Sunday 29 August 2010

Quote Me Tweet Me Kiss Me Beat Me

"After all, all he did was string together a lot of old well-known quotations."
-- H.L. Mencken on Shakespeare

One Liners

It is easy enough to be twitty. Yes, that is witty on Twitter. People think there is such limitation to being forced to sum it up in 140 characters but they are wrong. You actually have 120 characters so that you can be retweeted (your tweet copied in to someone else's tweet) and it isn't actually that hard.

Say it. Don't explain it. Own it.

What is actually difficult is writing an entire blog post with a beginning , middle and end. Holding the readers attention is much harder when it involves scrolling. I used to be thrilled when I saw a random tweet retweeted over and over again by a hundred people but now I feel very meh. It often takes no effort and there is little reward in praise for an off the cuff remark. Not saying that a speedy retort isn't brilliant but it's passing. Lost in the stream. Giggleworthy but not noteworthy.

Twitter killed the video star

For a while there, there was nothing to blog about because everything was half exclaimed on twitter. It was a lot like standing on a wooden box and calling out the headlines for the local rag. You get the idea that something is going on and you think that you should read more about it but that doesn't always happen. Just like a low cut top, the promise is all there is for most people.

I'm not going to let Twitter silence me with all my own noise.

Summarise in 140 characters or less

Must blog more and give substance. That means tweeting less.

Friday 27 August 2010


Imagine if everything you ever did in your life amounted to nothing because for 6 months of your time on Earth negated it all.

At the beginning of last year, I was the sickest I have ever been in my life. If I'm granted no other wish while I live, may I have this one. The wish that I will never see as dark a time and feel as much pain in my soul as I did then.

Through it all, I tried to hang on to my work. Ines told me to work through it and that would help me focus and deal. Lindsay said that anti-depressants would take the edge off and I would then be able to cope. In the end, it was my mother who was right. She gave me a place to go and rest where my existence was peaceful and my soul had the time it needed to heal.

Coming back to Sydney has taken a strength that I never truly thought that I possessed. For all the years since I learned to read, I have lived in books with magical tales of amazing people who faced struggles that none of us would surely survive and they damn well survived them. My path to 2009 was quite a tranquil one. Life went as planned by my parents and then my ruling husband and I plodded along it sublimely happy.

Then reality struck. The hardships that I only read of came to visit. They stayed as unwelcome visitors and would not leave me. In the end, I packed up all my belongings and went away to the one home I knew I would always have. Over the last 9 months in Darwin, I have tried and failed and tried and succeeded and then tried and failed again. There was a point I reached when I realised that it was time to go and try again but in Sydney. Oh Sydney, the place where I did not only fail but watched the life I had wash down a vomit filled Surry Hills drain. There was no way in hell that I was going to let the past defeat me... to scare me away from the life I want and the way I wish to be. Who I am, I guess.

Today marks one week back in my old stomping grounds. In this manic city, it feels like a life time has passed in only 7 days. I've succeeded, celebrated, rejoiced, cried, been picked up, loved, hated, ignored, kicked and finally failed.

The option of running back to Darwin has entered my mind. Will I ever get a job and a chance to work again in this town? Will people forgive me for the horror that was my last six months living in Sydney, last year? Will anyone ever understand how hard it is to try again when you know you stuffed up big time?

If your life has fallen apart, really really fallen apart at one stage in your existence then you will understand what I am saying. All I want is a chance. A chance to stand on over a decade of proving I am a great engineer and a good person. A chance to make up for the time when I could hardly find the strength to get out of bed.

The problem with this world is that we are all pretending that we are ok. A lot of people aren't. I am one of the few lucky people to say that I have had the chance to truly get to know myself and like who I am. I'm not pretending to be ok because the truth is, I'm pretty damn well. Life will kick and trip me but I will persist. One day, I will be back at my best. That day is not far away.

The people - be they friends; employers; strangers; or whoever I meet - who give me a chance now will benefit from the even more amazing person I will be when I fully hit my stride again.

Those who choose not to take a chance and turn away are going to miss out. Life is there for the taking but it belongs to those of us who risk appearing ok and actually strive to be better than that.

On the cusp of this difficult week of adjustment and the good week that lies ahead, I will keep going on in a positive direction. Upward and onwards.

Stick around.

Saturday 21 August 2010

Starting Sydney

When you return to the place where it all went wrong, there is a very good chance that you can fall back in to old habits and watch it all go wrong again. The thing is that life is not something for me to watch happening to myself, like rubbernecking a multi-car pile up.

Last night, I celebrated my 34th birthday with a bunch of Sydney friends. It was a typical crazy night that leaves us with plenty of stories and much to deny. There were glamourous shoes on beautiful people, who were saying intelligent things in sophisticated accents. The French champagne flowed freely like the shouts of laughter in retort to someone's witty comment. The extroverts took their positions, claiming their audience and executing tried and true enchantments to hold the watchers captive.

When this is the world you are used to living in, it is very easy to collapse back in to your usual role. The one that people know and almost expect. The closest thing I can compare it to is getting dumped by a big wave, in to the hard sandy bottom of a beach. You can struggle and fight and push up and refuse to swallow the water but the wave is king and it is going to take you down with it. Slamming in to soft sand still hurts. Being winded is never nice. The wave takes you where it always takes you.

My friend Cathie McGinn said to me this morning... "I think you can live a new life in a familiar city." She does have a way with words. One of those people who you can blabber on and on to for five sentences with all the wrong punctuation and brain dump disorganisation of a forming thought and she will summarise succinctly in response. You know she isn't just listening to you but also hearing you.

My life is blessed with these sage like people who for some unknown reason are willing to spend time with me... this jagged little pill. I've always said that you can best judge a person by the company they keep. Your pedigree is the sum of the quality of your friends and the depth of your friendships with them.

To escape the wave and avoid getting sucked in and body slammed, this chapter of my life must be approached in a different way. No more talk of things "happening to me" but instead more talk of "making decisions". Less thinking of regrets and more living life in a way that leaves me respecting who I am.

These are 3 things that I vow to do to make life different:

  1. Take life slowly. Absorb each moment and take from it only what is worthwhile and positive. Mistakes will be made. There will be failures but that is a normal part of the journey. Being mindful of each step will allow for better decisions and more favourable life outcomes.

  2. Respect yourself and others. Give the same consideration to yourself as you do to others. Be aware of boundaries and limits with each different person. Actively show that people are important and valuable. Do not take anyone for granted. Set boundaries and limits for yourself and honour them.

  3. Improve your mind. Spend more time reading, learning and listening. This life is short and there is so much to do and know. Chose carefully what you will spend your time absorbing and focus on goals that will bring you closer to a beautiful mind.
Wish me luck and remind me of this if I start surfing that wave again.

Sunday 15 August 2010


Of late, I have started many conversations and left my friends pondering "What is this thing Beauty?" There have been answers; suggestions; theories; disapproval; disagreement; confusion; and much silence on the topic.

The first definition you get when you google it is...

Beauty: the qualities that give pleasure to the senses.

I like that definition but it leaves so much open to interpretation. That is the point though. Beauty is open to interpretation. What I find beautiful is not necessarily what you will find it to be. Instead of searching for a definition or an equation, I should have been trying to work out what you do when you find it.

Have you ever seen three Pomeranians chase a kitten? They run and bark. The kitten runs for it's life. The pom poms spread out and circle it. The kitten stands still and puffs up it fur to look as scary as possible. The doggies move in. They have done it, caught the kitten. Then they look at each other and think "what do we do now?" The oldest and wisest dog and pack leader decides that the best plan is the lick the kitten. He licks it. The kitten holds still. The pack of dogs happily grooms the kitteh. The cat learns that you don't have to fear the dogs. They just want to play and then lick you.

What the hell is Damana talking about?

Well, beauty is the kitten. She's often a little unaware of what the pursuers want and feels a little insecure. They come at you in groups. They approach alone. They pursue. Beauty isn't sure why they are and tries to accept and deal with it. When beauty is finally caught, she stands there wondering what will happen next. An experienced pursuer knows that this is the time that you show her that you like her, so she knows it is going to be ok.

I know so many beautiful women who are actually stunning on the outside and lovely on the inside but they have no idea. They stand there wondering what you all really want from her, if anything. We often look at beautiful people with brilliant minds and assume they know they are amazing and that we love them. The lesson the alpha Pomeranian teaches us is that it's best to tell her why. Tell her it's ok. It's not necessary to lick anyone. Thought I should head that one off early.

If you know someone who you consider stunning, beautiful, hot or amazing then you should tell her so. Odds are she isn't as aware of it as you think.

Be your inner alpha Pomeranian.

Going Tidal

There are rolling moments.
There are vastly significant occasions.
There are those waves of unspeakable sadness.

Three things happened in the last two months that changed the tide of my life. Maybe you can take something from this if you are looking at changing direction.

10 Days in Surry Hills
Around a month ago, I spent ten days in Surry Hills. It used to be my neighborhood. Luckily, I am gifted with a good friend who lives there at the moment and is willing to tolerate me stealing her couch for periods of time. There is only one rule - Don't leave things in the way of the path to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Oops, I broke that rule this time. Sorry A.

During my time there, I got to see my closest friends multiple times. It was also my chance to meet a lot more new people and walk away with a new friend or two. There were a few people who I clicked with and quite a few who either bored the hell out of me or ended up being not what they promised to be. Oddly enough, being the kind of person that is "what you see is what you get" means that I often expect that of everyone else. Of course, this is not as naive as it sounds. I guess, I expect the best of people and like to respect that they are who they say they are.

Those ten days changed the way I saw the world, people in it and most importantly... myself...

If you go out and meet a whole lot of people and walk away with one friend then you've done brilliantly.

Selling the Lawn
The second world rocking thang was the lawn sale that Mum and I put on. It took three days to set up and 5 hours for the neighbors and crazy lawn-sale-aholics to clean us out. It was not the selling that changed me. I mean, getting rid of all that stuff I'd accumulated over the last decade was freeing but it wasn't quite that. It was the Friday night before the sale that did it. Unpacking the Christmas decorations that I'd collected and been given as presents over the years was bloody difficult. There were tears... gasps... and finally a self-inflicted bitch slap. That is when I learned another thing about life...

It's just stuff. It can be replaced. It doesn't make you who you are.

Sporting Analogies Aside
The third was a moment. It came and went before I even realised it had happened. After coming back from a night of indoor beach volleyball, feeling awesome from the exercise, socialising and endorphin rush, Mum pointed something out. She said "You always liked sport. You were always good at it."

That is when I realised that I had surrounded myself with people who didn't like sport (individual or team) and it became too anti-social for me to continue with it. Now that person is not around, I can go back to enjoying having an active and social outlet that suits me.

The realisation here was...

Remember what made you happy when you were younger and go back to doing that. We are more honest with ourselves as children than we ever will be as adults.

That is it. Those three things helped me find direction. Now I haz it.

Saturday 14 August 2010

Presents Presence

People have been asking what I want for my birthday. I'd prefer your company at one of the Festival of Damana events. If you feel you must get me a present then something virtual is the best bet. I've just ridded myself of all my possessions and minimised my life. No more "stuff" is needed.

iTunes vouchers are the best option, if you must.

My 34th Birthday Cake

Maria of Made by Maria, baked me a 3D Tetris cake and I love it! It was a huge hit. It tasted delicious and looked fabulous. Made my night.

Do talk to Maria if you need a cake. She has great prices and is an artist.

When you simply need me

My good friend David K sent me this picture of a printer at his work. Awse!

Thursday 12 August 2010

Unhelpful Thinking

We all go through a whole lot of bad situations in our lives. There are the really horrid ones that you doubt that you will even survive and then... shock horror... you do. Unless you go and jump off a 42 metre high building (yes, that's the minimum certain fatality height) then you should be ok. Ruling out accidents, freaks of nature and bad company, you are left as the one thing that can hurt you.

We have all seen it. The friend who is so expectant of the Universe ganging up against them, along with Gaia, the Grim Reaper and the most evil of all - the ATO. Every single little thing that happens is awful and was bound to happen to them. They focus so hard on it that when it happens, they are almost happy.

Do you remember that song by Garbage that starts with the line: "I'm only happy when it rains"? That is what it is to watch these people in action. The funniest thing about this is that I watched one person do this so often that the only thing that could change her mindset was going to cognitive therapy and finding out that "the universe being out to get you" is a form of negative thinking. There are ten main types of negative thought. It took one look at the list to make that girl aware of the fact that the first thought to enter your mind is not always the right one.

That silly girl was me. She is much nicer to herself now. Very positive and kind. She has her moments but on the whole, that thinking has stopped.

Here is an excerpt from the Happiness Institute's "Unhelpful Thinking" publication.

  1. Overgeneralisation: Coming to a general conclusion based on a single event or one piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen again and again. Such thoughts often include the words “always” and “never”.
    I forgot to finish that project on time. I never do things right.
    He didn’t want to go out with me. I’ll always be lonely.
  2. Filtering (Selective Abstraction): Concentrating on the negatives while ignoring the positives. Ignoring important information that contradicts your (negative) view of the situation.
    I know he [my boss] said most of my submission was great but he also said there were a number of mistakes that had to be corrected...he must think I’m really hopeless.
  3. All or Nothing Thinking (Dichotomous Reasoning): Thinking in black and white terms (e.g., things are right or wrong, good or bad). A tendency to view things at the extremes with no middle ground.
    I made so many mistakes. If I can’t do it perfectly I might as well not bother.
    I won’t be able to get all of this done, so I may as well not start it.
    This job is so bad...there’s nothing good about it at all.
  4. Personalising: Taking responsibility for something that’s not your fault. Thinking that what people say or do is some kind of reaction to you, or is in some way related to you.
    John’s in a terrible mood. It must have been something I did.
    It’s obvious she doesn’t like me, otherwise she would’ve said hello.
  5. Catastrophising: Overestimating the chances of disaster. Expecting something unbearable or intolerable to happen.
    I’m going to make a fool of myself and people will laugh at me.
    What if I haven’t turned the iron off and the house burns down.
    If I don’t perform well, I’ll get the sack.
  6. Emotional Reasoning: Mistaking feelings for facts. Negative things you feel about yourself are held to be true because they feel true.
    I feel like a failure, therefore I am a failure.
    I feel ugly, therefore I must be ugly.
    I feel hopeless, therefore my situation must be hopeless.
  7. Mind Reading: Making assumptions about other people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours without checking the evidence.
    John’s talking to Molly so he must like her more than me.
    I could tell he thought I was stupid in the interview.
  8. Fortune Telling Error: Anticipating an outcome and assuming your prediction is an established fact. These negative expectations can be self-fulfilling: predicting what we would do on the basis of past behaviour may prevent the possibility of change.
    I’ve always been like this; I’ll never be able to change.
    It’s not going to work out so there’s not much point even trying.
    This relationship is sure to fail.
  9. Should Statements: Using “should”, “ought”, or “must” statements can set up unrealistic expectations of yourself and others. It involves operating by rigid rules and not allowing for flexibility.
    I shouldn’t get angry.
    People should be nice to me all the time.
  10. Magnification/Minimisation: A tendency to exaggerate the importance of negative information or experiences, while trivialising or reducing the significance of positive information or experiences.
    He noticed I spilled something on my shirt. I know he said he will go out with me again, but I bet he doesn’t call.
    Supporting my friend when her mother died still doesn’t make up for that time I got angry at her last year.

Do you think like this? I did and still do sometimes. You have to identify that these are negative thoughts and learn to negate them by using techniques like evidence gathering and safe checking.

My suggestion is that if these thoughts dominate your thinking then you might benefit from similar cognitive therapy to what I had. It's hard work to change how you think. When you start, it's tiring to even try but try you must.

Actually, Yoda said it best: "Do or do not. There is no try". I always liked him better than Garbage anyway.

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Love the way you lie

Although this song rips at my heart, I can't stop listening to it. It's too much like my marriage. It will pass.

Love the way you lie by Rihanna and Eminem
Just gonna stand there
And watch me burn
But that's alright
Because I like
The way it hurts
Just gonna stand there
And hear me cry
But that's alright
Because I love
The way you lie
I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie

I can't tell you what it really is
I can only tell you what it feels like
And right now there's a steel knife
In my windpipe
I can't breathe
But I still fight
While I can fight
As long as the wrong feels right
It's like I'm in flight
High of a love
Drunk from the hate
It's like I'm huffing paint
And I love it the more that I suffer
I sufficate
And right before im about to drown
She resuscitates me
She fucking hates me
And I love it
Where you going
I'm leaving you
No you ain't
Come back
We're running right back
Here we go again
It's so insane
Cause when it's going good
It's going great
I'm Superman
With the wind in his bag
She's Lois Lane
But when it's bad
It's awful
I feel so ashamed
I snap
Who's that dude
I don't even know his name
I laid hands on her
I'll never stoop so low again
I guess I don't know my own strength

Just gonna stand there
And watch me burn
But that's alright
Because I like
The way it hurts
Just gonna stand there
And hear me cry
But that's alright
Because I love
The way you lie
I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie

You ever love somebody so much
You can barely breathe
When you're with them
You meet
And neither one of you
Even know what hit 'em
Got that warm fuzzy feeling
Yeah them chills
Used to get 'em
Now you're getting fucking sick
Of looking at 'em
You swore you've never hit 'em
Never do nothing to hurt 'em
Now you're in each other's face
Spewing venom
And these words
When you spit 'em
You push
Pull each other's hair
Scratch, claw, bit 'em
Throw 'em down
Pin 'em
So lost in the moments
When you're in 'em
It's the rage that took over
It controls you both
So they say it's best
To go your separate ways
Guess that they don't know ya
Cause today
That was yesterday
Yesterday is over
It's a different day
Sound like broken records
Playin' over
But you promised her
Next time you'll show restraint
You don't get another chance
Life is no Nintendo game
But you lied again
Now you get to watch her leave
Out the window
Guess that's why they call it window pane

Just gonna stand there
And watch me burn
But that's alright
Because I like
The way it hurts
Just gonna stand there
And hear me cry
But that's alright
Because I love
The way you lie
I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie

Now I know we said things
Did things
That we didn't mean
And we fall back
Into the same patterns
Same routine
But your temper's just as bad
As mine is
You're the same as me
But when it comes to love
You're just as blinded
Baby please come back
It wasn't you
Baby it was me
Maybe our relationship
Isn't as crazy as it seems
Maybe that's what happens
When a tornado meets a volcano
All I know is
I love you too much
To walk away though
Come inside
Pick up your bags off the sidewalk
Don't you hear sincerity
In my voice when I talk
Told you this is my fault
Look me in the eyeball
Next time I'm pissed
I'll aim my fist
At the dry wall
Next time
There will be no next time
I apologize
Even though I know it's lies
I'm tired of the games
I just want her back
I know I'm a liar
If she ever tries to fucking leave again
I'mma tie her to the bed
And set the house on fire

Just gonna stand there
And watch me burn
But that's alright
Because I like
The way it hurts
Just gonna stand there
And hear me cry
But that's alright
Because I love
The way you lie
I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie

Friday 6 August 2010


Don't be afraid of being alone. It is just hanging out with yourself.

Thursday 5 August 2010

My most reteweeted Tweet recently

"Never believe a man who tells you that you are enchanting, unless you live in a fairy tale and he is the narrator. #lifelessons"

-- Damana Madden

Sunday 1 August 2010

Momentus Moments

When I arrived in Darwin, I unpacked all my computer gear first. Laptops, hard drives, routers, hubs, routers, modems, gaming consoles, hand-held games devices and everything else collected over years of geekiness. With that came the rats nest of cables for networks, power and machine to machine connectivity.

With all the spare time that I had ahead of me, I decided to sort stuff out and re-establish that level of order that only someone with OCD can truly understand. Before life went to poo, I was very ordered and organised. There was a place or everything and a moment for it all to exist in. Then

and... well, read all my previous posts if you missed it.

On Friday the 30th of July, I went upstairs, dug out and dusted off my Apple Time Capsule. For those who don't know, it's purpose is to act as a drive to backup my Mac every few hour or so. That way, if any of my devices fail then I have an easy to restore backup. In the past, it has saved my electronic soul on a few occasions. Setting up new machines has been a breezy dreamy chocolate-coated easy occasion.

Who cares? I do. There was this huge mental block there. Something that started when I arrived at my Mum's house and continued for a long seven months. I just didn't have the get up and go to get up and go and set the damn Time Capsule up. It seemed so hard and impossible at the best of times. Of course, I knew it would take me plugging in the power and an Ethernet cable and that was it. Oh yeah, and turning on the Time Machine software on my laptop. How hard is that?

With my past state of mind, it seemed heavier than a train to lift; tougher than a mountain to move; and harder than water to breathe.

I did it though.

Damn, that's a huge achievement. I celebrate all the good things that happen these days. This is one of those moments when it hits you

that you've changed... recovered... healed to the point of usefulness again. It has been a long time coming.

Take that depression! Take that ex-husband! Take that world!