Thursday, 30 May 2013


I don't know what to say or how to say it. I've been in a very dark place for a very long time and have been absent not just from here but also from life, from conversations. I would be surprised if there is anyone left to read this.

I find myself observing myself interact with others as though an outsider who is not participating and, for the most part, not feeling. My mind floats to one side and watches, and often doesn't really pay attention. Entire conversations are lost to mindless, automatic responses. I have trained myself not to believe that good feelings will last, and to keep a stiff upper lip when bad things happen; as a result the only emotional response I am capable of is a negative one - tears or white-hot anger - and even then it is rare. I am mostly numb.

I am disengaged, in both senses of the word. The last two years have been a living hell, filled with unrelenting suspense and uncertainty; unwelcome discoveries; people taking their frustrations out on others (and I'm hardly innocent in that one myself); and waiting. Always waiting. It's hardly surprising that I have chosen to seal my heart off from emotions. My beautiful engagement ring has been put away in its box. The perfect ring, to me, and now I wonder what it would be like to go down the marital path with another. Could I love another ring as I do that one? Would I wish it were the same? Would the wedding we planned be much different? After all I am still me, and raspberry red is still my favourite colour, and I still have the same taste in, well, everything.

It's not my story to tell. My part in it is but a small piece of the puzzle. It affects many and I respect the privacy of others, and have no intention of betraying trust that has been put in me or airing my dirty laundry here. I also won't tell you what happened because it's none of your business. No offence intended.

But I can tell you how it has made me feel.

It started out wonderfully. There were fireworks. Literally. I had never felt love like that before and, although loth to say that I doubt I will again, it seems hard to believe that I will. When I met him I just knew. In the Hollywood sense of the word. I knew. Big, crazy, intense love.

There were so many wonderful things. A kind man who opened doors, picked up the tab, pulled my seat out. Who would buy me a gift just because he thought I might like it. Flowers for no reason. The incredible depth of feeling when I looked into his eyes. The adoring expression on his face when he gazed at me. How safe I felt with my head on his chest and his arms around me. Feeling special. Being loved. Being held when my heart played up and I was scared. Sharing plans and hopes and dreams. Being a member of the smug couples club. No longer being pitied.

But that's gone. I won't say it has gone forever because it is impossible to conceive closing the door indefinitely on someone you love so very much. But the time has come to be realistic, and we are two different people to who we were before. Circumstances such as this will do that to a person. And still there is waiting. So much time has slipped by; years that can not be lived again.

Everyone just wants me to be happy. Nobody wants to see me hurt, and by inference, people who care quite likely want me to leave him behind. I know that I am surrounded by an abundance of love from friends and family, but nobody can comprehend how disappointing it is to know that your own dreams are not shared by some of the people you care about the most.

And nobody can comprehend how their (mostly) quiet disapproval makes me - or him - feel, either. Few realise they are doing it and everyone has the very best intentions as heart (namely, concern for my wellbeing), but by God can it be hard not to be resentful. Especially when every relationship I see has flaws, no matter how hard people try to hide them. Unfortunately our own flaws were so visible because I would seek comfort when I needed support, and in doing so give people the wrong idea. I never shared my joy, which was abundant, and I should have done so as to project a more balanced picture.

Sometimes people say "you'll find someone" or "you're better off without him" or something along those lines. I know they're trying to be supportive but sometimes I just want to shake them and scream at them. You see, the overwhelming majority of the people saying it are married, or have long-term partners, and many have or will soon have children, and it's just so Goddamned easy to believe that someone else will get their Happily Ever After when you know you will wake up next to the long-time love of your life tomorrow, and that you will have him by your side, holding your hand for the rest of your days on this earth.

And as for me, well they have everything I ever wanted, but they just don't fill the same spot in my heart. I don't begrudge them that. They're not supposed to fill that spot. Their happiness makes me glad and gives me hope, but it is so isolating being outside of a partnership, no matter how tightly you are embraced by friends. It's like the wires that run through a power cord - tightly twisted around one another, and needing at least two wires to operate, but always separated by an insulating layer.

Things fell apart the day I was to post our wedding invitations. There is a beautiful dress hanging in a bridal shop in Adelaide, fully paid for, waiting for me to get the guts to go and pick it up and put it away in a cupboard. I can't even bring myself to sell it because that would feel so final, like saying goodbye, and that thought breaks my already-battered heart. And I can't keep it, because if, by some miracle, I do find a suitable gentleman to have a serious relationship with then he will probably think it odd that I have a wedding dress in my wardrobe and dump me on the spot. And if he doesn't, well assuming this hypothetical chap wants to marry my mountains of baggage and I, I don't know how he or I would feel about me wearing it. There is just so much sadness in that beautiful, beautiful dress. So many broken dreams and at least two broken hearts.

If I have any readers left, they probably first came here to read about food. Believe me, there has been food, but I have been too ashamed to share most of it. I have gained eighteen kilograms in eighteen months, and it has made me further retreat within myself. I am so desperately unhappy with my appearance and my lack of control and my lack of motivation. Some pretty confronting photos helped snap me out of it last week and I think I might be on the mend, but I am still unhappy.

My self-confidence is shot to pieces, and I feel uncomfortable in any and all clothes that I wear. I second-guess how others perceive me. I have one pair of jeans I can fit into, and one shirt that hides most of the sins, so to speak, without making me seem terribly frumpy. I don't feel beautiful, and I don't know if it's because I am clinically overweight and everything jiggles when I walk, or because he is not there, telling me every day that I am beautiful. If it is the latter then I am quite disgusted that I have so badly lost hold of my old, confident, feisty self as to wilt in the absence of positive affirmation.

But there is light. A man told me tonight that he thought I was absolutely beautiful, and he was so kind and genuine about it that I believed him and accepted the compliment with grace and thanked him. Properly, I mean, not in my usual disbelieving, flippant sort of way that I brush off compliments with.

Sadly, it's high school all over again - boy likes me, I like boy's friend, boy's friend doesn't feel the same. I only met this man because his friend who I have spent a bit of time with this week took pity on me for being alone in a new city and invited me along, and in the last week his friend has made me feel like maybe I will feel again. He is friendly and normal and a gentleman, and he bought me a drink and chatted with me. More than once. It's not something I've experienced before.

I don't feel like I am betraying my ex, partly because we have been so broken for so very long (and yet I hung in there to keep him afloat, because I kept hoping for a reprieve and because I care so much, and in doing so nearly sunk myself), and partly because I don't think this guy is actually interested because he's quite awkward around me which makes me think he senses I like him and is trying to throw me off. Either that or he really, really likes me. Or possibly it's just me being awkward around him because he is smoking hot and I have never had that laid before me, so to speak, especially when the package comes complete with a lovely personality, and don't really believe that I can get it. Who knows.

But I have felt the faintest stirrings of... well, I don't know what and it doesn't really matter, because it was a positive emotion, and when I realised that I smiled. It wasn't quite happiness and it definitely wasn't love, but it was something small and warm and hopefully it will grow until I can feel like a normal person again. It's not about a boy. It's about how a boy makes me feel. And for the first time in a long time, that is a good feeling.

I have to believe that it gets better than this. I have to believe I will find someone to grow old with. And I'm 30, so I have to believe it will happen soon, before its too late to have kids. Once again, the people saying I have plenty of time are looking down benevolently from their comfortable, self-assured relationship cloud. In some cases there are babies crawling about on their cloud. Being single sucks and always did. Being single at 30 is worse. But I need to work on me for a bit before I can worry about someone else.

And don't worry, I've been seeing a counsellor, for both the eating issues and the other stuff. But mostly I think I need time and reassurance that lows won't necessarily come hot on the heels of highs, and that not all men will let you down.

So hopefully I will soon return to my old self and get my blog on again on a more regular basis. Except of course I won't be my old self because with what I've been through that's simply not possible. But hopefully I can craft myself into something better and brighter than before.

And once I am better and brighter, something amazing will come around the corner. I have been waiting a long time for it, and I'm sure it's very near now. Maybe it's that Ryan Gosling/Bradley Cooper/other eligible hottie will see me in the street and be spellbound. Maybe I will achieve something truly tangibly awesome, rather than a series of just kind of pretty good stuff. Maybe I'll become famous, somehow, and I will never have to worry about money again. It could be anything. Likely it will be none of those but it could be anything. So please send positive energy and thoughts my way, cos Nessie needs all the help she can get!

Good night everyone. I have finally unloaded and it feels... Not good, but better. The clock in the post office clock tower has just chimed twelve, so it is a new day. May it be the first in a series of progressively brighter ones.

Edit: I couldn't have got through this without the incredible support of family and friends. People came out of the woodwork to help from all over the place and I know it's unreasonable to be hurt by things people don't even say, but this whole thing hasn't been at all reasonable. It hasn't brought out the best in me and at times I've hit out at people, said nasty things and tested friendships because... Well I guess when you're an injured animal trapped in a corner you tend to bite, rather than seeing that people have only the best intentions. For that I am truly sorry. So thanks to everyone for putting up with my ornery behaviour
for so long xoxo

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Anzac Day Porridge

For those of us here in Australia (and also in New Zealand, and various Commonwealth island nations), last Thursday the 25th of April was ANZAC Day. It is a national holiday and treated as a day of remembrance, much like November 11th (Remembrance Day, known as Armistice Day or Veteran's Day elsewhere in the world), although it initially began to commemorate the 12,000 members of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fell during the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey which began on the 25th of April in 1915.

Gallipoli was the first military campaign of WWI that sustained heavy Australian and New Zealand casualties, and around 2,000 Australians died on the first day. At the time that meant that for every 550 Australians, one person from a very narrow demographic (able-bodied young men) died in that single campaign. For a young nation, this campaign and the war in general went a long way to shape national identity.

People argue the relevance of a 98-year-old military failure in modern Australia, but personally that makes me quite angry when people disregard it all so easily. I'm not pro-war by any stretch of the imagination, but where you are today is a result of everything that went before, and I feel very blessed to live in Australia. Our military history is part of the nation's history, and so it is a part of me. I think people also underrate the sacrifices military personnel and their families made and make, and I don't think we should ever forget it.

The qualities the diggers at Gallipoli displayed became known as the Anzac Spirit. Things like courage, making the best of a bad situation, working hard, helping your mates out and a tendency to be a bit cheeky and push the envelope. I, for one, am more than happy for that to be a part of our national identity, and I fear that those qualities are slipping in today's society.

Anyway, you didn't come here for a rant. You came here for noms!

Normally I bake Anzac biscuits on Anzac Day. They are made of oats, flour, butter, coconut, golden syrup, coconut and sugar. Because there are no eggs or milk they keep very well, and legend has it that people would make them and send them to our troops serving overseas.

Knowing how untrustworthy I am around a batch of Anzacs (I have to have a little bit of the raw mix; a piping hot one which hasn't yet set that will inevitably burn my tongue; and a cooled one. Quality control, you see!) I decided to go with something on a smaller scale that could possibly be construed as wholesome, and invent myself some Anzac porridge.

No need to reinvent the wheel here! I just microwaved 3/4 cup of rolled oats mixed with (I think it was) half a cup of water for a minute or two, stirred it, mixed in 1/4c of milk and a heaped tablespoon of desiccated coconut and microwaved for another minute, then got a massive dollop of golden syrup on my spoon and drizzled it all over the top of the porridge.


You'll have to play with the times and the liquid quantities because every microwave is different. Be aware that I have had porridge literally explode all over the microwave, and I have also had it boil over and coat everything with a thick, sticky mess. Choose a deeper bowl and put less in it. If mine turns out dry I usually just add a little more milk and work it into the porridge.

I have heard disturbing rumours that other parts of the world don't have golden syrup, and this shocks and saddens me. The best way I can describe it (and in fact, I have cobbled some together like this) is a cross between honey and molasses, kind of a pale treacle. It is basically a cane sugar-based syrup that has a wee bit of bitterness to its sticky sweetness. Honey is too sweet and molasses is too bitter. I imagine a 3:1 mix might come close. Maybe. Or you could just Google it - no doubt someone has done the maths!