Relationships

Some years ago, a significant relationship of mine broke apart. Although it was of my doing, it was still difficult and scarring. As with most things in life, I believe that you learn things about yourself if you’re willing.
So what did I learn from this – lots.
I learnt that I am a powerful sexual goddess.
I learnt that I do need time out alone.
I learnt that I am sex positive.
I learnt that I can share.
I learnt that I need to work on my communication to make sure what I’m trying to say is being heard.
I learnt that personal presentation does matter to me and proper diet and exercise is vital to maintain well-being.
From previous relationships, I have also learnt.
I learnt that I need someone who is willing to be a part of my greater family (and they are great).
I learnt that I need someone who stimulates my brain as well as my loins.
I learnt that I need someone I can laugh with.
I learnt that I want someone who is as (im)mature as I am and that is not always defined by age.
I learnt that I deserve to be considered.
I learnt that I am worthy of quality.
I learnt that I can’t cope with messy people.
I learnt that I want someone who is open-minded.
I learnt that I need someone who is on-track financially.
I learnt that I am attracted to intelligent, articulate people.
I learnt that I need someone who is generous of spirit.
Naturally, I hope to keep on learning.


one person’s experience

I told myself that it was too raw to write about but as anyone who knows me knows – I have zilch willpower. I paid up. It was voluntary. No one forced me into it. For years I’d had a curiosity, an itch that needed scratching. Subliminally I’m sure I recognised the logo and name from passing it so many times. It was only three doors up from my favourite bar and bottle shop.

Consistent effective branding with on-trend interior design backing up their message, the 100% white-washed 14 foot ceilings and wide waxed floorboards accentuate the eye floaters dancing in front of my vision. By the end of the long day session, my fading acuity of sight will be multiplied in the subdued atmospheric lighting.

The group of 26 workshop attendees and 6 facilitators sit cross legged on army regulation dark grey wool blankets. My lower back will be pushed to its comfort boundary by the closing of the ten hour session. Median age early 20’s to mid thirties, these upper middle class women self-describe as ‘open, intrigued, curious, nervous, tired and excited’. I can’t help but wonder how much is said honestly as how much is self-delusional. Do they say what they feel or what they think they’re supposed to say?

We all do a little hands-up agreeing to ‘what happens in the safe space, stays in the safe space’.  These women-only workshops costs more than I make in a day and the cynic in me can’t help but do a quick arithmetic to work out what this workshop might net.

The workshop exercises designed to break down our layers reek of self-congratulations and are non-inclusive of gender diversity, sexual orientation, age and experience. One of facilitators delightfully goes off-script often, her individuality showing through the uniform.

I sense too many over-porous people desperately seeking meaning, connection and reassurance. A one day workshop isn’t going to achieve this; regardless how many references are cited in the 20 page handout. Looking to be awakened their external crusades will provide fruitless, and I bear witness to their awkward confusion. Upon returning home, I have to scrub my skin to cleanse myself of the loose energy.

I was there myself, looking for something I had heard others describe. I was utterly underwhelmed. Lingam and yoni massage are useful things to learn but I don’t feel I learned anything new. I’m not saying the techniques demonstrated aren’t useful to a lot of people. I have already done a lot of energy work and felt I landed in a room of beginners.

I’m the kind of person with whom it takes a little while to accept people into my circle but once you’re in, you’re in. The non-sexual intuitive touching exercise really didn’t do it for me so I chose to sit (stand) out. The facilitators dutifully checked in with me to ensure I was ok. I was but I didn’t fancy touching people I don’t know. Call me strange. . .
The final section of the day reinforced their other courses on offer – read up sell at a $50 discount for today only.  I won’t be signing up for more. I don’t take the bait that maybe on some future course I may find the missing piece of the puzzle. I honestly believe that I would do better in a smaller group situation or solo situation. I need to state that I believe Tantra to be very useful to most people and anyone who wishes to work on their sexuality and relationships is definitely making steps in the right direction. I also met some delightful, radiantly beautiful women.

As our final exercise, we state our intention for the future and I willingly state mine as my feelings towards the workshop do not diminish my reason for signing up in the first place.

“I reconnect to myself as a sensual and sexual being”

We then wrote down what obstructs us from achieving this, burnt the written paper is was written upon, turned and walked down an avenue of love entering the world as a new born version of ourselves.

 And all I could think of was ‘Hurry up, there will be too many people at the bar by now.”

more short fiction

Samantha, I just want you to know that this time last year, I considered you a good friend, and potentially someone who could become a close friend. I considered it an honour to turn up at your birthday party to help you celebrate. I was willing to engage, support, brainstorm creative ideas, talk out relationship concerns, have coffee catch-ups, see exhibitions, whatever, to develop our friendship. I would have been there for you with anything. Then I broke up with my boyfriend. The job I thought I had didn’t come thru. I was so broke I couldn’t feed myself some weeks. I went through a prolonged shock / identity crisis because I had been living a lifestyle that never really suited me. I was understandably sad, and sometimes vulnerable. I tried reaching out to you as a friend many times. After that one (very kind) visit you made, I don’t ever recall you actually reaching out to ask how I was. I’d try and talk to you. You seemed OK about it, but you never followed up, never checked in. I’ve been a fucking mess, and I needed my girlfriends. Not just someone who would randomly, casually engage on FB when the mood or the subject took her. I thought we had more of a friendship than that. I really did. I kept waiting, understanding everyone has busy periods in their life. But you know – I feel like a friend who cared would call a person occasionally, suggest to meet up. That’s what I’d certainly do. By the time your birthday came around this year, I pretty much had had no real personal contact with you for at least 8 months. 8 months. You were one of the few people who had any idea what an incredibly tough time I was going through. Yet no coffee invite, no invite to your new place, no phone call to see how I was faring. Just group invites, when I’d told you how bad my social anxiety was. This is the behaviour of an acquaintance, and not even a particularly caring one, not a friend. Just because there’s a green dot on your screen next to a person’s name, does not mean all is necessarily OK. I really thought more of you as a person. I really did… So when your birthday came around this year, and you proved yourself perfectly capable of sending me a text msg (the first in about 10 months), I did get it. But by then, I was hurt, and actually under the impression our connection had moved from a real life friendship to an online acquaintanceship. I didn’t feel like being the equivalent of people poly-filler for your birthday do, when you couldn’t just ask me as a friend just ONCE in 6 months – “Hey, how are you? Let alone ‘let’s catch up.” When we first met, you seemed very keen for us to be friends. So, I guess I disappointed you somewhere along the line for your enthusiasm to wane so. Sorry for whatever it was I did- but I can’t stay silent about how hurt I am anymore, Samantha. And now, I lose my bike – and what do I get from you – “good luck”. Seriously … do you have any idea how your behaviour looks like from the outside? I risk you unfriending me from sending this – but I’m tired of actually being hurt by your nonchalance. If you can’t take this on board, and see that you’ve really hurt someone who considered you a friend, then yeah – I don’t know where to next. Love, a sad and hurt friend. Xo
wow. I’m sorry that you’re hurt. I could launch into an explanation of my life these last 12 months but you’re probably not interested, so I won’t. I’ll back out. I often can’t find the words I want. I wish you all the best and I’m sorry that you feel I’ve let you down.
So, you are backing out of an opportunity for honesty to make a friendship more real, more authentic? Do you think I risked saying these raw, hard things because I wanted to end our connection? No – I wanted you to have some chance to know how I felt and some chance for you to give me your truth – your perspective… In my pain and my moving away from you because in the months of non-communication, I had given up trying to start a conversation with you. Of course I was aware that stuff might be going on for you – why do you think I waited so long to say something? I’m not asking anyone to fix my issues, I just hoped for some companionship through it -some lightness. If I didn’t value you, I would have just stayed silent, continuing to have these feelings, and have less and less contact with you. If you want to talk through stuff, I’d be happy to listen. But I think it would be better to do it at least in a phone conversation – if not face to face. However, if you really feel that our connection doesn’t deserve that, then I will sadly accept that, too. You surely must have been wondering why I was distant, and not making personal contact? As that is honestly where I felt our friendship was going anyway – but against my preference. In my opinion, it was worth pointing out what has been puzzling me, and hurting me – at least I’ve stopped pretending nothing was wrong.
I’m sorry that your version of our relationship didn’t tally with my version. People participate differently within friendships and for different periods of time.
To receive such a message from you feels like an assault. Did you stand back and aim your arrow high?  I know you are an accomplished writer. I like to read what you write usually. Your stories entertain and delight me – usually. Your version of our interactions is your version. I’m not sure I even have the energy to put up my side.
A year ago (your time construct not mine), I felt that we were starting to move from acquaintance to friend. Close friends don’t come easily to me.
I’m sorry that you feel that I disappointed you. Last year, for the first time in my life I experienced anxiety and depression. Yes, I’ve said the D-word. It was a draining and confusing time. I sought out a quiet nest far from the too noisy world. The whole experience was over-whelming and far more reaching than I could ever have projected. I’m sorry that you feel I let you down. I felt let down by life.

Papa Bagus

The small studio is half hidden under more vines and bamboo and I open the French doors and part the cheesecloth curtains to the side. I don’t really know what I’m in for but being open-minded I’m pretty up for whatever might come my way. I’m here for a consultation with a traditional Balinese healer. The other night Kat’s testimony was so compelling that I implored Adriana to see if the healer can find a time to fit me in. A short solid man not much older than myself, though I’m really only guessing, greets me. Softly spoken, his English is much better than my Indonesian. Pak Bagus, or Papa Bagus as the retreat managers refer to him, is dressed simply in a once-white t-shirt and blue batik print shorts with the standard bare feet.

“Why are you here?” he asks simply.  I choose not to dwell on the more philosophical sides of the question but briefly tell him about my diverticulitis last week. Basic words and some hand gesturing later he nods and directs me to lie down. I place my iced water on the side table, untie my sarong and lay face down on the massage table. He places his hands on my back at different intervals and blows gently upon my skin. Soon the pummelling and kneading begin. Without any massage oil, his hands soon warm up even more from the friction of his movements. Over the next two hours, I am alternatively poked and prodded, stroked and manipulated sometimes to the point of discomfort. I can’t decide whether he’s trying to work the bad stuff out or work the good stuff in.

Occasionally I draw in a quick breath when he works on a painful spot. He’s quick to explain that my outer thigh muscles are tender because they correlate to my stomach infection. “Big infection” he repeats time and again. These spots have been tender for quite some time and I know our body bits are all inter-connected but it’s reassuring when these things are reinforced. I roll over at the requested time and the procedure is repeated. Muscles are held first, breath blown then long firm strokes followed up by massage and manipulation with oil. For the first time in my experience, all the massages I am receiving in Bali my stomach is getting its fair share of attention. Papa Bagus is no exception.

I’m glad of this as his ministrations certainly ease some of the tension in my belly. He closes his eyes and his lubed up hands explore, press and release sections of my abdomen. “You tell me if pain” he says and I nod enthusiastically. As he holds firmly in the certain spots just above my pubic line, I feel sharp twinges on my lower left side. I tell him straight away. He nods but doesn’t really let up the pressure. This happens a few more times and I wonder why I’m supposed to mention the pain. Most likely as a distraction technique, he asks me about my family – children, husband and so on. I answer without going into too much confusing detail. He tells me about an Australian group he was dealing with last week and I interject with “It’s my first time in Bali actually.”

“Why?!” he exclaims.  I quickly apologise and explain that I was never interested in the beach and Bintang style of holiday and I didn’t understand what else this island had to offer. I make sure he understands that I recognise my folly and will endeavour in the future to dispel this belief amongst anyone I meet. I wax lyrical about Ubud and its stunning natural beauty, the artisans we’ve seen, the friendly generosity of the people we’ve encountered and the incredible food we’ve eaten. I hope I’ve convinced him that this will not be my last visit to Bali.

Like a rotisserie chicken, I’m oiled and turned, seasoned with spices and turned again. Meanwhile he expounds on his unique skills set “Astrology, astronomy, massage, healer, ceremony “. He pauses for no doubt dramatic effect “magic..”. I leave this last one in the air.

When my time has elapsed, I slowly sit up and find my sarong. Straightening my dishevelled underwear he adds a few last minute prescriptions. “Massage. You need massage in Melbourne. Who can do that?” I reassure him that there are plenty of places I can get massages. He also does his best to explain that I need to work on my gut bacteria. This actually isn’t news to me as I’ve been suffering the last few years every now and then especially with fermented products. Digestively speaking, I’m definitely still very much a work in progress.
I thank him, palms pressed firmly together in front of my chest fingers skyward as is the custom. I slink off back to my room before I have to encounter anyone.

#myindigoobsession


Last year I started having some sessions with a counsellor. It was during my blue period. I was experiencing a very strong attraction to dark, indigo blues. My paintings were being pulled in that direction. I seemed to be drawn to dark blue fabrics and items #myindigoobsession Indigo, cyan, navy, cobalt, azure, cerulean. Even the names of the blue pigments attracted me; their mellifluous sounds haunted my mind.

all artworks my originals


I found myself nesting, actually curling up on the couch pulling the soft blankets in on top of me. The television may have been turned on but I wasn’t. Books couldn’t hold my gaze; their words raindrops beading on my skin. I avoided phone calls and even refused to read text messages or emails. Bailing on prior commitments, I found the clutter of people draining. I attended my job in automatic mode, flicking the switch that would shut off 8 hours later when I crawled back into my nest. The bills still needed to be paid even if I didn’t feel up to it.


I don’t precisely recall who or what finally made me phone the counselling service but I did and a session was set for 5 weeks time. Five weeks could have seemed an aeon away but knowing it was booked in was a comforting thought. Day by day, the five weeks passed.

There’s an odd thing about counselling sessions. Two strangers sit opposite each other in a neutrally aesthetic room on chairs that at first seem comfortable, and one opens the flood gates on the issues at hand. I can see the counsellor sifting through the oncoming waters trying to pick up the pieces of a jigsaw without knowing what the final image looks like.

My counsellor (we’ll call her Kate cause that’s her name) seemed to know when to raise the levy so we could more intimately discuss a point. Knowing the right question to stop me in my tracks, she was adept at asking questions I didn’t know how to answer. One thing I’ve discovered about myself over the years of journaling is that I have a gestation period of roughly 24 hours. I need time to digest an idea and roll it over in my sub-conscious before I can formulate my response. Even when I was dating I found that I didn’t really know how I felt about someone until the next day. Counselling appeared to be similar. The next day, I could articulate what had taken place but straight afterwards, my head was in the clouds.

I managed to get some great clarity on a few issues during our sessions. I may have made the initial appointment after some depressed episodes but we never directly dealt with depression. By discussing a variety of issues, I suspect we dismantled the depression brick by brick bringing the sunshine back in.

Whilst many of my friends may not have ever known that I suffered from depression, which in and of itself can be a trigger word, I have discovered that by talking and writing about it fears of stigma have blown away. It is precisely people like me who are bubbly, talkative and energetic on the outside who others don’t suspect would suffer from anxiety and depressive episodes. We can. We do. I guess that’s the point. I don’t know how I got lost but I talked to a professional, I took it easy on myself and I climbed out of my nest ready to face the world. I still like my indigo blues and find it grounds my visual art but I’m no longer stuck in my indigo obsession.

Viciously Dating

It is often said that you meet people for a reason. Well over my 7 years of vicious dating, I met many people. I tried dating in all its many glorious forms.

 First of all I signed up to RSVP which is a well advertised and from my understanding a well patronised online dating site. My best friend at the time ( and luckily for me and her she still is) signed me up over a bottle or more of Sav Blanc. I say it was due to her superior typing and word skills that she did the finger work. Either that or shall was experimenting vicariously through me. … So what to say of those times? I met some lovely people a few of which are still Facebook friends or more. I chatted with some interesting chaps who I’m sure were perfect for someone else – just not me. I interacted with some downright dodgy characters who didn’t even graduate to getting my phone number.

Tired from the effort I thought I needed something which skipped the list keeping stage and jumped straight to the ‘do we have chemistry?’ stage. Speed Dating! Convinced by same said friend, one Sunday afternoon we went speed dating. She swore that friends of hers had done it, had fun and connected with some lovely gentlemen. Well, not one of those lovely gentlemen, were in our session. It appears that we scored the tradies from Narre Warren whose leisure activities stretched as wide as watching tv lounging on the couch whilst drinking beer to huntin’, shootin’ AND fishin’.  

I devoured a few of those popular paperbacks “He’s Just Not That Into You” dating rules and how to find Mr Right kind of books. I turned up looking good even when I didn’t necessarily felt like it. I kept my eyes open to men in all circumstances even in the local fruit shop. And one day whilst waiting in a popular Melbourne restaurant for a friend (I’m always early. In fact if I’m late it just means that I’m on time)I met a man who I spent 14 months with. This was what I termed an organic meeting – all chemistry and no list ticking. He wasn’t Mr Perfect. In fact he probably wasn’t even Mr Halfway-there. We had fun together. We both liked good food and good wine and good movies. I always knew it wasn’t forever but it sure was a fun 14 months.

I even went clubbing with friends which only reinforced that it wasn’t my scene. I have trouble concentrating with background noise, always have. As a mother of 2 teenage daughters, I sincerely doubt that Mr Right or even Mr Almost Right was going to be hanging out in a noisy doof doof club.

So I figured it was back to online dating for me. This time I surveyed my friends. Which sites might be fruitful for the kind of man that I was looking for? Some of the free ones turned out to be big hook up sites which wasn’t what I was looking for. On a side note, I’ve always found that as a semi confident woman, sex for sex’s sake hasn’t actually been all that difficult to find. Certain other sites seemed to demand you fill out essay length forms before anything would even go live.  I found one that was a happy medium. Never one to pay any money, I signed up for my free profile and filled out the necessary questions. Forget that I incorrectly spelt my profile name – not that anyone ever picked me up on it. I was off and running.

One gentleman in particular seemed to continually check out my profile.  Quick check of the photos – ok..Peruse his question responses – nothing to raise any concerns there. DAMN! He’s in Perth. How come his profile states location as Melbourne? Oh, he’s moving to Melbourne in a week. Nice..fresh meat. We connect. We email. We talk on the phone. A couple of weeks later, several days after he moves to Melbourne, we have our first date. I warn him to wear his serious walking shoes as I’ve planned a 4 hour walking tour of my glorious city. He was such a gentleman and after driving him home all I could think was that I wanted to spend more time in his company.

One time I sat down and listed the reasons I met certain men. Moreover, these are the things I learnt about myself while dating these men. Please note the names have been changed to protect the innocent. They are in no particular order and I promise the names are made up so there’s no point trying to figure it out.

Simon – I need someone who is willing to be part of my greater family
Matthew– I need someone with brains as well as a hot body that he knows how to use
Pete – I need someone who matches my inner age
Chris – I need someone who I find sexually appealing
Adam – I need someone who doesn’t spend longer getting ready than I do.
Craig – I deserve someone who doesn’t keep me waiting whilst he answers a work call while having dinner with me
Greg – I need someone who doesn’t refer to me as simply ‘a friend’
Martin– I need someone who is willing to be with me and my children.
Ben – I deserve someone who is motivated and on track financially
David -I want someone who has a strong interest in good food and wine/beer
Jason – I deserve someone who is generous of spirit

All artworks featured are my originals and for sale.

I very much enjoyed my time viciously dating. It was fun. I met some lovely men and some not so lovely men. All said, I’m grateful not to be dating. I love my man and am happy chilling out at home together.

my first masterclass

So I’ve signed up to do a writers masterclass.

Lately, people have been talking to me about writing. It might be a case of the more your brain has been alerted to something, the more you start to notice it around you. Whatever the case, I’ve decided to take the leap and give it a go.

I feel that I used to be able to write better than I currently do. Maybe I just need to flex my writing muscles and practice it. I’m hoping that it will aid my writing about my art practice. I want to be able to better nail down my thoughts about my art. I can talk freely about the why and the how of my art practice but sieze up when it comes to conveying these thoughts to others via the written word.

I love to read. I love stories. I love movies, theatre, radio interviews where the story is deftly played out.  I’d like to be able to participate on the other side of it.

So my birthday gift to myself is signing up to this writing class and hopefully more words will flow.

I don’t belong here


I’m living in the wrong place; somehow it just happened. One thing lead to another and there you go – I’m living in a place to which I don’t belong. Please don’t misinterpret me. I love my house. I have friends in the local area. There are some great shops, cafes and public transport within waling distance. It’s visually pleasing, mostly quiet and I’ve mostly good neighbours.  It’s just that I don’t belong here.

I don’t feel like these are my people. I often find myself at odds when discussing ideas or issues. The main thrust of my artwork usually gets greeted with raised eyebrows and an open mouth. Worse – I find myself censoring what I show and (here’s the real kicker) even what I create.

This isn’t where I want to be – literally.
For now, I’ll stay – due to ties that have a natural limited lifespan.

Good thing that I dwell in two places. I also have a part time inner city abode. The vitality and fast pace I find in my other home stimulates and energises me. I appreciate this dual living for how it sustains me for now.