Friday, 27 January 2017

Life. Be In It.

I won a bike today. Seriously. A bloody gorgeous baby blue bike. And it made me so freaking happy, I squealed in the open plan office.

I never win anything. Actually I don't know anyone who wins anything. But boy, it feels good when you do win something and as the saying goes, 'You've got to be in it, to win it', and goddammit I was!

As I was putting The Kid to bed tonight, I was kicking back laying next to him thinking about my new bike and all the rides we were going to go on together.

Then I started thinking about entering all the competitions that I possibly could so I could win more stuff. Then I started getting greedy, thinking about all the excess stuff I could win to put in a 'winning room' and how I would be an expert in winning stuff and make regular comment on A Current Affair as 'Champion Prizewinner'.

But perhaps I could put this new Be In It To Win It practice into my own little life. I've had a few freak out moments this week. Moments of freakiness when people get too close, moments of fear when I have to rely on or trust someone, moments of terror when I realise it's 8pm at night and I don't know what to do once my kid goes to sleep and the washing's folded and my house is clean and my toenails are trimmed. Weird huh!

So rather than become a Champion Prizewinner (which I will do anyway but under a rad alias like Crystal Beff or similar) I'm on a mission to Be In It and try and find out who the fuck I am. I ate feta the other night out of a jar and I loved it. I haven't done that in years. Recently I ordered a jug of beer at a bar - again, it's been ages. I listened to the full Jewel of the Nile soundtrack on vinyl yesterday and it was magical. I ate peanut butter and honey sandwiches at the BMX track and it was like eating candy for the first time. I bought a skateboard. I watched Indecent Proposal and crushed all over again on Woody. I drank cordial and it made me 12 years younger. I wrote a letter to Ken Done thanking him for being a legend. I played elastics between two chairs. I made a height chart at work for my colleagues to enjoy. So many things. This is all the shit I love doing but stuff I haven't done in such a long time.

Why did I stop doing stuff I love? I suppose I became someone else and I became busy being that person. But now in this limbo of life, I just want to go back to that person I was ages ago.

So what are my favourite things that I used to do?
Eat Korean BBQ and cheap food with MSG.
Travel to places with beaches.
Cook pals meals with big intentions but limited cooking capacity.
Eat picnics.
Play with my buddies in bars, on lawn bowls, at gigs, in the city.
Sit in backyards for long amounts of time.
Pick fruit and eat it.
Trivia nights.
See mates I haven't seen in ages and talk about animal reproduction.
And ride bikes.

Are you a friend of mine who I haven't seen in ages? We need to catch up and I want to hear all about your life: your babies, your partner, your friends, your job, your bike rides. All the things. I want to reminisce about our times together, back when we were young.  Email me.

Life. It's so fucking good. But you've got to be in it... to win it, right?

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

From Crappy to Happy: Ali Webb's Battery Effect

A good mate of mine recently told me about this thing called Strength Theory. You can read all about it here, but in short it's all about how we highlight the weaknesses that come from our strengths.

Am I on drugs? No. But I think I am now wiser for reading up on this excellent stuff and using the word 'theory' in a paragraph.

I've been thinking about this today. A lot. I had a crap morning. There was just loads of crap going on in my tiny world. We all have days like this. It started with hating every item of clothing in my wardrobe, then not being efficient with time and getting to work, then being indecisive about what to make for my lunchbox, then feeling overwhelmed at word, then I couldn't find a decent pencil sharpener and... gah, it all sounds so minute. It was just a bit sucky. Not even Kool & The Gang could fix this arsehole vibe.

So I thought about this Strength Theory. To be honest, I haven't read through the whole article about this theory, but I've read enough to get the idea and write my own version (and maybe impress this guy who told me about it, making me come across as intellectual and meaningful). I'm calling it the Battery Effect.

Every battery has a positive and negative side to it, so I gather that the negative side wouldn't work without the positive. Which means, in my creative little thought process that you can turn a negative into a positive. Right? Ok.

I've been a bit hard on myself lately and I have a list of annoyances about me that potentially were my downfall in being a shit former wife. But I think with my new Battery Effect, I can turn my list into a splendid curation of most excellent things about me. Here goes:

Negative = positive

1. I act like a child = I am fun, playful and superbly energetic
2. I can't sit still = I am energetic so I do cool things with my kid
3. I wear a bumbag = I travel lightly and efficiently
4. I swear too much = I am self expressive in my vocabulary
5. I'm not a good listener = I'm thinking in advance about you
6. I sing words instead of speak them = I am making my sentences more exciting for your enjoyment
7. I'm too busy = I like to try all the things, even if it is just once (the gym, skateboarding, netball)
8. I'm stuck in the period between 1984-1996 = Because nothing happened in the noughties. Don't bore me.
9. I don't take myself seriously = I like fun and adventure. Serious can be later.
10. I talk about irrelevant things = irrelevant can be interesting. It might be irrelevant to you, but it's important to me. I could talk on the topic of the deepest part of the ocean for weeks on end.

Hopefully this has given you a positive push. Give it a go... perhaps the Battery Effect can take off and I can make a million dollars on my theory. In the meantime, it's nice to switch the vibe from crappy to happy.

Make sure you have an excellent day tomorrow.

xx good night.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Is this too personal?

I was thinking just yesterday about dating. Not me actually dating but the actual doing of dating.

The last time I 'dated', I would have been around 19. I didn't carry around a mobile phone, let alone two back then.

I've heard a lot from friends about Tinder and all the dating sites and to be honest, those little apps turn into scary nightmares in my brain. Plus I'm so sick of my phone.

Is there still such a thing as sinking a few pots down at the local pub and having a conversation about Kenny and Warren G and significance of both in today's popular culture (or lack thereof)?

Oh hang on, it's a bit inappropriate for me to be sinking pots down at the local pub with my kid in tow.

So do single mums meet super rad people hanging at the local park, pushing their kid on the swing for the 81st time or helping their kid do a bush wee?

It's all just a little complicated, but then again so am I. Does this mean that every single person in their mid thirties has complications or dare I say it... 'baggage' or ghosts of relationships past?

I seem to be an over-communicator of all my problems which means I can chuck them in a bin once I've over-analysed the crap out of them with anyone who will listen. Does it still mean I have baggage if I've binned it? I'm hoping the only baggage I have remaining can be tucked into my bumbag.

It's such a huge world out there of super cool adventures with my kid and my cool-as-hell pals, Perhaps there will be a little bit of extra room in there one day for a hairy Blundstone-wearing gent?

One thing I know is that I just can't change my daggy ways - I think they might be pretty set, which means acceptance of my love of Ken Done, Australiana, John Candy movie marathons, non-stop chatter about pointless topics such as how much I dislike the design of the 'classic' toilet brush set (the brush never sits right in the cradle), and the fact that I have problems with sitting still, are all part of the package.

For the time being, the whole dating thing seems well and truly out of my daggy league. I'm super happy to look forward to my daily date at the dinner table with Alfred. Even if he doesn't yet understand the full complexities of Warren and Kenny G or how to use a semi colon appropriately (it's a moment, not a pause), he still provides entertaining conversation that can see me right into the evening ('what did you do at kinder today? I mashed the dirt mum and then I painted and then I used scissors and chopped it until it was wrecked')

I'm deeply in love with this kid of mine. And he loves me. So I think he's the best date of all.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Good Grief

It's the end of the year, as we know it. Thank fuck. I'm tired.
But hang on, it wasn't all that bad... it has only been crap for the past two months.
Wait. It actually hasn't been that crap the last two months. The last two months just had a bit of crap in it. Maybe a few crap weeks.

So 2016 didn't really suck, it just had crap moments. Like most years. Yes, it was the year of loss: Bowie, Prince, Sharon Jones, my marriage break up, Leonard Cohen, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds and very recently my incredible 92 year old pa. But all of this loss was attached to great lives lived by radical people.

It's good to grieve loss, I've done it before - I'm sure most people have. But I do believe it's possible to turned grief into goodness. Good grief! It's healthy to cry, talk about your emotions (especially after a few tinnies), get cuddles from mates and family - sometimes strangers, weep at your desk (sorry colleagues) and feel lonely at the end of the day. It's just really bloody good to feel something because that makes you a decent human being.

I've had a little sparkle of goodness lately where I've discovered some really massive things about myself. I promise I will stop banging on about this one day, but it's the last day of the year so I feel the need to chuck in a bookend. Full  stop. New paragraph.

I have not been single or 'on my own' for close to 15 years. I was with my ex husband for 13 years, married for six. It was an excellent time, I don't regret it one bit. It just ended in a pile of shit, but I'm healing. We both are.
But here I am at 34, a single mum doing my bit in the world with an excellent tiny male-child at my side. And I'm ok. I didn't see this happening but hell, who knows what tomorrow will bring. I think that's kind of exciting. Perhaps I was a bit too much in control of my pre-separation life - or at least I thought I was.

I can't wait for this year to end as I'm looking for something to pinpoint a fresh start. The 1st January 2017 can be that moment.

As much as I don't know what tomorrow will bring, here's what I hope 2017 will have in store for me:

Adventures: bloody good, soulful, energetic, fresh, exciting, powerful, mindblowing adventures.
Friends: new and old, near and far. Just heaps of excellent humans around me.
Play: oh so many good times with my son. I just taught him the lyrics to Rapper's Delight.
Colour: I'm going to wear whatever I want - even if it is a bumbag - because that's how I roll.
Time: I refuse to use the word busy now. I will make time for my son, my pals, my family, you.
Music: I bought myself a record player for Christmas. Music sounds better with crackles. It's set up in my bedroom, like I'm a teenager. I'm thinking about putting up a poster of Johnny Diesel on the back of my door.
Food: I want people to come over and raid my fridge, let me cook for them while they sit along my bench and talk about 90s pop culture.
Good men: I've heard so many people say 'Men are hopeless/useless' lately since my husband and I split. Men are not hopeless or useless, just some people make mistakes. My son is certainly not hopeless or useless, he will grow up surrounded by decent, happy male buddies. As a society we really do need to change our gender-specific phrases. Men are excellent, ladies are excellent. Let's be excellent together.
Community: Gosh, I love living in Yarraville / inner west Melbourne. I want to write more stories about this fabulous area that I live in. Expect these soon.

And finally, I'm calling 2017 my year of winging it. If someone offers something rad, I won't feel uncomfortable about accepting. I'm excited about the adventures ahead!

Big love to all my beautiful pals for supporting me during the crap moments in 2016, but bigger love for just being super excellent people during my whole entire life.

Here's to winging it. Now crack a tinnie.


Rad pic of my son and I above by the sensational Paul Large.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The one month mark

It's been bang on a month since my husband left me.

Let's just say, I don't want this shit situation to define me and I also don't want it to consume me. It sucks that so much was taken away from me, but hey, life throws massive challenges at you and the best you can do is the be the best you can be.

In a sucky situation, I have discovered sooo many things about me and have actually found some positives:

I have a gorgeous community of friends who are neighbours, neighbours who are friends, old mates, new mates, a most delicious mother's group who are also splendid caterers and a whole village that is Yarraville taking care of me and checking in. I've never felt such support and I'm so grateful that I have so many sweet people around me and my son.

I'm a good person. This situation is making me a better person. I have goals and they are exciting. Being a better person is one of them. Growing my son into a respectful, kind and adventurous young man is another.

I bought a new bed. I've never owned a new bed. It's so heavenly and fresh and soft and sweet. I love it. I also love my little Alfie running in at morning time and giving me a big cuddle in my gorgeous bed. He gives me a reason to get out of bed every morning. He's the best.

I have all the space I want in my own wardrobe. All. The. Space.

I have gazillion of display pillows on my new bed. And I don't need to explain their relevance, my display techniques or the fact that I want more.

I have a raging battle going on inside my belly. It's an angry ball. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm seeing a counsellor. It's good to dump angry balls in the bin. Anger can be poison inside a human body. It makes you smell, it gives you crook guts and keeps you up at night. I'm determined not to become bitter and angry. Life is way too short for that. I don't even know if I can face drinking lemon, lime and bitters this summer. I don't want any bitter inside of me. My counsellor has wiry hair and wears a kaftan. She gave me a cuddle and she smelt like rosemary.

I am an excellent female.

Mindfulness is not just a buzz word. It's good to be present. I've put down my phone. Actually, I've turned it off (outside of business hours).

It's ok to be successful. It is also ok to be happy. Success and happiness are not threats, they are actions that I want my son to grow up knowing to be awesome.

I'm actually a really organised person. I'm also very good at my job. There is nothing wrong with big plans, I'm good at making them happen. My country house plan didn't happen for a reason, that's not to say that my next cool plan won't become real.

I watch romcoms on the TV every night. Because I can. Sometimes I eat chocolate while doing this.

I painted my son's toenails the other night, the same colour as mine. They look beautiful.

Alfie and I have created a map marking the places where all the lighthouses live along the coast. We've got adventures planned.

This is a pic of us on our last adventure together in Hobart. We looked at heaps of cranes. If I can take anything out of this crap time in my life, it's to look forward to the adventures my son and I will have together in the future. We've been doing things as a duo for over three years, here's to millions of years more.

I can do this. I am doing this.

As my mum said, don't let his failure, fail you.

Be kind. Be adventurous. Reach for the stars. Love Ali