Tag Archives: relationships

32: A Year in Review

 

Almost every night for the past month, I have been dreaming about kittens and every night more and more of them appear.

I am not a cat person so I decided these dreams must have a meaning, and I went on a mission to find it.

As you may have guessed, I am the kind of person who will read a horoscope, and pick out the good bits and discard everything else. With dream interpretation, I was no different.

I sifted through information that indicated I was pregnant (I am not, I checked), and that foretold of an upcoming betrayal from a loved-one (“snore”).

But my favourite?  Apparently, kittens in dreams indicate that I have an unrequited sexual fantasy that I am trying to suppress. Really? How interesting.

Then I found one that said that dreaming of kittens meant I was in a transitional phase that would lead to independence.

Ah ha! Now, this is something I can work with.

During my research, I also discovered that I share a date of birth, the 16th of December with Ludwig Von Beethoven and Jane Austin. This has nothing to do with anything. I just thought it was cool.

My 32nd year has been my best yet. I moved to my very own place and finally began living like a proper adult.

Damion moved in and for the record, we are living together out of wedlock (what an inviting term) and we have no plans to get married so stop asking.

I have somehow landed in a job that I genuinely enjoy and that I get to flex my creative. muscle in. I am also a very active member of the team, something that has been missing in my work life for some time.

My blog seems to be gaining steam and I have had some awesome opportunities to appear in other publications and as a guest blogger. I have had a few lovely people get in touch to say they enjoy my writing and are learning a lot. I love when this happens. It spurs me on.

In bucket list news. This year I finally got to fulfil my dream of riding a horse…err pony and I successfully managed to abseil 160 metres down the QV1 Building completely by myself. I even got to see my beloved Fremantle Dockers win a game live and in person.

I learnt that when setting up a home you should always buy a bigger fridge than you think you will need as every man and his assistance dog will assume you are starving and bring you food. Trust me, I had to get a second freezer. I am not complaining by the way.

Best of all, this year is the first one since I went blind in 2009 where I have not been admitted to hospital at all! I have had far fewer infections this year too. This in itself is a major miracle.

On my last birthday, I was not very well. I had a blood infection, which had seen me need to take three months off work. It affected pretty much my whole body. I was really stressed out and as you can imagine, quite depressed.

A lot of this was because I never had a spare second to scratch myself, I was finding my feet in a new job and I was trying the independence thing for the first time.

I found myself in the position I had always wanted to be in but without the ability to enjoy it. There was only one thing for it. I needed to slow down and cut down on my stress. Here is what I did.

As a people pleaser, I constantly feel the need to prove my worth to others.  I just cannot say no.

Consequently, if there is a committee to join or a cause that needs help, you can bet I was somehow involved.

Despite being afraid that people would be let down, this year I stepped down from all of these, always apologising profusely and offering to join back up “next year” to appease my guilt. I probably will not though if I am honest.

I have stop trying to make my life resemble a Hollywood movie too. I decided that I do not need to accept every single invitation I receive.  It is better for me to say no to attending something that would be awkward for me because of my various disabilities if it means I feel safer.

 

What is the point of going, not being able to participate and feeling like a moron? The anxiety in the lead up to events such as this is not worth it.  No one really cares how many Facebook check-ins you make anyway. Further, friends who do not understand why you cannot attend their event and make it a big deal, are possibly not good friends at all.

Ironically, in doing this, I am possibly the busiest I have ever been and I find that I enjoy things a lot more. It is funny how life works!

Speaking of false friends, I have also done a comprehensive clean out this year. As a person with a disability, I had a lot of acquaintances but very few real friends. I defined a real friend as being someone who wants to spend time with me because they enjoy it. Not because spending time with me makes them, feel better about their situation/body. Or worse, because they feel the need to fulfil a civic duty.

To those who have never had to deal with it this might sound harsh. If my being around happens to inspire you then so be it, but I have things to do.  So, if you need someone to make you feel better about yourself see a counsellor

Congratulations to those still in my life by the way.  You have made the cut LOL!

Finally, I have learnt that my relationship with Damion is perfect as long as it works for us.

The biggest lesson that I have learnt this year is that if you constantly feel the need to tell people how happy you are and how perfect your life is, it is probably not. A full social life and a million thank you gifts for favours are nice but a sleep in is better. And, the word “no” is fun to say. Ask any toddler.

Independence Ahoy!

I credit this new philosophy with the massive improvement in my health.

As I write this my 33rd birthday is two days away. I wonder what lessons the next year will bring.

Happy birthday to me!

 

XOXO

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Nonna Knows Best: Why I will be voting Yes to Marriage Equality

Nina and Glove
So, the other day Nonna asked me straight out, “Are you and Damion living together?” And when I gave her the answer, her reaction really surprised me…

 

Just for a bit of background, my Nonna is 95 years old and was born in the tiny Sicilian town of Francavilla where she lived until emigrating to Australia in 1959, with five children, to join her husband (my Nonno) who had been working here for several years

 

Like most of her generation she had an extremely conservative upbringing and was brought up as a devout catholic.

 

She has never worked outside the home, never voted, and speaks very little English

(especially if she knows you can speak Italian).  She does all the stereotypical things that Italian grandmothers do. She’s got an altar, she enjoys force-feeding and she is awesome at laying on the guilt.   But most of all, she believes in the old fashioned values. 

 

So, you can see why I wasn’t keen on telling her that I was “living in sin.” Plus, I was afraid of what she might do to Damion (remember she’s Sicilian). 

 

We are very close. I am even named after her and she has lived next door to me most of my life.  Half of me was scared that she would kill me but really, I just didn’t want her to be disappointed. 

 

I admitted that, yes, we were. Hastily adding how well Damion can cook and how big the portions he serves are. Then I waited for the rant that never came…

 

Instead she said, “Oh well, as long as you love and look after each other that’s okay”  

 

Now, my Nonna is sharp as a tack. I suspect she had worked out that we were living together long before I actually admitted it.  Which had given her lots of time to get used to the idea. But I still couldn’t believe how cool she was being about it.

 

I think this has a lot to do with Damion. She loves him, and for a boyfriend of mine that is no mean feat.

 

It might have something to do with the fuss he makes of her every time they meet. Or maybe it’s because when we went to the Perth Food and Wine Show he got Gary Meagan, (her favourite judge from MasterChef Australia), to autograph his magazine with the caption, “To Nonna, keep cooking love Gary”. Either way we are both still very much alive.

 

For those who don’t know, we in Australia are about to commence a postal vote on the subject of whether or not we are in favour of changing the Marriage Act to include marriage between two consenting adults instead of only between a man and a woman.

 

I was going to write a scathing post criticising those who intend to vote no on the grounds of religious belief.

 

I intended to point out that the book of Leviticus which is widely referenced as forbidding gay marriage, also forbids those with deformity, disability or mental illness (A.k.a. me) from coming to the altar.   Then, I was going to ask if anyone was willing to admit that they agreed with this too, and then hope to God that someone did so I could prove my point that things in the Bible are a little outdated and frankly, quite insane  (which as we have learnt is not allowed in church).

 

But it did seem a little ironic to me to be asking everyone to embracet love in whatever form it takes, with a post filled with anger, hatred and sarcasm.

 

So how about this? If my Nonna at the age of 95 can move and grow with the times then can you find it in your heart to do the same?

 

In these times when Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are on the brink of nuclear world war, wouldn’t it be nice to have a bit more love in the world?

 

I had 12 years of catholic education and yet I will admit that my knowledge of the Bible is fairly limited. Although, I seem to remember that Jesus did say, “Love one another as I have loved you”.  There was no caveat that I know of where He says “unless the other has a different lifestyle to yours.”

 

Apologies if I appear to be bending Bible verses to suit my own agenda. I thought that’s what we were doing now

 

XOXO 

 

My Boyfriend is so…….

 

My boyfriend is so…

 

 

My boyfriend is so aggressive. He’s always pushing me around (in my wheelchair).

 

 

My boyfriend is so rude. He’s always telling me where to go (coz if he doesn’t, my blindness  is bound to get me lost).

 

 

My boyfriend is so nasty. He is always yelling at me (even with my hearing aid, sometimes it’s the only way I’ll answer).

 

 

My boyfriend is so patronising. He repeats himself over and over (see above).

 

 

My boyfriend is so selfish. He never lets me do anything (unless it’s fun)

 

 

 

My boyfriend is so violent. He always beats me (in Monopoly, Guess Who…)

 

 

My boyfriend is a West Coast Eagles supporter (no, I don’t understand it either)

 

 

 

The moral: there is usually more to every story.

 

 Make sure you are in possession of all the facts!

 

 

 

XOXO

 

5 Tips for Dating Someone Who is Divinely Disabled

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Last week I shared with you my top tips for dating if you are disabled. Well, somehow that post was the most successful post in “Inner musings of a funny looking kid” history.

 

So, because now I have tickets on myself; here are my top 5 tips for dating someone who is divinely disabled.

 

  1. Keep a sense of humour:

Very early on in our relationship, I went to a partner’s house for dinner. As we were preparing to eat he went to the cupboard to get the plates. I was twiddling my thumbs and so I asked him “Would you like a hand?” Now this was a polite and fair question except that he didn’t (and I assume still doesn’t) have arms. Without batting an eyelid, he looked at me (straight-faced) and said, “Actually I’d like two.” Then proceeded to laugh at the embarrassment on my face. Faux pas will happen and, having lived with our bodies for a long time, a person with a disability can usually tell the difference between a Freudian slip or innocent mistake and a deliberate attempt to offend. And, if we like you, we’ll usually let it slide.

 

Having said that though, that doesn’t mean that your date is automatically up for being the butt of your jokes. Take a cue from them.  If they find it funny, then chances are that you can too.

 

  1. There is a difference between chivalry and being patronising:

As a general rule; if you’ve seen Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire or Clarke Gable do it in a movie, i.e. Hold a door open, push a chair in or pick up the cheque, this is chivalry. Anything else is patronising unless they ask you for the help. As a matter of fact, some will say that the above gestures are also patronising but I don’t see anything wrong with the occasional display of gentlemanliness. It’s one of my favourite things about Damion.

 

A lot of disabled people are very independent and others have a carer to help them when they need it. We are out with you because we want a partner, not because the carer has the night off!

 

  1. Be prepared:

Dating us is a lot like being a Boy Scout. You need to always be prepared.   I don’t mean that you should bring a first aid kit to every date, although don’t be surprised if we need one at some point (see tips 1 and 2 for how to handle this), but rather that you need to consider the venue or activity you are planning beforehand. For example, if your date is in a wheelchair then places without stairs are a good idea and rock climbing is probably not. This will get easier the longer you know each other and if in doubt, ask.

 

I once went on a date with a guy who was unsure as to where we should go. When I suggested the Roof Top Movies, (a cinema on the top floor of an open-air car park), he declined because he didn’t want to wear a harness. I don’t know what the hell he thought roof top movies were.

 

Also, if you don’t have a disability you might not have experienced the stares that you will get when we’re out together. It is not our fault; some people are just rude.  But chances are it is always going to happen. If it’s too much for you that’s ok but please tell us before it becomes an issue.

 

  1. Do ask and do tell:

If you are curious, it is ok to ask. If you both plan on a long-term relationship, then you will more than likely learn the answers to your questions eventually though.  So use your common sense as to what is appropriate to ask at which stage of the game and remember, your date is not your research project.

 

Yes, love is blind but if your love actually is blind (for example) it is a good idea to mention this to your family/friends before you introduce us to them.  This will avoid any awkwardness during the introduction and allow everyone to make preparations that will ensure everyone is as comfortable as possible. It also gives them the chance to ask questions or air any misgivings they may have out of your love’s earshot.

This is not patronizing, its practical.

 

  1. A tip from Damion:

Keep an open mind. People with a disability may look/act different to “normal” people but they will more often than not prove to be more loving and understanding than others. Which makes for a deeper and more fulfilling relationship.

 

For the record: I did not put him up to that.

 

Happy dating!

 

XOXO

5 Dating Tips for the Divinely Disabled

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Like millions of women the world over, I got my fair share of advice from others on what kind of man I needed when I finally started dating. I was told he needed to be as clever as me or I’ll get bored, a dormouse so that he didn’t mind that I did all the talking and I was even told that I needed a fella who worshipped me as much as my old dog Napoleon did. But perhaps the most unhelpful suggestion I got was that I needed, above all else, a man with a disability. coz you know, we’re in the same league.

Damion does not have a disability, but I don’t hold that against him. He is in fact the only person I’ve been out with (more than once) who does not, and he’s awesome! The only other “serious relationship” (if you could call it that) that I have ever had was with a gorgeous guy that did happen to have one. The relationship lasted for less than a year but I suspect that that had more to do with my incredibly low self-esteem, ( resulting in my constant need for reassurance) not our disabilities. Constant crying is never an attractive quality for anyone.  It is almost as unattractive as desperation.

 

On a side note, I mention the disability status of both of these men purely to make the point that this is not the deciding factor in my relationships. You would be surprised how many people ask me “what is his disability?” if ever I mention Damion. I will usually ignore the ignorance but if I do answer, you’d think I had said I was dating a 100-year-old (nothing wrong it that) and not someone who’s able-bodied. Such is the shocked reaction I encounter.

 

I have now seen both sides of the coin. That is, I have been the disabled dater and the disabled datee. When one or more of you have a disability, there are extra things to be considered, such as anything from; access to venues and how you’re going to get there, to how you’re going to shower at your partner’s house without your shower chair. Luckily though, with this being 2017, there is usually a way around everything if you want there to be.

 

I am no expert but since when has that ever stopped me? Here are my top tips for dating if you are divinely disabled:

 

1. Don’t hide your disability –  be upfront, honest and proud of your disability. If it’s too confronting to deal with on the first date, it’s unlikely to be any less so if you spring it on them in 2-dates-time. This is especially important if you are dating online. Trust me, the look of shock/disappointment that comes when your date sees that you are more disabled than they thought is not something that you really want to see.

 

I once went out with a guy who gave me that look. so, not wanting to seem any more disabled (as it was obviously an issue) I decided not to take my walking frame. This was a mistake, what I should have done was not go through with the date. Instead I wobbled around and eventually had to hold onto him for support which made us both uncomfortable. Needless to say, there was no second date.

2. You don’t have to take second best.

I had thought that because I am not perfect and my disability carries a lot of baggage, I should take anything that is offered to me and be grateful. That means  putting up with being made fun of,  or taking part in activities that I was not comfortable with, purely because I was afraid that nothing else would come along. Wrong! Sure, it is a possibility, but if you don’t find someone else straight away, at least you won’t have to shave your legs every day.

 

Similarly remember that you are not a curio. There is a myth out there that disability equals desperate and to use a phrase I heard a lady on BBC program “The Undatables” use; we are not here for a fascination fuck!

 

3. On the first date go somewhere you know.

It’s not always your choice, but if you can go somewhere you know well, then do. That way you can be familiar with where the easiest access points are and where you can sit down if you need to. Another perk to knowing the place is that, where applicable, you can peruse the menu beforehand. This avoids the awkwardness of having to ask your date to read it for you if you can’t. Although, their reaction to this request can be a good indicator as to how comfortable they are with your disability. Damion read the menu out for me on our first date.

4. Be happy with yourself first.

I know that everyone says this and it’s easier said than done, but it’s true. Unfortunately, unless your partner is as lacking in the self-esteem department as you (not recommended) or they have the patience of a saint, you won’t get the reassurance you’re after. You’ll get dumped! Try counselling and/or writing to overcome this. It worked for me

5, You gotta be in it to win it – put yourself out there.

This is not a movie, it’s real life. So, sadly, the person you’re looking for wont just appear on your doorstep and declare undying love for you. It’s frightening and yes, your disability might expose you to more rejection than you hope, but it’s not all doom and gloom.

 

If you’re shy, internet dating is a good option and you can do it in your pyjamas. It’s also good when, like me, your disability makes it difficult to socialise in the traditional way. You do have to go out in the big wide world eventually though.

 

There are lots of different sites out there but I had success with disabledsingles.com.au and more recently with Zoosk (it’s were I met Damion). There are people from all walks of life everywhere, so keep an open mind and just go with what your comfortable with.

 

Good luck and happy dating!

 

XOXO

A Guilt Trip is not a Holiday

Damion and I have been dating for almost 6 months now and I’m proud to say that we have never had a cross word pass between us.  Having my own place now, he has been staying with me a few nights a week and the new arrangement has seen the dynamics of our relationship change slightly. 

 With this, comes the unearthing of habits that I never knew he possessed.   My boyfriend is completely incapable of sharing.  He refuses to share; the cooking, the dishes or making the bed. He won’t take turns putting the rubbish out and sometimes he won’t even share in the laundry.  No, he insists on doing it all. He is also extremely bossy. He is constantly ordering me to; sleep in, put my feet up and relax, and, he is constantly telling me that I’m beautiful and that he loves me. I mean honestly, the nerve!

 My family and friends are very unsympathetic. When I tell them about the gross injustices in my relationship they just look at me and say “oh Poor you” and something tells me they are not being genuine.

 My work colleagues are the same.  I have only been at that job for four months and three of those months have been spent on sick leave. I wanted my boss to rant and rave at me, to show her annoyance at my having let the team down, especially when they saved me from certain unemployment. But she didn’t. and neither did anyone else. Instead, when I tried to go into the office too soon, I was simply told to go home and relax and “come back when you are better, not when you think you should”.

  Months ago, when I was preparing to move, trying to impress in my new job ( whilst dealing with the emotion of having left the last job even though I was pretending I was not bothered by it at all), exercising madly so I would be strong enough to live alone and spending every spare moment either talking to or hanging out with my awesome new boyfriend, I dreamed of taking my long service leave.

 

I was trying to be everything to everyone and then I got sick so I ended up becoming nothing to anybody. I did get my long service leave though. Problem is, I now feel so useless, bored and guilty that relaxation is almost impossible.  Not that I haven’t tried mind you. I promised myself that I would begin practising meditation every day (I have been listening to “Eat, Pray, Love” again)  and I did… for two days in a row. But then I lost interest

 

This is not helping my recovery. If anything it is the cause of all the extra things (Cold, Gastro, ear infection etc) that keep cropping up during this down time.  I keep complaining to everyone that I am bored and, (usually in a wheelchair) they take pity on me and we go on outings. But I am too scared to enjoy myself, I am supposed to be in recovery after all.   Worst of all is the guilt that comes from writing, which I can only do at the moment with the help of a dictator ( the electronic variety not Fidel Castro) and my dad.

 

I have decided (yet again) to make a promise to myself.  I am now going to give myself a break and not worry about every little thing every second of the day.  I have adopted the mantra  “I have the rest of my life to  (insert description of task here )” and “my life is already awesome, I do not have to constantly be keeping up with the Jones’s”.  I call this “The Damien Theory” and when you have a mortgage, it beats the hell out of paying $160 an hour for counselling.

  

XOXO 

Fact or Fortune 3 Part 2: What the Psychic thinks now

Okay well she didn’t do so badly the last time. 50% is at least a pass, and they say third time is a charm. So I went to the psychic again. 

 At this visit (August 2016) I was in a much happier place than I was when I saw her last. I was healthier and finally in a relationship that made me truly happy.  I just left my job in pathology that I had held for 12 years and was due to commence my new position the following week.  I was also eagerly awaiting settlement of my new apartment and the date for which I can move in. Basically, I was one happy little ball of nervous but very excited energy!

 I bounced on in, clutching a photo of Damion and the cutting from the plant (the bay tree again) that she always asks for. It’s meant to be from a plant that means something special to me, and it has been instrumental in the creation of many a delicious meal over the years. But in truth, I really only chose it because it was the closest plant to the car.

 She ushered me in and sat me down before asking, ” So darling, what’s been going on in your life?” Ever the sceptic I simply replied, “You know, same old same old” and left it at that.  Far be it for me to steal her thunder.

 While she examined the cutting and the photo that I had brought with me, I randomly selected eight crystals from the bowl on the desk. For anyone who is interested, I always have to choose eight crystals because eight is half of 16 and 16 is my favourite number. 

 The first crystal was tiny, not even half as big as any of the others. Apparently this indicated that somebody I work with , that I admired, and who I trusted had made me feel small (not hard, I am 4 foot nine)  and this has caused me to feel “pushed out”. But as the second crystal was clear, the path was open for me to start anew at a job that I would enjoy more. I did need to be careful though, because the next three crystals were cloudy and indicated that I was too comfortable where I was and that now I was terrified of the change ahead. This was in fact true.

  Apparently I had put too high an expectation on myself and that I couldn’t go into the new job pretending that I knew it all. It is okay to ask questions and I can accept help if it is offered to me.  There is no harm in letting others do something nice for me if it makes them feel good (what? This is against all my programming). Further, if I did not do this I would create walls around me.

She looked at the cutting again and told me that she saw that I had recently bought a property. This was apparently a very good thing. The last three crystals were also clear but they were oddly shaped.  Meaning the move would be positive but that living here was just a stepping stone to something else. It would be something good though. 

 She asked me who it was in the photo and I told her that his name was Damion but unfortunately I cannot remember whether or not I identified him as my boyfriend. She then went on to describe him to a tee  and to tell me how gentlemanly he is. She told me that we shared a connection and that we could be quite happy together.  But that because we both had free will and “there is no such thing as a fortune teller” she didn’t know if he was “The one”.  For the record, I did not actually ask her that question.

 Before closing she told me that for once in my life I needed to stop and smell the roses. I needed to stop expecting something bad to be around every corner and to accept that sometimes life has good lesson to teach me as well. If I didn’t I would drive everything good away. I freely admit that I am now and have always been a pessimist. So I am trying to keep this advice in mind.

 But she wasn’t done…

 

“Who has a birthday coming up” she asked. Dad’s birthday was the week after the reading and that’s what  I told her. “Well” she said, “your Nonno wants you to wish him a happy birthday”  . This made me laugh. I don’t remember my Nonno ever being particularly chatty in life yet this is the third time he has popped in for a chat during a reading.  Perhaps he is just making up for lost time or maybe he’s a bit bored. Apparently the atmosphere in the afterlife is a bit dead (sorry I had to do it).

 

I’m pretty sure I have this psychic reading stuff out of my system now

 

XOXO