Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trying my hand at interior design

We’re in the midst of designing our dream home. Hubby and I have taken the plunge and signed with a builder. At first glance (through rose coloured lenses) it seems such an exciting and pleasurable task, personalising a home, making it yours from the concrete slab to the roof tiles. Then you get closer, and this big picture is revealed. I'm struggling to see how all the components fit together and I don’t have much confidence in my ability to visualise...

We’ve decided on the exterior, a neutral colour scheme with no tones of reds or greens because frankly, it’s not my thing. We’re planning to add colour to the front of the house by creating a garden. Although I wanted neutral colours like cream, beige and grey for the building materials, I’m quite colourful when it comes to plants. I’d love a big red cordyline, perhaps some bright green mop trees, and hubby and I are both huge fans of hedges... And see there it is, more decisions to make, more work to do!

Then there’s the interior and my oh my how I am struggling! My gorgeous husband says, “It’s ok honey, you can select the interior paint colours.” This scares the hell out of me, because with complete creative freedom I’m now incredibly paranoid that when the painting is done he’ll walk in and say “Oh my god what were you thinking?” There are a lot of things that we agree on but we can also be like chalk and cheese sometimes. Husband, for example, would like to ‘theme’ one of the rooms in the house, not so scary you say? Well how about this, he sees a four foot tall Egyptian pharaoh statue and suggests that would be a perfect start to an Egyptian themed living room. Oh no. Not if you want me to live there! It’s not that I’m against a theme, I think it would be nice, but it still does have to fit the rest of the house, doesn’t it?

I was thinking more along the lines of romanticising the bedroom. Wall lamps instead of ceiling lights, nice heavy curtains to keep it dark, maybe some candles... I haven’t yet found a wall lamp I love, but I don’t mind this one. I was also considering some low hanging pendants for either side of the bed.

I’m a simple girl... I was also thinking of something a little more elegant for the living room, maybe a chandelier, a fireplace, a sheer metallic curtain for the small window, some black and white Parisian prints on the wall and a plush rug. You see, the living room will be for relaxing and entertaining, it will not be the room scattered with children’s toys and vegemite stains, well, hopefully. I absolutely adore this chandelier, I would love to find a place for it in our new home. Which brings me to my next dilemma, colour! I’m usually the kind of person who likes to use as few colours as possible, but recently I’ve seen displays involving different colours that I wouldn’t have though would work, for example, tones of beige with white, black and brown. I think I need to start doing some hard core window shopping to figure out what I like and more importantly, what works. In the meantime, I’m open to ideas!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bad thought avoidance mechanism

Recently I had to take an overnight trip for work, all expenses paid in a fancy CBD hotel so I wasn't complaining too much. When it came time for some shut eye, I was laying in the king size bed and my mind flicked back to several years ago when I stayed in a hotel for the weekend with my mister (is that the male term for mistress?). It was his birthday so we ran away together and got a room for the weekend. We drank, we had sex, we swam and sunbaked... we were in our own little world for 2 days...

I must point out that I haven't had any contact with G for four and a half years. But every now and then something makes me think of him and I'm overwhelmed with mixed emotions. I feel intense guilt and remorse, because I love my husband very much and I think I'm the worst person in the world for hurting him. I also feel a little nostalgia... You see, this was the only relationship in my life that both parties walked away from, not because we didn’t have feelings for each other but because we just couldn’t be together. So occasionally I miss him, I long to feel his lips on mine, I long to see his handsome face and feel his hands on my body, and then I go back to hating myself for thinking that way.

I know, without a doubt in my mind, that a happily-ever-after future with G would never be a possibility, even if I wasn’t married. He was in to drugs, he’d been in jail, didn’t really have a home, when we parted company he didn’t even have a job. I don’t think I was in love with him, more so the idea of him. The sex wasn’t even that fantastic. It was absolutely thrilling, this sexy bad boy at my mercy, but it lacked passion and worst of all, he showed no interest in pushing, or even looking for, my buttons. Pardon my French, but in hindsight, it truly was just fucking. My husband on the other hand is a professional in the bedroom; he is without a doubt the best sex I’ve ever had. A master love maker.

So it’s not that I want G back, but you know how sometimes you just want to go back and live in that moment that felt like a dream? Even when you’re living it you know it won’t last long so that makes it all the more appealing. I also started to wonder, if I think about it sometimes, does my husband? I wonder if it still pains him from time to time or if he has really pushed it aside. It was this train of thought that led me to develop a ‘bad thought avoidance mechanism’. Instead of remembering those exhilarating moments with G, I looked back on when I first met my husband...

How handsome he was (and still is) and so charmingly funny, at first thought I didn’t consider I had a chance with him. I remember the butterflies in my stomach when I saw him, my heart pounding in my chest, freaking out when he noticed me staring at him. I remember making out like horny teenagers and being completely incapable of keeping our hands off each other. I remember our honeymoon and how beautiful and special it was. I’m not sure when the transition happened, but somewhere along the line we stopped being aroused and ravenous teenagers who had more physical interaction than emotional, to the absolute best of friends, perfectly happy in each other’s company as well as each other’s arms. Some people are continually searching for something I came across at a relatively young age, something I do occasionally take for granted. So it’s time to stop wondering about greener pastures and reflect on all that is good in my life, because there is plenty of it!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Do we ever really grow up?

Recently I reconnected with a childhood friend via a social networking site. This boy and I were friends up until the age of 9 when we parted company to live in different suburbs. We were the best of friends; we even shared our first kiss. We had that kind of relationship that if we were in a movie we would have grown old together and died holding hands. We found each other and had a little chat, and we've remained online friends. Occasionally I feel this desire to reach out, throw the old "let's meet up for a bite to eat" at him, but then I wonder, would we have anything in common anymore? It's been more than 15 years since we've spent any time together, we grew up, and our lives took different paths! Once you get past the update, what would do you have to talk about?

This made me wonder, do we ever really grow up or are we the same people we were back then? I remember being about 7 and hiding in mums kitchen eating milo from the tin. Two nights ago I found myself standing in my kitchen, knuckle deep in a jar of nutella...

I remember being about 8 years old and doing this little f*** you dance that involved flipping the bird at a girl at school, and sadly enough, I still enjoy flipping the bird accompanied by a little song...

I remember being 9 and putting on a brand new outfit and pair of shoes, feeling a million dollars, strutting my stuff down the street to show it off, there was no greater feeling in the world! And today, I still feel that a new item of clothing is the best way to feel good about yourself...

I remember being scared of the dark, my overactive imagination hearing sounds that no one else heard, seeing things no one else saw. Last week I was standing in my son’s room when I swore I heard a woman’s voice, it frightened me so much that later when I had to walk up there in the dark I was almost shaking, thinking someone must be hiding somewhere... turn the lights on!

When I consider these examples, I feel like I haven’t changed at all! So I grew boobs and hips, so I went to University, bought property, got hitched and made babies, at the end of the day I truly still am that 9 year old girly girl who occasionally has tomboy outbursts, a sugar addict with an irrational fear of the dark.
I think sometimes we complicate things instead of just accepting the simplicity. This boy and I once had a great connection, there was something about ‘us’ that we enjoyed, it’s as simple as that. But truly, if I worked hard at re-connecting with every person I once shared something with, I would never have time for my family, for myself, for the friends I have today... I think it comes back to my previous post, perhaps we really do have expiration dates.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Do friendships have an expiration date?

When I was in high school I came across a poem. It went a little something like this:

There are friends who pass like ships in the night
Who meet for a moment then sail out of sight
With never a backward glance of regret
Friends we know briefly then quickly forget
There are other friends who sail together
Through quiet waters and stormy weather
Helping each other through joy and through strife
And they are the kind who give meaning to life

This poem has always lingered in my memory, and the other night while flipping through some old photo’s it really got me thinking. What about those in between friends? Sure, I’ve had a few ships in the night in my time, and I also have a few sailing buddies, but what about those who are there for several years, and then gone? From several albums, there were more a dozen people who I once spent a large portion of my time with, some who I had very close friendships with, and most who spanned a large part of my teenage years and early 20’s. It really had me wondering, is it that I have an expiration date? Do people tire of me? Am I a bad friend?

I could think of a few explanations though. Let’s start with J, a close friend who I spent a lot of time with, our friendship actually date’s back to early childhood. She was a bridesmaid at our wedding, which is a pretty good indication of the amount of time we spent together. J and I had a falling out while I was having an affair. She was constantly trying to contact me to see if I was ok and find out what was going on and I couldn’t handle that level of... supervision. J was a very moral person, religious as well, and I think that when she realised what was going on, combined with my pulling back when she was reaching out to me, she gave up on me. I still see J once or twice a year; we don’t really have anything to say to each other. There is awkwardness between us now. I do miss her, and I wonder if it’s too late to apologise, but I just don’t have the energy to keep trying anymore.

Then there is L. L and I had some great times together. We lived close to each other; we both enjoyed a laugh and a cigarette with a cheap drink. L was always by my side, so much so that sometimes it was difficult to get away without her, and if I did I was abused for being a bad friend. But I enjoyed her company anyway, because we always had fun, no matter what. One day we had a falling out due to a miscommunication. I was working a night shift, she needed to talk, and by the time I woke up the following day I’d forgotten all about it, I was exhausted and off to work again. This did affect our closeness, but we always remained friends. Later, L was one of the few people I confided in about my affair. Telling L was actually quite a wakeup call for me. Voicing it made me realise what I was really doing. Now, L and I rarely speak and see each other maybe once a year. Our last few interactions have made me feel that ending the friendship is the right thing to do. Our lives have taken such different paths and we don’t really have anything in common anymore.

I have to ask though, what is better, a friendship with an expiration date or one that lingers for an eternity? What is the point? H and I have been friends since kindergarten. We didn’t go to the same schools, we didn’t have the same friends, but we always had time for each other. Again, we had a blast together, and most of my favourite childhood and teenage memories involve H. H and I can still talk on the phone for hours, we can still catch up like no time has passed, and we do still have things in common. We can just never make time for each other. We can go for 6 months without speaking. Sometimes I feel that H makes no effort to sustain the friendship. When she had her first child, I visited her regularly, I helped with christening preparations, but I didn’t receive an invite for the first birthday... When I had my first child, the baby was 2 months old before H finally came over to visit and it was only because I had a go at her for not coming sooner. She didn’t come to the christening, and hasn’t seen him since I last visited her place nearly 12 months ago. I wonder why we are still friends. Is it simply because of the longevity of the friendship, neither of us is brave enough to give it up altogether? In our 20 years of friendship we’ve never really had a real fight, we’ve always been able to talk and laugh, on the surface it appears to be golden! But then I call her and ask when we can catch up and H says, “I’ll give you a call and organise something.” And it never happens, but we have a great chat on the phone anyway.

Most importantly, there are my necessities, four special friends who I always make time for. We are a team and the effort is mutual on all parts. We talk, we laugh, and most importantly, we love. We have different personalities, different careers, different likes and dislikes and yet we have so much in common. We schedule time in our busy lives to be together and we all look forward to it so much. I wonder if this is too good to be true, will it be short-lived like many other friendships? I truly hope not.

I suppose life wouldn’t be too interesting if we all had the same friends from birth til death. Naturally different paths are taken and people grow apart. And realistically, you can’t avoid meeting new people at all, how boring would that be? I just get tired of starting a story with “This girl I used to be friends with...”

The Preamble

So, here I am writing my very first blog. When I say I think too much, it’s not an exaggeration. There is so much going on in my head that often it’s difficult to know where to start. But for the preamble, it seems only natural to start at the single most defining moment in my life, my parents’ divorce. Before you jump to conclusions thinking that I’m about to blame all of my troubles on the fact that they couldn’t stay together, think again. To the contrary, although the day my dad told me he was moving out was the most painful day of my life, it began a chain of events that moulded me to become the intelligent, loving, and well adjusted person that I am today.

I was a toddler, old enough to understand, young enough to think it was the end of the world... and yet adjust quickly. Later, a bitter custody battle would ensue; followed by some sickening events that no child should have to go through. A person who first came across as fun and caring friend turned out to be a violent, curious, alcoholic who I hope dies a slow, painful and lonely death. But enough of that.

It wasn’t all bad. Before too long I had step-parents, siblings, extended family, for which I am truly blessed. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now that I’m an adult and a parent myself, my experience has left me with two viewpoints. Firstly, no child should suffer an unhappy marriage, and although at first a divorce can appear to break a child, later in life it will work out. If the marriage will not work then it is for the best.

On the other hand, I always wondered what it would be like to be a part of a nuclear family. I see that it must have been so hard for my mum to get by as a single mother. I understand that the things I went through, she went through with much more intensity, she suffered and endured so much more. So for that reason, I’ve decided that no matter what, I will fight for my marriage. I love my husband. He drives me insane sometimes but there is a reason why I married him. I don’t have to go through the things my mother went through. So I am determined to provide my children with the life I didn’t have. Sometimes things don’t work out, but we should all plan to succeed, not plan to fail.

Having said all that, I know why she wanted out, I’ve been there. Don’t get me wrong, my dad is a wonderful man, any woman would be lucky to have him. When you’ve been with someone for a long time you forget how it started. You forget the butterflies and the excitement. Then someone new walks on in, someone handsome, a little dangerous perhaps. Your heart beats fast; your knees go weak... It always starts innocent, that’s what you tell yourself anyway. Then the next thing you know you’re in the midst of a full blown affair. I know, I know, what a contradiction, in the last paragraph I’m proclaiming to be in my marriage 100% and now I’m telling you I had an affair. The affair was a wakeup call. I tried to leave my husband. I told him everything. At first, he fought for me. He fought his heart out. Then one day, he gave up. It was at this point that it finally hit home, I finally realised what I was doing.

I ended the affair, I threw out anything that reminded me of him, I deleted phone numbers and text messages, and I worked it out with my husband. It wasn’t easy, I saw a counsellor, first by myself and then my husband started coming with me. Several years down the track my conscience is stronger than ever and there is a lingering pang of guilt in my stomach that I don’t think will ever fade. I hurt the person who matters most to me and he forgave me. I am so incredibly sorry and so incredibly grateful that he was willing to stand by me.

And that’s it, that’s the prologue. Well, a very brief version anyway. The purpose was to point to some significant moments that will be reflected on in future entries. No doubt I’ve missed something that may come up later but I’ll cross that bridge if I come to it!