Edenland Eden Reilly


Why would anybody ever want to write anything on the internet?

No wonder people play it safe. I constantly get told how honest I am. I don’t understand… if I’m getting lauded for being honest, what the hell is everybody else being?

This week I’ve been in the biggest shame spiral of my stupid goddamn life. And I’m still in it! Hello there!

Recently I travelled to Africa for World Vision, to blog about the food crisis in Niger that’s too boring for traditional media to cover.

I am accused by a commenter on my blog of pandering: “I’m sure Eden meant well, but she’s just pandering to stereotypes of a hopeless Africa, waiting for wealthy foreigners to come save them.”

I may be a lot of things, but I am not a panderer.

Then I was flamed for buying Easter Show bags when people are hungry in Africa. I didn’t even want to go to the show! I just wanted my children to have a good time. After their mum was, you know, travelling the globe for a few weeks, witnessing extreme poverty.

The hardest thing to deal with was being defamed in a Sunday magazine. The writer incorrectly stated that my relapse in drug and alcohol recovery last year went for seven months, instead of the one weekend. The editor took the piece offline, at my request. I declined a retraction. Why would I want any MORE attention brought to the one most shameful thing I’ve done in my adult life?

Surely I am more than just a “drug-addict turned loving mum?”

I bought a beanie so I can hide when I walk through my town.

US mummy blogger Mr Lady once described personal blogging as like throwing a party at your house. Then a whole bunch of people turn up who you don’t know… so you grab your China and hide it.

It’s too late for me to hide my China. Right now I’m walking around this party offering trays of hors d’oeuvres to people. Faltering. I am a bumbling fool. I don’t know why I’ve done any of it. (Except when a woman I know, Jane, thanked me for my blog in Woolworths, and her eyes welled up. Thank you, Jane.)

The world kindly sent me a brilliant blog post to read a few days ago, called 7 Things That Happen to You When You Are Completely Honest by James Altucher:

We’ve all hidden our failures in dark comets orbiting the peripheral edges of the solar system, where the sun is dark and faded. But when someone brings their orbit close to the sun we want to land there for a brief moment and see if actual living conditions exist. And if so, then maybe a small settlement can be formed, advice can be asked, a failure can be related to, a friendship can be formed.”

Why even set my China out in the first place? I mean, really… why? And why even bother trying to do anything remotely good or worthwhile? Who do you think you are, Eden?

Right about now, I’m thinking shame is my biggest demon.

Before Brene Brown, there was John Bradshaw. In 1998 I read a book of his called Healing the Shame That Binds You. I need to read it again. And maybe again. I knew I was in trouble a few days ago, when it was 2.30am and I was an insomniacal maniac, wired and weeping. Googling “inspirational videos” … and I really, really meant it.

I am so upset and angry right now I can hardly walk straight.

Tomorrow I have a de-brief with World Vision and I need it very much. How do people take trips to places like I went to, then come back and go about their lives? I was already awake. Now I’m even more awake. Oh, what to do with all the awakeness?

Are you awake? What are you doing? What do you believe in?

It’s totally cool if you don’t want to set any China out… but stop smashing other people’s stuff up. Stop smashing my China up. STOP SMASHING MY CHINA UP.

Just because you don’t understand something, doesn’t make it wrong. I’m out here in the world having a go. What the hell are you doing?

I know what I’m up against and I’ve come through the other side.

Every morning I get my sorry arse out of bed and face another day. With no buffer zone. These days I’m so awake I summon my OWN Angels. Those pricks are tired, man. I’m tired.

It seems a lot of people are too scared to live their lives properly? Staying safe is easier? A niggling prickle that something more, is happening out in the world? Guess what, champion… it is.

It is.

So I DID find the most inspirational video on YouTube. It’s called, “The Most Inspirational Video on YouTube.” I’m not joking right now. I’ve watched it so many times.


And I’m going to watch it hundreds of times more, before I die.

Are you dead yet?

Prove it.


A trio of tales

Life is a box of chocolates

Four chicks on sticks

*Eden Riley writes at Edenland. She is a redhead, wordsmith, mother and blogger. She’ll show you her Universal Truth if you show her yours. You can follow her on Twitter @edenland.

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  • Reply April 26, 2012


    Hi Eden, I write a blog also, and people are always dumbfounded or congratulating me on ‘being so honest!” and I’m always puzzled by this – and like you wonder if I am so remarkable / brave / crazy for being honest, what are you being then? What is the point of being anything else? If people are having a go at your honesty and smashing your china – let them. By being honest with yourself and your readers you are keeping your own china polished. That is how I see it. Other peoples reactions are their business and when they share that with you – just take it as a compliment that they find you and your china interesting enough to comment on it. (www.sharnanigans.com)

    • Reply April 26, 2012


      ” .. just take it as a compliment that they find you and your china interesting enough to comment on it.”

      Sharnigans, thank you so much for writing that. SO true. I’ve really learnt a lot, from all of this. Glad to hear you are honest too .. fistpump for the crazy honest peeps! xx

  • Reply April 26, 2012


    Thank you. can so relate. Honesty gets you into deep deep shit – and makes you wonder why – a freaking lot! I relate to the insomnia, I relate to the sadness, I relate. One day – keep blogging . I’ve been in so much trouble for my honesty lately, that I may as well continue! And so should you.

    • Reply April 26, 2012


      Lyndal .. .word UP.

      So, let’s just continue being honest, shall we? I always say, “I’ve come too far, to turn back now!”

  • Reply April 26, 2012

    Raylene Barton

    Love the video and thank you for sharing! I love people who put themselves out there!! Power to You 🙂

    • Reply April 26, 2012


      Raylene thank you so much. And people really do relate to honesty, don’t they? We all crave it.

  • Reply April 26, 2012

    Cate Bolt

    Some days I count my success by how many people hate me.

    “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Winston Churchill.

    • Reply April 26, 2012


      See, I knew that Winston Churchill quote but completely forgot about it. I’ll never forget it now.

      I love you, fellow soldier. xx

  • Reply April 26, 2012

    Veggie Mama

    You can have my china. I’ve got plenty xx

    • Reply April 26, 2012


      You got any good gear?

      I think I may do a silent vlog like Charlie Chaplin and bash up a whole heap of crockery and china on my back deck. X

  • Reply April 26, 2012


    Don’t ever be ashamed, Eden. People who defame you, should hang their heads. You live with honesty and integrity, and you share at all costs. That is a gift. Not an easy one, but who wants an easy one?
    After i found your site, your honesty gave me courage to speak my truth too. So thanks…… And the people who are threatened by that, the naysayers……aaaaaah, f&$k ’em!

    • Reply April 26, 2012


      Danielle thank you SO MUCH. It’s comments like that, that keep me going. Did you start a blog?

  • Reply April 26, 2012


    All I can say is Bronx cheers to the haters. The world needs more bloggers the likes of Edenland and Mrs Woog et al. There will always be whingers out there, and they’re just jealous of the fact that others are changing the world for the better, and they aren’t. God speed, Edenland, keep up the great work!

    • Reply April 26, 2012


      Cushla … a Bronx cheer is blowing a raspberry. Just googled it! That’s my new thing learned for the day.

      And thank you.

  • Reply April 26, 2012


    We got rid of all our chipped china and just have one set now. People can judge us as they see fit – chips and all. If there are any chips you wouldn’t have lived a full life. Embrace your past, fuck the people who sit in judgement. They are too busy pointing fingers to actually get out there and live. You, my friend are too busy living xx

    • Reply April 26, 2012


      Oh Bianca thank you SO much. Your words have power in it that I believe.

      You are so beautiful x

  • Reply April 26, 2012


    Hey sweetie,
    I hear ya! One of my friends (irl) once said to me: ” I love you because you are my friend who calls a spade a f*#king shovel!”

    Just sometimes some dickhead comes along and uses a bulldozer to throw the refuse of your life back over you.

    My answer? Be true to yourslef, look out for those nearest and dearest, and then hire the biggest excavator possible and dump it all right back out in their view!


    • Reply April 26, 2012


      Oh my god seriously woman, you are the Ants Pants. So, so bloody true.

      When can we ever meet up again? You’re fricken AWESOME.


      • Reply May 3, 2012


        Whenever you head up here, or my next trip south… If you come up here I’ll take ya skatin’!

  • Reply April 26, 2012

    Brand Panda

    Hey Eden, thanks for your honesty.

    I promised myself when I was a (poor, struggling) student that the first thing I would do with my first paypacket was to sponsor a child through World Vision. My first job was in an ice cream factory, where we poured tonnes of milk and sugar down the drain on a daily basis, on the way to making sweet yummies for the western world. In all good conscience I couldn’t see how I could communicate what I did for a living to a child on the edge of starvation. I let that moral inconsistency paralyze me into doing nothing. I’ll always regret that.

    So Eden, I’m not really thanking you for your honesty, I’m thanking you for not being paralyzed.

    Just remember – You can make beautiful art with smashed china.

    • Reply April 26, 2012


      Best Comment Ever. ‘So Eden, I’m not really thanking you for your honesty, I’m thanking you for not being paralyzed.
      Just remember – You can make beautiful art with smashed china’.

      I blogged it, so you know how I feel about this, darling girl. But I’ll say it again. Your kind of blog? With the mosaic of smashed china and funny and meaningful – it’s the only type I really love.

      • Reply April 26, 2012


        Melissa, I got all squirmy when I read your (beautiful, amazing) post. Like, THE JIG IS UP, PEOPLE. I AM SEEEEEEN.

        I am. And so are you. xx

    • Reply April 26, 2012


      Um, Brand Panda? I want to know EVERYTHING about you now. Wow.

      Do you have a blog? Please say yes.


  • Reply April 26, 2012

    Kirsten Alexander

    Fabulous, wonderful post. Thank you.

  • Reply April 26, 2012

    jenny @ let the children play

    I love that you are honest. It is a shame that there are so many haters in the world who are willing to jump on you – often anonymously because they are just so brave. I had a troll on my blog ask me last week “how do you sleep at night?” and I write a blog about preschool play for heavens sake!

    Just wanted to say thanks for your blog – there are so many more of us out there that would only say good things if we saw you walking down the street – beanie or no beanie 🙂

  • Reply April 26, 2012


    I like your style. No guts no glory, right? So ditch the shame-it makes life easier.
    I also like your most inspirational video. in the spirit of colllaboration, here is mine.


    Onwards and upwards.

  • Reply April 26, 2012

    Magi @ toffeeapple mama

    You are STRONG.
    You are BEAUTIFUL.
    You are IMPORTANT.
    You touch many people.

    It is disappointing that there are people out there who put a negative to your positive. But don’t EVER change.

    Be PROUD.
    You are GREAT.

  • Reply April 26, 2012

    Benison O'Reilly

    I guess it depends on your religious beliefs, but I believe we only have one life to live and the doubters and the carpers are letting their lives pass them by. They’re the losers.

    I, for one, love your honesty. Honesty helps other people- and we all have our insecurities and imperfections – feel less alone. xxx

  • Reply April 26, 2012


    Great article, Eden, and great work with World Vision and your blog.
    Your words stand strong enough on their own (and, to be honest, don’t need that blokey video).

  • Reply April 26, 2012


    You should be proud of yourself for trying to live an honest life, don’t let the sh*t-throwers bring you down. People feel challenged by your openness but that is THEIR problem. Look at all the support from your readers above, you must be doing something right! Better to regret the things that you have done, than to have done bloody nothing. Keep being brave.

  • Reply April 26, 2012


    This is a conundrum I have been considering quite a lot recently.

    The “honest” debate.

    I used to be nice to most people to keep the peace but it got to the point that it was doing my head in and I actually told one of the most irritating people I know exactly what I thought of them. Long story, but essentially we shared a mutual friend hence it seemed easier to pretend to be nice.

    The irritating text messages, phone calls and unannounced visits have now ceased, so good, right?

    Well yes and no.

    I live in a small country town and someone said, “It’s a small country town, you have to be nice to EVERYONE.”

    This is essentially true because I prior to this, I had actually put a small segment of the town offside after deciding to share my thoughts about various town related issues on my youtube channel.

    The videos were funny, and were only telling the truth but this small segment of people saw it as an attack on the town (which it wasn’t – it was actually a well worded attack about the services or lack of provided by the shire council here).

    In fact, a lot of people really wanted to visit the town after seeing these videos!

    In the end, I decided to take down my youtube channel last year after I heard someone else give someone some very good advice and that was, “You don’t have to share EVERYTHING with everyone. If you are having a great day or you are doing this or that, why must you tell everyone on facebook etc. Keep some things private or they are no longer special.”

    So yes, the videos were removed (they are still up, just password protected for anyone curious to see them) but of course the damage was already done.

    Of course I also got into the insipid debates that these people chose to fight, again waste of time.

    These are people who don’t understand there is a whole other world out there. They have been in this town a lot of their lives and know no different, and this was one of the reasons why they didn’t get the humour (mind you, a segment of the town DID get it and loved the videos).

    I take nothing I said back, and it has actually lead to some changes taking place in this town, however I do think, “Wow I could just be walking around pretending to be nice to all these people and they wouldn’t know any different and would say I was a great person.”

    But then I think, “Ugh I would have to then put up with their conversations about how wonderful a weekend they had getting drunk and picking up some random bloke and so forth…”

    The stuff that doesn’t interest me at all, but there are so many people who would nod and smile and say, “Wow, that sounds like an AMAZING weekend!”

    So perhaps it is better to keep ones opinion to oneself.

    These people all have opinions, they just talk behind your back, not to a camera.

    • Reply April 26, 2012


      I am intrigued at what town you live in now. I love that you have a private subversive YouTube video channel. That right there is art.

      And this bit … “You don’t have to share EVERYTHING with everyone.

      YES YES YES. I want to write a whole blog post based on that one sentence. How true is it? There’s things we tell and then there’s things we tell. Thank you for this.

      • Reply April 27, 2012


        edenland – happy to share my youtube videos, but as they are private, i just need a youtube id to send the particular video/s to… it wasnt private before, it was there for all to see, i kept those videos up rather than flat out delete them as a lot of work went into them and they also represent a certain stage in my life. under a year later, i present myself considerably differently. instead of walking around this tiny country town in jeans and a t-shirt with my head down or pointed at a video camera, i walk around in dresses every day regardless of how im REALLY feeling. its about creating a certain perception and the results are quite surprising. people say that i should wear some of these dresses for special occasions, but i say to them that i am alive and breathing so i figure its a pretty special occasion.

  • Reply April 26, 2012


    So loving Brand Panda’s word “So Eden, I’m not really thanking you for your honesty, I’m thanking you for not being paralyzed.

    Just remember – You can make beautiful art with smashed china.”

    Girl don’t you dare apologise for anything, and PLEASE don’t let the fearful ones change you one iota. You are perfect just because you are you. You help, you inspire, you bring joy, love and wit to so many.

    I know it’s difficult to ignore the negative ones who scream loudest at times, who seem to take pleasure from bursting bubbles. But remember, your bubble is bullet proof and Kevlar strong. Don’t let them make a dent in your beautiful armour my friend. You are far too special.

  • Reply April 26, 2012


    Thanks for sharing Eden. I love your frankness. Somehow we all have to find the balance between society’s approval and being who we are. Who you are is wonderful, warts and all. “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr Suess

  • Reply April 27, 2012


    @ me. I understand completely where you are coming from with the small-town required nice. I spent many years in a town chock full of rednecks and spent every day choking down my politics and my sneer and being ‘nice’. What shocked me out of it though was an encounter at the bar between myself with a friend and a couple of girls from the local supermarket who confided to us that they had always hated us, yes hated us, because of the way we dressed for work. They didn’t like that we dressed up for work (a workplace requirement) and because of that they and most other people according to them, hated us.
    From then on, I thought fuck it with the being nice crap, they can get what they get.

    • Reply April 27, 2012


      i love the town im in, never a dull moment. things happen here that one would never believe. i was informed recently that the council keeps a book of all press clippings related to the town, that could possibly be a best seller if it got into the right hands, or at the very least an entertaining stage musical. i dress differently to most people here, always wear a dress. it wasnt always the way though, but perceptions certainly change when one puts even a moderate thought into their attire. people are in their little bubbles about what they think the world is all about and really they have no idea, nor do i for that matter.

    • Reply April 27, 2012


      also…thing is with my youtube videos, the only difference between this and their bitchy gossip sessions was that i pointed a camera to my head and told everyone what i was really thinking. so everyone has strong opinions (including those who were knocking me for having mine!), but apparently social media wasn’t the place to share them. fascinating.

  • Reply April 27, 2012


    Thank you for your truth, all of you! Right there with you. Love your work.

  • Reply April 27, 2012


    Wouldn’t it be great if everyone watched this each morning before leaving the house?

  • Reply April 29, 2012


    I was surfing channels a little while ago, and stopped where a woman was being interviewed about her recent trip to Africa – it was you. The interview prompted me to drop in to your blog and have a quick read. Your story made me cry – great work, keep it up, keep telling the truth. Even if we can’t directly or immediately help these people – awareness is important – we know, we care, and somehow, we will help when we can.
    I also read about your lapse with addiction – we all make mistakes. Maybe those people who criticise those of us who make mistakes, are just so perfect, they don’t belong in this world. They certainly don’t belong in my imperfect, mistake laden, but heavy learning, world.

  • Reply April 30, 2012

    Lisa Jane Humphries

    LOVE this post, especially this:
    “Just because you don’t understand something, doesn’t make it wrong. I’m out here in the world having a go. What the hell are you doing?”
    Am going to share this all over my world, thank you!
    Also love that post you linked to by James Altucher, thank you for that!
    I also bought show bags this year, and on the same credit card I made a donation to a few charities, and I paid for my anti-depressant medication.
    The more we tell the truth, the more people we reach who may just be waiting to be reached.

  • Reply April 30, 2012


    I read your blog occasionally, and I appreciate the honesty. I think shame happens when people are trying to hide something painful. Honesty and love are great antidotes to shame.

  • Reply May 14, 2012


    Good on you for sharing this Edenland. Your post and the resulting comments filled my honest heart with joy. I’m fortunate enough to have a sister who every once in a while picks up my shattered china and hands it back to me. My hubby supplies the glue to piece it back together and my Mum always tells me how beautiful my china – flaws and all – is. I’m lucky for that.
    It’s a hard road to travel.
    I have learnt above all else that it is those who can’t be honest with themselves, those who lack courage, those who cannot stand in the arena of life on their own, to be the ones that can’t tolerate the likes of us.
    Fuck them.
    My China has their name on it.

  • Reply June 27, 2012


    I get this, on a much smaller scale though. So many people, when they find out I’m vegetarian, start questioning it.
    -“Oh so what about dairy? Doesn’t that bother you?”
    (Yes, and the only dairy I consume is cheese. I’m trying not to. I do okay.)
    -“What would happen to all the livestock then if everyone went vegetarian? We’d have to kill them all anyway!”
    (Eh? What a likely scenario.)
    -“So how come you drive a car then?”
    (Because I need transport. If the environment is a concern to you, you may be interested to know that it’s ‘better’ to be a V8-driving vego than a Prius-driving omnivore.)
    -“What about all the people that need help? I don’t think you should be concentrating on animals when there’s humans to be saved.”
    (These things are mutually exclusive? How do you know I’m not?)
    -“What do you feed your animals then?!”
    (Meat- I can’t afford vego food for them all, nor am I clever enough to be able to cook vego food for them without messing up their nutritional needs.)

    etc etc… and I’m not even an evangelical vego. I just go about my business and it’s no concern of mine what others eat. It’s my choice and it’s my small difference and it’s better than doing nothing, isn’t it? It makes ME feel better about myself. I am not ashamed, and nor will I feel guilty for not doing more.

    The sum of our small differences is a big difference. So do what you do, and feel good about it, not ashamed.

  • […] and more so now, I often struggle with the balance of being TOO honest on my blog – here’s a great post on asking if there is such a thing as being too honest on the […]

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