the Rookie & a broken heart

Sitting at Barneys in Haarlemmerstraat in upper Amsterdam conversing over a Barney Rookie. Wearing layers  of clothing, an Alexander Mcqueen scarf and an old wool beret from Selfridges. I pass the rookie across to Damshad. Its freezing out and the coffee shops windows are a blanket of white. I smell of burberry, tobacco and of glorious red wine. The Netherlands is mesmerizing this time of year with the canals frozen over and the fresh powder sprinkling from the sky. I came here in search for love (tragically pathetic, I know). The man sitting with me is tall, dark and rugged looking. I met him 6 months ago whilst couch surfing through Europe. Since living back in London I haven’t been able to get his face out of my mind. Tonight is my last night in the dam before heading back to London.

He allures mystery with every glance. He is staring at me with big soul wrenching brown eyes.

“Should we have the same flavour again, or try a new one?” Damshad asks me, as he draws in his last drag.

“How about we try a different one hoping to super buzzed.” I reply with eager anticipation.

Damshad comes back to the table 2 minutes later with a samsara –  a smooth mild tasting one with a late creeper.

We giggle nonstop about ridiculous nonsensical conversations with our spliffs and red wine in hand. He barely takes his eyes away. Half way through the samsara I think to my self oh shit! Whats is wrong with my face? ……. my face is starting to feel a tingly weird sensation, the right corner of my mouth feels like it is turning up towards the sky, and my heart feels like it is about to jump out of my chest,  just relax and go with the flow, I think to myself.

I excuse my self and hastily rush to the toilet to calm myself down and not act all weird and stuff. As I am walking to the toilet, I feel a bit light headed at my feet and manage to perfectly trip over the mat at the toilet entry in perfect flamboyant style. I smack bang into a woman exiting the toilet. She gives me a pissed off snarl. Well done bravo!!!! I applaud my self.

In the toilet,I splash my face with water and talk to my self. I look up to see my face in the mirror. My face looks old, I look terrible, as my mascara has smudged and lips are chapped . I start to shudder in a state of  panic. I manage to stay real about the situation and blame the paranoia for my obscure pattern of thoughts.

Back at the table I regain my normality and take another sip of my pinot. I Stare out side to the falling snow with a blank expression and I feel Damshad’s eyes locked onto me. I throw him a whimsical smile which may have been a little awkward, now that I think back.

I am balancing outside on the puffy snow in my cream ankle boots whilst smearing my mouth with chapstick. I smoke Ultra-Light cigarettes grandly, standing proud; I am looking around at the dutch frolicking and showing off as they skate around on the ice.

We stop by the christmas markets and drink gluvine and eat fromage crepes for a couple of hours, heavenly I proclaim!!! I start to feel sad with the though of boarding a plane tomorrow bound for London as I desperately don’t want the night to end. Sleep deprivation and my desperate desire for love is creating disorganized chaos in my own head. I think to my self how perfect it would be if Damshad would declare his unprovailed love for me right now and ask me stay here with him and hold me close.

We move slowly like snails alongside the canals, puffing on tobacco and blowing rings in the air. My ankle boots feel like they are dragging the snow with us, I feel my high has evaporated in to the icy frost;  we have not exchanged a word in at least a length of a canal or two.

The canals in Amsterdam are confusing even for the locals. They are like spokes of a wheel, edging out from the centre, ever turning and ever perplexing. I am pretty sure we just walked the entire length of Keizersgracht or was it Prinsengracht anyway they all look the same, beautiful and picturesque.  We seemingly amble through DeBaarsjses which is suppose to be the up and coming neighbourhood of the dam. After an awkward stride we finally arrive at a bar called De Nieuwe Anita, where Damshad rings the door bell.

The door opens and a groovy looking short dutch man with a cool top hat greets us.        “Met plezier”, he simply states which simply means “with pleasure”….. We are ushered into the back room where there is a bar and behind the bar there are topless dutch waitresses dancing and just being jolly. We sit down in a alcove on some cushions. I order a Tom Collins and Damshad orders the Mai Tai. Again an awkward silence appears, our conversation struggled, it lacked the jovial laughter that filled the space back at Barneys, perhaps we should have stayed there. I felt uneasy and my mind was taking over my body. Second guessing myself.

Its safe to say that it was not received the way that I would have liked. I think ‘we are better as mates’, was the response I received. Embarrassed and sad I decided to stand up and exit the cute bar and walk the dutch canals by my lonesome.

Back in London  2.30 pm the next day.

Depressed and tired, I am eating peanut butter out of the jar, lying on the couch in my  flano pyjama’s in my flat in St Johns Wood. (I keep falling out of my own fucking canoe).      I am crying,  “Nantes” by Beirut playing.  It snows outside and the windows are a white blanket and the ground is a black blanket.

I am 30 and I hate my job. I am a teacher here and as you can imagine it is a pretty tough gig. I should never have become a teacher. As cute and quizzical kids are these days they can also be a pain in the righteous butt to teach. Most the time its more like crowed control and taming the lions at the zoo, than actual teaching. Never mind its a new day tomorrow = positive thoughts.

I walk to my room as I am desperate for sleep for sleep as I catch my self in the hallway mirror. I notice the back of my head. That’s strange I think to my self. My hair is extremely sparse at the crown of my head, lets just say it use to be a lot thicker. Where the hell has my hair gone?

In my irrational erratic frenzy I go back to the mirror and get another mirror so I can closely examine the situation. OH MY! flipping gosh. I AM GOING BALD!!!

Why? I am way too young. I can handle going grey but not bald. I thought too my self in a desperate, relentless, worried way.

I got onto the internet and started searching>>

Going bald at 30. >Hair products to make hair grow> what makes hair fall out?>

I manage to find some shampoo and conditioner to rebuild the hair follicles and I ordered them quickly from ebay to arrive in just 2 days.

After a month of laborious teaching and the bitter grey morbid London weather I was still concerned about the situation of my hair. I have been using the shampoo and conditioner every day but my hair was exactly the same. By this stage now I noticed the sparseness in every angle and light. I had become obsessed with the fact that I thought that I was losing my hair that I booked into a hair loss clinic located in Victoria for 9 am the following day.

I arrived at my appointment ready to get this situation sorted and for me to get on with my life. I walked in and introduced my self to the lady at the desk and sat down. I looked around and the room was full of bald people, mostly men but also some woman. I sat there patiently and nervously. A lady came and called my name.

I entered the room where I proceeded to inform her of my concern for my sudden hair loss. She reassured me that it would be ok and that they were here to help me. I felt relieved. She asked me to stand up so she could take photographs of the top of my head. I stood up and lent my head down towards her. “click”, “click”. She asked me to sit down once more.

The top of my head appeared on her computer screen and here we were discussing this issue of my hair loss/

“Yes, it does appear that you are losing your hair”. She said, in some authoritative doctor way.

“Is your mum or your dad bald?” She asked.

“Well yes my dad is, but he is a man and that’s quite different to me, isn’t it?”

“No, not at all, you may have a balding gene inherited from your dad”. She stated.

This is when I started to pathetically weep like a school kid………….

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10 days of silence

…..A journey with no conversation

After a summer of drinking, smoking, late night parties and living rather a tipsy life style, I felt more like a used human ash tray that had been left out to dry in the sun; I had lost my self, I was way past my used by date, full of loathing and despair. I had no blinking clue how to get out of the tunnel. ‘Saturn’s return’, perhaps. Not sure what this refers to? – google it.

I am here at Vipassana, I have arrived and am terrified. Terrified of what I am about to encounter and terrified of my true self. I have traveled to Pomona, 20 min north of Noosa hidden in the sunshine coast hinterland. I have come to be silent. imagesCAUFIU4MThis isn’t a rehab center or anything like that, its called ‘Dhamma Rhasmi’ and I am going to follow Goenka’s teachings to find my way again or some form of enlightenment.

Today is my first day and I have just arrived at the Dhamma Rhasmi. I walk into the front building where we hand over all our possessions. Here they do not allow any form of stimuli, anything that will create chatter in ones head. They strip us bare. No phones, books, pen or paper are allowed. There is no form of communication, no TVs or any form of electrical devices. I walk around the facility and start to anticipate what is ahead of me. Am I going to be able to do this? Is this a cult or some kind of prison? We congregate into the hall for our welcome from one of the assistant teachers, she states that this will be very hard for some of us and that we must not leave at any point during the course until we reach the 10th day. We are forbidden from speaking and any eye contact. We must all participate in noble silence. Our day is to begin at 4 am and we will endure 12 hours of meditation each day. I think to my self  is that all? After our debrief we are shown to our dorms where we will live for the next 10 days.

It is only now that I start to question my real strength. . images (1).   and if I am indeed a fruit loop….


The cow bells ring at 4 am which is when, like everybody else I rise and follow the people down the sloped path into the hall, we walk like zombies – like half sleepy creatures, eyes half shut, anxious, calm, silent. We are told that we will sit in the same spot on the same cushion for the entirety of the course. I find my place and get into a comfortable seating position. I am wearing a long red flowy comfortable momo and I sit crossed legs with my eyes closed. There is no noise, all I can hear is the faint noise of bare feet scurrying across the hall. I can hear the distant birds chirping and the wind rustling in the trees. I can hear a distant noise of a far away truck tearing down a highway. I feel alone, scared and actually quite hungry.

The teacher welcomes us -“Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. you will focus on the deep connection between the mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously connect and condition the life of the mind.”

I think to my self how in the god damn hell am I going to get through the next 10 days? The teacher states that it will take about 3 days to calm our mind before the true meditation begins.

I am sitting with my eyes closed trying to think about the constant air flow through my nostrils,’ in and out’,’ in and out’,’ in and out’, ‘in and out’,’ in and out’.

All of a sudden my mind wanders. The dinner party I had on the weekend; the beach; cold beer and all things wonderful like freedom start to creep into my mind. I regain my concentration and I start again just focusing on the air. In and out, in and out….  My mind feels like a monkey in a cage jumping around erratically. The more I persist on calming down the more it rebels.

Why is this so hard? Why wont my mind bloody well forget about all the pointless thoughts and remain blank? The more I try, the more flaming thoughts pop into my head and the more frustrated I seemingly become.Calm down monkey, calm down.

The teacher speaks:

“Work diligently. Diligently. Work patiently and persistently. Patiently and persistently. And you’re bound to be successful.Bound to be successful.”

Well that’s easy for you – I think to my self, in my frustrated half lamo yogi position. I half open my eyes and peer around the room to see how everyone else is doing. The room is full of graceful poses all eloquently composed and meditating so persistently. I start again and regain breath and calm. in and out, in and out, in and out…


We file into the hall again after lunch. We are here, not to think – we have no responsibilities. We are all searching for enlightenment which is seemingly far away from our thoughts.

After a long day of meditation and sore red knees from the same still kneeling position, Goenka appears. He tells us a story, of wise Indian men living in a village and how they looked after each other, in this town there was no greed, no sadness, no cruelty – only peace as they practiced vipassana everyday.  He states “The mind spends most of the time lost in fantasies reliving pleasant or unpleasant experiences and anticipating the future with eagerness or fear. While lost in such cravings or aversions, we are unaware of what is happening now, what we are doing now.”

At this point I feel I have some sort of realization like I feel closer to knowing something, but I just don’t know what yet. I keep trying, keep persisting on taming this crazy little monkey called the mind. I start to say to my self ‘no thought’, ‘no thought’.


The next morning I woke to the cowbells, feeling hungry and tired. I remember what Goenka had previously said about not reacting to these thoughts, but observing and accepting them. I accepted my tired and hungry state and I rolled out of bed and stumbled down to the toilet to splash water on my face.

The strange feeling of living in a community where eye contact, friendly gestures and basic general human interaction  does not exist leaves an uncomfortable feeling with me. I pass a female in the lavatory and she walks past me slowly with her head held low in order to avoid eye contact. The feeling of being around people but being totally alone is more lonely than just simply being a lone.

I walk back into the hall and go to my same beloved cushion ready for a day of silence and meditation. I sit up tall and strong and breathe in through my nose and out again. I quieten my mind and find the present moment. I concentrate on nothingness, just sensation. And finally, MY MIND IS HERE – NO WHERE ELSE! finally I am locked in the present, I am here. With my shock and astonishment  that I have finally found the place of stillness where no monkey is jumping around my mind quickly dissolves just like that and all those familiar preconditioned thoughts enter once more…..

The funny thing is when this clean blank surface appeared in my mind, I didn’t know what to do with it, I forgot that you had to keep working on it being blank by pure concentration on nothingness. Man this is hard work = I resume and go back to square one, breathing in calm thoughts, blank thoughts, a blank canvas.

Later in the night Goenka speaks to us about now that we have a calmer mind we will use this to concentrate on pure sensations moving through our body. Really I think to my self… How the hell is that suppose to happen?


The next day I started to concentrate on my arms with my mind and imagine goose bumps running all over my arms. I imagined electrical currents moving up and down my arms. I stay fixated on these goosey electrical current things. I am slowly starting to understand this practice. By focusing on something so minuscule as sensations in ones body part the mind does not let other thoughts appear.  I remain diligent and persistent.

Fixed in my constant meditative pose I have come to know – I observe the temperature of the hot still air. Being mid December it is extremely balmy in the middle of the day. I feel sweat dripping down the side of  my hair and falling onto my cheeks. Beads of perspiration sliding down my neck and onto my back. And at the same time puddles of perspiration form and roll off my abdomen. I accept this uncomfortable feeling and observe the sensation, the sweat tickling my skin, the warm claustrophobic feeling of being trapped in your own body of heat.  I remain calm and present in the moment. And then I feel a slight movement of cool air brush slowly past my face which quickly brings my temperature down. I welcome this cooling sensation. I hear the wind rustle upon the leaves of the trees outside and wait patiently for the cool breeze to enter the hall once again. It of course visits very rarely.


We have reached the 8th day and for lunch we are having vegetable curry and dhal with rice. The food here is delicious- Big as we abstain from dinner. Everyone sits out side. We all sit together but separately, trapped in ones own thoughts. Everyone appears rather vague and no one appears happy as there are no smiles; no friendly big welcoming eyes; no conversation; no jovial laughs and no simple winks. It is funny how use we get to the human interaction that makes people feel included and welcome. With out words and body language everyone seems closed off to the world. These people are my neighbors and yet at the same time they are complete strangers. We are all separate sailing vessels on our own journey.

After lunch I take a long walk around the property. I walk really fast, faster than I have walked since being here. I feel more alone now. I miss the outside world, my phone, my routine, hulla hooping on the beach. It is by this stage that I want to leave….. as time is going by soooo slow and I just cant take the boring minutes anymore. I think to my self that this is me trying to get away from my true self- I cant handle being left alone with my own flippant self any longer with out the outside distractions. Just a few more days.. I reassure my self.

I look up and notice how blue the sky is and how colossal an oak tree is towering above. I  all of a sudden feel nanoscopic.


The final day arrives and I am ecstatic; I am bouncing over the moon and kart wheeling back to earth. I have managed to last 10 noble days, I feel proud that I have endured the roller coaster ride of ones own self realization (sorry about the cliches). It takes dedication to solely practice vipassana and I am determined once out of here that I will get sober once and for all….. Through this I have somehow learnt that the more we crave things and think about the upcoming minutes or remain in the past few seconds, the more chance we have in creating a sense of sadness. A sense of unreal time.

The only happiness we will ever have is here in the present moment.301953_10150280651613947_191009222_n

dating a vegan

Pound pound pound – the sound of  trainers smashing the dirt track.

I love this route as you can run an hour or more and not cross paths with a single soul. Up 202 stairs and over to Alex which I must tell you is a nudie beach, no nudist today though!  They must all be sleeping in. I sprint across the bay and back up into the national park. Red faced and a beaded from sweat I crash and burn on my return. I sit up and get my stretch on, whilst stretching I come to a realization that I’ve been drinking and eating too much lately and am in total need of a DETOX. I generally hate that word as people use it far too frequently but maybe I am one of those people – the tragic type that tries a new diet/fad each week, each week adamant that another pound will fall away from my robust figure.

Is the idea of maintaining a vegan diet insane or just plain stupid?  ——–>  I pondered this thought for while.

“Babe wake up, wake up… I’m a Vegan. I’ve totally been super unhealthy lately and today’s the day I am a vegan, I know it sounds silly but my life is going to change”.

” WHAT? You’re a what?” Timon grumbles in a sleepy voice. “I think it unlikely your life will change”.

” I’m a vegan, starting from today and you are going to support me through this” I proclaimed!

” Lets go down to Kunara this morning for brekkie on this GLORIOUS day”. ( nudge nudge)

Sitting at the cafe I look at the menu. Hmmmm vegan options as I scroll up and down the menu.

“Well I cant have eggs any more which is a damn shame – ill miss those gooey things”. No dairy and meat is on the out….

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“What you going to have babe?”

“Probably the eggs benedict with rotti, and you, what is the VEGAN going to have?” Timon asks.

Scrolling up and down the menu 3 or 4 times the only thing that it appears I can have is the raw organic brownie.

“Just order me a soy latte and the raw brownie”.


At the grocery store I go nutty over vegan supplies, A vegan needs to be well stocked up and organized in order not to fail. I shriek to my self – am I just doing this to succeed at something? Of course I am – I am probably going to become obsessed with the idea of being a vegan just so I can tell everyone I know, that I am a flipping VEGAN.

The shopping  basket at present looks like :  Coloured vegetables; KALE; legumes/nuts; oats;  soy milk; berries; quinoa; lentils, silken tofu and rice..  Timon seems concerned with the array of health stemming out of the basket.

The check out lady Anne who I only know as the very polite lady with a Scottish accent and brash humour gives us a odd look, stranger than usual anyway.

“How are you lovely kids doing today”? She asks us both.  Whilst Timon mumbles a reply I get fixated in a daydream:

I start to imagine the warm feeling of summer. I am gliding by like a sailboat. I have mastered the art of floating. I am not working and my life is a lazy river….  

More days pass. I give up on humanism, sweetness, and light.  I give in to having the occasional glass of aperol spritz in the evening with a block of vegan chocolate…  I’d give in right now to wrapping my chompers around a McSerious good burger. but I stay strong (I stay strong).


The long Easter weekend comes and we head down to Timon’s parents for the weekend.

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scenic rim

The drive down is a laborious one and the notion of a vegan weekend began to weigh on my mind.  “ A vegan weekend” felt like a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron like an “angry yogi ” or a “compassionate conservative.”  Man, I really feel like fish taco’s tonight.

So consumed was I with my desire for meat that I (only in my warped state) found myself scanning the freeway in the hopes that a small forest animal might coincidentally cross our paths, that I might run it over purely by accident and feast upon its flesh.  In my abnormal bizarre state, I imagined myself standing by my parked Bug on the side of the highway wearing my trucker hat, hood up, cooking the fresh roadkill on the hot engine. I know, totally insane right… Buggery, no such animals came into view and we arrived at their place with an empty stomach and a clean conscience.

Once there, we walked into the cottage and the kitchen was filled with the beautiful aromas from the leg of lamb cooking, fresh from their property. ohhhhh that smells nice I think. I glance at Timon with a look of despair —> great time to be a vegan!!!……

“So how have you been Claire, feels like ages since we have seen you both?” Jill asks.

“Been fab, just at uni, nothing new really – pretty boring.” I say in a non flowing kinda way.

This is when…. still thinking to my self am going to stick to my guns and remain a vegan for the entirety of the weekend or will I join the majority and tuck away at the lamb resting on the bench top. Timon blurts out.

“Claire’s a vegan”.      I look at Timon, I look at them and I shyly shrug my shoulders. smiling…

“Yes, I am Vegan and a proud one”. I declare.

Jill looks at me with a questionable look and starts stating all the negatives associated with vegan-ism.

Timon’s step dad interjects stating “Really, well lucky for you we have vegan pies, you can have one of those for tea”.

“OH thank you, how kind you are “. I respond with, in the hope to get out of an awkward conversation.

During dinner whilst everyone devoured their lamb and the wine flowed freely, I picked at my vegan pie like an unhappy school kid trying to make a statement of somewhat. Desert came to the table and everyone delved into their tiramasu, whilst I reluctantly enjoyed some pleasantly poached pears  …


The next morning came and I rose to go to the toilet…  once finished I of course flushed when the unthinkable worst kind of imaginable thing happened- it bounced back. I pressed the flush button once more and again it returned. I hit the flush button again with all my force and it propelled to the surface. NOOOOOOO!!!! I think to my self… its not flushing. In my manic state I quickly think of all my options, do I some how vacate the scene by jumping out the window? or do I just leave it in and let someone else take the rap? – I really need help at getting rid of this buoyancy thing. I go and find Timon.

“Timon, you need to come and you need to come quick – we have a emergency, I exclaim!!!!”. Awkward moment telling your new flame that you’ve managed to some how block the toilet with a floater.

At this point whilst floundering around, Timon grabs the toilet brush and with his manly muscles and all his might pushes the s… down the toilet.

Timon exclaims “Bloody Vegans!”

“Oh” I sigh..     well that was quite and unfortunate mishap!

The 2nd week comes to an inevitable end and I felt like it was time to say goodbye to the vegan I had once become. I sit here now enjoying my ham and blue cheese croissant and can safely say it takes dedication to uphold the vegan life style and I quite frankly have a  love affair with food.1383024_10151927957861323_2135565472_n

Sketching Bonnie

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‘Life drawing classes’ …….Monday nights at Paddington

This is what the flyer read -whilst cleaning the house I stumbled across the flyer, hmm I had felt lately creativity was lacking in my life and I felt like doing something a bit crazy. I located the class to be near to my house and decided to turn up to the next sitting to draw.

5 pm Monday afternoon rolled around and I drove my self to Bronte Avenue where the class was being held. I got out my car wearing casual jeans and singlet holding a sketch pad under one arm and charcoal in my hand, I hesitantly walked into the community hall. I looked around and saw that there were a group of people sitting around in a horseshoe shape behind their easels. I introduced my self to who I assumed to be the teacher. He’s name was Leo and was a tall older man in his 50’s who was an artist him self – he welcomed me and showed me to a spare easel next to the window. I sat down and made myself comfortable. He started to welcome everyone and explain on how the next 2 hours were going to proceed, saying that the model would be in poses for about 30 min to start and than she will be instructed to change every 20,10 and 5 min to allow us to sketch quicker and obtain different angles. Leo then introduced the model Bonnie to us all. Bonnie came into the middle of the horseshoe and said hi to everyone in a very coy voice as she sat on the table.

Bonnie was beautiful, she had big green eyes and log dark luscious hair. She reminded me of a 1950’s actress, a historical muse. Bonnie took off her robe and sat on the table with her legs crossed, she was eloquently poised, frozen in time and glazed off into the distance making sure not to gain eye contact with anyone in the room. I looked around and everyone was already sketching, some students were sketching slow, others were sketching frantically. But they were all fixated on Bonnie. I looked at Bonnie and at first did not know where to start. Do I start at her boobs? her head? or her legs? I thought to my self. I felt compelled to stare at this stunning woman.

Start drawing, start drawing I said to myself…. So I started putting the charcoal to paper and outlining her body. Her body seemed flawless to me and I enjoyed gazing at this beauty. The more I looked though I started to see more of her anatomically positioned flaws and included these into my sketch. I pronounced her small pot belly and enhanced her hips into my picture. I saw so much, so much that I didn’t expect to see from a naked form. I drew her round boobs, seemingly pointy from the breeze. It seemed like Bonnie could sit in that position all day long. She must do yoga, I thought…

Leo announced “It is now time to change positions Bonnie”.

Without a flinch Bonnie flowed into her next position effortless like a swan gliding across water. She was now arched on the table in a yoga position, exquisite I thought, that is art right there.

I turned my sketch paper over and commenced the new sketch. I started at her head and drew those luscious locks of hair in flowing and layered form. I drew her shoulders and her smoldering slightly tear drop boobs, delicious to draw (at this very moment in time I closed my eyes) I had thoughts of what her skin felt like . My pen now led the way in my drawing and I continued to sketch her soft arch of her back and the top of her belly. I reached the area between her legs and included to sketch her lotus flower of  hair. I had momentarily drifted off  to a foreign place.

2 hours had elapsed and after 7 poses from Bonnie and 10 completed sketches I was happy but still felt a amateur artist, still however glad I had shown up to see how hard it is to sit through one of these sittings as a ‘life drawing model’.

After the class I went up to Leo and reminded him about of our conversation on the phone, about how I was interested in sitting in as a nude model. He remembered me and said “Are you right to come next Monday afternoon”.

I shyly said “Sure, I am very nervous, but ill try”.

Leo said “ Its fine, we are all a bit rusty to begin with”.

“Ok, see you next Monday”, I said and abruptly left the community hall, thinking – I don’t think I can do this.


Monday the following week 5 pm

 

I pulled up to the community hall as nervous and shaky as you could possibly imagine. I am wearing my hair out and am donning a slap of red lippy, casual jeans and a plain t. I walk in and found Leo . Leo tells me to go and put a robe on in the toilet and have a cup of tea whilst everyone piles into the hall.

I can hear Leo welcoming everyone and getting them settled – he introduces me and I feel my stomach drop from a great height. I swallow and wipe my clammy palms up against my robe.

I walk out to the art room and sat on the table, I casually lost my robe and felt how cold the air was. I breathed in really slow and think to myself I  can do this. I felt time shift into slow motion…. Leo instructed that I stay poised in a position for about 30 min. My eyes quickly floated around the room and I saw 24 eyes peering on my naked body. I felt so exposed. Unveiled. Bare and well,  exhibited.

I remain calm and fixed my eyes on the back of the room – my mind floats away to many different places. I start critically analyzing my my body.

Does everyone see the pitted cellulite on my thighs highlighted under these lights? Are my boobs sagging at an obscure  angle? Do I look like a Michael Angelo? or a pretender?  Do these strangers think I am a work of art? Gosh how am I going to remain still in this uncomfortable position ?

Leo tells me I can now move. And I prelude to move as as the heavy moving object I picture my self to be- not elegant at all. My legs start shaking and I beg with my self not to fall as I imagine I would – sketching a big naked heap on the floor- I am unsure what position to move into. I decide to lye down as at least I know ill be able to remain here for half an hour, so I prop one leg bent up and lye on my back.

Oh GOD this is terrible I huffed to my self. I just want this to be over – I am not getting this naked life drawing thing!

The last hour of the session saw me being able to move every 10 minutes and I started finally to feel at ease, sexy and free – I was finally getting into this nude drawing thingl. It was dare I say, beginning to be kinda fun.

At the end of the session I felt sooo light, I had completely let go of all inhibitions and I floated across the community hall.

I quickly threw the robe around and wandered around looking at all the different sketches, some were astounding and some didn’t leave much to the imagination.

But isn’t art subjective? I asked my self        .

Aren’t we all just anatomical pieces of art

Just riding my push bike

IMG_20140825_203448     I woke up early this Friday morning to the singing of birds and rustling of leaves scratching on the tin roof. I’m alive, I made it to see another day, I think to my self- how lucky am I?

I roll over and face the grunts of my boyfriend cursing me on my chipperness. “Good Morning, I whisper”, only to receive a grunt, groan and a well executed fart.

Its winter and I am feeling blue, but whats new? No, I am not really blue, I just think I am. Its all that chatter in ones own head that makes me think I am depressed, when really I am just over analyzing every little intricate detail of my life. But what woman doesn’t. I decide to put on my robe and skip down stairs.

Today is going to be a magnificent day!!! I affirm with my self as I look outwards to July’s crisp blue sky. What possibly is there to mull over? 

Right! time to stop moping and get on with this great day. Lets go for a ride to the ocean, I contemplate. I quickly get ready and in 10 minutes am out the door. I pump up charlies tyre’s and ride away like a free bird. Gosh I love riding and realize this more as I feel the cold air slapping my face and smell the abundance of fine fragrances that surround me. I pull up at my favourite coffee shop and order a coffee and a raspberry brownie – here’s to happiness and calm. I sit and people watch for a while before I start to feel like i am actually staring at people a little too much. (Time to leave).

On the ride back I pop into a few thrift shops and try on some ridiculous, looking retro clothing. I end up purchasing a 80’s style sweater for 5 bucks and a old vintage coffee mug for 50 cents.With my new purchases stuffed in my bag I ride the long scenic way home. I ride up steep North Street and down along Beach Parade. Its not until I turn down Short Avenue that I spot a police officer on the opposite side of the road writing out someone a ticket, so I decide to gracefully jump off my bike, (well as gracefully as one can jump off a bike) and casually walk down the footpath crossing the road. For due to my lack of head attire, I think this is in my best interest to dismount my bicycle at this time. Of course it is perfectly acceptable in Europe to not wear a helmet where they do not have helmet laws, but not here in Australia, because if you fall off your bike it is assumed that you will fall directly on your head and the helmet will save your life.

As I pass the officer he makes a remark “Its a nice day to be walking your bike, isn’t it miss?, I expect you’ll be walking it all the way to your destination”.

This was the very moment that I thought (in my head) fuck you and your attitude Mr officer and gracefully threw him a smile. I continued to walk my bike down the road and cross over a busy main road. Once I felt completely out of range I jumped on my beloved charlie and started pounding the pedals as fast as my little legs could take me. Of course in hindsight this is where i wish i could press the reverse button but then I would not have a story.

I have reached the underpass now still pedaling in what I think is out of range until I hear a honk. I turn around in slow motion to see my friend the police officer waving at me. I get off my bike and freeze like I have committed the worst possible crime and he is going to handcuff me and send me to jail.

Once he approaches me he says in his deep police officer voice, “Do you remember our earlier discussion?”

I reply with “Yes, but due to the bad timing of needing to go to the lavatory, I was rushing home”.

This is when the ‘bike song’ ‘I’m gonna ride my bike until i get home’ by Mark Ronson pops into my head – you know the one!

“I am going to have to write you out an infringement notice of the value of $113” The officer states.

I respond with a quizzical look “$113 dollars? Didn’t it use to be like $30?”

This officer by no means is smiling at this point, so I don’t even think the waterworks will get me out of this one. It is at this very moment that I realize there is another kinda water works operating – a warm something running down my leg. Oh no!!! – not here, not now in front of the police officer, please don’t let me be peeing my pants. Oh Lord, I am. Ok, I have finally succumbed to the worst possible kind of embarrassment.

He walks back to his car with my licence in hand and takes a long time of what feels like an eternity but may have been only 10 minutes. I am pretty sure whilst he is at his car he is looking up my colorful record which at this present time isn’t too flash. Well 3 speeding tickets in the last two weeks, not bad really! Who am I kidding? I am criminal. As I wait patiently at my bike in this quite suburb for the police man to return, I think why is this happening to me? and the ‘bike song’ pops into my head again.

After all, I was just happily conspicuously riding my bicycle…

Later that day I reflected on my what happened and decided perhaps its a good thing that it played out the way it did, I laugh about it now and although feeling silly have reunited with my beloved helmet.

that awkward date

Boom … I feel elated as I bounce around my bedroom. I feel energized and have a fuzzy strange feeling in my belly. “Yes!!!” I scream out!!! My date went pleasantly better than I had anticipated last night. He wasn’t a bogan, not a fool and surprisingly ok looking. And the best thing of all is I think he fancied me too, well its a bit early to tell, but he looked at me, well kind of looked at me, I mean he did gaze off into the distance a lot but I think that was due to his nerves. He reminded me of that Steve Carrel guy – you know the one… the awkward 40 year old virgin guy. And I dug it.

So internet dating (hmmm) quite a strange concept really. There are quite a few reasons someone may dabble in online dating, these being; a) curiosity b) cant face another day being alone c) horny or d) a friend made me do it. For me i think it was a mixture of a) and d). So how does internet dating work? You meet a complete stranger off the net partly due to being attracted to them on a superficial level of course, from their photograph. You meet in a public space in order not to get kidnapped. Conversation gets started, usually awkward in the beginning, but bare with it as it could only get worse. However for the most part of the date you would prefer to be staring at the back of his head than talking about meaningless topics which are dribbling out of his mouth. This guy is keen!- you think to your self as you transport your self to a place far away from this date like a tropical island. And the funniest thing is the photo you saw online is NOT the guy sitting in front of you or maybe it was 10 years ago. I had given up with the internet dating scene, ready to log off from all accounts and go back to the awkward ping pong stares across the bar hoping that someone for once would approach me and buy me a drink. When i decided to give it one more crack and bravely message a man who had previously messaged me.

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I sat nervously at the table in the cafe, probably not the best spot to go for a first date. As this was my local where everyone knew every bodies business; however here I am sitting with my glass of wine staring at every man walking into the cafe wondering to my self is that him? Please don’t let that be him, these men look too old, too short or just not my type. I stand up and am about to leave when a dark handsome stranger comes walking right towards my table. I throw him an awkward smile..

“Excuse me, but is your name Claire?”
“Yes”, I nervously respond. We both sit down and starting chatting about the generally get to know detail… when I am thinking to my self please, please make me laugh.
“What did you do today?” He asks in a nonchalant tone.
“I went for a run through the park with my new Lorna Jane outfit on, listening to tunes on my Walkman”.
“Walkman?” He remarks. “Wearing Norma Jane?”                                    
I giggle and think to my self maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Now he thinks that I am one of those exercise junkies that take selfies whilst jogging.
“You know, I meant I pod”. “And the brand is Lorna Jane, not Norma”. “So jack have you ever met anyone online before?”, I ask wanting to know if he has done this before.
He responds with “No, this is all very new to me”.
It is in this moment that I feel Jack may be an alright kinda dude.

“So Jack, What did you want to be when you grew up”?
Jack says “A pro footballer”. There is a pause and i feel its my turn to say something so i blurt out something like – “Wow, footballer hey, you must be pretty fit”. (grrrrrr – did i Just say that?)

“And you Claire?, what did you hope to bed?” Jack asks, as he gazes into my eyes.

“Well Jack, it just so happens that I had big plans to be wizard when I grew up but that kinda fell through”. Another awkward pause…..

As the conversation gradually starts to look more like a scene from a sitcom than a first date, I anticipated the worst and pictured subsequently how this date was going to end. So after my third glass of wine and half way through his first peroni I abruptly shook his hand and politely say “It was so lovely to meet you finally, but I must leave now as I have a early morning start”.1002703_10151519467608947_1827780808_n

He at this stage looks bewildered and confused that I wanted to leave so soon. But due to my ability of holding alcohol very well, I thought this was the necessary thing to do – best to avoid showing him my high stepping routine which often comes out post a few wines. I felt giddy from school girl thoughts, but knew I must play it cool and act sultry on my departure from the cafe.