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I had to stop being nervous of my mother, put up some boundaries, and stop being a teenager scared of being criticised and at the same time seeking validation and approval – that confirmation that I was loveable and doing things ‘right’ at last. I wanted to prove that I could do a degree, that I was the good and loveable daughter my mother wanted and not a disappointment or a failure.I finished my degree and waited for the amazing feeling to arrive and the sense of accomplishment.

I noticed (mainly in retrospect) an interesting phenomenon in my own approach to online dating. I don't know why the temptation to let myself be deceived (or at least misled) in the online context was so strong.However unconditional love starts with yourself and it is not about loving people regardless and without basis.Unconditional love of you is about loving and liking you irrespective of what is taking place around you.During that year and a half, I was thwarted by my own unrealistic expectations.And I fell short of others' unrealistic expectations.I did my research before the event; reading synopses, samples, and dozens of book reviews to build an understanding of where my novel sits in the scheme of things. The Writers Victoria host gave us a rundown on how things would work (desks with publishers, lines for each, and a microphone call for start, two minutes, and end of a session). I found myself making a beeline for my ‘top pick’ (I had a list), and within ten minutes, I was there, telling someone who hears hundreds of ideas a year what I’ve been writing, and why they should consider it. But I had practiced dozens of times, and was ready to go.


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