Welcome to 2016 y’all! I spent my first waking hours of the first day of this year crawling out of a tent on top of a mountain and looking at the sun rise over the Brindabella Ranges. I took some photos, sat on a rock for a bit and tried to meditate, ate muesli, then hiked outta there with my parents.
Could I get any more fucken wholesome right now?
I don’t really do resolutions, I might pick a word for this year at some point, so for those of you who want summink real inspirational, read this thing and just get on with it.
So Operation #puttingitallouttherein2015 is probably officially over. I’ve been trawling through fifteen years of my own writing, trying to make peace with the chapters already written before I write the next ones. Like a high school student cramming for an English exam, scanning their prescribed text for overarching narrative through-lines, plotting character development and identifying key themes. One of those themes was loneliness, but that’s a bigger story for another time.
For now, here’s my recap of my writing year. Pretty self indulgent I know but whatevz y’guys, it’s my blog. This may only appeal to the die hard DD fans (I know there are at least two of you), so apologies to those who aren’t interested in the stories behind this year’s 5 Most Popular Stories. Youse can go read that inspirational link instead.
1) That one where I thought I had cervical cancer (Spoiler: I don’t)
The piece that got the biggest response last year was this one. I held on to it for ages. Then I stopped blogging for a few months to just work solidly on it with an editor. I had so many hopes and fears for it when I finally pushed the publish button on WordPress.
A bunch of you, you regular Very Dear Readers who are part of the the DD community, sent me private messages sharing your own stories and feelings. I always get a thrill when people let me know something I’ve written has resonated with them. That’s what storytelling is, right? Making people feel or think? Sharing our experiences to communally make sense of them? To put ideas and feelings out there so they can be validated or challenged?
I knew lots of us had similar experiences but we weren’t talking about them. I was confused about fitting my empowered young liberated woman vibes into my Catholic upbringing and family values. I was confused about having flings for the first time in my late twenties, about having to face the possibility of infertility when I thought my work and my art were my priorities. I was confused about living in such a sex-positive culture, that encouraged women to be sexually empowered ethical sluts, but didn’t really talk heaps about sexual health. A culture that didn’t really offer much sympathy to anyone with sexually transmitted infections because it was ‘their choice to bring it upon themselves,’ but did sympathise with those whose choices with drugs like alcohol, meth and cigarettes led to injury or illness. Some people take risks in their cars, in hang gliders, in pubs. I took risks in the bedroom.
Is it our families or our culture that leads to these feelings of shame around sexual health?
How can we be sexually empowered and responsible? How do you have an honest respectful conversation that will still lead to sex, when you’re naked and a dude says ‘Yeah but it just feels so much better without a franger.’ How can we talk about this stuff without being boner killers? Is it about offering your own status in the hopes that they will too? “Aww man, this is perfect, you’re a total babe, there’s ambient lighting, nice music and I had an STI test last week so I know I’m not going to give you anything, conditions are perfect!”
Some stories you craft lovingly for months before setting them free, some stories just pour out of you into cyberspace and you’ve got no way of predicting if it’s going to hit any notes with anyone, anywhere.
2) The one about the flood
This one was the second most popular post this year. It was the simplest and quickest to write. I didn’t know the young people I wrote about very well, but everyone we meet becomes part of our story in a small or a big way.
Toward the end of the year I wrote more about death after watching my grandmothers die. These posts didn’t get as much of a response, but they were intensely personally and totally cathartic and also very easy and quick to write.
3) The ones about The Author who vomited on the boat to Tasmania
Oh man. Remember this guy? Who, in response to my four part story, started up his own blog devoted to telling his own side of the saga? Who taught us all not to forget all our instincts just because someone says YOLO?
I try to blog ethically. I should rephrase that: I blog ethically when it suits me. Some men I date I end up spending a lot of time with, I get to know them pretty well and care a lot about them. When I write about these men I always share what I write with them before I post it online. I think that’s common courtesy and basic respect to give people a chance to respond before it’s in the public domain.
The Author published his final two blogs about me before showing me. They included a photograph of me and detailed descriptions of things we did in bed. He removed them once I asked him to, but I was shocked that ‘common’ courtesy perhaps was not so common.
There are two types of men who appear in this blog who I’ve not shared my writing with: a) babes who I totally want to see again some day, and b) babes who would be impossible to write about honestly if I knew they’d read it. In both cases I try to disguise their identity completely, resist writing too much about them and only write what I would be confident to say to them if I saw them in person after I’d had a whisky.
4) The one where my teenage heart is dramatically broken overseas
These posts didn’t get a massive response, but for me, they were a pretty fucken big deal to write. I’d been holding on to that story for ten years!
I don’t feel this writing was me at my vulnerable, honest best. As I wrote it, I knew I’d be sharing the story with the man who featured in it, so I held back. It was painful to write and I knew it would be painful to read.
5) The one that has a photo of an animal made out of a vegetable
Possibly my most popular post of all time! There must be a lack of photos of animals made out of vegetables online! This post was really about me trying to pick up an organic farmer at the Karratha Agricultural Show two years ago! It consistently comes up in the search terms people use to find this blog, along with:
- Where to meet single hipster men in Melbourne (lots of variations on this theme, including ‘Why are there so many hipsters in Melbourne?’ ‘Where can I pick up cute guys in Melbourne?’ and ‘How do I meet middle aged singles in Fitzroy?’)
- Whatever boils your potato
- Nigerian girls latest swag
- Swag dance shag
- First date ideas Karratha (someone is getting lucky!)
- Mariah Carey in Alice Springs (someone is getting disappointed!)
- FIFO Dad poems
- Lonely outback woman looking for a relationship
- Could a Mormon breakdance? (My personal favourite from 2013)
- Sample Hat Made Out Of Vegetables (lots of variations again, including ‘I want vegetable bird images please’ and my personal favourite ‘Vegabal animal’)
So there you have it. 2015 in a tidy little nutshell. I reckon I’ll be getting stuck into another longer piece which might take a while. Thanks for sticking with me, for getting involved and commenting here or on Facebook.
Wishing you all good dates and great stories in 2016!
With love and thanks,
Rare selfie reflected in some remote Tasmanian river