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Women of Letters – A letter to the time I didn’t get what I want

On Sunday, I read at Women of Letters. It was a great honour to be invited to take part and read letters alongside Jess McGuire, Jane Hall, Dr Shakira Hussein and Helen Razor.
The theme was – A Letter to the time I didn’t get what I want.
I had a few visual aids for my letter, which have been included with the letter below.

Enjoy.

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To the time I didn’t get what I want,

I’m the youngest child in my family. I learnt pretty early on that it’s not very hard to get what you want. As far as I was aware from a young age, getting what you want is a given, it only requires careful planning and hard work. I have always fought hard and aggressively for things that matter to me. Like a trip to the face-painting lady at the school fete, for example.

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In 1992, my older sister Michelle was sick of sharing a bedroom with me and wanted to move into the barely used rumpus room downstairs. After presenting her pitch to Mum & Dad (with diagrams and flow charts), they granted her wish. “Ok life, it’s like that? Duly noted.” – said me, as I mourned the loss of our close quarter arrangement.

We didn’t have a pool growing up. If we wanted to have a swim, Michelle and I (along with Skye from across the road) would walk up to old Jack’s house and corner him whilst he was watering his garden. “Aww it’s really hot today, isn’t it Jack?…wish we had a pool…then we could swim in it…have you been in your pool today?……YES PLEASE, we’ll go get our swimming costumes on!”. Success.

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However, soon after, I started encountering situations that I was unable to turn around in my favour.

I worked really hard in my dance classes. I mastered the body roll. I was a really convincing Molly in our eisteddfod version of Annie’s “Hard Knock Life”.
So why did Miss Donna give me the Encouragement Award?

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It’s the worst of all the trophies. I smiled on the outside, but inside I was crushed. I wanted to be the Best All-rounder.

This kind of thing kept happening to me.

In year 6, I observed that my intellectual nemesis Natalie Wright had received an A++ for her project on Gold, whereas I received a regular A+. I had the gall to march up to Mr Cannon and ask why I didn’t get the A++. Was it because Natalie had gone gold panning with her family and included photos of this in her project? Well, that’s hardly fair. My family went to Forster on holidays where there was no gold to pan. I was certain if I reasoned with him, he’d hand over the extra + I deserved. I was wrong, and so began a lifelong obsession with getting what I want. I would not let this happen again.

You see, when I don’t get what I want, I take it personally. I see it as a tragic failure on my part to have planned and executed in a way that would result in me hitting my target.

This serious character flaw has invited grave consequences for the grown up version of me. After realizing that I’ve spent my entire adult life repeatedly finding myself in horrendous love triangles, it dawned on me that the reason it keeps happening is not my extreme magnetism, but rather my insatiable desire to attain the seemingly unattainable.

I am subconsciously putting myself in these situations to test my ability to win. I am a piece of shit. I am really good at it.

I believe it’s my extreme optimism which prevents me from taking “no” for an answer. It IS possible to be optimistic to a fault and I am living proof. Examples include-

– Applying for a 100k senior copy-writing job with no qualifications or industry experience.

– Falling helplessly in love with someone in a long-term relationship and telling them about it. No, telling EVERYONE about it. (Don’t consider the consequences of these actions. You are romantic. It will definitely end well.)

– Tweeting at Neko Case “Hey Neko, can I support you when you tour Oz? Puhleese?? Your new album is the bees knees!”, and in my heart of hearts, honestly expecting a reply and the support slot.

– Emailing Chadwick’s Modelling Agency with a proposal that they manage my friend Adam as a hand model, simply because Adam has very good-looking hands.

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No reply.

Oh, recurring time when I don’t get what I want – how could I manage you better?
I would like a small tazer button installed (like an IUD), that my friends have permission to activate when I am being unreasonable with my expectations. I would like to be shown a slideshow of all my past romantic mistakes, followed by a slideshow of the worst emails, text messages and song lyrics I wrote following the fall-out.
I want a pocket-sized version of me at my most clear-headed to crawl onto my shoulder and scream “Stop it! Sometimes not getting what you want is ok”.

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Sometimes you find yourself craving Mexican food all day. You walk to the Mexican restaurant, discover that it’s closed, walk dejectedly to a nearby pub and have a surprisingly fantastic burger that leaves you feeling content.
Why can’t I transfer my ease and changeability with menu selections to the other facets of my life?

When musical peers of mine go on to greater success than me, why must I cynically refer to them as “sooo hot right now” (the inference being – “see ya back at the same old shitty pubs we all play in approximately 3 years, sucker!”).
Not getting what I want – you bring out my ugliest side, time and time again.

With this in mind, my New Years Resolution this year (if I believed in such a thing) is to stop expecting to get what I want. When faced with unrequited love, I shall imagine the other person as a special dish on a menu. Oh, that’s not available today? Ok….I’ll have the quinoa salad. Next.

When my levels of success do not match the energy I’ve expended, I will remember to think of my career as just a shitty nightclub I got dragged into. Sometimes you go out, have an average time and spend more money than it was worth. That’s ok, you get many more opportunities to have better nights.

I have never sold out a concert in my life and I’d really like to, but if my tours are poorly attended, I know at the very least, I will encounter a Dyson Airblade hand dryer at the airport and I fuckin love those guys.

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Thanks, this has been therapeutic.