that's an order
For GK's 50th birthday, I had suggested a trip to the Northern Rivers
area. I had also suggested Darwin, as GK is nostalgic about the time
he spent there when he was just getting established in his work. GK
thought that the time of year wasn't the ideal time to get the full
benefit of Darwin, and plus, in the planning stages we weren't yet
sure if I'd get a passport. Northern Rivers is only a couple of hours
away by car, and seemed like an ideal option. It's known as the
hippie capital of Australia, and at heart, GK is pretty much a
When I returned from Melbourne, I was completely out of control, and
I couldn't find any way to put the brakes on. I lost all sense of
why anything like that might be important. I just let myself slide.
Somehow, though, I managed to focus well enough to get out the door
for GK's birthday trip. I couldn't make any promises about how much
I'd be willing or able to do, but we did end up covering most of what
was planned. We did have help.. I had contacted someone who blogs
extensively about the area, and she offered many helpful suggestions.
I think GK enjoyed his trip very much, but I probably shouldn't speak
for him. He has a lot of fantastic photos, as usual. With one
exception, I will use mine for this entry, and leave it up to him as
to whether he wants to post something himself about this trip. So,
this is just going to be the usual kind of Xesce thing..
tip of the iceberg
It was a bit of a shock to hit Byron Bay. Everywhere, there were
signs like the ones that had dismayed me in Sydney. Do this, don't do
that. You can't park at the beach or anywhere else without having to
It had been cold in the house when we headed out, but when we reached
Byron, it was warm, and everyone was in shorts or summer clothes. I
was wearing a black dress and black tights, and I felt really
conspicuous, but it would have been too awkward to try to use a
public restroom to try to change (or would have cost extra for
parking), and we had a few hours to kill before we could sign into
We headed to the Byron Market, and although at first it was difficult
to get used to the sunlight and all the people, we managed to buy
some things for a picnic the next day, as well as a hat and t-shirt
for GK, and a few colourful clothes for me.
I did something a bit unusual.. I bought clothes in colours I don't
usually buy. I bought a purple tie-dyed skirt ($19), a dark purple
sleeveless top ($10), a silver and purple bangle ($13), and a
colourful hippie-ish red sleeveless top (other bright colours were
mixed into the pattern with red). I wore purple for GK's birthday.
broken head beach
On the second day, we took a drive down Possum Creek Road, and from
there kept exploring. Later on in the day, we found this 'cove' which
we had all to ourselves. This was something I had been needing. We
first had to get past all the beaches where you have to pay for
parking and whatnot. I went in up to my knees. This is just a simple
kind of thing, and GK can't really relate to it, but I do have a
thing for the sea. It seemed to me that for hours afterward, my feet
and legs were sort of tingling in a very pleasant kind of way. It
might still have been a bit cold for regular swimming, but perhaps if
I had been there a bit longer I would have been curious to
Our accommodation was really cool. I would have liked to have given
our host better feedback, but I don't speak well on the spot, and I
am not registered as a member of AirBnB - GK booked the rooms and I
paid him back for mine. I found it difficult to register with AirBnB
because they ask you to submit a photo, and also profile info. They
are hoping for people who are a bit more socially adept or
forthcoming than I am. They have a lot of the most unique properties,
so possibly eventually I will bite the bullet and join, but for this
one I let GK take the bullet.
The location was very central, and we could walk to many places, and
yet, the grounds were not the kind of thing you'd usually expect so
close to a town's core. The garden was an eclectic mix of arty
objects, and had more of an out-of-town feel.
There was less privacy than I'd normally seek out - there were long
windows that exposed the toilet and showering and tub areas, and even
when I covered these over with towels and a picnic blanket, there
were cracks through the wooden boards that made up the 'walls'. But..
I don't think I would want this to change to accommodate people like
me. I think it was better that I challenged myself to get out of my
comfort zone, in order to have a more unique experience. The host did
want to know how to make the experience better for guests, but I
think the place is already what I was looking for.
I think it's possible the host picked up that I was anxious, but
maybe interpreted it as me being uncomfortable with the accommodation
or him, personally.. the thing is that daylight is difficult for me.
I'm a vampire, and to do this trip, I had to be up and about in
daylight hours with GK. I would come out of my room, and sometimes
the host, or another guy working on the property there would talk to
me, and I would feel like some rotting vampire that needed to get
back into my crypt. Sunlight is just so fucking bright, and seems so
unnatural to me, and even attempting to wear some bright colours and
sunglasses still doesn't really help all that much. It's hard to talk
in such circumstances. In Melbourne, the labyrinth feels more
natural, it's easier for me to cope with in daylight.
But.. I think it was 'just right' for GK's 50th birthday celebration,
I think it's good that I ventured out of my comfort zone, and that I
picked the best possible accommodation for a Northern Rivers
more of the surrounding property where we stayed
GK has a lot of great pictures, but I want to try to keep it to mine
for this entry. However, I didn't take a picture of his room, and it
might be good to include a photo in this entry:
photo of gk's room by gk
His room was called The Boat Shed, while mine was called Beach
Studio. Both of our rooms and the artwork on the property were
created/designed by artist David Bromley. There was a big wire
elephant in the garden, and a few bunnies here and there, with a
boardwalk connecting rooms with the main house and other parts of the
garden. There is also a big silver caravan on the property.
to the lighthouse, and the waves
On GK's birthday, we walked up to the lighthouse, for a while along
the beach, and then through an inland path that was fairly steep. We
had a fairly sad excuse for a map, which we had paid a dollar for at
the Info centre, which was largely responsible for us getting lost
and walking further than we originally intended. Once we finally
found the path, it seemed to keep going up and up, and the weird
thing is that I barely broke a sweat even though it was a hot day and
I was wearing a big pack. I was surprised. I hadn't been doing so
much exercise aside from walking in some time, I'd spent more than 4
weeks eating a lot of fat and sugar, drinking tons of alcohol, and
coffee, not doing my toning exercises and pilates.. but yes, that
walk was not at all difficult for me, and I know I could have coped
with something considerably more challenging.
On the walk, we saw a massive goanna, the biggest one I have ever
seen, and we also saw an echidna.
Obviously, my weight has increased through all of this, and at
present I guess I'm now technically a 'healthy' weight again,
although it seems to me with all the fat, sugar, alcohol, coffee I'm
less healthy than I was when my weight was 5 kg less. [I weighed
myself before this trip, and I was still slightly 'underweight', but
I am thinking that I have now crossed the line into 'healthy' again.
a byron bay sign that made me smile
Honey was $6 AUD for a kilo. We picked up various foods here and
there. As mentioned earlier, we had a guide who helped us plan our
trip and check out markets, and we also found some things
Was I trying to fit in? There are many women of a certain age who are
slim, look like they do yoga and meditate, and dress kind of hippie-
ish, but modern. Around such women, perhaps at times I could blend
in, but I think side by side, it would be easy to figure out that I'm
not the real deal - I'm a tourist. But is it an option? Could I
cultivate this look? Could I belong in a place like this? Let my
natural hair acquire some grey highlights, and just flow long? Get a
tan? Wear hats, but not just black - make an effort to find more
unusual patterns and colours? Is that how it's done? Even with weight
gain, to try to wear certain types of flowing and colourful
There's so much pressure to be 'healthy' in certain ways there. I
don't at all mean that everyone is perfectly healthy and has no 'bad
habits' or anything like that.. what I mean is that there is a kind
of agreement maybe about how health is approached or what it means to
be positive and open to change - and I do from my teen years and
early 20s have a certain amount of background with all the New Age
philosophies. Even when people have different methods and
philosophies, there's maybe still a range that they fall into, and
maybe I feel like I fall out of the range. But.. I realize that at
first glance, I just seem like another wannabe. Not as thin, not as
fit, not as Natural, not as well-versed in the philosophies and
lingo. Perhaps I come across as someone who is just refusing to see
how much she really has in common with everyone else.. but there's
something about context that's missing for me. When I catalogue my
experiences in various places, why am I doing it? What am I aiming
at? I do it in part as a coping mechanism, yes, but it is not a
statement of commmitment to my life. I experience a kind of distress
beneath the cataloguing that I do not want to continue. I don't know
how it all can continue, but I don't think I'm being obstinate or
blind in refusing to accept and cherish my life as is. In describing
my experiences, listing them, and trying not to gloss over the
underlying distress and despair, I am hoping in some way to connect,
and to find some way out. I do not accept my situation. I will not
live a life of quiet desperation in order to make things easier for
others, and to keep the peace.
And I know that there is no real security in life, and that for most
people, happiness is not a constant, and that even occasional
contentment can be difficult to come by, and meanwhile, there is so
much life to fill, and people struggle through as best they can. They
learn to appreciate the people and things that make it a little more
bearable, and they come to know themselves well enough not to try to
change the things they can't change, but rather to accept things and
keep going, while keeping the complaints to a minimum.
Something was said to me that has sort of stuck in my mind. It relates
to what it means to be treasured. I do not feel treasured in the ways
I want to be treasured. And when it comes to GK, I want him to be
fully treasured. I want him to have what I can't give him.
I think he is more likely to find that kind of thing (he has more of
a chance, there is more 'demand' for someone like him than me), but
he's less assertive or takes less initiative.
In many places, philosophies related to simplicity were expressed.
Try not to have more, but to be more. You can enjoy life with much
less than you think. Etc. And yet.. it did seem that when businesses
expressed these philosophies, the businesses themselves were not
really all that simple. A restaurant which grew food it served had
arranged the garden aesthetically, but not 'simply' or in ways that
made the most sense, and was selling $3000 artworks. And the items on
the menu were sorta reminiscent of a multitude of menus out there,
using the ingredients that are in fashion, selling the dishes that
'those in the know' are on the lookout for, or that have high foodie
And in many of the stores that looked 'authentic' (even in small
towns, like Nimbin), I saw clothing and objects I had seen online on
eBay and other places, mass-produced in China, etc.
I probably can't live simply. Even when I make an effort to do so,
the effort is so extensive that it can hardly be judged 'simple'. In
many ways, I am drawn to minimalism, but in the overall sense it is
probably not realistic for me. I am not really drawn to collect a lot
of possessions, but I do still struggle a lot in just figuring out
what to wear. I keep thinking that maybe once I figure it out, after
that it will always be more simple, and once I am more comfortable it
will from there be easier to communicate, but.. throughout my life it
has always been difficult.
dinner at the three blue ducks (the farm)
Vegetarian options at The Three Blue Ducks. Above: greens with black
garlic and chestnuts, and buckwheat risotto with pickled beets and
sprouted legumes. (Highly recommended: the risotto - but the
combination of the 4 dishes we had was colourful, and I'd get it all
three blue ducks dinner
Kipfler potatoes (with goat curd, ghee, confit yolk and puffed
amaranth) and corn on the cob with manchego. I liked both, but when
it comes to the corn, although I do like manchego, I'm not sure it
was needed here - the bbq flavour of the corn was already quite
three blue ducks dessert
Blue cheese ice cream (!) with pear, honeycomb and crunchy nut
snaps. I probably didn't really need dessert, but I just found the
idea of blue cheese ice cream so weird I 'had to' try it. The blue
cheese flavour wasn't very powerful, and it did combine with the
other elements well.
three blue ducks dessert
Chocolate ganache with cumquats and toasted rye ice cream.
I wanted to know what a cumquat was like. This dessert was ok, but
I've had so many desserts in the last month or so that it's getting
pretty hard to impress me.
l'ultime birthday degustation for gk
For GK's birthday, we had the desserts pictured above (from L'Ultime
patisserie), and for dinner we went to The Treehouse. We met up with
fellow possum fans we'd only had (a small amount of) contact with
online. I am trying to remember if GK and I have ever had dinner with
anyone other than members of his family before. At the wedding, yes,
but aside from that? I thought he did very well.. he was able to talk
about many topics, and those listening had interest and background in
those topics. For dinner we shared various vegetarian things: honey-
roasted pear thing, vegetables with grilled haloumi and soft
tortilla, and a Portobello Road pizza. I enjoyed trying each of the
dishes, and probably the pizza was my favourite.
As for me.. I had the same problem I usually do. I can't wear off
enough nervous energy to get conversation a little more off the
surface. I make mistakes I'd like to correct after, I maybe smile a
little too much, and don't think well enough in the moment. And I
felt like a tourist.
But.. this trip was about GK, and for GK. I already had had
Melbourne. I think this was the right trip for GK's 50th birthday. GK
fit in better than I did, but I still found the experience
significant, and good for me.
I feel very lonely. I feel like in any group, if you sing the Sesame
St song, 'one of these things just doesn't belong here', it's always
going to be me, but at the same time, in many groups, at first glance
I will usually seem like the most 'conforming' specimen, and this is
part of the confusion. I want to get to the part where communication
goes further, gets much, much less safe, and it's not that I'm shy
about that sort of thing, but it's that I no longer have any
realistic expectation it will ever get there. I am not patient enough
to wait years, when experience tells me that the years themselves are
not a guarantee it will ever get there.
I don't know where I'm going from here. My plan is to finish my
current entries, and try to think about where to go next. Maybe I
will write, in a different style. Maybe I will collapse and clam up
for a few years.
I don't know. Consciously, it seems to me that I should try to figure
out how to relocate to Melbourne, how to stand up for choosing that
option. But I am not sure I am being realistic or smart about it. How
well do I really know myself? Am I strong enough to live there? I
have no connections or support system there, even though I am more
independent and can do more for myself. Would I just get drunk every
day? Would I only be able to find a soul-less highrise apartment (in
my price range)? But.. location, location, location.. and, I probably
do have some ability to decorate a box in a cute way. The feeling..
of wandering.. it's different to what it's like to plan a trip for
GK, and sit in the car and be driven around.
my lasagna: sweet potato, pumpkin, spinach, mushrooms
Since I returned, I have been drunk every day. I get up, and might
first bake something (I've made chocolate chip cookies, vanilla
cupcakes with thick pink swirly icing, and honey-vanilla-macadamia
cheesecake, a lemon cake), b/p, shower and then start drinking, and
continue on drinking until I pass out at night. I've also put some
effort into making 'nice' dinners. For a while, maybe while
travelling, I could see myself as a certain type of liberal, arty
woman, drinking a glass of wine in a restaurant, having a glass of
wine with a meal in a beautiful apartment, and maybe this is
associated with the idea that if I look 'elegant' or alternative
enough, I will be of interest, and find people to talk to, maybe
those who are interested in why people think, feel and behave as they
do. But how elegant is it if that sort of behaviour is not natural
for me, and the reality is that before long, I move into drinking not
one glass of wine, but two bottles, and I eat not one dessert in a
month, but a few in a day, and end up needing to pad this out with
various other foods, and then vomiting? How elegant or intriguing is
that picture? How in my position can I find people who are interested
enough to talk to me beyond the safe, structural conversation that
just automatically kicks in for most people? (Even when discussing
'controversial' topics.. people still seem to find ways to be
'safe'..) ..before I withdraw and bar the doors?
Is this out of control part of the pattern based on something
physiological and chemical, or is it based on something
psychological, or a combination of both? As far as the psychological,
I think it might be a kind of outward expression of panic: I have
been out in the world, and I do not 'trust the universe to take care
of me' - there are a lot of people it's not doing such a good job
with, and when I'm out there, I can't fail to recognize this.
But, it does seem more likely to me that something physical is going
on, something that is extremely difficult to override without help.
And that might actually require understanding what is happening in
more detail - and it doesn't really seem possible that at present we
can accurately measure this sort of thing, although we can speculate.
The other thing is that in spite of the moments of extreme
discomfort/pain, and the panic in relation to being out of control,
and the loss of self-esteem in relation to being out of control, my
looks and body being affected, etc, there are moments of peace and
relaxation, and probably a sense of enjoyment in allowing the
extreme. I 'need' more than most people do. I am trying to satisfy my
needs in my own way. Maybe there's no other way for me to have access
to or get closer to the 'sweet stuff' in life, the intensity, the
thrill of being alive.
I haven't been ready to write anything. I've been watching movies.
I'm trying to honestly think about what to do next, what I want, what
else there could be, while accepting that my conscious will might not
match up with my actual ability.
When you can't connect to the world through family, friends, hobbies,
work, or even ideas, the search for meaning becomes more brutally
->exile on meme st: a diary