Stuck in the 90’s Again

Stuck in the 90’s Again

I truly Love being back at school.  The penny drops and some readings sink in every once in a while, and for just a moment,  I feel like a fucking academic rockstar.


I could spend the rest of my adult life languishing in books and journals and online resources all day.  Words are delicious and reading and writing is a special kind of heaven for a logophile like myself.

Being an adult student pisses all over my undergrad and postgraduate diploma experiences.  I actually want to be there now.  It is the least stressful and in some ways most rewarding part of my life (sorry kids, husband, job and activism) right now.  Probably mostly owing to the fact I know it will all be over by August.  I felt the same giddiness about the first few events I managed when I got back to work, and the first weeks of my youngest children’s lives.  I guess I like variety.

Anyway, what was I on about again?

Ah, yes, so I seriously love being back at school.  I was in the library all day yesterday and today, and I’m up on the all but abandoned 4th floor that smells of books, and ink, and laptop fans and coffee.  This is lucky, as the main floor smells of young people.  You know the smell, like the 7th form common room.  Lynx and sweat and raging hormones.  So much yuck.  Much prefer the musty smell of books to that of millennials.  Nothing wrong with young people, we were all young people at one time or another, I just rather prefer being a feisty middle-aged mother of four.

I have earned my stripes in this life, and have crammed a decade worth of living and adventure into each and every year since striking out on my own (mostly) at the age of 16.

One of the nice things about getting/being older is the reminiscing.  I wouldn’t want to do my teens or twenties over again for all the tea in China (China, CHINA… can’t help myself… Trump memes are like brain worms) but I do like thinking back on my incredibly interesting coming of age.

You’ve heard the saying “youth is wasted on the young” well I think that’s stone cold bullshit.  Youth is not a waste.  It is very important.  Doing dumbass shit and becoming self aware and connected to a bigger purpose than ourselves is a destination only possible through the trials, heartache, laughter, tears, dramatics, awkward sex, fleeting first kisses, epic adventures and learning how to be resilient through all of this shit.


Youth is best spent in a body that can handle the punishment that comes with making many bad (and some fabulous) decisions.  So, it is not wasted on the young.  It is perfectly suited to them.  And they can fucking HAVE IT!

So today’s soundtrack was exclusively 90’s fare.  I listened to Counting Crows, and Lisa Loeb, and then the COMPLETE Third Eye Blind collection.  I was transported to the University of Calgary and our four bedroom apartment in Castle Hall.  They’ve since torn that whole complex that was built for the 1988 winter olympics down.


Chain smoking, beer for breakfast and working a full time job at a coffee shop on campus called (ever so originally) The Coffee Company.  I Loved that job.  I got another “foreign” student friend a job alongside me there.  We’ve all but lost touch now.  Her name was Sarah and she works as an events manager or something in Queenstown.  I see her shit come up on Facebook or Instagram occasionally, but we’ve taken very different paths and don’t have mutual friends anymore.  I see the other fabulous Australian Jess online a lot, we share a lot of political views so I like reading her status updates and shit.

So this trip down memory lane got me thinking. If I could go back and give skinny, insecure, campus bicycle (just about everyone had a ride) Dee some really solid advice it would include:

  • Listen, like ACTUALLY FUCKING LISTEN to that voice that says “that isn’t a good idea Dianna…” but listen MORE to the voice that says: “HEY!  You should DO THAT!”
  • Give less fucks about what people think, most people whose opinions matter to you today will fall into obscurity (even with social media) and be replaced with people who are smart, kind, caring, quirky, wonderful and treat you with Love and respect.
  • Definitely go out with the sweet short guy you’re going to meet in a few years named Steve, and definitely do tell him that you can’t be bothered dating anyone who doesn’t want kids (together you’ll have four)
  • Love the shit out of everything and do not be ashamed.  Your passion and enthusiasm will take you all over the planet, and it will be amazing.  It does run out though, so use up every morsel while you can before it does.
  • Dance and sing and go on a lot of road trips.
  • The freedom you have right now is something you’ll not think of as a gift until it is replaced with the trappings of being an adult and all the responsibilities contained therein, so be free (and wrap up every single time if you’re feeling randy)
  • Enjoy your own company.  You won’t realize how precious and wonderful being by yourself is until your mid 30’s and you almost NEVER get to be by yourself for any length of time ever.  Seriously.  Even going to the toilet will include an audience when you have four fucking kids, so go sit under a tree somewhere and just fucking be, because you won’t be getting a lot of those moments with a young family in tow.
  • Be confident and humble.  You’ll figure it out…

So, seeing as I do not have a time machine to go back and tell me these things, I will instead hope that my kids benefit from the wisdom bred from my many adventures.  Sprinkle on top of this Phteven’s own vast and varied life experience, and the kids will have a lot to draw on if they ever need advice.

So I am going to leave you with a song that my husband and I listened to on countless road trips and adventures together (before and after we had kids) from one of my top three favourite obscure Canadian bands.  Do yourself a goddamned favour and listen to the whole thing, because it is CRAZY how history repeats and some things do not change, while others totally do.

Here’s “Stuck in the 90’s Again” by my main men from Eastern Canada (who are WELL over 30 now BTW)


Thank you for reading.


I Literally Wanted to Die…is this any better? Still Deciding.


I made one of those passive aggressive posts over the weekend:


“It is a wild world, and I just don’t want to be a part of it anymore…”


Or something to that pathetic and cryptic effect.


I thought I’d take a moment to explain what the actual fuck is going on in the corner of New Zealand I like to call Dee-land.


I started the year with a new diagnosis. Still working out medications, which is strange, as medication is not something I take (aside from generation one antihistamines like Benadryl for sleep, supplements for my anemia and occasionally Ritalin for keeping my A-D-Deeeeliciousness under control) very often.


There are some side effects that are normal for this medication. Hand tremors, thirst, sleep. I am thirsty, but have no other “normal” side effects.


I have had a number of not normal side-effects.


The long and the short of what has happened is I have almost completely lost my joy. I have a very short fuse. I no longer crave human contact of any kind, let alone the insatiable desire I had for hugs, smiles and connection, even 5 weeks ago when I started this regime.


So, I’m a bitch. And you know what? I kind of like it. Here’s a recent photo of my “not amused” or “WTF” face… It is kind of actually my face now.


I feel no need to carry on chatting beyond the point of saying what needs to be said. I don’t care what every single person is doing or why. I do not feel in any way responsible for the bullshit and stupidity that is rife in the world (it still gets me down and makes me want to do something of course), and last… but CERTAINLY not least… for the first time in 30 years I do not crave death or have suicidal thoughts countless times every single day.


Now I’m faced with a conundrum.


My children miss “fun” mom. I think my husband misses the old me, but it is difficult to tell because he’s so busy lately. I’m not sure what my friends think, because for the first time in my 38-year history, I’m not deeply concerned with how other people are feeling all the time.


So do I keep on this trajectory and hope that it changes or settles down and my short fuse and lack of empathy or even interest in the world around me, or do I go back to the old me.


I’ll tell you what. Even thinking about going back to the way things were makes my eyes sweat. All the confidence and noise masked a metric shit-ton of self-loathing and anxiety, and I don’t want to have to continue to live trapped in that bubble of neediness and self-hatred.


But I miss craving hugs. I fake hugs now, and that’s really fucking weird for someone who used to need human contact like most normal people need air. And I miss dancing with the kids in the kitchen while we cook dinner. And I miss belly laughs, and benders, and highs, and lows, and feeling hopeful almost pathologically optimistic.


I miss me. But I hated me. Like PROPER fucking HATED myself.


I’ll go back for more discussions on options, and I will try and figure this out, but this short break from truly craving death, despite knowing cognitively how selfish and ridiculous those feelings are/were… I can’t begin to tell you what kind of relief I feel.


So, to those closest to me who have born the brunt of my bitchiness, I am sorry, but I am not sure that Dee the pushover who needs or wants a cuddle will be returning. And to the many WONDERFUL and supportive friends who have DM’d me and offered words of kindness and support, I thank you so much! Your warmth is the only thing that has brought light into my dimmed heart these days. The meds have me feeling like most of the world is populated by fuckers who just wanna fuck people for their own fucking gain (the medication has done nothing to curb my swearing BTW) and knowing that there are good, kind, wonderful people who have genuine concern for crazy asses like me, well it is buoying.


So what would YOU do?


Would you carry on and try to learn how to trust people again without the veil of optimism that the previous un-medicated state used to allow? Or would you give up and try something else?


Feel free to be as judge-y and opinionated as you wish if you’re going to comment.


I’d like some fresh advice on this.