“Dear world, I am excited to be alive in you, and I am thankful for another year”
– Charlotte Eriksson.
364 days ago, I flipped to the final page of my life story for 2016 and began writing down the inner creative wonderings, dreams and inspirations I had found spread throughout the online world of blogging and Pinterest. Like many of those before and after me who appreciated the cleanliness and perfection of a new chapter, book and image of what the following year would appear to be, I began filling the page in this final chapter with my secret wonders and yearnings for the following year.
I was seated at my study desk which had started out as lily white but now resembled Dexter’s crime scenes courtesy of Lulu and her constant fetish for licking herself raw. There dotted amongst the scrawling of future blog posts that had and hadn’t seen the light of day, the desperation of making myself something or rather ‘someone’ after a gallant race to the finish line with college, was the trace evidence of what the year would hopefully represent. I saw the little ticket stub that represented three and a half years of my life as a college student. The little ticket stub that told me ‘Scarlett, appear at this place, at this time to receive your shiny Degree as you glide across the stage.’
Moving my gaze from the little blue ticket stub to the pitch black mortar board hat that’d once graced my curly head in a proud display of accomplishment, the ticket stub and hat told a story of how I had been once a college student. Now, I was classified and defined as an Alumni. A graduating student who would graduate with a Bachelor of Nursing Science. However, it also meant I could now stop asking out loud and writing the same continuous question of ‘will I ever make it to the end and survive?’
The piece of parchment paper that lay across the top shelving of my desk hutch in its original postage cover not only seemed to represent a hefty student loan that awaited for me to pay it back when I commenced my position as a Registered Nurse. It also represented the sheer strength, courage, determination and the never-ending dose of stubbornness that saw me knuckle down to study and strive forward to conquer the ever present and very doubtful voice in my head.
With the months and years of expressing, thinking and writing about the internal fear of not graduating while freaking out as I waited for my final grades, I tried very hard not to let that fear inject itself into my veins. With trepidation, I waited for some form of confirmation that would either lead to succession or failure. It was harrowing.
I have to admit, I filled the house with a piercing scream when I read my results. I had passed my final exam and thus completing the end of my Bachelor of Nursing. A sense of elation, pure relief was confirmed as I was swiftly entombed within my parents’ arms with utter joy radiating through them. I realised after wiping away the tears that I had actually managed to not only survive the incredibly rough journey I had undertaken but I was going to finally grace that damn stage as Gracie-Lou Freebush.
2016 would see those around the world tune into watch their loved one graduate. Dressed to kill with a equally killer pair of black stilettos, hair adorned in curls galore, mortar board swinging gently as I sat amongst 600+ other graduates waiting my turn to glide, smile and wave as I went from one side of the stage to the other. My total time to shine, grin and glide lasted the thirty seconds I was on stage with the Chancellor of Queensland University of Technology, a man whom I had never met prior nor heard about, and uttering congratulations to me reaching such a high level of achievement and success as my nearest and dearest called out.
With each day nearing the New Year before leaping into 2017 with a bumpy start, I continued to live in a world that was built and developed on the feelings of accomplishment, success while bringing honour to my family. It was in my second favourite moment of settling on the idea of climbing and conquering Mount Everest when reaching my final base camp (biggest pun of my life) with all ten toes and fingers, people in my corner of the world started peer pressuring me about applying for my Nursing registration, graduating programs or nursing positions.
The thought of working my backside off in hopes of paying my student debt off sounded better and better by each passing day, I sat down and thought of the last three and a half years. I tried picturing the endless amount of parties I had attended, drunkenly kissed a boy/man against a dirty bathroom window before stealing his number to never call him or swaggering balls I attended with my gang of girlfriends.
Having sat there in sheer silence for 20 minutes, instead, I got the image of my head down in a textbook, either pouring over illustrations of various parts or hysterically sobbing into my hands. My social interaction was limited to me peering at men’s shoes on the train, staring out the window at the moving scene beyond the foreground and trying to instigate conversation with the person who had ‘borrowed’ my eraser, permanently.
After three and a half years of being socially isolated and depressed because no one wanted to talk to the ‘new girl’, I made a pact with myself to simply breathe, relax and live in the moment. This meant the early months of 2017 were going to be spent couch surfing, travelling the internet in hopes of finding my next inspiration and delaying the inevitable thought of having to apply for registration before stepping into my ‘Nurse Jackie’ shoes and start working my arse off to the grindstone.
Having informed my parents of this decision and with no sweet talking from both of them, I packed my suitcase, boarded a plane with wingtips alongside my sister and spent the next few months gallivanting around the country side. With the image of my parents waving my sister and I goodbye as we sat in a flying tin can, January was spent recovering from Christmas with Frodo and Ms. C in Sydney and the giddy thought of packing a bag on New Years Eve and travelling 12 hours to Melbourne, Victoria.
It would be in Melbourne that I would get to board a tram in the suburb of Essendon, travel 30 minutes in the quiet comfort of an empty mind before entering the hustle and bustle of Melbourne CBD. It would be here that I would spend a great length of my time in my head, thinking about the remaining future of 2017 and what it would entail for me.
What I did not envision nor think of was how January, would redefine and restructure my thoughts and feelings about the relationship I thought I had with my younger brother, Pablo.
This discovery was soon brought to air and life after having phoned my Mother, Lois, while standing in the epicentre of Flinders Street Station as the hustle and bustle moved around me like synchronized dancers, thinking about our return to home base. I learnt while on the phone that my younger brother had proposed to his girlfriend. Although a part of me, was happy for him as he ‘manned up’ and strolled forward with his new life. Something inside of me, a part of me became broken and jaded. Especially, when being informed that both of them had made the decision to not inform any family members, including siblings.
Having written about our family motto over the past few years and how family means everything to the O’Chunky name, I listened to the warbled sound of Lois telling me about how Pablo had wanted to wait for us to come back before announcing their engagement.
I made the decision in that moment to separate myself from my body and watched in admiration at the dark haired young woman, who spoke politely but firmly into the phone while grinning as nothing but good news had been delivered across those tiny speakers. What the outside world didn’t know was the urge I had to deliver a deadly strike through those tiny speakers, abominating my relationship with anyone who dared to cross my path before settling on the idea of how pissed off I was towards both of them.
It also redefined how exactly ‘out of the loop’ we were with one another and yes, this would be one of the many pieces of straw that would lead to breaking the camels back. A camel’s back that would see me hang up my writing tools, close down my computer with a solid and very silent click before stepping away from my desk. This hatred towards my brother would be put on hold for a day when coming together eleven months later, on the cusp of yet another year after not seen each other for months.
As this relationship continued to resemble broken and macerated eggshells, the other relationships involving my friends, dating life and eventually, work life would continue developing and growing throughout 2017.
What had originally started out as a coping mechanism after being informed and discovering my dearly loved and adored sidekick, Lady Blacksnot III Esq., had leaped feet first into the dating shark tank. I had to come to terms with the fear of losing her to the unknown. Thus, 2017 saw my not-so secret thoughts of coming to terms with the potential idea of dying alone and being discovered in my beige, stomach defying grandma undies.
Our stories filled with dating adventures, shameful discoveries of unimpressive males and the bonding of two women around micro-peens and cocktails, not only seemed to make your eyebrows raise to your hairlines but a few questioned my writing and blogging capabilities. However, like many things we either become emotionally or physically attached to, I knew I wanted to finish the mini series containing the adventures of Lady Blacksnot III and I’s dating adventures with an uplighting and positive story.
Having always been a person who believed in love at first sight and the magical moments that are entailed with the perception of being in love, even when I personally doubted myself worth and value in most of my relationships, I wondered if 2017 would finally be the year where I would discover how to read the personalised map that I had been carrying around for many years.
This map I speak of is the map I had originally written about in my ‘Dear Mr. Darcy’ post. A post I had openly laid my heart on the table alongside the cards of fate and wrote about my feelings of anguish, pain, lost love and the curiosity of whether or not I would find someone who truly enjoyed me for being me and not a persona I had created out of means for protection. While staring at my map and walking around in circles, I continued writing about the men who had brought shame to themselves. As interwoven and cringe-worthy stories of Gelato Boy, the Racist Cop and The Ghoster graced your screens, I knew I had to conclude my mini-series with an epic bang.
A bang that no one saw coming and to be honest, neither did I.
Not realising this concluding post to Lady Blacksnot III and I’s dating woes would be the straw to breaking the camel’s back and me eventually stepping away from my own casted limelight, I began talking to a man at the beginning of January while staying in Melbourne. What had originally been a means of spending time online with the opposite sex, allowing myself time to get over the initial fear that every guy I would encounter would be somehow resemble a douche bag with a capital D; I eventually found myself agreeing to going out on a date (otherwise known as a ‘meet and greet’ in my case) when I arrived back in Queensland.
Even though I had mixed feelings about jumping out of my comfort zone and striding into this date without any qualms, I may have been having a mini panic attack at the concept of having to actually put myself out there and knowing he would be meeting the ‘real’ Scarlett O’Chunky and not the facade I had built up as a means of protection of identity, soul and heart.
I decided to see what destiny had in store for me.
Being 10 minutes late, then having to take up jogging across the car park didnt deter me. Inside of me, a battle raged between calmness and the butterflies that overcame my body. I arrived at my destination only to discover I had come to the wrong cafe and was about to sit down to have a date with a complete stranger and his son.
Quickly finding my way to the correct cafe, I discovered this man was an ultimate gentleman. He has a wonderful personality and mannerisms and was everything I had been looking for in a man.
However, before you start planning my wedding and measuring me for my wedding dress, not to forget the thought of finally meeting Mr. Darcy and declaring myself well and truly off the market whilst stepping away from my Bridget Jones stomach-dying grandma underwear, a tale of events would see the next few months testing the beginnings of what could ultimately be the greatest love story of my life or could see me greedily raking in the money and changing my philosophy of life.
From March to May, these months would see me come home to my parents after many dates with this gentleman and the contentment of finally putting my signature to the awaiting papers for my Nursing Registration. As I walked towards the post box with these papers dangling between my fingers, I let them slide between the gap and didn’t feel one ounce of regret at knowing I couldn’t stop those papers.
Six weeks after sending in my signed papers and receiving the very expensive gift for a broke ex-student nurse, was the knowledge I would be known as a Division 1 Registered Nurse and with that, began applying for positions throughout Queensland. I applied for positions that would ultimately see me moving to a new state, sailing up the coast in my little green car or staying close to my parents. Therefore, I wasn’t expecting the unthinkable to happen.
One morning while sipping my coffee as I scrolled through the newly listed jobs available as I had done for the past two weeks, I stumbled across a position that made me both hysterically laugh but shudder deep within my boots as the sensation of crawling bugs came across my skin. Fighting the urge to attack my skin to rid of this sickly sensation, I read the application catering towards Registered Nurses and thought to myself, ‘there’s no way in hell, I’d would get this position but who knows’. With that, I clicked a button, sent in my resume and told Lois of what I had done.
Two days later, I received several offers for phone and personal interviews and willingly accepted each because I thought I would need the practice. After wrapping up my phone interviews and deliberately failing the last one because I couldn’t fathom the idea of returning back to Redneck County, I carried on with life until I received a phone call from one of the interviewers.
The phone call was from the interview I had deliberately failed. They wanted me, needed me and were begging me to say “yes.” I was utterly horrified. As I stood there trying to shake the sense of disbelief, I had images of golden beaches, running my fingers through a nice beard, kisses in the moonlight being replaced by swirling masses of brash, nasty busy bodies working in the facility that had seen the death of many loved people and the feeling of abject terror of never escaping. It was with grace and huge relief, I thanked the Nursing Manager for her offer of employment before swiftly and promptly turning her down. The last thing I heard was the verbal ear bashing before she slammed the phone down in my ear.
I knew my destiny didn’t lay out in Redneck County, so I continued working as a relief agency nurse, waiting for the right opportunity to fall into my lap. The ending of April would see me turn down a majority of the offers I received, although I gratefully expressed my warmest thoughts of having been given these various opportunities. In May, all things aligned in the planetary system and I began working as a Registered Nurse at my current work place.
Every shift would see me throw myself, work bag and packed food into my little green car and hurtle myself down the highway until I reached the abode that I would call work for the next 8-12 hours of my life. Those pay packets began to slowly but surely eat away at the disappearing student loan I had incurred while achieving a sense of happiness that I was gainfully employed.
Yes, there have been moments where I have found myself screaming behind the steering wheel while ripping my hair out at the lack of support and sheer stupidity of dealing with politics, agendas of those out to kill within the nursing staff and the daily dishing of ‘I have a compliant to file’.
Crying endless amounts of tears as I deal with the daily fight of trying to make a patient comfortable in their final hours of life as a Doctor tells me that they (the patient) are receiving enough morphine at 2.5mls and being told they’d like to speak to my Clinical Nurse as I am demanding too much of them. While learning the delicate balancing act of pleasing Residents and family members as they are essentially paying for my fortnightly cheques and discovering just exactly how much overtime a R.N. does without getting paid.
While 2017 would teach me the fundamentals of what it takes to be a human being and a Registered Nurse, it would also bring elements of closeness to my family as we underwent some serious changes to the O’Chunky Dynamic. We would come together as we bid farewell to the dearly loved and very spoilt, Mr. Billy Boy, before I came face to face with the prospect of having to once again walk into the Vet’s with Lulu in her cat cage before leaving empty handed. Those few months were the hardest for us all as The Humog and Lulu brought endless hours of hilarity, tail wagging with a slick of a tongue pressing against your toes as you giggled and the Dexter Crime scenes that would cleaned up by me as I grumbled and Lois complained.
2017, also taught me the valuable lesson of it being okay to walk away from something that you no longer had the tolerance or passion for. I decided one morning when I could no longer form a thought nor an idea of what it was that I wanted to write about, I decided that I would take a small break from Scarlett O’Chunky. What I mean by this, was stepping away from the persona of Scarlett O’Chunky and all of her questionable worthiness as a character but also Scarlett O’Chunky, the blog.
Instead of wasting this time that would have originally been spent and used on creating and writing blog posts for you, Dearest Reader, to consume and evaluate in your own way; I used this golden opportunity to evaluate my life as a twenty-something year old woman.
I got to discover within those months of stepping back that I had a passion for travel, where I would travel to Brisbane a few times before eventually boarding a plane to Melbourne and gallivanting around Melbourne’s countryside for a getaway long weekend with a certain someone.
As the ending for 2017 crept closer to its finale and I was expected to take my final curtsey for the year-long play I had been staring in as the main character, the remaining months would continue to living up to its reputation of being the most magical and positive year I have ever had.
While travelling back and forward between my parent’s home, The Little White House, spending days with Mr. Darcy at his own home as we got into the rhythm and groove of being in a relationship and trying to discover one another’s likes and dislikes as well as driving the hour and a half drive to work; 2017 would welcome and see a life changing question that would inevitably lead to me laughing in shock before shutting up in silence.
That afternoon as I drove back to my parents place in a quiet state of shock because no man had ever asked me this; I breezed into The Little White House while calling out for my family members to gather around the dining room table because I had an announcement to make. As my parents glanced down at my finger to see if a mysterious band had appeared, although Mr. Darcy hadn’t asked for their permission nor their blessing to marry their daughter, I dropped the bombshell that I would be moving out of The Little White house and would be living with Mr. Darcy at his beach shack.
It was in this moment of my sister saying, “about bloody time” as my parents took turns in congratulating both Mr. Darcy and I, for taking the next step in our relationship, I packed my belongings into the boot of my car and drove back to my new home.
Although it felt incredibly weird for the first few weeks as I had never been asked to move in with a gentleman nor spend more than a week with any other man, besides my Father and brothers, we settled into a routine that brought comfort to us both.
While Mr. Darcy and I continued developing our relationship with one another, 2017 saw my sister, Kaffy, attending university for the last time. After four years of solid hard work, drawings that would see her spend close to 72 hours perfecting before sending in as her various assessments and forming relationships with her tutor and mentor; it was time for her to fly the university nest and graduate. In October, with those who mattered the most to her watched in awe, utmost joy and content, we yelled with glee when Kaffy glided across the stage to shake the Chancellor’s hand before collecting her two Bachelor Degrees.
As her older sister, I cannot express the feelings I have regarding Kaffy’s graduation but do know, I couldn’t stop telling everyone I came across that my sister had graduated with two degrees. I felt like the biggest cheerleader on earth and possibly, still am Kaffy’s biggest cheerleader.
With November giving way to December and all things Christmas and New Years related, I would receive an early Christmas present in the form of forcing Kaffy and Mr. Darcy to come with me for a ‘quick drive’ while I checked something out that made my Gibbs gut rumble.
That was the day Mr. Darcy and I became parents to Seven.
While I look forward to the weeks of 2018 and its secrets, newest additions for adventures, opportunities and experiences, I’m still rather fond of holding onto the past and what 2017 brought. But then, I suppose it’s best if I do let go and continue walking onwards towards the future.
May 2018 bring you and your family peace and happiness, as well as those deliciously naughty vodka martini’s that we are so fond of sharing together.
It’s time to say Goodbye to 2017 and http://www.scarlettochunky.wordpress.com. Say happy New Year and warmly welcome in 2018 and the new adventures awaiting to be written on http://www.ScarlettOChunky.com.
Least to say, Dearest Reader, I have a few secrets up my sleeve.
Lots of Love,
Scarlett & E.