Amateur Internet Dater – Part 2.

So, since coming to the conclusion that I’ve gotta pull up my “big girl panties” and become a willing participant in the search for my true love (Gavin), I’ve done some serious research. Or should I say, I’ve been street walking the dark alley ways of the internet dating (site) world; and let me tell you, I’m not all too sure I’d want to risk these killer heels and wicked blow wave I’ve got going on, if you know what I’m saying? Thanks rsvp.com, for the eye watering preview of what you’ve got on offer, or should I say lack thereof (shout out to “bigwang4U” and “rUTErus69”), but I think I’ll try to keep it a little more classy for now.

It were as though the dating gods were watching over me though; and they knew that I a) needed a little persuasion to follow through with this crazy experiment, and b) that am a total tightarse when it comes to purchasing anything over the internet that doesn’t come delivered, smelling like heaven or promising to flatter in all the right places; because in a strike of luck whilst perusing the “success stories” of a rather well known and sufficiently wholesome matchmaking service (by the way, Congrats Andrew & Linda – two years and still going strong!), an appealingly cheap “New Subscribers” offer flashed up on my screen brighter than fire works on New Years Eve… That’s right my friends, 3 months subscription for $3.95… BOOM! SOLD! SIGN ME UP!

And all so simply (thanks paypal) I became an official member of the “internet daters” society (I’m still waiting on my members badge to pin on my cardy though).

Minutes later, a slight shiver of excitement filled my veins as I clicked on my confirmation email, I eagerly awaited the smorgasbord of hunky,oiled up, thirty-something year old lion tamers, with profile pictures of one selves mowing their elderly neighbours lawn, to grace my overheating laptop screen. But, alas, it was not to be. I may not have had to shave my legs, put on a bra or brush my hair to get this far on my expedition to love, but I certainly wasn’t going to get to fly the flag of success without a little expenditure of effort.

“LET”S GET YOUR PROFILE STARTED” appeared in a rather cheery, yet condescending manner across my screen. You know, like the way you’d speak to your three year old whilst trying to sell him the idea of mushy peas for dinner? Yeah, just like that! Overly enthusiastic, incredibly animated and horribly forceful whilst trying to hide the reality of the unpleasantness ahead.

Still dreaming of five o’clock shadows and adorable dimples, I rashly picked the most unique and “incognito” profile name (Liss) I could think of, and away I went…

Age – 31
Height – 172cm
Physique – Average (with a slight post Christmas podge)
Marital Status – Single (the option of Spinster was surprisingly absent)
Education – Higher Tertiary
Occupation – Personal Assistant/Administration
Religious/Political views – N/A

… And so on, all pretty standard and worthy prerequisites for the process, which took no time (or unnecessary fabrication of the truth) at all. Huh! Maybe this whole profile thingy wasn’t going to be so terribly off-putting after all… Negatory!

Then came the multi-choice questionnaire – 500 of the bastards – non compulsory, but certainly “a fantastic way to get to know potential matches“…or so they said. I scrolled through a few, randomly clicking “no brainers”, when I stumbled upon, what I’d like to refer to the”fluffer questions”. Questions that obviously the trainee in HQ has come up with during her lunch break in hope of impressing her boss, after hearing of marketing’s great  idea of “fluffing out” the questionnaire number to 500 whilst they were sipping lattes in last months “creative meeting”. Seriously though, I would love it if someone could shed some light on how agreeing, or disagreeing, to the statement “The burgers are better at Hungry Jacks” is going to signify or cement any certainty that “Gary, who lives 250kms from you” is your true soul mate? Or by admitting that you’ve parked in a “Parents with Prams” carpark without even having a child means that any union with “Steve of Ormeau” is all but doomed! Really?

The hardest part of this whole process though, has been attempting to write appealingly witty blurbs about oneself, without sneaking in too much sarcasm or honest truth about my wild Saturday nights in front of a Flavourstone commercial with a glass of vino, all in the aim of enticing like-minded single spunkrats to click on the “communicate” button… Did I place enough emphasis on house proud, independent, love of music, without setting off the “OCD, control freak who sings like a screaming cat” alarm bells..? Should I have kept out the bit about “exercising regularly”, when really it’s only a short stroll to the letter box and maybe a mad dash on Friday’s when I forget to put the bins out..? Or, should I have elaborated a little more on my opinion that chocolate should never be refrigerated?”

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see…

Liss Actually x

Giving In.

It’s one of the easiest thing to do… Giving up. And sadly, we all fall victim to it, whether we’d like to admit it or not.

We lock the door. Close the book. Switch off, scrunch it up and throw it all away. The great opportunity, the life long dream, the fleeting wish, the short term goal – dismissed; sometimes in haste, but more often than not, after hours, if not days, of deep and exhausting procrastination. In any case,what was once the possiblity or potential for something great, is now a forbidden thought left discarded, together with every other opportunity that was once bid farewell.

What’s worse is that in almost every instance of succumbing to the “can’t”, stands only ourselves in the way of our success. Our own worse critics, we fail to be our own cheersquad, standing at sideline intervals with Gatorade cups screaming “don’t you dare give up on me now!” I know this feeling all too well because I’m a “giver-upper” by nature, always standing in my own way,offering a poor excuse and complimentry tissue for my premature departure from the race.

The fad diet, the savings goals, the career change, the guard dog (long story), the half marathon, the study aspirations – all given in, all thrown away. Not because I couldn’t, but because I said “I can’t”.

But today I felt it coming, stronger than ever before; that wicked niggle, that hot-headed frustration, that dark cloud of doubt. Possibly because I was suffering from a sugar-detox rage, more than likely not – all I know is that it crept up and went for the one thing I’ve been fighting against for as long as I can remember. The one thing that I have vowed to never again give up on, not matter what hurdles may come my way… My words, my thoughts and my great desire to string them together into something that I would be proud to have you read..

I opened a blank page, but there it was – doubt. Poisious thoughts swirled around and around, gently dancing in my head at first, but as the day progressed an abrupt tap, tap, tap started to stomp my train of thought, and every attempt to believe in the words before me diminished without an encore.

How could continue to write if I had nothing good to say? How could I share wisdom if I were not wise myself? How could finish what I started, if I never had anything decent to begin with anyway? Truth be told, I have more than enough beginnings up my sleeve – 133 half written musings waiting patiently in my DRAFT’s file for an opportunity to be polished… But not one was quite satisfactory enough to capture today’s desire to write and the undeniable dream to have my words read; to proove my courage to persue and succeed. The words that I had just couldn’t seem to overpower that cloud of doubt egging me on to do the one thing I’ve promised myself I would not dare do again…

And so, I chose to fight that feeling, that horrible, disgusting feeling, with it’s very own self… What better way to fight a battle, than to use the enemy’s ammunition against itself.. And so here it is, these very words…I’m not giving in.

Liss Actually x

Amateur Internet Dater – Part 1.

So here’s a fun fact… I’ve been single for the good part of 7 years – swaying between hopeless romantic and commitment phobic on a weekly basis.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, there have been a “handful” of “persons of interest” who have graced one’s presence over the years, however they have all promptly “exited stage left”; sometimes to my dismay, but mostly with a substantial sigh of relief that I can once again scale back on how much time I spend shaving my legs.  Unfortunately, there hasn’t been the ONE who struck me as being someone I’d want to hang out with for the rest of my life, and quite frankly, I don’t think I’d been all to ready for him to come along – hairy legs and John Mayer crush (sad, I know) aside.

I’ve pretty much been resigned to the fact that I would marry most certainly in the later years of  my life, in a sensible, cream, linen pant suit purchased on sale from Millers.  Tea, scones and little lemon spiced sponge cakes would be served on floral china plates at the appropriate hour of 3pm; handmade lavender soaps, jars of soft jellies and gift certificates for water therapy would don the doily draped gift table. “Gavin”, my antique groom, would be a delightful chap, with the most fine and intriguing knack for sharing a story of his youth with pizzazz and fickle humour. We’ll hold hands, but not purely out of endearment for one another, but moreso offering that all important, and deteriorating, balance – something “young folk” take for granted.

I would be happy with that – marrying in my “mature” years but, I’d be lying if I said that I wouldn’t be disappointed that I didn’t get to meet Gavin sooner and been given the opportunity to grow old and create more memories with him.   Thankfully, events of late have prompted me to realise that the only regret you have in your life, is that for which you did not actively pursue. And so, I’ve now accepted the fact that I’ll have to overcome complacency, dip my toe into the pool of possibly and become a willing participant in the search for my true love.  But where does one begin?

Being a traditional girl at heart, and probably in some respects a little too “old school” for my generation I’ve always believed and, I guess, assumed that the most appropriate way to possibly meet anyone remotely suitable for an “ever after” was at family barbecues, chance encounters at the coffee shop, the singles table at “Steve & Julies” wedding, or maybe at the park whilst glamorously jogging in slow motion, shiny hair waving behind me – you know, that type of thing.  But alas, and much to my dismay, this is not the 1950’s nor is it a blockbuster chick flick (starring me) shot with that really slimming lens Oprah uses… This is real life and we are living in the twenty-first century.

In a strike of luck though, there’s now this all too time stealing, thought sharing, new fangled thing called the Internet! It’s supposedly our best friend (that’s a post for another day!) and much like a shadow is in a one meter radius of one’s being at any given time. It can connect us to billions of other humans at the click of a few buttons, and has the facility to allow humans to interact and get to know one another, without first awkwardly meeting face to face or having to attend to one’s “leg crops”… Maybe this internet thingy is onto something and might be able to aid in my quest for true love – maybe it’s time to get down with the cool kids and bring all the boys to the yard…. Maybe, it’s time to go “on the line”.

Stay tuned.

  Liss Actually x

Sugar.

As someone who is on a continued journey of recovery from an Eating Disorder, I know all too well the high that comes from inhaling a packet of Tim Tams, a tub (or three) of Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream and a few bagfuls of peanut M&M’s, all on zombie mode in a quiet place free from view. The subsequent sugar rush an exhilarating, comforting, effortless therapy for the ugly feelings and thoughts circulating ones being.  Things suddenly feel better,  sadness is dissolved,  doubt overridden, fear withdrawn and anxiety abolished.  Its (sugar) “medicinal properties” only last for as long as it takes for you to swallow that final mouthful; that my friends, is where it expires and the sugary exhilaration which made you feel all so invincible, is immediately replaced with remorse, stomach cramps and those very same thoughts & emotions* which triggered that wicked first bite.

Much like a toxic friend, sugar is always lurking around, ready to pounce at the slightest moment of weakness. She stalks your emotions and advertisers herself as a great therapist when things are pretty low.  All sweet and delicate, wrapped in a seemingly enticing veil of comfort, she gloats and parades herself about, using her great knack for reverse psychology to subtly convince you into believing that her presence in your life truly lightens your load.  When really all she leaves you with is a modified self worth and pant size.

Moral of the story – your happiness will never benefit from toxic people or sugary treats.

But, it’s not only when times are low that sugar makes a star appearance.  It’s every single day. It’s the awkward office morning teas, the first date dessert, your best friend’s birthday, the lazy Friday night dinner. It’s thrown in our faces constantly – on the back of the bus in traffic, in between episodes of New Girl, at the checkout when trying to subtly by tampons. And, whilst saying a simple two letter word (NO) would save many a cursed comment in front of the mirror, it’s just not that easy. Having that kind of strength, especially when we’ve trained our body into becoming reliant on a sweet “pick-me-up”, takes much time, effort and surely a few hissy-fits, to master.

In a shared NYE resolution, my dearest friend K and I have committed to each other, and ourselves, to Sarah Wilson’s 8 Week “I Quit Sugar” program (which kicks off tomorrow) in the hope that we not only find the strength within ourselves to fight that double coated Cherry Ripe addiction, but to instead crave a healthier, more nutritious option. We’re determined to offer our bodies, minds and pearly whites the opportunity reap the grand benefits of living a more balanced, nutritious, sugar-free lifestyle.  Surely, there’ll be killer headaches, childlike tantrums and unsavoury words, possible road rage, zombie like lethargy and withdrawals similar to that of kicking a drug addiction – but hey, who wouldn’t want to share that experience with their best friend? Encouragement is the key and I have no doubt we’ll keep each other well & truly motivated, and most certainly amused along the way.

Feel free to check in on our journey over the next 8 weeks, and don’t hesitate to share your tips for overcoming the hurdles – I have no doubt we’ll need it!

Liss Actually x

* If ever you find yourself consumed by sadness, fear, doubt or hopelessness, please find someone you trust to talk these feelings though, or call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.  You are never alone.

Lessons for the Climb.

Throughout the journey of our lives, we all indeed encounter some “speed bumps”, some of which may be so tiny that they are merely that of a hiccup on the road, others will most certainly feel somewhat more substantial, an unachievable mountain perhaps, but our greatest challenge is not letting ourselves be afraid or defeated by the mere thought of the climb.

Finding inspiration, determination and belief in oneself doesn’t come all too easily – this I know all too well as I have faced, climbed and shied away from many a mountain, and I know that there will indeed be many more ahead.  The answers and courage are there within all of us, it just takes the right person, moment or situation to trigger and unlock the strength needed to start the climb and encourage the journey.

I’ve compiled a list of advice and lessons, some of which I am still learning from, that have been bestowed upon me through my own “mountain climbing”. They might render useless to others or are perhaps common knowledge, but I believe are better shared than kept to oneself.

If it ignites even the smallest of reassurance or comfort in some little way, I could not ask for more.

  • No matter the location or lighting you find yourself in, look around you and take it all in. The common sights that you see each day may seem mundane, unchanged or all too familiar but really they are the backdrops to your memories.
  • Embrace your body, for it is the home of your heart & soul, and will transport you through life.  Treat it with respect and love.
  • It may be a small world but it’s a huge planet.  Grab every opportunity to see as much of it as you possibly can. Most people don’t.
  • Avoid negative people at all costs – they will only waste your time and energy.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated.  Offer a smile to strangers, a hand to those in need and a shoulder to those shedding tears.
  • Be kind to your Mother, you may not realise it but she is your best friend and knows more about you than anyone else in this world.
  • Never be afraid to express Love. Hug tightly, hold hands, say I love you.
  • Don’t worry about being popular.  When it comes to friends, choose wisely and always surround yourself with those who make you feel comfortable in your own skin.
  • Never stop dancing. Whether it be on your own or in company, indoors or out – it is always beautiful.
  • Only speak words of truth, no matter the implication – you are always worse off if they are not honest.
  • Save your money, for there will always be a day when you need it.
  • If something doesn’t feel right – it’s not.
  • Allow yourself to experience new things.  You will never know unless you try!
  • When you are happy, sad, proud, confused and in love.  Don’t bottle it up.
  • Always remember your manners. Especially the words “Thank you”.
  • Ask questions.  You will never know the answers unless you do.
  • Learn from your mistakes and if possible find humour in them.
  • Never cheat. Not on exams, in board games, or on those you love.
  • There is no definition of the perfect family – all are dysfunctional in their own way.
  • Express yourself through any means you find empowering. Allow yourself to be unique.
  • Don’t start something that you don’t intend on finishing.
  • Learn to forgive – it will free space your heart for the important things.
  • Listen to the older generations – they really do have wise words to share.
  • Stand up for yourself and those you care about – but always make sure you know the full story first.
  • Always believe in Love.

Life is all about learning from mistakes, laughing when hindsight makes you feel a little foolish and loving those who truly accept you in all your forms …

Liss Actually x

Belief.

I have a very beautiful friend who knows a secret of mine – And never lets me forget it…

It’s not the kind of secret that you would automatically think of being a big deal – nothing scandalous, saucy or sordid (although we share those kinds of secrets too!). It’s something much more important than that. It is a secret based on a dream dreamt by a young girl – a dream that could easily become a reality if only the woman she grew into believed in herself a little more…

When I become all too complacent in life, she reminds me, my beautiful friend.  Not with wickedness or banter, spitefulness or degradation; but with encouragement, excitement, honesty and a twinkle in her eye that says “I believe in you”…And she truly does.

I cannot go on dismissing the greatest gift that anyone could bestow another, the one thing that fades so easily within ourselves and becomes so very hard to regain… The greatest, most treasured gift that I have ever in my life received….Belief

So I have on a whim, declared today, Monday 19th January, the day that I overpower doubt, fear and anxiety; negativity, distraction and excuse.  And instead I honour the secret, the dream, the scribbles, the thoughts and the words…But, most importantly I honour my friend, my kindred spirit and her belief in me…

Today I finally write.

So here’s to you K, and the secret that you will not let me forget! x

Liss Actually x