Fatty and Skinny in Woodgate

Sometimes people tell me I’m skinny. I don’t think I am, I’m just really fit, so I have a fair bit of muscle and not much body fat. This doesn’t happen by accident because I train pretty hard, which is why I don’t really like getting told that I’m skinny. I just think that people aren’t generally used to seeing women who are my age and look like I do.

When I was a kid, I was teased for being fat. I don’t even know if I was. I do know that I was taller than everyone else in my classes all the way through primary school. It wasn’t until around grade nine or ten did the boys start to overtake me in height, and even then, there were only about four of them. Mr Fell, who was a teacher at my primary school in Hervey Bay whispered in my ear one day, “Jenny needs to go to Jenny Craig” What kind of an arsehole says something like that to a kid?! Ugh.

Me and Fatty have started hanging out a fair bit lately. This is Fatty in his natural habitat. Taken on the latest secret track I discovered in Woodgate:

I found a secret track on Google Earth a while back, so yesterday I set out with a hand drawn map (I don’t have an internet phone) to see if I could follow it:

f

I rode for two hours, mostly through deep sand along the secret track and back home again. It would’ve been around 30km. It was a really hard ride, but still, it was awesome, and this time I didn’t fall off, although I came close a couple of times. See, the bike needs to go forward when I’m on it, which is the whole concept behind cycling, and if I don’t have enough momentum when I hit a deep patch of sand, then over I go. It all happens in slow motion and is quite painless due to the soft landing. Getting the sand out of my shoes, and last time out of my hair and ear, is another story, especially when I’m all sweaty.

I fell off once due to a spider’s web. I’m really scared of spiders and I rode down yet another secret track and went face-first into a spider web. All I could think of was having a giant spindly-legged beast on my face or on my helmet and I screamed (even though I’m a girl, I rarely do this and my screams sound nothing like you’d imagine a girly scream to sound)  and jumped off the bike mid pedal, it stopped going forward and promptly fell on my leg. Fatty is heavier than a regular mountain bike (due to his obese wheels I’d say). This was about three weeks ago and I still have the bruise. There was no spider. This is how big a spider is:

 

 

But this is how big it feels to me, even if its non existent:

I looped around back to a track I’ve ridden down multiple times and Fatty said he wanted a rest, so he posed for a photo here:

I love Fatty, but it wasn’t always like that. And the thing is, he doesn’t even belong to me. He belongs to the cool guy I’m married to. When the cool guy bought this bike I told him he was being ridiculous. “It’s a stupid fad these fat bikes. We’ve already got bikes, why do you need one like this? It’s ridiculous, look how big the wheels are!” It’s pretty funny now that I’m the one who rides Fatty all the time and am always going on and on about how great it is to have a bike that can do the things that Fatty can do. There’s no way in hell I’d ever be able to ride a regular mountain bike in the places I take Fatty, and there’s no way I’d ever be able to make a regular mountain bike go as fast as I can get Fatty to go. On Fatty I feel like I’m invincible. I didn’t like Fatty in the beginning and sometimes it’s good to be wrong about things. Mr Fell was wrong about me too, when he believed I was worthless, and I was wrong about myself for a long time believing that I was fat, ugly and nonathletic.

Be wrong and see where it can take you

 

 

And the People Went Prawning

The Woodgate version of Kitty O’Meara’s poem:

And the people went prawning. And cast nets, and lines, and waited, and waited, and thought about the barra and the jack and were still in their boats and on their shore. And they listened to the ocean, the breeze and the white bellied sea eagle screeching overhead. Some people caught fish, others prawns and still others crabs. Some came home empty handed. And the people began to think differently.

And the people changed. The ones who had once taken more than their bag limit, lifted pots and took for granted their idyllic home, watched as the waters healed and the scorched bush regenerated. And after a time resilience led the way, it’s pillars holding back the loss, allowing people a new freedom and a new respect for each other and their home. They were healed of arrogance and dreamt dreams not of plunder, but of abundance, kindness, and a sustainable way of living, being and doing.

Still. And the people went prawning.

 

 

 

Sea sick

People probably think I’m a tough mofo, but I still get scared every now and then. It’s just that I don’t let my fear stop me. It’s not always easy.

I went fishing the other day with some awesome friends from Woodgate. A couple I lovingly refer to as The Tidies, which is an amalgamation of both their names, and another mate who could otherwise be known as Tytus Brosch (this in an in-joke that no one will understand, but I’m using here in the pursuit of anonymity and also because I wanted to draw a picture).

I really like boats and I like fishing, but it’s been many years since I was on a boat that wasn’t in command of the cool guy I’m married to and I was a bit worried about how my mate Tytus would behave on the water. What if he’s a total cowboy? I worried, and what if I need to pee out on the ocean when there’s three other poeple on a small boat? I wonder how long we’ll be out there. Will I get really hungry? What if the boat sinks? What if the waves are really big? On and on it went. None of that stuff was an issue. Tytus was great on the water, no hint of cowboy in him, but what I didn’t even consider for second was getting sea sick.

To my horror, I got sick! I was totally surprised because I’ve only ever been sea sick once when I was about eight years old, so I’ve been telling myself for years that don’t get sea sick and I’ve always felt a little bit self righteous about that.

One of us had already upchucked by the time we’d gotten to the first spot, and I said to myself, no way am I gonna let that happen to me, but as the morning wore on, I began to doubt my ability to follow through with that commitment. Even so, the remaining three of us didn’t say anything about feeling sick and we all kept fishing and joking around as though everything was perfectly normal, find and dandy.

After a while I felt I had to mention the situation and said, “Gees, I feel a bit sick.” Immediatley the other two people on the boat who didn’t appear sick at all yelled “Me too!”  and we all started laughing. All of us had been staying stum in an effort to hide our apparent “weakness”.

In the end we caught a few fish between us and had a great time, even though all of us were crook as dogs! We laughed about it and I guess that’s what will make the trip a lasting memory.

It’s always interesting to me that the things that I might be concerned about are never the things that come up as challenges. I’m really glad I didn’t let my reservations about the fishing trip stop me. I would never have had the opportunity to see this because I usually avoid getting up at 4am:

Sunrise through the mouth of the Burrum River. It’s a hard life in Woodgate. Oh, how I struggle. NOT!

 

What if the opposite of your fears transpired?

Throwing knives and a YouTube doco

In my last post I wrote about sucking at stuff in 2020. I started by using my throwing knives and the GoPro (for separate things) and I wasn’t disappointed at my expectations of sucking.

On the 1st and 2nd of January I set out in my kayak with the GoPro attached to my head to film what I thought would be an awesome documentary on the Burrum River. I paddled around for ages giving a running commentary of the goings on, while imagining how great it would all be look once I was able to edit and post it on YouTube.

When I got home I was excited about watching it and making it look really cool so my fantastic footage could go immediately viral. Rubbing my hands together in anticipation of critical acclaim and vast fortunes, I set about attempting to view what I’d recorded. I could see it on the tiny screen on the GoPro itself, but none of the media players I have on my computer would let me see the visual. I could only hear the audio. I downloaded it this way, then that way, then yet another way, but none of it made any difference. After around five hours of dicking around and being close to tears of frustration, I decided I’d better pack it in for the day.

The next day I went out and took some more footage with different settings on the GoPro. I was certain this would be the answer. It wasn’t. I dicked around with it a bit more, but after a couple of hours I still felt like crying, so I had to leave it, and googling the problem wasn’t any help.

On the third day I posted my problem on a hiking facebook group that went something like this: Help me, I’m too stupid to work a GoPro, and lots of lovely people, who were once stupid, just like me, responded with helpful advice. In the interim, I’d decided that I’d just upload it to YouTube as it was because I had an inkling that YouTube might be running under a better system than my Asus laptop, which I’ve had since 2009. Guess what? I was right, YouTube’s system is better than Windows10. Who would’ve thought! This is the video here:

So, what I learnt here is that  I made a buttload of assumptions about how this whole exercise would pan out, which is probably something I do all the time.  I also learnt – quite sadly – my laptop is too old to edit stuff from the GoPro and that no amount of dicking around with it is going to help. Now I forge on with the advice provided by the hiking group to see if I can download some of their suggested software to bridge the gap between my geriatric laptop and the already superceded GoPro Hero 7. I almost cried a few times while learning this stuff and it made me feel really annoyed, but I made it through the challenge and came to no ill fortune.

Then it was time to throw some knives. This is one of the activities I highlighted in my most recent post: I’d never thrown knives before and I thought it would be interesting to see how I progress at learning something totally new. I knew I’d suck at it to begin with and yep, I was right:

As you can see in the vid I miss every single one! At least some of them are actually hitting the target. I managed to get one knife into the target out of about forty throws, but it was right on the very edge. I lost one knife in the leaves on the ground and the cool guy I’m married to had to go and buy a rake so we could find it the next day.

It’s hard not to be good at something. It makes me feel stupid and useless. I know that’s normal, but it’s still a difficult feeling to embrace. I guess this is what stops most people when they discover they aren’t an expert straight away when they try something  new, and probably prevents them from even trying in the first place.

The start and finish are irrelevant because

GREATNESS COMES ON THE PATH

 

How much will I suck in 2020?

2019 wasn’t bad. It wasn’t all easy though. Some shit went sideways and I said goodbye to a few relationships and also some beliefs that I’d been hanging onto for too long. I also extricated myself from a toxic workplace. None of this was easy because it’s hard to see people for what they really are. I don’t want to believe that people are intentional arseholes, but the truth is that sometimes they just are, and contrary to what said arseholes probably think, that’s not actually my fault. It would have been easy to blame myself and say that I should have done this, I should have done that, I should have learned how to breath underwater, defy gravity, turn water into wine, tame dragons, control the weather, and I should have kept my mouth shut about the shady shit that was going on, but I didn’t because it’s not right to do bad shit to people and it’s not right to accept that from anyone, be it your boss, your brother, your neighbour, your best mate or a government department.  If I kept accepting that kind of treatment then I’m just as crappy a person as the ones who are treating me like shit because I’m teaching them that I deserve that kind of treatment. I’m also teaching them that they can treat other people the same way, and that’s not OK with me.

I did some pretty amazing stuff in 2019: I hiked 450 km on my own to Brisbane and got to meet some really cool people, and I raised over $6000 for brain injury while doing it. I read close to 100 books, exercised for 377 hours, ran more than 180 km, learnt some wicked skipping drills, went to some great gigs, grew out of my clothes because I built new muscle, got my first reading glasses, survived a bushfire, and made some freakin’ awesome plans for 2020.

In 2020 I’m going to see how much I can learn. Can a skill in one sphere emerge in another sphere, giving rise to an ability where none previously existed? Basically, will a lifestyle of breadth, rather than depth facilitate emergent abilities? I believe it will. It’s going to be tricky to measure this, but I’ll do my best. I’ll be recording everything I do and putting it on YouTube so everyone can see how much I suck when I first start out, and how that’s actually OK, because everyone sucks to begin with!

Watch me as I suck at these things:

  • playing video games*
  • knife throwing
  • tap dancing
  • learning a new language
  • skateboarding*
  • graffiti
  • juggling*
  • rubix cube*
  • macrame
  • physics
  • wood carving
  • singing*
  • kiteboarding
  • navigation*
  • chess
  • playing the banjo*

* These things I’ve tried at least once before, but was never any good at and/or it’s been over twenty years since I’ve done them.

Here’s what I’ve been doing in the last couple of days:

Snorkelling around the snags in the river. It’s a hard life.

Kayaking up the river and down a creek. This is where I suck. I made this ridiculously stupid and hilarious documentary about the Burrum River on a GoPro, but can’t get the damn thing to transfer to the computer so I can upload it to YouTube. Waaaahhhh!

See, it’s ok to suck, because that’s what pretty much everyone does the first time they try something, and this was the first time I’ve used the GoPro.

Learn by way of failure

Because

No one ever started off being an expert

 

 

 

The Magic Clothes

I recently learned that my clothing has magical qualities, namely the ability to disappear. Luckily this only happens when the clothing is not on my body otherwise it might make for an embarrassing episode of unexpected public nudity. I’ve only noticed the magic once so far and that was on the 13th of November this year and I wrote about the incident that lead me to believe in magic here.

After the people in question stole my clothing  I submitted a complaint via the relevant online portal for that particular state government department (yes, it was public servants who stole my belongings) suggesting that my clothing be returned or I be paid the amount of money I calculated to be a fair sum to replace the articles that had gone missing ($194.95: pocket knife, lip balm, hat, sunglasses, New Balance running shorts and branded t-shirt). Imagine my surprise (sarcasm alert) when the department denied that my clothing had been stolen, which of course absolved them of the need to return it and meant that they wouldn’t need to compensate me, or even take any responsibility for anything that happened that day. How convenient for them! I wonder how I would have fared if I had done the same to them?

Ok, so if I’m insane and the cops didn’t steal my shit, here’s what I think might have happened. I have a few ideas. I’d love to hear what you think of them:

  1. China has been secretly tunneling to Australia and the opening of their new tunnel just happened to be directly under my clothes and the clothes got sucked into the negative airspace, fell at an alarming rate, and through a fissure in the rock came to fiery demise in the earth’s core. See the accurate diagrammatic representation:
  2. A giant squid, and I mean really giant, was laying in wait for all of us to turn our heads so that she could steal my stuff as an offering to the Kraken, who she’d fallen out with in recent times over the beheading of medusa. This is what she looked like:
  3. I’ve been living on this planet as a spy for an alien race. After 40,649 years, my people finally came to retrieve me, but their navigation system was disrupted by a solar flair, so they mistakenly took my clothing instead of me, damning me to twelve more lifetimes of human existance. I was so sad when they flew off
  4. An escaped naked convict happened to be hiding out in the bushes and seized the chance to dash down under his cloak of invisibility to steal my clothes, so that he could pursue his lifelong dream of living as a woman. He’s now beautiful:
  5. The clothes never existed in the first place:

 

I don’t hate you.

I just lost all respect for you.

 

Aside

There has been terrible bushfires in this area and I almost lost my home. I was forcibily evacuated by the police, which was not a good experience and the residents of our small township were left to fend for ourselves after being told by the police to go to the Woodgate Bowls Club, which was closed. We all waited at the park in front of the hall (next to the Bowls Club) for three hours for someone to come and tell us what to do. No one came, so we all had to find our own emergency accommodation. Most of us had no clothes or food with us, which added to the challenge. The power was out because the powerlines had been burned down. There was also no internet and almost zero phone reception. It took several days before we could find out if our homes had been destroyed and we were only able to return yesterday. The fire service worked very hard to save our homes and I am extremely grateful for that. I am not grateful for being treated like shit on two occassions by the Qld Police Force. In one incident an officer called me a fuckwit twice, then took a pile of clothes I had arranged on the river bank, spread them out into puddles and stomped all over them. Later, after I’d gathered the clothes up again, he came back and either took them or threw them into the river when I wasn’t watching. Either way, my clothes are gone. He can’t claim that the tide took them out because the tide was receding, which can be proven by the tide charts for that day, and there was no one else there, but him, his sidekick and myself. There was another incident the next day, which was much worse, but I really can’t be bothered talking about it anymore because I am totally aghast at the way many people in this area were treated by the police. I got a tiny little glimpse of what it must be like to be Indigenous.

BEFORE THE FIRE ARRIVED:

Bulldozing a fire break across the road from my house

Smoke from approaching fire

sun

AFTER THE FIRE:

Along the road to my house

At the end of the street