It’s been so long since I’ve been here. It’s not that I’ve been busy studying law, which is technically my full time job. I’ve had wine to drink. A bit too much. Then there’s been kittens to play with. Plus Laura and Stacey needed my attention – at the uni bar. You think I would’ve learnt my lesson by now but no, I continue to procrastinate, leave things until the very last minute and somehow, God knows how, manage to pass. The one thing I’ve got going for me is the fact I don’t want to work in a law firm because one read of this blog and they’d stamp a big fat fail across my letter of application.
The one thing I have been consistent with is doing dumb shit. I’m the queen of it. It’s the only thing I’ve mastered. It’s not that I’m dumb, per se (I got into law school, remember). It’s just that I don’t think ahead. Then I find myself in stupid situations that, with the value of hindsight, seem easily avoidable.
You think I’m exaggerating? I’m not. On Monday, after a particularly stressful day, I decided to treat myself to a trip to Apollo’s Day Spa for a sauna. Nothing like a bit of heat to sweat out the stress – but, in this instance, not the stupidity. I spent way too long in there, ended up dehydrated and dizzy. Deciding it was best to head home I stumbled off to find my trusty Vespa, Chief Justice Peppy, only to be hit by a tsunami wave of nausea. Luckily I have good friends and one came to pick me up pronto. And in bed I stayed for three days. Two days after that it finally registered that my garage was minus one bright yellow Vespa. My keys were also MIA. I managed to call the spa, despite the additional waves of nerve-induced nausea threatening to overwhelm me, and a lovely lady listened as I told my sorry tale. Certain that Chief Justice Peppy was now under the control of an evil Vespa Villain I resigned myself to walking everywhere for the remainder of the year – maybe even the first half of 2016 as well. But no, the angels were kind and Chief Justice Peppy was where I left her five days earlier, keys lying atop her ripped seat. Meanwhile, I’m forever grateful to the lovely Annette for listening to my story and going in search of my scooter for me. Thank you.
Embarrassed to add yet another dumb shit story to my portfolio I was particularly grateful to receive a text from a friend suggesting we catch up to talk about her adventures. A week of making particularly stupid mistakes made me eager for the diversion. Turns out her dumb shit story was better.
As she told me about the random reconnection with a high school teacher via social media, the subsequent trip to the beach and then a night out drinking I knew how it would end. Come on, so do you. But she didn’t. Well, not at the time anyway. And that is the power of doing dumb shit. You never see coming but everyone else can. I thought it was hilarious – partially because it made me feel better about the spa incident. But mainly because the teacher she slept with was the same one who taught sex ed (known as Health Education nowadays).
The thing is, my friend didn’t think it was very funny. She’d spent an entire week beating herself up for making such a rookie mistake. I’d been there, I knew what it was like. I also knew that making yourself feel stupid for doing something stupid didn’t help. But that’s easier said than done.
That night, lying in bed, almost asleep, I was transported back to my high school days and those awkward sex ed classes. My teacher, who shall remain nameless, was a good Catholic girl (makes sense, it was a good Catholic school) who wore overly coordinated outfits. I’m a fan of coordination but this was extreme and a tad nasty. Mustard yellow blouse – buttoned to the top – teamed with a mustard yellow skirt, mirky purple stockings and mustard yellow shoes. We were being educated about the human reproductive system and one girl had the courage to ask about contraception and what was considered the safest method. Seemed like a legit question to me. I didn’t have a boyfriend or any interest in sex but the way half of the class leant forward indicated others felt otherwise. Her answer – five words in total – could change the lives of the girls sitting in that room.
‘Safe sex is no sex.’
Although timid and least likely to speak up, I knew a dumb answer when I heard one. My classmate repeated her question and received the same response.
‘Safe sex is no sex.’
The new me would suggest the teacher pull her head out of the sand (and maybe even her arse too) but the old me watched on the same way motorists slow to see a three-car pile-up. The girl, not to be deterred, asked again. I was envious of her tenacity. The teacher responded in the same way:
‘Safe sex is no sex.’
Even at the age of 13 I knew that the abstinence-only method of contraception would only lead to guilt-ridden teen sex with the potential for unwanted pregnancies galore. My teacher, riddled with Catholic guilt, wasn’t quite so switched on. That was 22 years ago. It makes me wonder how many girls have gotten pregnant because of abstinence-only education. And how many of these have beaten themselves up because the unplanned pregnancy resulted in an unwanted baby that may (or may not) have become a loved member of the family. Or how many girls have beaten themselves up because that unwanted baby resulted in an unwanted abortion, leaving lingering scars of sadness and guilt. Or how many girls have beaten themselves up because that unwanted baby resulted in an adoption that left them somewhat wistful about what could have been. And for every girl — there is a guy —- carrying his own baggage, often unable to be shared because that wouldn’t be manly.
I am grateful things have become more progressive since I went to school. Well, not everywhere but in general. There are still some schools, states and countries that are proponents of the abstinence-only model. One thing we can change, regardless of what we’re taught, is how to deal with the fallout when we make mistakes.
I’ve become a huge fan of a YouTube channel called PowerThoughts Meditation Club, particularly when I need to de-escalate. For example, after losing my Vespa or my credit card (yep, that was another highlight of my week). One quote from today was:
I never fail. I either win or learn.
I fell in love with it the moment I heard it. But I’ve decided to modify it (only slightly).
I never fail. I either win or learn. Or laugh.
So, for my friend who’s still beating herself up – I hope that you get to laugh about your dumb shit sooner rather than later. We all make mistakes. That doesn’t make you less, it just makes me human. And, until you do, I’ll give you some of the extra love I have in my account. There is one other option. I do some more dumb shit. Trust me, it comes easily. But no, I’ve decided to be good for a while. Right… off to study. Just got to get a glass of wine first and watch one music video on YouTube…
And for my friend – I love you.
You make me laugh at my life in ways no one else can. Even when I leave my Vespa abandoned… alone… cold… frightened. But safe.