do want it all to stop.

And yet.

The world keeps spinning, and I keep spinning with it. I will fight, fall down, get up and do it all again. One day if you look over your shoulder and I’m not there, at least you will know that I never give up. I gave until I had nothing left. I fought for every day I had here. I tried.

Stay weird peeps, stay here.

X Bon

Get up girl

So I had a massively awesome weekend.

A friend was flying to Sydney, stopping off in Orange for fuel. And he offered us a lift. Do we want to scoop up the kids and zip off to Orange to visit the fam? Um, yes obviously let’s do that!

It was very very worth it. My first time in a small plane and all the awesomeness that is flying at 400 k’s, 10,000 feet up. You feel every wing shift and can see the ground the whole time – AMAZING!

Spent time with cousins I hardly get to see, the kids had a ball and I got plenty of bubba cuddles in. I am one happy lady.

Downside of awesomeness? My body will always ask me to pay for it. I have to learn to accept the pay off for doing anything that uses a lot of brain power and physical doing.

Today my eyes won’t work properly, because like all my other muscles they are freakin tired. Imagine that all your muscles, nerves and even your skin were just fucking done with today. Now tell yourself to get up and go. You’re basically suffering from body wide, intense flu symptoms and you’ve just told the old body unit that it needs to put in a full day at Uni today. Body and mind are gonna have an argument about that for sure.

I know I’ll pay for it later. I know all the self care options are sitting at home in a tool box I rejected today. I know I’m facing an 8 hour day armed with stubbornness, headphones and a kick arse playlist. It’s not enough, but I can get by until my pre-planned day off. I hope. I will hang on by my fingertips until my day off and hand out gold stars all the way.

Until then, I will dance this broken body of mine to school. I’ll be grateful I can do it. I will thank this poor old bod of mine for rising when she didn’t want to. I’ll treat myself to a bath at the end of the week. I’ll keep up my meds and check in for a physio sesh. I’ll do all the back ground blah blah blah it takes to face up to each day. Because as much as I argue and roar and cry and scream with frustration sometimes, I’m still here. My body still works. My brain is firing on most cylinders most days. What more can I ask for? It’s a bad day, but I’ve had worse.

So this week I know I’m asking a lot. I know there’s a physical list of consequences, some I’m getting ready for. Some might be a surprise package. I’m borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, but I just really want to be here. It matters to me.

So Fibro, with respect, please back the fuck up and just let me have three days. Three days, and then you can kick my arse for four.

As always for me… when in doubt – dance. Get em headphones on and boogie my arse into the car.

I can.

Or I can’t.

But I’ll still try.

Stay weird peeps,

X Bon

Stay You

Lately, I’ve realised that trying to be a grown-up has made me shrink again.  I’ve been thinking smaller, and my voice has quietened.  Which might be why I haven’t been here much. I’ve been aiming for an easier version of myself.  Easier for other’s to get along with anyway.  And I for one don’t think that’s actually what adulthood is all about.

I’m tired of being reasonable and responsible.  I’m tired of having to smile in grocery lines just to prove that peeps like me can be kind. I’ve exhausted myself, trying to keep my freak on a leash.  I am so sick of representing the nice side of weirdness.  It’s making me cranky.  I’m becoming intolerable – to myself. For once I wanna tap into my moody teen bitch and bring her forth to get people to back up off me for a bit.

So I think for a while I’m gonna get loud again.  I’m going to take up space and not apologise for it. I’m not going to smile on the days I don’t bloody feel like it.  I’m not going to waste any more of my time making other people feel ok about who I am.  Because no matter how ‘nice’ I dress, how much I cover up my tatts or god forbid, take my piercings out, I’m still me.  I’m still the awkward chick whose foot lives in her mouth.  Who laughs at the wrong time and sings off key. I’m tired of fighting my nature, just to be accepted by people I don’t even care about.  So the mum jeans are going to the op shop, the hats and scarves that cover up this head of mine are going in the bin. In fact, everything I’ve ever brought and keep for the days I have to look the part is all going.  Because I am the part.  I’m me, in all my weirdo wonderfullness.  So to the people who don’t want to be anywhere near it… please take yourself calmly to the nearest exit. It’s ok if you don’t like me, there’s no accounting for taste. But do shush on your way out, keep the hate inside and let it poison only you.

I’ve spent a long time making myself stronger, braver, truer. After all that work  I just can’t fit back into the box anymore.  So despite going back to uni, learning new skills and aiming for a whole new career… you can bet I’ll be showing up to job interviews as myself.  Who knows? The world might just be ready for me now.

I guess in a nutshell it comes down to that old saying: Always, always be yourself.  You may as well, becuase you’re not cut out to be anybody else.

Stay weird peeps,

X Bon

prove yourself

 

Me and My Shadow

It’s funny how a dog becomes a best friend in a way no one else really can. And yes, this is coming from a self confessed cat lady. I know I’ve mentioned Crowley here a little bit, but I wanted to introduce her properly, in all her wonderful-ness.

When I had to say goodbye to my little old Bam Bam my heart broke. She’d been my girl for 14 years. The first dog I owned as a grown up. My very best baby girl.

I knew I would need another dog. I’m not the type to grieve alone and lonely. We had little dog Nikki with us still, but she’s not ‘mine’ the way Bam was. Nikki is a little ball of rescued nervous ticks. She’s sweet and stubborn and as good a version of herself as she’s ever going to be. But in her heart of hearts, Nikki belongs to herself. She’s loves us is her own way. I’m sure she appreciates being warm and loved and taken care of. But she has no ‘mum’ so to speak.

And so the search began. We always prefer to adopt. I sent in applications. I wasn’t too fussy per se. I wanted someone smart, funny, trainable and loving. Someone who needed me as much as I needed them. But my applications came back no, no, no. No one really trusted little old Nik to be a good role model for a working dog pup. I have a big old soft sport for working dogs. Border Collie’s preferably. To me they’ve always been the people pleasers. The dogs most keen to be in mix of family life, but still have a primary ‘boss’. I wanted a heart dog again.

Because somewhere between me getting sick with Fibro and Bam Bam starting to decline from heart failure I realized I would need someone to be with me the way she always was. Someone who would still want to be right next to me on days when I couldn’t manage to fight through the pain and get up. Someone who wanted to be with me on the down days, as well as the better, more active walk-in-the-bush days.

Enter Crowley. Found for me by a dear family friend. She was a special pup, and her rescuer wanted the very best fit for her. I held my breath, said yes and hoped like hell they liked me enough to trust me with her. They did! We drove over, anxiously hopeful, to meet her. She was immediately delightful. Running around a farm, trying to get the cat to play with her, cheeky in a sweet, dorky, big footed way that made my heart say YES so loudly I’m pretty sure she heard it.

She kissed my kids and sat cuddled in my lap all the way home. She likes her daddy, adores ‘her’ kids… but she loves mumma most. I don’t want to go overboard, but she’s so much more than I hoped. She’s mine and I am hers and she made the loss of Bam Bam easier to bear. She lies on my legs through every panic attack. She greets every human with love and kisses. She looks at the cats the same way a dorky younger sister does her aloof older siblings and just wishes they would pay attention to her. She greets Dad after work like a hero returning from abroad. She’s so gentle and caring towards Nikki. She worries over her and helps keep her warm by snuggling up in the same bed. Especially now as Nik recovers from surgery and a cancer scare.

Crowley is a perfect match. Somehow the right dog found her way to me and I am grateful every day. I will live up to all her expectations. I will train her well and return her love ten fold. She’s my shadow, my soul dog, my gift. If she’s watching I like to think Bam Bam would be happy for me. She knows I will always love her, and in true baby girl style, she’s probably very happy I’m not lonesome anymore.

Thank god for ‘man’s’ best friend eh?!

X Bon