The What If Girl 

I’ve had an epiphany.  A realisation about myself.  More self awareness.  I’ve been spending time looking at my habits and patterns (good and bad), trying to work out what I want next in life.  I blame a stack of Facebook and Instagram posts encouraging me to Follow My Dreams and not settle for less.  Dammit. 

Part of this came about after another hilarious (read hideous) dating experience.  I wondered why I keep torturing myself, talking to men who are either damaged, f*ckwits or both.  Why could I not just give up dating for good?  Was I a sucker for punishment?  Did I have a hidden issue from my childhood?  Am I afraid to be alone? 

Thankfully the answer is No to all of those questions.  The answer is that I’m a What If Girl. 

My head is constantly poking me with the statement “What If?” It happens in lots of areas of my life, particularly dating.  What If this guy that I talk to / text / go on a date with is the love of my life?  (I say next as I’ve been lucky enough to have had a few loves in my life.)   What If he’s just awkward online but when we meet, we have an amazing connection and it’s on?  What If I’m being too fussy?  What If I give up dating and my next big love passes me by.  What If?

I have the same issue when it comes to stuff.  I have a lot of stuff.  Some people call it clutter.  I call it memories.   I have a hard time throwing things out.  You never know when you will need something, right?  What If I get invited to a fancy dress party and the theme is double denim with a Brazilian dancer head-dress?  What If someone asks to borrow a book I’ve read?  What If I forget that I finished the New York marathon because I threw my runners out?  What If?

Then there are the quirky little habits I have that I’m not prepared to drop in case I jinx myself or something bad happens.  What If I don’t say Drive Safely to someone when they leave and they have a crash?  What If I don’t call people when they pop into my head and something happens to them?  (This has actually happened to me so I’m going to let this one go).  What If I don’t tell the checkout boy that he gave me too much change and I get bad karma?   What If?

Being a What If girl isn’t all bad.  It actually has a really positive upside.  It means I also wonder What If for good stuff.  What If we created this amazing event at work and everyone loved it?  What If I started a blog as a way to feed my creative juices?  What If I trained really hard to run the New York marathon (and three others)?  What If I chose to see the best in people and do what I could to have a happy life?  What If? 

I’ve decided to wear my What If Girl badge with pride.  To not use it as an excuse to torture myself with clutter and crappy experiences, but to embrace it as a girl who sees the world full of endless possibilities.   To use the term What If as a challenge to do more, be better and embrace that Follow my Dreams meme I saw.  What If I never saw those inspirational quotes on Facebook?  What If indeed.   


What the Hell just Happ'nd?

There are some sad nasty people in the world.  This week, I met one of them.  We didn’t actually meet (thank God) but he did invade my world for 48 hours.  48 hours of confusion, intrigue, bizarre conversation and abuse.  It was my first experience of cyber shit. At the time it was foul.  Right now it’s kinda funny.

You need to try a dating app, a friend told me. I protested. I don’t want to date.  I’m not sure I want a relationship right now.  I just finished seeing a really great guy for a few weeks, realizing that a commitment is not where I’m at.   How could this be any different to what I’ve already done in the dating world? 

Curiosity killed the cat.  And my self esteem.  Briefly.  Off I went to check out this so called love machine.  I have friends who are now happy and in love after meeting that way, what if it did the same for me?  I just wanted to have a look around and see what it was about.

Within days a guy sent me a Charm.  That means he likes me and wants to get to know me.  According to the FAQ page.  I read his profile.  He looks interesting.  Photographer.  Builder.  Avid traveller.  Speaks three languages.  Likes good conversation, great coffee and nice wine.  This sounds like a guy that might be good to get to know.  I accept his request.

Hello Tanya.  Nice to meet your acquaintance. 

Hello A.  Thanks for your note. What are you up to on this balmy evening?

Him:  Watching ABC2, scoffing at the current political landscape and eating Belgian chocolate icecream.  What are you doing right now?

Me:  That icecream sounds way more fun than watching political quagmire.

Him:  We should meet up and have a drink.

Does he mean now or at some point in the future?  I’m new to this app so not sure if it’s only for instant hookups, or you can chat and go on a proper date down the track.   Let me suss him out with a bit of humour.

That could be awkward as I’m currently in my PJ’s replying to work emails.

Three days of back to back meetings are killing me.  I have about 450 emails to go through.  30 more minutes and I think I’m done.  So tired. 

Oh you’re one of those girls.  Not interested Granny Puss.  Go find someone else to talk to in your roulette of men.  By the way, you’ll never find anyone as good as me.  

Sorry?  What the f*ck?  Granny Puss?   Is he for real?  What did I say?   Wow, now I’m feeling really good. 

Me:  WTF?

Him:  You’re obviously talking to a lot of guys at once.  Not interested in anyone with combo conversations going on.  I only want to talk to someone one on one.

Me:  Not talking to anyone else.  You asked me what I was doing.  Apologies for a bit of light Sunday night banter. I’m new to this app and was finding my feet.  Thought you were an interesting guy with beautiful photos.  Don’t worry about it.

Okay, getting off this app.  What a jerk.

Oh LOL, Tanya.  All good.  People on here talk to lists of others at once. I’m not that guy. It’s a numbers game.  More hits.  More dates.  More opportunities. Granny Puss = unique cat.  I head off to my apartment n London next week but perhaps we can chat further once you get your PhD in men.  :)

Me: I don’t need a PhD on men.  I need a manual for Happn!  Also this site doesn’t show off my outstanding sense of humour.  So how many people are you talking to?

Him:  So you’re not new to dating?  I think I should ask you out for a drink.

I’m intrigued about this guy. What’s he really like?  I want to find out.  I think.

Me:  Go on then.  Ask me out for a drink.

Him:  Tanya, would you like to go out for a drink with me sometime this week?

Me:  Thank you for asking.  I’d love to go out with you for a drink.  I’ll check my diary and come back to you tomorrow with date options.  I have an early start in the morning so will say goodnight. Thank you for an interesting conversation.

It’s  nearly 1am.   I am tired and delirious.  Does this guy have a weird sense of humour or is he a jerk?  I really can’t tell yet.   But I’m definitely intrigued.

At around 11am the next day, he wrote to me again, asking when I was free.   At least he’s keen and following up.  Some guys take three days to return messages.

I tell him that I’m free Thursday. 

Great.  Meet me at Joey’s Bar.  Around 8pm.  See you then.

Me:  Done.  Now tell me a little bit about yourself so I have something to look forward to when I meet you.

Him:  I travel a lot.  Have lived in London, NY and Spain. Age 39. Speak Spanish, Japanese and Greek.  Close to family, happily married sister. Live around the corner from the house I grew up in. Creative, photography.  Was understudy to a Japanese Sensei. Hopefully that will make me an interesting date not just on paper. 

Me:  That sounds like a very full life.  Does it make you happy and thankful for it?  Also, you didn’t answer my question about how many people you’re talking to …

Him:  Send me your number and I’ll send you a screen shot.  

A screen shot?  Of what?  Is this going to be a dickpic?  Surely not.  I text him my mobile number to say hi.  Much easier than this stupid system.  Might help to work out what sort of guy he is. 

He sends me a shot of his Happn profile.  It shows a photo of me, another girl (aged 36) and Charlotte, the admin on the site.  

Him:  See?  Not the megalist of a player.  Doubt anyone else on this site is the same.  

Me:  Charlotte is two timing me!   (See I can be hilarious).

Him:  No she isn’t.  So.  Let’s have a look at your inbox.

I screen grab my notifications page which shows four guys – him, Barry (a seemingly nice guy) and two weirdos who have sent me charms.  

Didn’t even reply to the bottom two, I tell him.

Him:  Can I have a look at your message inbox?

I screenshot the inbox with two guys – him and Barry (seemingly nice guy).  

Are you paranoid or don’t trust me? I ask.

I don’t trust 47 year olds.  No.

Who the f*ck is this guy?  Is he serious?  Massive douchebag.  Shutting him down.  

Me:  Wow.  Remember how we started our conversation?  You’re doing that again. 

Him:  Semantics.  We may now proceed to courtship. 

This guy is weird. I don’t have the energy for this.  I have a stack of meetings and work to do.  Deleting him later tonight.

A few hours later, I log onto the site and he’s disappeared.   Great.  

I text him.  Not sure why.  Think I just wanted closure on the situation.  Confirmation we were done.  My bad. 

You deleted me?  Good idea.  We’re obviously not on the same page.  Best of luck!

Him:  Of course.  I have your number?  No need to chat on there.  What’s wrong with you?  We don’t need online dating.  Happy to put you back on?  But what for?   Thanks for the best wishes.  J

This is what I was afraid of.  Him not understanding that I’m not interested.  

A, you’ve now insulted me twice.  I’m hoping by mistake but I don’t know you so really not sure.  Perhaps our senses of humour are different but I don’t think we’re on the same page. Thank you for an interesting few days of conversation.  Hope your London trip goes well. 

I add a smiley face as a ‘no hard feelings’ offer.  Dating is hard.  I think you need to be nice to people.  He obviously doesn’t feel the same way.

Miss whatever your name is.  Because I forgot.  You are clearly insecure.  I measured this with this action and it is obvious that control is an essential hallmark to your solitary existence.  No fear.  I’m sure you will find something other than me to enact what you’ve clearly got going on.  All the best Granny Puss.  I guess the youngins are cheaper than Botox … (maybe not for you).

He also added a kiss three minutes later.  Obviously to say ‘no hard feelings’.  It made me laugh.  A lot.  What a poor, sad man.  Someone smashed his heart. Bad. 

If you are searching for love, keep your eyes open for a charming (?!) creative guy who loves good conversation (abuse) and travel (hopefully leaving the country for good).  Also, if he tells you he’s 39, check out his Facebook profile.  I’m not that great with maths but I’m pretty sure someone who finished school in 1985 is 48. (Yes, older than me, the Granny Puss).  A liar, and a f*ckwit.  What a catch.  Happn, you can jam it. 



Another flight, another feeling 

I’m writing this on a plane. It’s a cold windy day and we’re bumping and swaying a bit.  I’m hoping that keeping busy will stop my mind from freaking out and my tummy from feeling ill.  I used to get travel sickness all the time on planes. And buses. Cars. Trains. Boats are the worst. Now I’m much better, but now and again the nausea sneaks up on me and before I know it, I’m processing film in one of those white little bags.  If you know what I mean.

I’m on my way to Rads to see my family and celebrate my Dad’s 70th birthday.  I’ve had a few big weeks at work (nothing new there) and lots of events so I’m looking forward to some chill time.  I’m also excited to be seeing my Mum and Dad as it’s been a while since I’ve been able to hang out with them.  There will be big hugs at the airport.  Lots of long hugs. 

I’ve caught hundreds of planes in my life.  For many different reasons.   Holidays.  Work.  Overseas adventures.  Birthdays, weddings and unfortunately funerals. Long distance relationships. I flew back and forth between Adelaide and Melbourne for months when I was doing two jobs, re-connecting with my husband every few days.  They were bittersweet flights – missing my home town but slowly falling in love with my new city.  I had a playlist of songs that I listened to over and over.  I still can’t hear Torn by Natalie Imbruglia or Rain by Madonna without feeling a sense of displacement.  The power of music.

Every time I slide into my seat and settle in for a flight I feel a different emotion.  The effects of alcohol are heightened when you fly.  For me, my emotions are scaled.  Substantially.  I can’t just get on a plane and feel normal.  Or feel nothing.    I’m either super excited and grinning at the passengers around me (weird, right?) or I’m secretly wiping away tears because I’m overwhelmed.  I feel melancholy.  Sad to be leaving people or places behind.  Knowing a holiday is over.   Realising I won’t see people I love for a while.  I have sobbed during take off or laughed with childish joy as a plane taxis into a new country.  Emotional overdrive, live from Seat 21D.

After embarking on a long distance relationship with Scuba Steve (the lifeguard) between Perth and LA I made a conscious decision to never say Goodbye to people whenever I left anywhere – or if they headed off.   I say “See you soon”, because I know that’s what will happen.  It might be two years – it might be a few weeks – but I will always see the people I love ‘soon’.  Goodbye sounds so final.  I don’t want that.  I want to keep the thought in my head – and my heart – that I’ll be with those people again.  Soon. 

I usually travel alone and maybe that’s another reason my emotions are heightened so much.  I don’t have a companion to share my thoughts, feelings and excitement with so I bottle them up until they ooze out me.  Whether I like it or not.  Like now, while writing this.

The Captain just announced that we’re starting to prepare for landing so I need to finish up.  Now I’m getting a bit excited.  Not long until I see my beautiful family.  And the massive Ikea building.  Such a highlight.  Yes, Dad, we have those where I come from too.  No, I’ve never tried the meatballs.

I will try really hard not to cry when I see him, but the way I’m feeling right now, I think I’m up for an epic fail.  I have just been in an emotional pressure cooker after all.  Anything could happen.  

(Also big shout out to Justin Bieber. Your new album is great.  It got me through this trip. Thanks. I don’t care if you never want to meet me. Just keep writing great songs.)

Footnote:  After I turned my Mac off the Captain announced we had to go into a holding pattern as the runway was full.  30 minutes later I was holding a little white bag full of travel sickness joy.  Oh the irony.  


I found Love on Netflix 

I sometimes find it hard to sit still and do nothing.  There’s always something ‘better’ to do than sit on the couch and watch TV.  Fun stuff.  Chores. Catch up with friends on the phone. Facebook.  Twitter.  Instagram.  Relaxing is not something that comes easily to me.  I need to focus to unwind.  Ironic, huh?

Netflix has become my Valium.  I use it as my down time and I love it.   Making a concerted effort to sit down and watch a show or movie has taught me the power of ‘doing nothing’.  I’m getting better at it.  I am rehearsing a lot and practising hard. 

It all started with Orange Is the New Black. I watched a few episodes on flights overseas and got addicted.  A few months later I signed up for Netflix and happily relived all that crazy lesbian estrogen jail action.  I watched ep after ep.  I finally understood what binge watching was.

I then moved onto House of Cards.  GFM had previously given me a USB containing the first two seasons, but I couldn’t get into it. He loves anything political but I wasn’t convinced.  This was also in the days of ‘I’m no couch potato Tan’ where there was little chance of me committing to a full series of a show (or an exercise plan, diet or man). Before I knew it I was hanging to watch Francis and Claire play their wicked games, soaking up season after season until I got to the end.  Now I just sit and wait.  Like the rest of the world.

By this point I was caught in the Netflix web, talking to friends about what to watch next.  Not interested in Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, a friend suggested something a little off the radar:  Nashville.   Yes, a show about country music.  I would spend school holidays in the outback as a child so I’m good with a bit of boot scooting thigh tappin’ country music.  The story involves a well established singer (think Reba McEntire) and a young upstart, played by that girl from Heroes who have to unite to follow their dreams, blah blah blah.   There’s great music, strong plot lines and interesting characters.  I was really getting into it.  It was my therapy after a hard day at work.  

One day, as I settled down with a bowl of pasta for a bit of R&R I was horrified to find that Nashville had disappeared from my Favourites menu.  Panic ensued.  Lots of resetting of Apple TV.  Clicking and switching remotes.  Googling to find out what was wrong.  Unable to find a solution, I ate that pasta watching a piece of mind numbing reality TV, with a massive sad face.  The next day a work colleague told me that Netflix had lost the rights to show Nashville.   Seriously, how could such a tragedy happen?  Like a bad boyfriend, Netflix had sucked me in, making me fall in love, then smashing my dreams of a happy ending.  Sigh. 

Like a bad boyfriend, I took it back and gave it a second chance. 

Tonight I completed the season of a quirky show called Love.  It’s about a dorky guy called Gus who separates from his homebody girlfriend and tries to ease into his new single life. He meets Mickey, a drug-alcohol-love-sex-addict mess who constantly ‘fucks shit up’ (her words) but is wanting badly to be with Gus.  It’s funny, sweet and awkward.  I devoured it in just a few days like a little kid on a sugar rush. 

Now that I’m done and searching for another show to plunge myself into, I reflect on who I’ve become.  A girl who would rather sit at home (alone), drink herbal tea and watch fictional characters live out their weird lives.  I immerse myself in their joy, tragedies and drama, because I’m tired and can’t be bothered to go out and create any of my own on a Saturday night.  I get enough of that during the week.  

Do I feel sad about my pending doom as a couch potato who could easily polish off a bag of Doritos and feel complete?  Nope.  I found Love.  And House of Cards.  Magic Mike XXL.  Perfectly, the new season of Orange Is The New Black just dropped.  I’m doing fine.  Unwound and de-stressed.  I’m happy.  Relaxing is nice.  That’s why it’s called Netflix and Chill, right?   


It's only money, right?  

I’ve had a bad week with money.  I feel like a human ATM, handing out cash all over the place.  Money for stuff that is important, but really, I’d rather be spending on fun stuff.

It started two weeks ago with my side mirror.  Read my previous blog about my inability to adult (and drive) to find out what happened.  A total sum of $600 to get that little piece of my car fixed.  Apparently paint matching for fancy electric mirrors is quite expensive.  Who knew?

A trip to the dentist on Tuesday saw me having two small fillings (the result of a little bit of over brushing and gum wearing) and a root canal on my credit card.  I go to the dentist every six months so not sure how I ended up agreeing to x-rays (my last were apparently two years ago) and a full clean.  I also paid a small fortune for the anaesthetic but really who wants to spend an hour in a dental chair undrugged?  Not me.  Luckily I love my Dentist so I didn’t stab him when he handed me a bill for $724.   I’m now grinning madly at strangers with my perfect teeth to get my money’s worth.

Wednesday rolled around and I dropped off my car for a service.  It was a little overdue but it seemed to be running okay.   What would I know?  The lovely Service Consultant Nicole informed me that I had a leaking water pump and a loose oil seal (or something like that).  If I had all the work done in one go I could save HOURS under warranty which would mean a much lower bill.  You’re very sweet Nicole but I wonder how much worse it would have been than the $1,486 bill you gave me.  You know I drive a Ford Fiesta and not a Porsche right?

I must say, Jett (my car) does run better than ever.   That’s what I tell myself so I don’t feel so ripped off.

Since the Service Team had to keep my car for so long, they were nice enough to let me take a loan car.  I love Jett but it was quite a novelty to drive a family wagon.  They gave me a Ford Kuga – a mid size 4WD designed for kids and suburbs not rolling mountain getaways.  The coolest part was that the engine would turn itself off every time you were stationary.  As a greenie, that gave me a little thrill.  Sad, huh?

After a long day in the office I pulled into our gated carpark as I do every night.  One of the new tenants drives a long white van with a massive bull bar on the front.  Carefully I pulled in, checking that I wouldn’t hit the bull bar. 

Unfortunately I wasn’t paying attention to the other side of the car and scraped the whole side of the Kuga along the gate.  It was one of those awesome moments when you hit something and are not sure whether to reverse or just push ahead.  I closed my eyes and moved forward as an orchestra of paint and metal scraped together, syncing with the sounds of me swearing “Fck, Fck, Fck” like Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Thankfully lovely Nicole at the Service Centre had highlighted the $1,500 excess I’d be required to pay for any damage to the loan car.  I remember her circling it three times for effect as I thought “well I won’t need to worry about that, will I?”  Again, I was wrong.

Ah, life is funny isn’t it?  How it just loves to throw you a bunch of shit all at the same time? 

I survived that horror fortnight and now have my Ford Fiesta back, running perfectly and looking all clean and shiny with it’s new mirror.  Lovely Nicole is processing my insurance paperwork and my teeth are looking better than ever.

On the bright side, I’ll be getting a stack of Qantas Frequent Flyer points from all the credit card transactions I’ve made lately.   God knows I need a holiday.  Think I’ll fly somewhere – not sure a road trip where I have to drive is a good idea right now.

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