Kalamatiano

Last night I stood there with my hands on shoulders, aligned in a perfect semi-circle. Sweat dripped down the sides of my face, my ponytail had loosened so my damp hair was stuck to the back of my neck. I looked to my right and there was Mum, beaming at me (mostly, because I was getting my steps right), and to my left was my sister Lucy who just radiated healthy beauty.

In that moment, my heart was full. In that moment I was so bloody happy and not only because I was amped up on caffeine and endorphins, but because two of the most beautiful women in the world, my women, were happy too. 

It’s these precious moments in time which overload me with such emotion that I can’t believe I get to live this life, with these people. How could I get so fucking lucky?

When it comes down to it, no matter the day’s frustrations, no matter whether you’re in a high, low or plateau, no matter how much reflection time you’ve had… sometimes all you need is them, their pride, their unconditional love, their warmth. 

It’s something too beautiful to describe in words… nor should it be. It simply is, and it’s incredible.

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Heat Packs & Ibuprofen

 

Pain grabs you. It holds you the same way that we hold our most dear… close, so intimately close that you can feel it pulsing against you. We breathe it in, we let it in, because really, there is no alternative – no matter how much your muscles tense or how long you close down your eyes.

Pain is like one of those short-term loves. You know the ones, they’re intense, like a whirlwind they enter your life. You’re consumed, distracted, changed… you submit and with the click of the fingers, they leave – with nothing much else than a tingling on your lips.

The good thing about pain is that it’s truly only temporary. Physical, emotional… pain changes and dissipates over time and before you know it, you are pain free.

I write this as I drop two-ibuprofen, two-paracetamol and clutch a heat pack for dear life. Tomorrow will be better I’m sure. 

 

Seeking unbridled love

As the sun sets on yet another relationship, I wonder if I’ll ever love someone again.

Not that basic love, but that unbridled, delirious, blinding love. The kind of love that makes you give everything you have. The kind of love where you can feel their warmth. The kind of love that exudes electricity.

Maybe one day. But not today. Today is for introversion, family and shared bottles of wine.

Saucepan Advice

Life’s most important advice is always impactful in the moment, like a fat smack in the face with a saucepan. It’s always said matter-of-factly, rolling off the tongue effortlessly and with such conviction that you soak it up the way you would a warm soup on a cold day.

Pain is only temporary

Love is worth the risk

Life’s too short for anything other than perfect (granted, perfect for you)

Focus on what you have, not what you don’t have

The last one was said over breakfast by one of my best and beautiful friends. It hit me like a tonne of bricks, and I realised I’d spent the last 12 months doing the exact opposite: Desperately dating trying to find a diamond in the rough, forcing things that weren’t there. Passively looking for a new job without focusing on the one I had. Wondering what was missing in me instead of enhancing all the many things I have to offer the ones I love.

Whilst this is not a ‘new year, new me’ post, it is a promise to myself and my loved ones that I will be present, that my love is flowing and honest, and that they will keep seeing gratuitous posts of Lazlo and my gym efforts…

(Alex Philipatos: “life’s too short to be small”).

 

 

Training Wheels

I went to a concert last week. I made my way through the crowds of drunk teens and beanpole-sized men, searching for that perfect viewing spot. We settled above a set of stairs, in between a heavy-PDA couple and a set of alco-pop drinkers.

As I scan the crowd, I spot the back of a familiar bald head. Of course, I knew he was going to be there. He knew I was going to be there too… I’d guessed that the lack of contact pre-gig meant that he was there with a woman, and there she was, a mere couple of metres away.

I think it’s always a shock when you see an ex with someone else, especially when it looks like they’re falling in love. If I’m honest, the last week I’ve gone through stages of anger, sadness and envy.

I left Miguel because I wasn’t loved enough. I left because I deserved better. I lost my home, my routine and the person I was convinced was the love of my life. Why does he get to fall in love before I do?

I’m that girl who teaches men, who best prepares them for their next long-term love. I can’t tell you how many boyfriends and flings I’ve had, whose next relationship was ‘the one’.

I hope my lessons have been valuable; I hope that they love their women when they’re at their highest, their lowest and their most frustrating. I hope they show their love in both their behavior and their words. I hope I taught them that the smallest moments are the most important. I hope they communicate through the significant and the insignificant. I hope they fight for love.

I’m sure that somewhere, there’s a man who is tired of being the training wheels. He’s ready for the real, hard love. Love is the single-most beautiful thing in this world and I can’t wait to explore it more with him.

She’s just not that into you

I can’t remember the last time I was actually excited about a date. No wait, I lie. I can… the guy spent a good 48 hours texting me, sending me photos and setting up our date, then he came up with an excuse for postponing our date, then proceeded to ghost me. Before that, it’s probably been about 6 months.

I have built the walls around me so solidly that it’s difficult for me to venture out, or for anyone to shine a light in.

I’ve been on dates, sure… but my gut is ALWAYS there, telling me “no, he’s too intense”, “he’s a playboy”, “he’s not been single for long enough”, “he’s got some issues”, “he’s too quiet”, “that was hard work”, “he’s always talking about himself, does he actually want to know anything about me?”, “those cigarettes are gross”, “DRUGS! HELL NO!”… I find myself sending rejection after rejection, knowing that really, the only excuse is that I’m just not that into them.

When we don’t like someone enough, we come up with reasons as to why it won’t work, to justify ending the relationship. Nothing is wrong with that, for the most part, I think that I’m looking for someone who mirrors me: Someone warm, social and active, who has about 50% of his shit together, and is happy to work through the rest with me. Maybe he’s divorced? That’s cool. Hopefully he’ll have found a meaningful career with a hobby or two that he’s passionate about. Maybe he’ll be keen to explore a new hobby with me, or share one of his and help me learn.

I imagine he’s had his share of guilt and heartbreak, with some long-term relationship experience in there for good measure. He’s probably put his hard-core partying days behind him, still loves a social drink and a nice dinner, but has put a vast chunk of his money in some kind of investment. He cares about his family and friendship network, and that’s evident in the way he speaks about them. He’s happy to talk about marriage and babies, because you know what? We’re in our mid-30’s. He might lead a busy lifestyle, but he still has time to fit me in, and doesn’t hesitate to introduce me to his networks early on in the piece.

But I’ve come across this guy, and he went in full-ball and scared the crap out of me. Not because I wasn’t ready for it, I am. Oh I very much am… but he’s just not the right one.

That gut feel is not something you can ignore for long. It will sit there and manifest itself into anxiety, insecurity or a simple brick wall. It may take a week, a month or years… but eventually, something will have to give. Your partner will pick up on it, or you’ll grow tired of feeling that way…and that’s when things fall apart.

For right now, I don’t really want a live-in partner, a fiancé or a husband. I’ve deleted all the dating apps on my phone, deactivated my Facebook profile (at least, for a week) and I have no upcoming dates or catch-ups planned, other than with my family and friends. I’m happy being single right now, so I might just leave it at that for a little while… but having someone to share music and go for brunches with would be nice.

Must Have Banter

I always read dating app biographies. Whether I remember them by the time I get to the date is another story… but, I like to see that someone is serious enough about their search that they think about the best way to describe themselves to the hundreds that will potentially take the time to read those 300 characters.

Singledom in this day and age has shifted. We no longer go to bars or clubs with the sole purpose of conversing with a potential lover, no. We go to bars/clubs/pubs with friends, we are social but we stick to our cliques. There is no cross-pollination… there is no fear of face-to-face rejection because we’re not even trying to begin with.

Dating apps are safe. You’ll never go up to a love interest who is potentially married or in a relationship – because by default, if they’re on the dating apps, then they’re single. So we dress up, we go out, we drink espresso martinis and we dance. We get tired, we go home and then we open up our phones and swipe away for a lover.

Then depending on the app you’ve registered with… you may need to come up with a flattering or witty opening line which needs to get conversation going… then you need to keep that conversation going, into something that could officially be called “good banter”.

The word ‘banter’ is something of a buzz word in dating apps, followed closely by ‘sapiosexual’, and the four-letters that make up your Myers-Briggs personality profile. For the record, mine is ESFJ… and no, I don’t reference it on my profile.

There are profiles where the person is either lazy or trying to be mysterious, so there’s only one or two photos and no biography. Next you have those that love emoji’s so much that they’ve described themselves with beach-burger-gym-book-beer emojis.

Further along you get the guy who puts a list of his interests down, has a few photos which look reasonably up-to-date, and up next is the bloke who’s done a proper biography with full sentences; grammar nazis eat your heart out.

Lastly, you have the poor cynical male, who’s obviously been on the app for a little too long, and barks out orders like “will delete if you don’t chat”, “no timewasters or pen pals”.

If the conversation is going anywhere, there will be a mention of a first date. Too soon? People are busy. Too far in advance? Your date is likely to flake and forget completely that he or she has made somewhat concrete plans to meet you at a bar on Lygon Street at 8pm on Wednesday.

You can always tell the social beings, they find a way to get your number and arrange a phone call before your first date. This is an excellent way of working out whether the two of you have good energy and can sustain a meaningful conversation. For the record, the best dates I’ve been on have broken the ice prior with a phone call or two.

Some will get your number prior, but not call. Once you’ve sorted the day, time and location of your date… they disappear. I think this is usually because they don’t want to cover first date material before the date and then run out of things to say… but they could just be talking to others. Who knows, right?

When you get to your date, you need to break the ice quickly. A big smile and a hello with a quick following question will generally do the trick. I find that on a date, I do a lot of the talking. I am friendly, warm and charming. I am genuinely interested in the other person’s life and what they’re passionate about. I love to hear them talk about their relationships with their families and friends… I find that a man who can hold his own will be able to ask me questions too and a conversation will flow. At times I’ve left a date completely depleted because I carried the entire conversation, and other times (albeit rarely) I’ve felt energised and excited.

Inevitably, there’s the progression to the second date. Sometimes this is something discussed on the first date, sometimes it’s left for the less-confronting platform of a text message. If I left the first date depleted or put off for one reason or another, I’ll say no. I think of the 30+ dates I’ve been on in the last 21 months, only about 6 or 7 have made it to the second date, and I’ve pursued a relationship of sorts with only two… nothing has really made it past the 4 month mark.

It’s exhausting, putting in the time in the evenings to swipe-converse-date, and to some it will feel like insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome. But you do it, and you go on that date, because when you spark with someone for what feels like the first time in ages, that excited feeling that you get when you walk away and get into your car… well that’s unbeatable, and in that instant, all the failed attempts are worth it. Someone said to me this week “you can’t argue with chemistry” and you certainly cannot. That spark of energy that we call chemistry, that’s the base on which you build love, and how can you not get excited and feel hopeful about that?

Ahh love. Back to the swiping I go.

Thunder Clap

The last 6 months my heart has copped a beating. I started free-falling in love with someone, only to be yanked back into reality like one of those old-school flashing yo-yos.

I’ve had a former flame return to me, and I’ve had to come to terms with the changes in myself over the last 20 months. I’ve hurt many feelings, I’ve come to recognize the abuse that manifests when you try and force something that isn’t there.

I’ve internalised a lot of it, I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself whilst out there searching for that lightening bolt.

I’ve met some interesting people: loud types, quiet types, insecure types, confused types.

I carry my pain on one shoulder and my guilt from hurting on the other.

I am strong and I am resolute. I will not waver; I will come to work with a bunch of stories for everyone to live vicariously through. Mostly though, I will feel the lows as intensely as the highs… because hell, that’s life.

Love is the Answer

Someone asked me the other night, “when is the book coming out?”, I laughed and said that all I’ve been writing about is my first world problems and pains… who wants to read that?

But that’s not true, I wrote a speech about love. Much of speeches is in the delivery, and I did so with conviction, passion, a thumping heart and quaking legs.

To my dear brother Alex and new sister-in-law Lucy on their wedding day:

Good evening all, my name is Alicia. I also go by Alissia, Alisha, Ali… or in today’s case, Cupid. You see, I’m the mastermind that brought these two lovebirds together. Although I’m sure you’d love to hear all about my heart blog, my reaching out to Lucy via her heart blog and our plans to catch up when she went travelling to Australia… Tonight is not about me (sadly).

Tonight is about love. The strongest form of love, the love that you share with your partner.

What is love?

Back in high school, an English teacher posed this question to a class load of us, and I responded simply with “a deep, unconditional connection between two people”. The teacher smiled and went on to describe love in a way I’ve never forgotten:

Love is what’s left when you strip away the lust, the mutual interests, the aligned morals, the trust. Love is what’s left when you strip away the frustration, the boredom and the pain. Love is what’s left when you take away the fancy dinners, the expensive wines and all of life’s ‘things’. Love, is what’s left. Now this might sound hollow, awful even, but that’s not the case. It’s beautiful, oh my, is it beautiful.

It’s only in my adult years that I’ve been able to understand what he meant.

When you take away all of those things, you’re left with a rawness. An energy. It can’t be seen but good gosh can it be felt. It exists in itself, generating when two people meet, it strengthens through lust, aligned morals, mutual interests and all those things I mentioned before. It prickles your skin, it calms you, it makes you hopeful, and it makes you feel at home. Alex, Natalie and I are lucky to have grown up surrounded by it, and I feel it every time I step over the threshold into Alex and Lucy’s home.

I want to thank you, Alex and Lucy, for sharing with me and all of the people here, the energy that you’ve created. It’s beautiful and warm and envelopes all that come into your presence.

I wish only that your energy strengthens as time passes, that it lifts you, warms you, and makes you feel as though you’re whole. I hope it not only supports you individually, but that it binds you closer together. I hope your energy radiates so deeply that you no longer rely on that electric blanket from catchoftheday, and I hope that one day, little ones walk around radiating the very sunshine that you’ve created so effortlessly.

Congratulations, Alex and Lucy. I love you both so, so much.

Bags Packed

It’s been a while since I’ve travelled, but when I do, I tend to cram stuff into my suitcase, sitting on it so I can zip it closed. When I arrive at my destination, I open that case and rummage endlessly through my mostly-black wardrobe, trying to find that perfect black slinky top.

When you move from one relationship to the next, you pack your bag of learnings and pain, then rummage through it when you reach your newest relationship destination, unknowingly pulling out your old hang-ups, expectations and disappointments without having learnt enough about what your new partner is willing to deal with.

I met someone recently. After our second date I was hooked, the stars had aligned and I was SO ready for someone important to enter my life. We wined, dined, worked out together, declared ourselves exclusive, and then official, deleted the dating apps on our phones and had started meeting each other’s friends and family.

Less than two months in, my new boyfriend stops communicating with me. Given my experiences with lack of honesty and unwillingness to communicate through issues, I became confused and inconceivably angry. He had stopped communicating with me because of my friendship with my ex-boyfriend… you see, his prior experiences with ever-present exes and cheating made him hold back.

Both of us, in our emotionally-loaded states would not budge on those issues, both too scared to submit to something even remotely similar to our previous pains. Both of us, frustrated with the others stubbornness, sent perfectly worded, passive aggressive text messages back and forth until we could no longer progress with the relationship.

Like a plane nose-diving mid-flight, so too did our fledging relationship.

What have I learnt?

Having baggage from previous relationships is unavoidable, but perhaps as you unpack, do it slowly, explaining the reasons for bringing that item with you. Over time, hopefully, I’ll pack less… you never really need all the crap you jam into that bag anyway.