Poem: Walking with the Wind

I went walking with the wind last night
Under the white and golden street lamps
Ears pricked with excitement,
My spirit dog went before me.

Behind me, just out of sight
Followed the ghosts of old friends and lovers
The wind spoke to me of the night
My spirit dog inhaled the grass.

Music poured from a shuttered house
We circled the ruined incinerator
Time wheeled overhead with the stars
My spirit dog dug under the trees.

I smiled to myself and turned towards home
Back to the house that would open to me
The light and the warmth of the living world
My spirit dog pissed on the neighbour’s daisies.

Weird forms

So. I receive support through welfare, and I called them last week to let them know beloved Rose was moving in and we are now defacto. They sent me this mad form to fill in which presumes we’re arguing that we’re not in a relationship. I’ve had to fill it in before when house sharing – apparently they don’t have one to just say ‘hey guess what, we’re partners!’ Strange people. So I’ve answered the following questions as honestly as I can:





I’m really good at moving house


Right? Obviously. One does however, downsize collections when trying to move a girlfriend, her cat, and hopefully a baby into one’s two bedroom unit. I’m making great progress, this is what I’ve culled so far:

Rose for her part is trying to bring with her an additional two cat trees (I’ve already got her largest one here; apparently cats need a climbing tree each), a massive 8 seater couch, and a really impressive 12 seater dining table set in solid wood with rainbow coloured chairs.

Yep, this is all going to work fine.

I’m alive


Rose has just left for the night. I’ve come through the surgery! My lovely visitors have bought beautiful gifts and made me smile far too much for someone with stitches in their face. The pain meds have stopped working very well which probably means my liver has had enough for now but it’s tolerable. I’m full of lines which keep blocking up but a new approach to the needle phobia is keeping things reasonably quiet inside. All in all, I’ve felt better, but I’ve also felt a lot worse.

Buoyed and touched and grateful for all the mad lovely people in my life wishing me well or reaching out to support Rose (who has been AMAZING). Rocking the orange eyebrows and tampon-on-face/world’s weirdest mustache.

Absurdity is a gift

It’s been an exhausting week. Far too much bad news, challenging situations, and friends and loved ones under massive stress. Today, Rose and I were both fragile and depressed, with little left for each other. I collected her from work after a day of discouraging medical appointments and dull errands, and we drove home both in tears, at the end of our tether. We had friends visiting for dinner, so before they arrived we took a moment to touch base. Either we were going to reconnect and pull off a wonderful evening, or snap at each other and deepen the strain. We were able to sit with the triggers and hear each other and found as the tension lifted that our natural crazy sense of humour returned. We spent a wonderful evening playing board games, making jokes, and pulling silly faces at each other. In bed that evening we mused- we’d somewhat lost our humour lately. We had times of deep & meaningful conversation, or companionable connection, or heavy duty trauma territory, but it felt like it had been ages since we’d made each other laugh. What a gift it is, this simple thing. What a miracle that the world that weighs so heavy can be lifted by a laugh. Suddenly the road doesn’t seem so long or the night so dark. It’s the most simple and joyful form of mindfulness I know. It’s not about the destination, it’s all about the journey. There’s no better answer I’ve found to the scream trapped in the throat and the waiting for better years.

When have you last laughed? When have you last felt yourself step sideways out of crushing anguish and found the pain can make the humour sharp and black and driven and surreal but no less funny and no less freeing? I hope you disturb sleeping people and burst stitches and cry from the corners of your eyes and get a stitch in your side and blow chocolate milk out of your nose and gasp for air. I hope the absurdity of life helps you put down big rocks of pain and grief and play for a little while and pretend to be someone who isn’t dying inside, isn’t frozen by terror or crushed by pain or tortured by memory. And if you don’t have someone to play with, don’t forget that phones can record your silly faces and funny voices and baffling walks. Sometimes laughing is the bravest thing we do.

Sarsaparilla online

Wednesday’s are currently my crazy day. I start the day online at 9.30am for my Cert IV in Business, and finish it at 8.30pm at College for a Drawing class. Inevitably by then I am exhausted, sick, and in awful pain and very sad that I’m not enjoying a class I would usually love. I’ve been working hard on making Tuesday evenings restful and taking time off between my classes on the Wednesday to reduce the impact. Being able to borrow a car to get to my evening class, or beg a lift from someone kind also helps. Today is extra challenging as I’d cancelled both classes expecting to be in surgery! But it’s going well so far. The morning class is over. I went for a walk to the Post Office with Zoe and a friend. I’ve received a package of items for my face painting business that must have been held up for weeks in customs – they were so delayed I was sure they’d been lost or stolen. Given that it cost $150 I’m pretty ecstatic they’ve arrived! I went for out for coffee and a chat, ordered a tablet online to replace my smartphone, and signed up the SA Writer’s Centre to see if I can get some help laying out my book ideas. I’m a little bit excited about that. I’ve got dinner sorted out, and I’m about to have a bath and a rest (nap if I’m lucky) before heading out for the evening again. The dishwasher is unpacked, and life feels more under control again.

A friend posted this cute link about cats on dating sites and I thought I’d join in. If my cat Sarsaparilla had an honest online profile, I think it would read something like this:



  • 7 Year Old Male 
  • Seeking occasional companion for warm naps 
  • Spayed 
  • Body type – fit and muscular
  • Breed – domestic shorthair
  • Hair colour – Black & White Tuxedo
  • Catnip – not interested, can’t detect it. Don’t like any cat toys at all, or cat beds, cat scratchers, and so on. Will sleep on books, newspapers, homework, keyboards, laptops, and sleeping people.

More about me: I live a peaceful life of roaming. Can’t tie me down! I come and go as I please and eat the best of the treats on offer from any family who’ll give them out. I love sleeping in the sun, separating the other neighbouring tomcat from a decent amount of his fur. When I’m super happy I purr and dribble at the same time. I can be skittish. I do not recognise my own humans if they are wearing new shoes, jumpers, or a hat I haven’t seen in a while. I loathe and avoid dogs and pretend they do not exist. All cat doors in any houses are a personal invitation. I love pigeons, rats and mice, particularly the middle bits. I leave the end bits like feet, tail, feathers, and beak, for my humans. I am adept at hiding my gifts beneath the middle of the queensize bed where they cannot be reached. I love to sit on sleeping people’s chests. If extra happy, I will paw their faces and dribble onto their necks. I’m not sure why they don’t enjoy this. I lead a simple, happy life, with the occasional dog chase over a fence to keep me in good shape. 

Seeking: You must not be clingy or nervous, or I will panic. I can mewl for 12 hours straight if I’m upset about something. I do not adjust to being kept indoors. I can be upset about something for 4 months straight without adjusting to it. I have a very small, high pitched squeak for such a large cat – you should never draw attention to this! You will allow me to enjoy my wayfaring lifestyle, and never ask for cuddles unless I initiate. You will not pick me up, you will not put me in cat boxes, you will never take me to the vet, you will not give me tablets or pastes or treatments of any kind. You should keep a towel handy to put over your lap for cuddles or I will add a complex poem in Braille punctures on your thighs. You should understand a guys need to dribble with happiness from time to time. You will not own a dog. Other cats are okay provided I am given lots of treats and a couple of months to adjust. They should be smaller than me. If you really love me, you will let me eat rats in the bed and piss on your clothes and/or curtains. As you can see, I am fairly poorly treated by my current humans who do not appreciate any of these things. They are lucky I still choose to visit.

Looking for a donor

Not since I once sat in a church, covered in rat piss and hoping desperately to fit in with my new lesbian friends, have I felt so damn awkward. Searching for a donor is an astonishingly strange process. It involves using the word ‘sperm’ in conversation more frequently than I have in the entire rest of my life. It’s nerve wracking and vulnerable and exciting and sad and weirdly similar to dating, if dating involved no sex and unusually frequent references to sperm.

Let me take you through the process so far. Rose and I need a donor as neither of us produce sperm. Plenty of couples find themselves in this boat for many reasons. Our first idea was to cross the genetic lines of our families – as we are both keen to carry a child, to ask for support from male relatives on both sides. Sadly that hasn’t worked out for us. Our second idea is to find a known donor that we are already friends with, or whom we become friends with, to help us have a child – maybe more than one with the same guy if that works out. Anonymous donation doesn’t appeal to us. There’s upsides, for sure! A total lack of drama for one. Less anxiety about relationships fragmenting. But Rose has never known her father. We know what it feels like to have a big empty space in your biological history. We don’t want that for for our kids. We’d love someone who we can point to and say ‘that’s the guy’. This is your donor. He’s not your parent, he’s not responsible for you, he doesn’t pay your medical bills or sit up with you when an assignment is due the next morning, but he’s a family friend. You can ask him questions. You can figure out how you want to relate to each other over the years. We’re not scared of him or threatened by him and we don’t want to hide him or pretend he didn’t exist. He’s part of the story of how you came into the world. There’s no shame in that. In fact, he’s a pretty awesome guy. We chose him, just like we chose to have you.

Being a known donor is a big ask. It’s a weird role. The closest parallel I’ve been able to come up with is that of an uncle. You’re involved in the child’s life to some extent, there’s a recognised relationship that may be closer or distant. There’s a biological tie. There’s no legal or social responsibility or rights. A fight with the parents could see you on the out. You’re kind of invested but also in a vulnerable position. If things go wildly wrong you may one day be asked to see if you’re a match for bone marrow for a kid that’s not yours. For many guys this role is a really poor fit. They want to become a donor anonymously and stay distant, or they really want to be a father, not a donor, and they’ll be intrusive and suffer greatly if their access to the child or their desire to relate as a parent is limited in any way. It’s a pretty unique kind of situation and it doesn’t fit everyone.

So Rose and I have been casting our net wider, so to speak. We’ve put up profiles on local dating websites, and we’re sharing our search with friends and contacts. We’re moving slowly and seeking to have a good foundation of friendship in place before we start trying to conceive. Talking with strangers on the net about donors has been… Illuminating, entertaining, bizarre, funny, and creepy. We’ve met some really lovely guys. We’ve deleted a lot of wildly unsuitable ones. We’ve explained that sex is not involved in being a donor, a LOT.

As I said, it’s oddly similar to dating. You get neurotic easily (am I talking too much? Too little? Am I mentioning the donor thing too often? Not often enough?). You get excited quickly and dream a whole future that dies a deeply disappointing death when things derail. You’re flooring the accelerator with excitement and hitting the brakes with anxiety at the same time. You’re keen for no one person to feel under pressure, so you’re still talking to other new possible guys, but that also feels weirdly like cheating or snubbing the ones you do like who have expressed interest in being involved. Communication is a challenge. Them reading this blog and having to process a whole bunch of stuff about someone fairly out of the norm is a challenge. Them worrying about being exposed when interacting with someone who lives a very public life is a challenge. The whole process is rather strange and fragile.

So, this is our online profile:

About Me

Female 31 Australia

We are 2 awesome ladies who have been together for nearly 2 years and are looking for someone fantastic to help us to have kids. We’re 29/31 and looking at starting within the next couple of years. We work in Youth Work/Alternative Education, Mental Health, and do face painting work on the weekends at kids parties. We’re smart, creative, silly, and a bit nerdy. Love reading, cooking, camping, card nights, and hanging out with our mates.

Seeking Criteria

  • Members anywhere in South Australia.
  • Friendship with a man or a woman.
  • Between 25 and 40 years of age.
  • Members who speak English.

What I’m Looking For

Someone awesome to be a sperm donor and help us start our family. We don’t mind what nationality, sexuality, or gender identity you are but you do need to be between 25 and 40. Single or part of a couple is welcome. What’s important to us is that you don’t carry any known major genetic illnesses, that you’re happy to be tested so we all know that everything is safe, and that you’re a great person with similar values to us and excellent communication skills. We’d love to have a long friendship with our donor, and to have our kids know you and know their genetic history, so our first preference is to go down the DIY road rather than anonymous donation.We are also open to talking about supporting you to have children if you are gay or your partner is unable to bear children. We’re not in a rush, we’d love to meet up, get to know each other, talk things through, and make sure everyone is comfortable and on the same page.

Also happy just to make some new friends. 🙂

The process of donation involves coordinating with each other to pass along a sperm sample during the most fertile time of the month. Happy to talk about that in more detail. 🙂 Sex is not involved!

It can be a little awkward to start conversations about being a donor dad, so we’ll leave the first move to you. It just feels a little odd to say to a stranger – hey you seem nice, can we have your sperm? Feel free to strike up a conversation if you’d like to chat! 🙂

I’ve also taken to having the following spiel saved in a word document so I can copy and paste, seeing as it comes up in every conversation. It’s the basic run down of the process for when you’re using artificial insemination (AI) at home.

The first step is making friends. Donating can be a bit of a process and it’s best if everyone gets along and feels comfortable with each other.

The next step is getting tested. Sperm samples can contain STI’s such as HIV, so it’s super important to know no one will get sick.

So once everyone has the all clear, some paperwork is signed to say that this is a donor relationship, and no sex is happening. That protects the guy from being sought after for child support, and allows us to try and get both of us legally recognised as parents on the birth certificate.

The process of donating is quite simple. A couple of times a month the donor and we arrange a time that suits everyone on the days we know the biological mum is most fertile. The donor puts a sperm sample into a sterile cup that we provide. Then within one hour we arrange a handover – he drops it off or we pick it up.

Sperm dies really fast outside of the body, so that bit can be tricky to arrange, especially if the donor and us don’t live close.

But basically that’s it. This goes on every month until a pregnancy occurs, then if we’re lucky, all goes well and a baby is born. 

Please be aware if you’re thinking of going down this road yourself that there’s some important considerations to keep in mind! Firstly, someone can have HIV but not show up as HIV positive in testing for a couple of months. So a clear STI test doesn’t always mean you are safe. When you’re using donor sperm and a clinic, the usual practice is for the clinic to freeze the donor sperm for 3 months or longer, with an HIV test for the donor at the start and end of that time. If both are clean, then the sperm is considered safe to use. Obviously you can’t do this at home, so you need good, honest conversations with a donor you trust about their risk of contracting HIV. Despite popular belief, the health of the donor is also very relevant to the chance of conception and a healthy pregnancy. It’s probably far more important to look at factors such as current drug use rather than education level or eye colour when you’re choosing a donor.

Another important thing to consider is the laws where you live about donors and parental rights. Everywhere is different. Don’t assume that just because you’ve used AI instead of had sex that you’re all safe and legally protected. Not all the laws recognise donors outside of a clinic, and not all the laws recognise that a same sex couple can both be parents. There are occasional horror stories about donors being pursued by the state to pay child support, or a non-biological partner being denied access to their own children following the death of the biological parent, or breakdown of their relationship. Do your homework! You may need to lodge forms, sign stat decs, and jump through various bureaucratic hoops to make sure your relationships are all legally recognised the ways you’re setting them up. If you are trying to set up a poly relationship or clan with more than two parents being recognised legally, you need advice from a specialist lawyer because this is extraordinarily difficult to pull off within current legal frameworks. It’s also important to mention that, all jokes aside, please don’t use regular household items such as your kitchen baster for DIY insemination. You can buy single use, sterile medical supplies online discretely through sites like DIY Baby. The last thing anyone needs is infection at early stages of pregnancy.

Another consideration is that around half of all fertilized eggs are lost to very early miscarriage. Women who conceive through sex are often not aware they were even pregnant because it happens so early in the process. But for those us using donors, we’re watching the whole process and often confirming pregnancy very early. So while our chances of miscarriage may not be any higher than anyone else’s, we can be aware of early losses other people aren’t and this can be very painful. It’s worth keeping this in mind and remembering that sadly, losses are to be expected as part of the process. (just as a side note, this is not what has happened with Rose, all her losses have been later, hence our care to go through fertility testing and work on pre-conception care to reduce our risks) There are things you and a donor can do (such as not smoking) to reduce your risks of miscarriage, but the base-line stats even for healthy people with low risk factors are still a lot higher than most people realise, and this can be a shock, both for you and your donor.

Lastly, even with the best of care in tracking your fertile window each month, it can take a while before conception and pregnancy result. When you’re inexperienced and excited it’s easy to think of a sperm sample as being a magic ticket to a baby – especially so if you have friends who’ve been more fertile than they wanted and had pregnancies on the pill, or when you’ve all spent your whole adult lives being super careful to avoid getting pregnant and worrying that the smallest mishap will inevitably result in an unwanted pregnancy. Both you and your donor need to be prepared that this could take a little while, and that’s normal. You may be lucky, so be ready, but you may also spend months arranging collection of samples with a donor who needs to remain a low HIV & miscarriage risk throughout that time. It can be a lot more drawn out and inconvenient than anyone was expecting. It may be worth having conversations at the outset about how you will approach things if someone’s circumstances changes and they want to stop. Donors have lives, sometimes their kid gets sick, or they get an interstate work offer, or start a new relationship, and what was a wonderful idea six months ago has become a stressful imposition. Sometimes too, your circumstances change and you change your timetable, perhaps you need time to grieve after losses, or you suddenly have to move house, or find yourself caring for a sick parent. Putting this on the table at the outset can help those important conversations to happen early and calmly if they need to. This is doubly important if you have a reciprocal arrangement with a donor – ie two families assisting each other to have children via sperm donation and surrogacy. There’s a lot of opportunity for heartbreak and hurt in these situations, as well as connection and joy.

If you’re curious to learn more about different family structures, including families with a known donor, I recommend (and own) the book Baby Makes More. There’s a wonderful range of families who have shared the good, bad, and ugly of their choices, their struggles for acceptance, and their efforts to find a language to communicate about their relationships. The legal trend is gearing generally in the direction of known donors after many years of anonymous donation. Some children born with the help of an anonymous donor experience the kind of dislocation that children born in closed, secret adoptions do, and go searching for information and history as they get older. In recognition of this, legislation is beginning to change in places and enforce that more information needs to be disclosed for secret donor arrangements, and that adult children conceived with a donor should be able to access identifying information. This is not to shame or judge those who have chosen to use an anonymous donor, merely to point out that we are moving in this direction culturally and we need to find more comfortable language for families and relationships like this. Where once it was thought that secrecy helped people, that children were more secure if they didn’t know their ‘big sister’ was really their biological mother, or that people would cope better with sickness if they were not told how bad it was, things are swinging more in the direction of disclosure and openness being essential to trust and a healthy sense of self. It’s no guarantee, and there’s certainly downsides, but we are starting to embrace that family comes in many forms, and that these complex ties of love and blood are part of all our lives – for good and ill.


So, yesterday Rose and I are hanging out at a medical centre, waiting for an ultrasound. They’re running late and I am starting to worry I’m about to pee on the carpet. I had remembered many years ago going for an ultrasound and being told I must not have drunk enough, so they made me drink another litre and hang about the waiting room for an extra hour and a half. I may have gone a little overboard as a result, it felt like I had a watermelon in my bladder!

They start on the top of my tummy. My bladder looms like a huge black lump on the screen and the technician tells me that I’ve definitely drunk more than enough. Rose and I keep getting the giggles and I have to keep telling her to shut up or this is going to get awkward! The tech, we agree later, is very sensitive and professional, and rather cute in a very straight way. I was surprised that she was taking pictures so close to my pubic bone. After seeing all those images of disembodied reproductive organs, mentally I’d kind of strung mine out and looped them all through my stomach. She said lots of people make that mistake, they’re actually only a couple of inches big. Things you learn!

She has quite a bit of trouble taking some images internally, and I ask if having a retroverted uterus makes that job trickier. At which point she tells me that my uterus isn’t so much retroverted as deviated, and Rose and I get the giggles so badly she can’t take any more pictures for a few minutes. I’m a deviant! Medically confirmed. Septum (bit in your nose) AND uterus.

That’s almost as funny as the graffiti we found scratched into the back of Rose’s car the other day – dyke. Misspelled. ‘Dike’. As if pointing out that she’s into women would surprise, confuse, or shame her! It’s no more offensive than someone writing ‘woman’ on my door, or yelling ‘hey, she has feet!’ when I walk past them. Although a friend pointed out its hard to tell with the barely literate, they may have been going for ‘dick’.

Life is so much better when you have a sense of humour.

Cat piss perfume

I’m currently sitting in the waiting room of my local DES, these are the guys who  help people with disabilities access work. In the car on the way here, I discovered to my horror that the jeans I pulled on before running out the house have a large damp patch of cat piss on them. I couldn’t go back to change without running late. So I am going to brave this appointment, wearing car air freshener sprayed all over my lower half, and pretending I can’t feel a damp patch on my left leg, or smell anything amiss. I really hope the room isn’t too small. Being a disability service they may just assume I have continence issues!

This, ladies and gentlemen, is chutzpah.


I finally got a decent sleep last night! At first I woke at 7am again, with bad pain, and I thought today was going to be another killer. Fibro quickly gets into a nasty cycle where the pain makes it hard to sleep, and not getting enough sleep makes the pain worse. Fortunately I remembered that the light was probably also bothering me, and after covering my eyes with a soft old t-shirt, I dropped back to sleep.

I dreamed furiously though, huge, portentous dreams of world ending catastrophe and terrible, suffocating dread. Blood red moons rose over black frozen landscapes, people had secret agendas that left just a trace of something wrong and uneasy but impossible to really explain about them. In one, my nearest and dearest turned into zombies, fast, lethally intelligent, and driven by malice. When I woke I cuddled into Rose and told her about her chasing me as a zombie. She held me close, nuzzled into my hair and whispered ‘mmm brains’. So I tickled her until she screamed.

She’s on the mend at last. Still very sore and tired, and needing a lot of pain relief, but the antibiotics are finally starting to do their thing. Lovely people came around yesterday and walked Zoe and mopped floors and my unit is just beautiful! Today is going to be a lovely day. 🙂

Music is my drug of choice

Last night I went out to a new goth club. It was over 40C again here yesterday and I was bone tired, with that hot, angry restlessness that makes relaxing not just difficult but very unsatisfying. I met up with my shrink earlier in the week, who told me that I’m stressed and driven because I’m involved in so many ‘start up’ projects, all of which are high risk and take loads of work. She suggested that every project needs money and at least one partner to make it work without it killing me. I also met up with an amazing guy from Scotland, Ron Coleman, who said roughly the same thing but with a whole lot of practical suggestions and details about how the hell to do that. Damn exciting!

My shrink and I also talked about ‘adult days’ which are days where I have to be responsible and run things. It’s not that great a way to describe them, since some of my adult parts are decidedly not useful on adult days (like me!) and some child parts are, but it’s what we’re working with at the moment. I wind up with too many of them. It becomes like a parent who never gets a break, stuck in parent mode 24/7 and starting to crash. I don’t get a lot of days off from this. Everything gets scheduled. The anxious driven-ness can turn even fun and play and friends into work, something we have to do. There’s not a lot of room for going wild in any form.

Last night I went to a new goth club, and let a little bit loose. Many multiples will tell you that different parts handle things like alcohol differently. My system seems to have two settings – can’t handle it at all, no upside, no good feelings. The first drink makes legs prickle and any more make us sick. Or there’s me. I can’t seem to get drunk. I’m 30 (or at least, the body is) and I’ve never been drunk. We’ve been psychotic. Or high from allergic reactions. But never just gone out and got a bit plastered. This irritates me. I pushed things a bit last night and found that I never seem to get to a place where I feel anything. I don’t get sad, or giggly, or feel more relaxed. I just drink things, which to me taste like cordials. To the rest of my system taste like kerosene, mainly. At some point, if I drink enough, I throw up. That’s so bloody disappointing. I’m sitting in a club, dressed up, that mix of hyped and insecure that’s just begging for some alcohol to wash away the sharp edges, and I’m waiting to feel something. Nothing kicks in. I find myself thinking wistfully of the last time we had a local anaesthetic at the dentist and took all evening to get our head screwed on straight again.

Then Nine Inch Nails comes on and lights a fire in my bones. I get up to dance next to a speaker pounding bass through my body like an electric current, the air tastes of smoke machine and I’m shortly deaf in my right ear. And it feels fantastic.

I love the contrast between the expectation and the reality of places like this. There’s no Matrix style stripped back nightclub full of harsh and frightening people. There’s young ones and oddballs and freaks having a good time in a safe place. A few dancers have come from a fancy dress party. One is super friendly and still has green body paint in his eyebrow. We commiserate about how difficult the green is to wash off. Another is still wearing his Crocodile Dundee outfit. He is fearless and theatrically acts out each song. During Billy Idol’s White Wedding he’s on his knees proposing and bouncing himself off the floor with one hand. People laugh and smile at each other, close their eyes to dance. The room has no air conditioning and feels like a furnace. I’m sweating everywhere. Even my wrists are beading sweat to drip off my finger tips. We dance and escape to the air con downstairs or the crowded beer garden, then dance again. I can’t dance as much as I’d like, so I take photos and amuse myself by irritating people following me on twitter who are used to sensible, thoughtful tweets about mental health.

Weirdly, this morning, no hangover. I’m the brightest and most cheerful person in my house. Considering that most mornings we feel pretty crap, and some mornings we get a really bad fibromyalgia ‘hangover’, this is weird, nice, but frustrating. I’d swap in a heartbeat, it would be much better to have the kind where you have a decent night first and no one to blame but yourself.

So, for now, I’m chalking that one up as a highly successful experiment and looking forward to more. Music makes me feel great. Alcohol is expensive and mostly irrelevant. I need better boots. ‘Not adult’ time is good for me. Cool bananas. I can work with that.








Punch drunk

Ever have those mornings where you wake and feel dazed, shuffle back into a life that seems to be a bad joke, a series of punchlines at your expense. There’s this sick feeling in your gut and an emptiness in your chest but in your head is a moving headache like a dog that can’t lie still, and an anxiety that’s kind of a high pitched whine in your ears. Everything that seemed easy a week ago is hard, your hands hurt, your eyes are not your eyes but some old gritty hand me downs from before colour was invented. Your knees ache.

The song in your heart is gone, there’s just a bucket of something unidentifiable that smells of dead herrings and an IOU from a nightingale that’s flown south. The world is empty and pointless for you, amazing things are happening out there, brilliant conversations and intelligent people making art and changing the world. It’s all beyond you. You wake into the backwaters of cultural development, the Siberia of party invitations. The world expects you to attend anyway, and sends you final demands and tweets. I’m not at home, you say, I can’t come out to play. I’m a facsimile of me, you’ll be terribly disappointed. When you open your mouth, toads and tax forms fall out. Your hands are sticks with no poetry left in them. You must have left the plug out in the bed again and it all drained away while you were sleeping.

The world takes too much out of you, needs to much courage. All these things you’re supposed to be doing weigh in on you like snowfalls on the roof, like being asked to come outdoors into the blizzard and make the world warmer. You’ve two pieces of coal left in the burner, half a packet of porridge and a soggy onion. You’re wearing socks on your hands and trying to listen to a radio that’s held together with duct tape. Keeping your world running is taking everything you have, you can’t shovel through 10 feet of snow in front of your door and do anything about the blizzard.

There’s a desert in your brain where no rain falls, no plant grows. You would hate yourself if you could find the energy. Under your arm there’s this missing rib and the gap still aches. Your eyes have seen the dust beneath the couch. Ever have those mornings?

… No, me neither.

Adventures on camp

I’m home again! It was wonderful! And I’ve been swept straight off my feet and back into the rollercoaster of my complicated life. It’s hard to find a moment to think, much less blog. But I’m determined to nail down some passing memories and thoughts and send them off to the vastly deeps of the interwebs before they are lost. Mostly because I’m dissociative and it’s always fun to read later on and see what I’ve been up to. Plus, photos!

It was a short one, three nights, two days. Just a quick run up to my favourite local conservation park in the van. We’re working on getting the van properly and permanently set up so that camping can be an easy last minute – quick I have two days off let’s go kind of thing. It’s an ongoing project. My sister and I went together. Rose stayed home as her ankle is still healing.

I left behind all devices, and turned off my phone for the duration. It was blissful to be disconnected. I love the net, I love being in touch with my friends and online communities. I am even enjoying twitter these days. But I also love that sense of radio silence where I instead start to hear and connect with other aspects of my world.

I took a book on shamanism I’ve borrowed from a friend and did a lot of reading, writing, thinking, poetry, art, cooking, and breathing in the world. I was curious to read about how many cultures have the idea that something connects everything, some kind of force or energy or web. I thought of my own online world and how desperately important it is to me, how irritated I get with the mindless technology bashing that goes on. We have a fractured culture and we use our tech to connect ourselves to people we otherwise would lose, would not be part of our lives so regularly. We are shamans, linking in to our own webs. Of course there are risks. Of course there are problems. But this desire to be connected, that is universal.

I turned off my phone and listened to the wind.

I found a lizard sunning him/herself on the road. I like lizards. I said hello and then found him a nice spot in a paddock to sun instead.


How to tell you’re in the Australian countryside in one easy step:


My camera is still damaged from taking a nose dive to the floor while I was away in Singapore a few years ago. I’d almost forgotten what a macro mode was like! I borrowed my sister’s camera and stalked the wildlife.


It was beautiful.


The world was full of butterflies and tiny flowers.

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These gorgeous wrens frequent one of my favourite camping grounds.


I also took paints and shoes.




When I ran out of light, I painted in the dark with a head light.


I’m really happy with my work.


I was in charge of the food. This resulted in some unfortunate oversights. Such as the sushi, where I forgot to bring the seaweed for wrapping it, and the soy sauce for dipping. Hence, modern deconstructed sushi: I also didn’t bring enough food for three breakfasts.


The salad sandwiches went down well.


I redeemed myself with pancakes, served with tinned peaches and custard.


The sky was beautiful. One night we had a clear sky with no moon and a million zillion stars. There were also beautiful sunsets and (I’m told) dawns.

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We also did a hike. It was challenging. I am still very sore and limping a bit from unhappy calf muscles. It was worth it. 🙂 We trekked and climbed down to a cove.

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At the bottom, we climbed into the water and got smashed around a bit by the incoming waves. It was awesome! It also does mad things to your hair. 😉 Camping with dreadlocks is the easiest thing in the world.



This last photo took some getting, but was utterly worth it. 🙂


And then, we came home. I only cried a little.

Sometimes I think I shouldn’t put up posts like this, that this blog is only useful when I’m writing articles about DID and such. Then I remember that reducing stigma is about humanising, and that it’s valuable to see that someone like me, someone with ‘a severe mental disorder’ can have a life. Can chase butterflies and paint shoes and fry pancakes and play cards.

I was struck also by people’s good wishes before I left, how many people told me they hoped it went well as if something going wrong would ruin the trip. I see camps as an adventure. Things often go wrong, not because I’m inexperienced or unprepared (well, okay, occasionally), being too broke for great supplies and a top notch well maintained vehicle doesn’t help. But also because life is not perfect and doesn’t follow a script. Taking risks, seeing new things, trying new things risks disappointment and things not going well. Treating this all as an adventure means that short of real crises (severe injury and the like), no matter what happens I have a good time. A lot of this is the company I keep. I’ve been on camps where my fellow travellers were inexperienced, easily bored, prone to destructiveness, and difficult to work with. Every little task was a major undertaking, from erecting a tent to cooking breakfast. Everything was frustrating and miserably difficult and many of the outcomes were painfully poor, such as a tent put too close to a large camp fire, resulting in small burns through all the fabric.

Whereas I’ve been on other camps were so many things went wrong – cars bogged, pouring rain and a leaky tent, or other times such as surprise windstorms, or roads flooded, that despite all the calamity were truly wonderful times. There was no fighting or angst, an acceptance that things go wrong and they make good stories, and a good team that pulls together evenly to manage the situations.

How often this is true of life, I think as 2013 draws to a close.

I don’t wish you a life where nothing goes wrong. I wish you a grand adventure! And really good company.

Attack of the improbably large, surprise lynx

The talk last night about supporting people in Dissociative Crisis went really, really well. As it was stupidly hot there was just a small group of us so I shifted the format a bit and allowed comments and questions through the talk. There was such interest we wound up running horrendously overtime, by almost 2 hours! I got very positive feedback from everyone which was great. It’s funny the areas people find surprising or difficult to understand, I’m finding I have to keep emphasising the really severe level of stigma that people with DID often face. This morning I’m off to give the same talk again, it’s still pretty darn hot and I haven’t slept very well so hopefully I can pull it out of the bag again. I feel like someone’s tried to stove in the back of my head with a post, actually. I’ve just taken some pain killers and drunk more water and stuffed some books beneath my portable air conditioner to try and force it to actually direct some air onto me instead of over me and now I’m waiting for miraculous improvement.

Last night was very patchy sleep, irritated skin, cold showers, and weird dreams. I’ve just woken up from a weird lucid type dream where everything I was worried about happened. As in, I’m standing in an alley way, thinking to myself, ‘wow it would be scary if a big cat appeared just there, I wouldn’t have a hope of escaping’. At which point a Bengal tiger walks around the corner. Then, uncontrollably, my thoughts turn to ‘you know, a lynx would be even scarier’. The tiger turns into a lynx, but remains tiger sized. This is the largest lynx I’ve ever seen, with an oddly elongated and sinewy neck. It pads over towards me as I freeze and desperately try to remember the rules for not upsetting a lynx. I find myself looking into its eyes while my brain is screaming ‘are you supposed to make eye contact or avoid it? STOP UPSETTING IT!’ The lynx is clearly unhappy, backs off a few feet while watching me intently, drops to its belly and gives that tell tale wiggle while my brain goes into foaming panic, then springs at me.

At which point, I wake up.

So, apparently I’m secretly, deeply concerned that I haven’t brushed up on my Escaping-and-not-enraging-big-cats strategy lately. Anyone care to enlighten me?

Ear Lizard week

It’s been a long week. I took Rose back to the hospital earlier for more xrays, this time they showed a small break and loose bone fragment. It was all pretty rushed and not exactly thorough so we followed up with her gp the next day and got some better pain relief (for her) and a referral for a cat scan next week.

I’m really tired, far more than I expected to be. I suspected a mild kidney infection but tests say no, it’s just fibro putting the boot in. It’s a handful trying to finish Christmas plans, keep work arrangements, and pick up the extra work of household chores and care for Rose. I was hoping to put up my tree and do some Christmas cooking but I’m trying to keep the pets and us fed, get the dishes done and find time when Zoe is indoors to hang a load of washing. A shower would be nice too. I have no idea what is going on with my gift plans, I just keep buying things and shoving them in a box in my wardrobe. I probably have 17 gifts for one person and nothing for anyone else. I certainly don’t have any chocolate. I usually like this time of year. Ah well.

Keep thinking what this will be like to deal with with a baby too, that’s a depressing thought. Can’t find time to blog or journal, snatching minutes to read before bed, pretty chronic pain and sleep deprivation, and carefully balanced plans where things get really difficult if the dishes don’t get done on time because the next 5 days are busy with other important things and now we’re all eating off paper plates and using the camping cutlery.

And just to illustrate the point that is hazily surfacing through this ramble of a post: ‘life is weird’, have a photo of an ‘ear lizard’ I painted on a kid recently. It was the kids request. No, I don’t know what an ear lizard is either.


Merry Christmas everyone.

Hanging out with a 3 year old

The other day I was hanging out with Rose, her mate, and her nephew. The nephew is 3, I’m going to call him Rocketman. We went off on a long drive and Rose was teaching him how to figure out what words rhyme. Tunnel and funnel, dog and frog. My favourite was necklace and fishface. The endless string of questions that kids of this age ask start to be presented in rhyme which is a weird twist. I like turning the questions around on him, especially when it feels like he’s asking for the sake for asking ‘But WHY, Sarah?’… ‘Why do you think?’ Sometimes you get great answers.

Sometimes the questions are too damn good to answer. Rocketman asks ‘Does wee pee kill zombies?’ Aw man. I hope so, kid. That would make surviving the apocalypse a whole lot more manageable. It’s all down to finding a drink.

I’m still sick. Hope your week is going better.