The Bottom of the Hill.

Hills and more hills as far as the eye can see.

On the outskirts of town, they ebb and they flow. Looking like a far off distant land you could easily explore and conquer like a Burke and Wills expedition.

Why is it you feel like screaming and crying and dying as you walk up a hill, wanting to stop every breath, every step, but as soon as you stretch your whole body and reach the top, you feel like a queen; an athlete; a champion! Adrenalin pumping through all of the pulsing, hilly veins inside. Wanting to feel this way forever. Hooked.

When my mum was my age, she had birthed and mothered four children. She was in the midst of a life running a household containing a 15-year-old, a 14-year-old, a 10-year-old and a 4-year-old.

She had at 37, already lived in a shack my parents had built with their own hands as newlyweds, on the side of a hill, in the middle of nowhere.

Their first year of marriage and they had no electricity, no indoor toilet a new baby and snakes and spiders to contend with. She was 21. On the side of a hill.

They then went on and raised the rest of their brood, on a huge, flat, dusty property with a long, long dirt driveway. She handled it all bravely. The kids, the cows, the dust, the wheat crops and dad..worrying about the rain, the drought and making ends meet. Despite the flatness there she could still look out across the plains and see hills on the horizon, warily keeping an eye on them – closer then she wanted them to be. She was focused on staying strong and keeping a household running, she had no time to enjoy ups or wallow in downs so she kept charging on and planted her life firmly where it was flat.

I have wondered lately how she coped with it all? She did not have cafe dates with girlfriends, cocktails or book clubs, hiking or wine tasting weekends…or the freedom to throw a tantrum and hurl herself under a mountain of doona to Netflix and chill.

So it is her that I think about now, on the edge of that hill of hers. Her and that incredible strong will, as I face plant my bed and give up.

As I dig my way through all of my hills and tell them to all go to hell.

I am sick of the climb, sick of hurting as I scrape my skin from my legs – only getting half way up before I slide down again in the rubble and rocks and muck, sore from straining my neck to look up and see where I long to be.

I have had enough, so today I quit. I give up, resigning myself to the fact it is too hard to reach the top.

I am sick of the injections, the nausea, the headaches, the cramps, the negatives, the scans, people mourning, dying, leaving my job and trying to stay positive; more scans, more injections, turning around and pregnant bellies and newborn babies everywhere swirling around me, not knowing who I am or where I should be; up the hill, down the hill, round the hill? I am sick of the waiting. Waiting until I am suddenly told I am over the hill and it is too late.

So today I am going to just quit and surround myself with soft hills of pillows and bedding filled with feathers. Diving into doonas, hugging hot water bottles and a call to my mum today because the hill is shitty and she will tell me what to do.

Maybe next week I will feel like I can strap my hiking boots back on ready to go forth again. Maybe I will be surprised by how light those heavy boots suddenly feel.

Maybe by then I will look out across the Autumn afternoon and feel OK when I see those hills on the horizon.

Thinking about how at least I am not on the side of one of them, doing a wee in the dark.

 

Em xoxo

New Kid.

Pencil skirt, tick!

Corporate buzz words, tick!

No idea what the hell I am doing whilst getting paid, tick!

Yes, everyone within close vicinity of me can now breathe a sigh of relief, because the whinging will now cease, for ’tis true, I have scored myself a job!

That’s right Scooby Doo, a real Rrrrrrrob!!!!

I am back working for the man, having pow wows and conference calls, making pie charts and fist pumping people while I chit chat by the water cooler.

Sigh, I only wish I were that cool.

Instead I am forced to do that thing we all have to do at some point in life.

Be the new kid.

And unfortunately for me, I don’t seem to be the kind of new kid we all loved at school either, you know the one.. steps into the classroom with a sick spiral perm, rocking a slap bangle and a 90210 pencil case. The world (playground) was that kid’s oyster.

Everyone wanted to be their friend. That curly haired, shiny new toy from the big smoke. Kids would line up to lead them around and show them where the good bubblers were, and provide the inside on what handball comps they should definitley get in on.

Me, not so shiny.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I am in the corner kicking rocks and eating a devon sandwich..Ok well that did happen on Tuesday but that’s only because I got locked out of the building at lunch time.

I digress.

First days are always full of nerves for me.

It may come as a shock to you all but I am quite tragically shy and awkward especially in unknown situations. Whilst I am in some cases quite confident, in others..well I am a frail vitamin D deficient child who is scared of the sun. I seriously turn from relaxed and happy go lucky into a frightened, skittish field mouse scared of everything the minute I am forced to face small talk with new people. I HATE small talk.

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I actually tried a water cooler conversation yesterday, about the weather. They looked at me like I had just told them I had given birth to 6 lamingtons and would they like them for morning tea (actually, how tops would that be!..no wait).

I HATE being the new kid.

Fun conversations between them all, about weekend activities whizzing past my head as I try to look cool as a cucumber, hoping no one has noticed I have somehow caught my skirt in the desk draw and can’t unlock it…nope it’s jammed.

The cool kids asking each other who wants a latte, while I realise I have managed to get blue ink all over my face, chewing it in an attempt to look like I was concentrating on a report and not my sans caffeine hurt feelings.

Yes that’s the other factor we all need to remind ourselves of, aside from new kid jitters… Emma’s law; what can go wrong, will go wrong!

So far this week I have;

Locked myself out of the building and had to call someone I spoke to only once, to let me back in.

Was talking to myself while under a desk setting up a video conferencing call, not realising it had been set up and I was beaming out live to 23 people.

Tried a little too hard to show off to the Comms team my expertise in laminating perfection, and jammed the whole god damn machine.. it was a cool smoke machine for a good 5 minutes though (silver linings!)

Lost an armful of work during a homeless man/ skip bin mishap that I would rather not ever think about again.

Skirt update….still jammed and I am about to rip my way to freedom.

It has only been a week.

The upside is I am slowly settling in, and this afternoon on my way home from work I think I will be ok and not have to sing along loudly to Echosmith’s Cool Kids while sobbing and cursing to myself in the rear view mirror on what my life has become. ..baby steps.

I will be OK,  people around here are actually very nice.

They are even starting to ask me to move out of their way and to help them carry stuff.

As long as I keep thinking about the words of my guru Brenda Walsh and remember ‘Everyone here looks like they stepped out of a music video. I don’t even have the right hair’.

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No wait that’s not the one..

‘Nobody knows me here Brandon! I could be anybody. I could be somebody’!!!!!.

Does the chemist still sell spiral perms in a box?

Love Em xoxo

Code Blue.

It hit me so hard it made me jump up in the midst of a dream involving Matthew McConaughey and some steamy tribal music.

Pain in my left shoulder. Possibly from having lifted something heavy earlier that day, over exertion during exercise, or the way I had been sleeping on it; but one thing was certain in this overly hyperchondriatic head of mine.

I was dying of a heart attack.

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Matthew and his bongos would have to wait.

Like a senile man pooping on an elevator..this shit was going to the next level.

I don’t even think I bothered to gently poke and prod my sleeping husband Luke, he simply opened his eyes, to me rocking back and forth mumbling how this was it and I shouldn’t have eaten that peppermint crisp after lunch and I was about to bite the big one and who would I leave my George Michael mug to when I was gone.

I was so utterly convinced I was having a heart attack, but not wanting to bother the good people of triple zero land of my dire emergency life threatening condition, I decided to call a local after hours health help line.

By this stage my husband was so concerned and scared realising he only had possible moments left with his beloved, that in order to cope he flipped on to his tummy, propped himself up on his elbows and proceeded to play angry birds on his phone, stopping every few minutes to pat my back and say ‘there, there it’s ok’.

I had now moved on from my trance-like back and forth state, to dramatically pacing up and down the length of the bedroom, mumbling like a crack affected David Helfgott as I googled the health line’s number and started to dial.

They will want to get me into a hospital for an ECG I said to the back of my husband’s head. You need to be ready to pack a bag, perhaps starting with putting on some pants, I am not going to have my last moments with you in your undies. Aspirin, get me some Aspirin, I read somewhere that will thin my blood!

Before I could manically track myself into the cupboard to produce my man some pants to show him just how serious I was, the voice of an angel spoke to me.

Amanda was her name and she was going to help me through this bat shit, off the charts, cray cray moment in time where my brain was swimming around the room faster than I could pace it.

Let’s not forget..I was dying of a heart attack, it was definitely happening.

I managed to lower myself down on to the floor of the cupboard and sit cross legged in the dark as I began to tell Amanda allll about it.

The conversation went a little like this;

“Hi Amanda, I think I am having a heart attack”.

“Ok, can you tell me what your symptoms are?”

“I have a sore shoulder and I feel panicky and a bit sick.”

“Do you have a family history of heart problems?”

“No”.

“And can you describe the pain for me? Is it radiating, dull or strong or squeezing the chest?”

“It’s dull”.

“Ok is it only in the shoulder or in your jaw?”

“just my shoulder.”

“And do you have pins and needles or numbness in your arms?”

“no.”

“And how would you rate your pain out of 10, 1 being no pain?”

“ummm, about a 3 or 4.”

I began to notice Amanda’s lovely dulcet phone tone change from a warm honey blanket of goodness to a tad …pitying.

“Ok Emma, have you ever had any history of anxiety or panic attacks?”

“Yeah maybe…..I mean, yes.”

Hmmm.

I wasn’t dying.

So that’s how it pretty much went down in heart attack town and Amanda went on to politely inform me I had a bit of a bung shoulder and I should put heat pack on it, and I was also suffering from a bad case of anxiety.

All of this, my second opinion (aka, my husband in his undies playing angry birds) concurred with.

So that was that, my George Michael mug was all mine for the forseeable future.

Once I realised I was going to live, I noticed the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach was gone, as was the light headedness, blurred vision and ..well anxious feeling.

So off to sleep I attempted to head to, ready to catch up on a bongo solo knowing I was going to live another day.

In all seriousness, anxiety is actually a very bloody scary thing to experience and I have unfortunatlely had it visit me a lot lately. I feel for anyone who suffers from it because it comes on you from nowhere, like a cold stab of a knife that takes your breath away.

I also got up the next day and went for a much longer walk then usual and have stuck to my healthy food plan since then…just to be on the very safe side.

Thank goodness for wonderful people in the world like Amanda, who can pick a bat shit crazy mental case from a mile away, and still manage to calm her down and send her off to a bongo’d sexy sleep.

Good on you Amanda. Thou shalt not sleep crooked on my shoulder from this day forward!

And Luke…put some pants on!

Em xoxo

Too much to camambert.

Saying goodbye is never easy. In fact, it is one of the hardest things us emotionally frail humans are forced to endure.

I have said goodbye to a lot of things in my life, friendships, jobs, homes, pets, George Michael’s heterosexuality, the 90’s tv show Felicity…nope, nope, actually that one still hits a raw nerve.

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But this week I have had to say goodbye to one of the best friends I have ever known. Wait. First, let me dim the lights and cue Sarah McLachlan’s ‘ I Will Remember You’.

 

Ok, where were we? I say best friend, however, the reason for me letting it go is because it really hasn’t been good to me at all. Sure they provided comfort, blissfully bitey times and an awakening to so many new experiences and tastes, but not without the bad stuff too…digestive bad stuff. I won’t go into it, but let’s just say it was one of those trips to the chemist where you keep your sunglasses on and buy hand cream and cotton balls to hide the real reason you are there, you know…rhymes with shonstipation…

Oh the pain is too much to bear, (no, not my downstairs problems, we have moved on). What will I do without a weekend cheese board with blue vein, fromart, goats cheese and brie? A slice of Gouda or a bite of Jarlsberg here and there, yes as hard as it is to decree;

I HAVE SAID GOODBYE TO BELOVED CHEESE!!

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I am taking deep breaths and doing what grown ups do. Making sacrifices for the good of my health, so it’s time to put down the kraft cheese single and embrace all things Paleo! YAY! I am, what sophisticated circles are calling ‘a Paleoist’. I think I just made up a word?

The excitement of this cheesy epiphany has caused me to get ahead of myself, so let’s take a step back.

It has been a busy few weeks here in Casa De Brooker. Nothing really spectacular or out of the ordinary but busy; oh yeah, I did do that one cartwheel upstairs on our new temptingly empty, springy carpeted living room and was pretty fricking chuffed with myself. ..but aside from that not much else to report on.

On the non-spectacular, nothing out of the ordinary front, I have been busily writing a bajillion job applications whilst dealing with the prospect I am unemployed and no one seems to think I am marvelous enough to hire. In the moments I get away from my laptop I am usually found raiding our kitchen pantry from boredom and trying to see if I can make a procrastination snack with only home brand cooking chocolate, peanut butter and cruskits.

There is a silver lining though, and hence my reason for this very post!

Whilst being unemployed does crush the soul and creates a black hole of dirt poor we are slowly sinking into. I also see a teeny, tiny grain of fantastic in my current predicament. I have had the chance to really focus on me. Which is something apparently everyday folk don’t get a good go at, when stupid annoying things like jobs and children get in the way.

SO quick history lesson, I completed a program that saw me lose 16 kilos about 9 months ago and I had to ditch it for various health issues, thus gaining back 5 quite quickly, I KNOW sucks right….the life of someone with PCOS. *sad face.

Oh yeah, I have Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. (boooo) It’s the non ‘cysts on the ovaries’ kind, for the record my ovaries are pink and pretty and just dandy (yaaaaay).

SO because of the PCOS that raids my body, I started reading A LOT  and conducting my own research project with all my spare time, and in a nutshell, paleo is awesome for fat PCOS sufferers wanting to get knocked up,..so paleo shall be my religion!!  Please don’t ask me what PCOS is kids, because I was kinda too busy in my doctor’s office when she was explaining it to me, staring at that plastic vagina trying to memorize it, so I could check mine out later at home and see if it looked the same. Feel free to google it ..google away…PCOS, NOT MY VAGINA!!!

All I do know is a lot of studies have been done and sweet, innocent unsuspecting dairy is apparently a big iron poker to the flame that is my PCOS and said fatness.

Can I do it? Can I cut the cheese..wait, what?

Look I sure hope I can, I have already pretty much cut grains and sugars (“pretty much” legally covers me if you happen to come across me inhaling a sugar sandwich in a dark alleyway somewhere), so I am willing to give it a red hot go!

I will touch base and let you all know how it goes. I have the shakes already and I only started an hour ago. I had Parmesan sprinkled on my salad for dinner (pffff Parmesan doesn’t count, it’s a definitely a condiment, not a cheese).

I am so proud of myself at the moment I really am.

 

It is so completely worth making these small sacrifices for a bit of health and wellness.

But..if you do ever see me in a baseball cap and sunglasses ordering a pizza or cheese sandwich, just know it’s me having an off day and give me a wave.

Em x

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Come on, talk to me…give me some inspiration! Have you ever had to give up something you loved? Can it be done?