Married at First Sight, aka the black hole that sucks up my nights.

If you’re not watching Married at First Sight Australia at the moment, what are you even doing with your life on a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night? (Probably a fucking lot, actually…) This is the last week. Questions will be answered. Who will stay together? Has Davina developed a conscience? Does Dean even know what feminism means? Will Troy’s laugh get its own spin-off show? All will be revealed. Here is my stream of consciousness while I watch the final ceremonies (if you’re behind at all, I wouldn’t read on…unless you don’t mind spoilers, in which case, knock yourself out).

Tracey and Dean

Dean is like ‘so traditional’, and like, so likes a man to be a man, and for a woman to stay home and pop out babies. He makes jokes about other men sleeping with Tracey, doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with making plans to hook up with another woman behind her back, but is also like, suuuuch a feminist you know? He’s also a 34 year old white man who thinks he is a rapper called Visionz, so. That tells you all you need to know about him. He ends his speech at the final ceremony with the only display of emotion we see from him that isn’t feigned outrage when he gets called out on his sexist bullshit – he cries when he tells Tracey that he loves her. Nothing wrong with crying mate but, in the words of the White Stripes, you don’t know what love is. Tracey talks a lot about trust and betrayal and betrayal and trust, and forgiving Dean and bombshells and being blindsided, but has stayed with him every single week. At the final decision, she drops her own bombshell and SAYS SHE CAN’T SEE A FUTURE WITH HIM, and honestly, I wasn’t even this proud when my daughter started walking.

Patrick and Charlene

I THOUGHT CHARLENE WAS SAYING LEAVE AND SHE DIDN’T GUYS! YES! Never mind that I’ve already looked up whether they stay together…let’s not get into that. Charlene’s confrontational dinner party style is also me after five drinks, so I’m all about that. Patrick is almost a dream, but he needs to stop taking his laundry to his mother’s house before he’s full dream.

John and Melissa

*ALERT* JOHN IS LETTING HIS GUARD DOWN *ALERT*. Honestly, if I had a dollar for every time someone said John didn’t talk about his feelings…well…I’d wonder where that eleven dollars came from. Anyway. Melissa is in her 50s and wears out of control heels and extra AF hair extensions, and I am here for it. John was on the show last season, and disappointed his ‘wife’ by not being a Polynesian man or a gluten free cake. So. He lucked out with Melissa. They have found each other, and I am so glad. It means that when I am 52 and Married at First Sight NZ is onto its 30th season, I can apply in the hopes of finding someone too. Never mind that I will be twice the size of Melissa with half the charm. Let an old woman have her dreams.

Ashley and Troy

When your couple name is Trashley, you’re probably in trouble before you’ve begun. Who are all these people Ashley is talking to that are telling her Troy is such a great match for her? He’s always touching her tummy, and kisses by lunging at her and using his tongue like he uses his toothbrush. I don’t know a woman alive who would be into that. I think she has had Stockholm Syndrome this whole time, and someone needed to give her a safe word so she could GTFO. If she’d said yes to staying with him I would have had to personally stage an intervention. Troy ended their ceremony with his trademark fake laugh, which no doubt reassured Ashley that she made the right choice.

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Sarah and Telv

No YOU’VE got something in your eye. Yes guys. Yes. I can’t bring myself to look up whether or not these two are still together because I’m not ready for the torment if the answer is no.

Tomorrow night there is a reunion dinner party and HOLD ME BACK it will be the highlight of my calendar this week. (Sorry to my cousin whose 21st is this weekend – that’s a close second)

(Ok a distant second. But still second)

(Also, I know this show is trash OK? I have serious reservations about the judges’ experts’ intentions, I don’t think their matchmaking process is very rigorous – last season they matched two guys together who had nothing in common, for no apparent reason other than ‘uhhh they’re both gay?’ – and it is on four nights a week. Which, for anyone who has an actual life, is ridiculous. I do not, so here we are)

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From the mouth of my babe

This will be updated regularly because my kid is out the gate.

  • ‘Your tummy is squishy like slime eh Mum?’
  • Someone called her heinous because she was throwing a tantrum, and she said ‘I’m not a penis’
  • ‘I put a booger in my mouth’
  • ‘Can you see my face? I’m angry’
  • ‘I don’t like tractors, I like washing machines and vacuum cleaners and building’
  • She was showing someone her heart shaped glasses and they said ‘love-hearts’. She said ‘no you don’t love hearts, you love triangles’
  • ‘I don’t fart with my bottom. I just do poos with my bottom’
  • ‘You are being adicklious’ (code for ridculous)
  • ‘Can I ride on a camel when I’m bigger?’
  • ‘We don’t touch peoples’ boobs eh Mum? We only look at them’
  • ‘Can I smell you?’
  • ‘Mum can I pat the baby?’
  • She was frowning while she went to the toilet, and when I asked if she was ok she said ‘yes I’m just getting poos out of me’
  • We walked outside on a cold morning: ‘Brrr, it’s a bit chimney’
  • ‘I’ve got two girls. They’re called Menassy and Bejinny’
  • ‘Mum look at my hands. They’re beautiful eh?’
  • She found a dead butterfly on the lawn, and was carrying it around in a container. I bumped into the container, and said ‘oops sorry’. She said ‘say sorry to my butterfly’, and when I did, she said ‘she’s not talking to you because she’s dead’

The space between singing in the rain and crying in the shower

I’ve had a few people tell me they were less than impressed at my post about my disdain for ‘inspirational’ hashtags a few weeks ago. That’s fine. Nobody likes everything on the internet, and nobody likes everything I do. 100% fine. That post was not intended for any specific audience, or intended to offend anyone, but for an insight into why I hate them so much, I though I’d share this:

Last night, my three year old didn’t go to sleep until 11.30. Ish. I don’t know for sure, because in between sweating my balls off in 7000 degree heat, taking her back to bed, giving her a cuddle and then not giving her a cuddle (‘go back to your room now Mum’), opening her windows, closing her windows, taking her duvet off, putting the ‘right’ blanket on, being told she didn’t want any blanket at all, laying down with her to rub her back, and then not rubbing her back (‘stop it now Mum’), retrieving the teddy she didn’t even actually want, I lost track of the time. Then she woke up at 6.30 this morning. Not a huge deal, surely? Except that she usually sleeps from 7pm until 7am. Which means that today she was operating on about 50% less sleep than she usually does. No problem. Surely.

Today, after being out for a few hours, I had the pleasure of being serenaded with two hours of screeching/whining/crying/yelling from my sweetheart. Stern words from me were an incredible study in ineffectiveness. Once home, I immediately got into a cold shower, sat down and cried. Got out. Cried some more. Breathed deeply and reminded myself that she is learning how to process her emotions, she is only three, she is even more tired than I am. Then she put her squishy little face on my shoulder and said ‘sorry Mumma, for I being grumpy and crying today’. Which made me feel like ASSHOLE MOTHER 2.0. The rest of the afternoon/evening passed regularly enough (she had a bath; I intervened when she poured water all over the bathroom floor, didn’t intervene when she peed in the bath and then 5 minutes later drank the bath water, put her towel round her wrong, put out the wrong pyjamas, read Guess How Much I Love You, tucked her in and held my breath that she WENT THE FUCK TO SLEEP THIS TIME). Once she went to sleep, all I fucking wanted was to go and order one of everything off the menu at KFC, but I can’t bloody leave her home alone for another 10 years or so.

This day was not remarkable. It wasn’t unusual. It happens, on average, three or four times a month. And that’s alright. I can mostly deal with it (crying in the shower is dealing, right?). But then I pop onto social media for some light browsing before I tackle the 300 household tasks I have to do, and I see a picture of a palm tree against a sunset with #lifeisbeautiful underneath it, and I want to drown myself in pissy bathwater. I know it’s no one else’s fault that I’ve had a shitty day. I know people are allowed to put whatever the fuck they want on their own social media. I know I have it in my power to not look at shit I don’t like. I KNOW ALL THAT. I just wonder – is seeing a picture that has had time, editing, and sometimes money go into it, that inspirational? I can’t stress enough that I don’t give a shit about the content, for me it is about the pretence. You post selfie after selfie my friend, show me that smoothie bowl pal, hit me with those beach snaps babe, but if you have to do it while pretending that you are bestowing inspiration on others, then you are being disingenuous. Inspiration isn’t a gift you get to give someone because you can take a nice photo. It’s not the thing, it’s the intent behind the thing, ya know?

My house is blissfully quiet now. For how long, I don’t know. I’m waiting for a knock on the door, and the inspirational sentence, ‘Hi I’m Jack, I work at KFC, and I read your mind and brought you one of everything off the menu’.

You are not what you eat

There is a weird thing that we do as people who eat stuff, and that is assign moral value to food. I have no doubt that everyone reading this has used language like ‘bad’, ‘naughty’, ‘guilty pleasure’, or ‘cheat meal’ when referring to something they’ve eaten. We’ve probably also all said something like ‘Oh man, I was really bad yesterday and had fish and chips for dinner’, or ‘You are so good, having a salad for lunch’. That’s because it’s a short leap between labelling food in a negative way, and labelling ourselves in the same way because we eat that food. I’m aware that they’re only words, but words have power, and the way we talk about what goes into our bodies affects the way we think about them. The more we imbue food with shameful and negative connotations, the easier it is to feel the same way about ourselves when we eat it.

Most adults understand what healthy and unhealthy mean – and somewhere, we transmuted those into meaning ‘good/bad’, and ‘clean/dirty’. And the more we’ve done that, the more we’ve accepted that we are good or bad, clean or dirty, depending on the food we eat. Somewhere along the line, we have also convinced ourselves that the ‘bad’ foods make us bigger, and the ‘good’ foods make us smaller. If the bad foods make us big then being big must be bad, and if the good foods make us small, then being small must be good. It’s a false equivalency, and it’s an insidious and persistent lie that diet culture sells us: that our bodies are a reflection of our morality. And it’s fucking bullshit. Just to be clear here, I have no interest in what anyone eats, or what size anyone is – eat salad every day of your life, or consider donuts a food group, whatever works for you – but remember that what you eat doesn’t determine your worth. Your moral value depends on many things, but the ratio of Snickers bars to kale smoothies you’ve ingested in your lifetime is not one of them. Eat the fucking cake. Drink the fucking coconut water. Enjoy the chips or the chickpeas, but know that your food choices don’t make you better or worse than anyone else.

There is a similar narrative which tells us that ‘food is fuel’ – existing to help us get those gains, lose that tummy, grow that ass, and that’s fine. But food is more than just fuel. And we have to let ourselves be OK with that. Food is fuel, but it’s also celebration, comfort, enjoyment, togetherness, nostalgia, and sometimes, the only thing that’ll get you through a fucking rough hangover.

(I know that most people who read this know me personally. And those who know me personally know that I am not a slim woman. I am not now, and I never have been. Chances are I never will be. I know that some of those people who know me personally will read this and have thoughts like “LOL she’s just talking shit because she’s fat, maybe she should try eating less bad food every week trololololol”. I won’t label food, but I will label those people ‘bags of shit’)

Things I am not here for in 2018

  • ‘Inspirational’ hashtags. I am not here for the vain attempts of people to grow an Instagram following by adding 6000 hashtags to every picture they post. Stop using #blessed to get strangers on the internet look at your boring pictures of wonky horizons and black and white selfies. In all honesty, I don’t really give a shit what people put on their own social media – but stop trying to act like the salad you made for lunch warrants being called #blessed #positivevibes #goodformysoul or #purehappiness. If all it takes for you to achieve pure happiness is to make a salad, you should be writing a fucking cookbook, not a hashtag.

 

  • Silence in the face of racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic bullshit. Don’t use gay/homo/f*ggot as insults. Don’t say shit about immigrants taking your jobs. Don’t be a loser who says things like Muslims are terrorists/Indians own dairies/all Asian people look the same. It doesn’t make you anything other than a big, steaming pile of ballbags. Don’t use the culture of others as costume or gimmick (take that bindi off your fucking head). Don’t laugh about not knowing which pronouns to use with someone who has transitioned. Don’t make jokes about rape. Don’t laugh at jokes about rape. Don’t whine about the friend zone, because women don’t owe you shit just because you’re nice to them. And if people do any of this in front of you (or any of the countless other small but significant ways people say ‘fuck you’ to minority groups) – say something. Otherwise, in your silence, you are complicit. And make no mistake: that is just as bad.

 

  • Trying to dress my three year old in anything other than what she chooses to wear. Because honestly, who cares that she wants to wear four necklaces, sparkly shoes and reindeer antlers with her togs when we go to the supermarket? I don’t. I don’t care at all. It’s a battle I am not fighting, because she looks bloody excellent.

 

  • Businesses that deliberately use spelling mistakes as a marketing gimmick. Sorry Kool Kutz, your inability to spell properly makes me doubt your skillz as a hair ztylizt too.

 

  • Leaving six month gaps between posting here. I am aiming for every second Sunday, but I am notoriously inconsistent, so if I stick to it…consider yourself #blessed…

Could you go back in time and not be such a dick?

Recently I visited some family who I don’t see very often, usually only a few times a year. On the day we were leaving, I put my child in her carseat, which prompted a midlevel meltdown from her. I then said goodbye to my relatives over the roof of the car, and made a face indicating how excited I was to deal with World War 3 that was happening in the vehicle. It was then I distinctly heard one of them say “Well, you shouldn’t have had a kid then”.

Excuse me? Fucking excuse me? How helpful is it to tell someone that the way to deal with a problem they are having right now is to go back in time. It’s an open secret among parents (and even some people who don’t have kids know) that once a baby comes out, you can’t put it back. No matter how loud it screams, or how many times it tells you it wishes you weren’t its mum. So don’t tell me that I shouldn’t have had a kid just because I’m not frothing at the bit to deal with the screeching of a tiny lunatic with a diminished capacity for rational behaviour.

Retrospective advice never helped anyone. No one ever overcame food poisoning because someone said “Oh you shouldn’t have eaten at that place”. No one’s arm has ever un-broken because someone said “Oh you shouldn’t have ridden that horse”. AND NO KID HAS EVER SHUT THE FUCK UP BECAUSE SOME DICKHEAD SUGGESTED THEY’D BE QUIETER IF THEY’D NEVER BEEN BORN.

Another stellar piece of wisdom I received recently is that “your kids pay you back for the kind of kid you were for your parents”. Huh? I heard this at a time when I felt really, really low. I wasn’t coping with being a mum, I wasn’t coping with being an adult person, I wasn’t coping with not coping, and I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it. The most well meaning people could say about as much as ‘Oh that sucks’, but what I needed was someone to say ‘Give me your precious baby who you love but cannot deal with right now and I will take her for the night and she will be fine and you can sit at home and drink three bottles of wine or go to bed at six o’clock or both if you like and she will be fine and I will bring her back to you happy and relaxed and she will be fine and you will be fine and you can do it because you are doing it but I can help you too. Let me help you’. But no one said that to me. Instead someone I did tell (who was a professional) said what basically amounted to ‘you deserve what you are getting and how you are feeling right now’. To anyone who has never been at such a low ebb, that probably sounds like an overreaction to a lighthearted comment. But to me, at that time, it felt like confirmation that the way I felt was my fault. I know that it wasn’t meant that way, that it wasn’t meant to make me feel even more helpless, but I think, when someone is feeling out of control or on the edge, the last thing you should tell them (no matter how vaguely), is that they put themselves there.

I have yet to meet a parent (or person in general) who likes receiving unsolicited advice. I got it in the supermarket when I was lumbering around at 15 months pregnant, I get it now, and I have a feeling it will happen for as long as people suspect (quite rightly) that I don’t actually know what I’m doing (so, by my calculations, the rest of my life). And I can accept that. I can. But only if the advice is “Yes. You buy that second wheel of camembert. And don’t give any to the demon snorting away in your trolley. She’s being a dickhead, and maybe that’s your fault, maybe it’s not, I don’t know – I’m only here to advise on cheese”.