With All Seriousness

‘You’re a mum now Lou’ my friend informed me as I sat before her, tea in hand, despair draping my face. ‘You’re going to have to learn to deal with it.’

I silently opened a packet of Teddy Bear biscuits as she continued.

‘You’re just won’t be able to be funny anymore. Happens to the best of us. I use to be fucking Conan O’Brien till I had kids. Now everything I say comes across as if I’m giving a speech at the Hague.’

And just like that, she had confirmed my deepest fears – that now I’m a mum, everything I say and do will forever be read and taken with all seriousness.

F**k. For someone that makes a living from writing funny things, this did not bode well. I mean, I’d had a baby, there were bills to pay, a new car I’d bought to live in…

Yet the thing is, I had/have cause for concern. It had already started – the ‘with all seriousness.’

Last week my boyfriend/fiancé’s face flashed up on my phone – ‘F**k, he can’t live without me’ I chuckled to myself as I paused Netflix’s F.B.I Files (‘True stories from the F.B.I.’) ‘I bet he’d kill for me if I asked him….’

‘Yo, waz up?’ I casually enquired with my usual greeting.

‘Is everything ok?’ He blurted out between tears. I sensed something was wrong so I paused the TV. I’m good like that.

‘Why? Should something be wrong?’

‘I just got a text asking if We were ok. Are We ok? Why would We not be ok?’

I thought about it. Were We ok? Perhaps this was my out? Mark Ruffalo had recently landed in the Gold Coast and I had just gotten my legs waxed a month earlier…coincidence?

I decided to give it a go.

‘I don’t know. You tell me. Are we ok?’

‘What?’

‘I mean unless you’ve done something wrong?’

I un-paused the TV. This definitely was a conversation that could continue with background noise.

‘No, no…I mean don’t think so.’

‘Are you sure…?’

He fell silent for a moment, searching his brain for an incident, one where he’d fucked up so much that it would undoubtedly drive me into the arms of The Hulk.

‘Someone from work rang. Said you posted something on Facebook, about our relationship. She was worried.’

I flipped over to a documentary entitled ‘My Time in a Cult’. Winner.

‘And then she said it was something about me no longer being your lover, that I’d become your carer.’

‘Oh, that? It was a joke.’

‘She didn’t think it was a joke.’

‘It was clearly a joke. That’s my thing.’

I scrambled to pull up Facebook on my phone, only to notice 11 unread text messages had popped up, including 3 voicemails and various Facebook notifications.

‘And then my brother left a message asking if it was true –

‘- You are not my carer.’ I assured him from our bed, wearing an adult diaper, pushing 100 kg, wheelchair idling by my side table, power pumping two boobs at a time…

‘All I wrote was…’

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‘Remember, from the other night when you were reading that SBS article, and I thought it was funny given I’d just wet the bed for the second time that evening and we’d laughed about how we really needed to get around to buying a mattress protector. Remember? It was funny.’

I scrolled through the messages:

Saw your post – it gets better xx

You and JK will be fine xx

I’ve sent you a link to a single mother’s Facebook group. Mostly widows but heaps of great tips. xx

I never liked him. Let’s do coffee soon x

This is just a kindly reminder that your ANZ card payment is now overdue.

I’m on my way over. Bringing chocolate! How could he!!! ☹ ☹ ☹

Did I leave my hairdryer at yours????

The Facebook messages were much the same

‘Thinking of you and the bub during your turbulent time xx’

‘Not you guys!!!’

‘Hi, my name is Kirtia and I like sex and men. Please meet??’

I couldn’t understand what was going on.

It was clearly a joke. I only ever posted funny things. I was the funny girl. What was happening?

And so this was when I called my friend for reassurance, the one who now works for the Hague…

‘Everything you do, write or post about from this point onwards will be met with a degree of earnest belief and genuine concern. Gone are the days of flippant remarks, you’re part of something bigger than yourself- being a mum on social media.’

‘But I’m not just a mum.’

‘As of now Lou, yes, yes you are.’

I took the last remaining Teddy Bear biscuit offering none to my friend.

‘Don’t despair Lou. You can still be funny in private, you know, as long as no one is watching, listening or reading you, but once you post your funny on Facebook, Twitter, Insta, blog about it, or continue to post on that YouTube Channel you made that no one ever watches – it will only be seen as a cry for help, a need for support, a plea for understanding, shit Lou, I mean with any luck you might end up a mummy blogger – purely by default.’

‘You shut your mouth!’ I spat at her.

It was a truth bomb I clearly wasn’t ready to hear.

‘You need to leave’ I said shaking ‘Get out of my house’.

And with that, she was gone.

A few weeks late I took to social media again. This time posting on the hilarious feeder-esque situation I now found myself in.

It was my comeback. A nuanced, funny observation on breastfeeding-


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My phone beeped:

‘OMG Lou. Are you ok? Just saw your post. Can I recommend Lanosin for your chafed nipples…’

Beep! Another message…

And just like that, my fate was sealed. My friend had been right. I was f**ked. Chafed and f**ked.

 

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I don’t think we can be Facebook friends anymore…

Confiding in me over a hot chocolate in a small tucked away café a few days ago, my friend Agnes had barely touched her earl grey tea with a dash of cream and honey when she pouted and declared

‘I hate myself Lou, I just hate myself.’

I didn’t say anything, I knew there was more to come, there always was.

‘I just don’t understand why you can’t just be born the way you want to end up?’

‘You are asking an awful lot from the universe’ I surmised as I eyed off a marshmallow that wasn’t mine, but had been left on a nearby table.

‘No Lou, I don’t think I am. We put all this money into obesity research, diabetes this and diabetes that and don’t even get me started on early stage genetic predisposition testing and yet if we could just be born thin and beautiful, not necessarily smart but cluey, I could make do with cluey, well then you know what Lou?’

‘What’ …surely if it was just left there it was really MY marshmallow….

‘There’d be no war or famine.’

‘And how do you reckon that?’

‘Because it’s simple – they’d be born full.’

She squeezed more lemon into her tea and winced at the taste, which led me to this point – can you divorce your friends? Or at least if anything ask for a trial separation?

I thought this as I watched her straighten out her skirt, looking around, frustrated with the world, unaware of her complete lack of depth – why couldn’t I be completely unaware of her lack of depth too?

‘I think maybe darl, you just need to learn to accept yourself – you know a little self acceptance can go a long way.’ I remarked

…it’s my marshmallow, all mine and boy did it taste good…

‘Lou, I’m not giving up sex.’

‘Acceptance is not the same as abstinence Agnes,’

‘Don’t get tricky Lou.’

‘I wasn’t being tricky; I was going more for clarification really.’

Suddenly her nose screwed up.

‘Did you just eat that manky marshmallow off someone else’s table?’

‘I think manky is too liberal a use of such a negative word.’

‘You just ate garbage Lou.’

‘Are abandoned children garbage Agnes?’

‘Wards of the state are not marshmallows’ are they Lou.’…more a statement than a question really…

I picked a loose hair out of my teeth; she was right, it probably had been garbage, but her judgment wasn’t my punishment for little did she know that later that night in the privacy of my own home I would stand naked in front a mirror and ask myself ‘would you touch yourself?’ and my answer would be yes and thus eating garbage made me edgy and that was hot.

‘I just wish I could be more like you Lou’ she let out a long breath as she checked her iPhone for the time.

‘Grass is always greener on the other side my friend.’

‘You’re short; one might even describe you as homely and unkempt – almost like that character in House.’

‘What character in House?’

‘Oh you know, the eccentric aunt who collects newspapers and rides the trains, rather than just being normal and going on a diet.’

‘It’s called Housekeeping and it’s a book and I think you’ve missed the entire point of the story – it’s about Housekeeping in the spiritual sense, in the face of great loss.’

‘My point exactly – if we were born the way we wanted than she wouldn’t have become a hobo.’

‘You do realize you’re whole argument is derailed if say she wanted to be born a hobo.’

‘You honestly think she’d pick being born Kate Moss over being born homeless?’

‘No, you’re right Agnes, why find your own path and sense of identity when you can just claim someone else’s – cloning is much underrated.’

‘Don’t do that.’

‘Do what?’

‘That.’ – I really felt like a biscuit, but maybe that was too much. I found myself lamenting an incident earlier that day when I’d dropped and stepped on my biscuit – there was no saving it at the time I thought, but looking back now, I knew the truth, I hadn’t even tried.

‘Listen Lou, I hoped it wouldn’t come to this.’

‘Come to what?’

‘I need a time out – from this, from you.’

…what was going on…this wasn’t meant to end this way, we had plans together, great plans, the Kinki Gerlinki garage sale was only a week away…

‘I don’t think I’ve got room for you in my life, I’ve already got a stereotypical over achieving, blatantly sarcastic, bordering on compensating for an amazing amount of insecurity – brunette taking up too much room.’

‘Who? Who’s that?’ I demanded to know.

‘a little tabloid princess I like to call Katie Holmes.’

‘But you don’t even know her and please prey tell when if ever has displayed irreverent wit?

‘Just because I don’t know her personally Lou, doesn’t mean that we haven’t connected.’

‘She’s a celebrity, if this is the Matrix than she’s not even real.’

‘But she understands me Lou and quite frankly you don’t; in fact half the time I just feel like you’re taking the piss.’

‘No, that’s not true, entirely.’

‘See, you can’t even not do it now, even while we’re in the middle of breaking up – do I mean that little to you?’

‘I don’t know what you want from me.’

She paused.

‘Maybe the problem is I don’t know either.’

I held back my already restrained emotions on the matter.

‘Hey Lou, don’t get upset, we can still be Facebook friends.’

‘Really?’ – it wasn’t the end of us.

‘Restricted access of course.’ And with that she stabbed me in the ovaries.

‘What’s the point?’ I spat back.

She got up to leave.

‘Can I ask why?’

I did desperate well.

She turned and for a moment I thought she might sit back down and tell me this was all a dream, or a test, something other than blatant abandonment.

‘Listen Lou – oh how do I explain this… ?’

I saw her eyes search for words.

‘…you know that marshmallow you ate, the abandoned one?’

‘Yes.’

‘Well you’re like my marshmallow, on the floor, hair all over you, and sure if I wiped you down or hosed you off I might for a moment get that sweet sensation only a marshmallow can give me as it touches my lips, but than the guilt would set in, the self hate, that yearning for something more in my life – do you understand?’

‘I’m not a marshmallow.’

She took a long breath.

‘You’re not my marshmallow Lou.’

And with that she left…and for me it was time to go home and stand in front of the mirror – I was going to treat myself tonight.

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