Destination: Some Place Else

…to get away for if only a moment


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18. In the Realm of Positivity

Like all he said were three little words, but three little words were enough to break me down. No sword, nor fist, it was his words that cut like a knife. Maybe he knew what he was doing, but whether he knew the effect it would have as he said them, I will never know as it has been so long since then. They were etched in my mind for seconds, minutes, years, my lifetime. Three little words, that could have been “I love you” or “you are beautiful,” but instead they were “you are fat” and they echoed in my mind over and over till they didn’t make sense to me but existed in the depths of my subconscious like an illness I was born with. As I went home and pulled at my skin, fighting through his words, I tried to find the bits that I liked about myself and found it that much harder than before.

I am sure this has happened to nearly all of us at some stage in our lives. Whether it was to do with your weight, your looks, how clever you are-it is all the same, it is called bullying and it sucks ass. The first time I can remember being bullied was in primary school by a boy who apparently liked me. He called me fat and it was the first time I became conscious of how I looked. Before I had been a beautifully unaware child with no concerns, wearing hyper coloured t-shirts and bum backs and was without the knowledge that someone might be thinking I looked weird. I had a small little bubble of self esteem that had not been pricked; it had been bound by my parent’s love and positive words.

But in a matter of seconds, it was ripped to shreds, all because of this particular boy and it wasn’t to be the first time in primary school either. Then in early high school, my supposed best friend at the time, called me ugly and stupid. But this is strange because she is supposed to be my friend I thought as she said those hurtful words repeatedly. Now I was reasonably lucky too. Back in the late 80s to mid 90s there wasn’t social media like Twitter or Facebook where it is not just said to your face, but said in front of hundreds or potentially thousands of followers. It is when bullying turns cyber that there is no limit.

It honestly scares the shit out of me when I think about my niece and nephew or my future kids and how they will survive in a world when ideals of body image are ones that are not real. When images are digitally retouched and everything is sexified and objectified, how do you find the balance? How do you tell the kids that are constantly trying to fit in, that the way they perceive themselves is about being confident and that they are beautiful just the way they are? But we also live in a world full on contradictions, on one side our models are skin and bone, but then we also have one of the highest rates of childhood obesity. Doesn’t this just prove there is a social problem that needs to be focused on-where we can say that being healthy and happy is not bound to one size, colour, orientation or style?

Now I could have taken many a path. I could have become the bully, “if they fuck with me, then I’ll do the same.” I could have retreated into a hole of despair of self harm, suicidal thoughts, body dismorphia or an eating disorder like so many people do (the figures are actually staggering). But instead I decided to do something different, something totally wild and crazy. I decided to be nice to myself. I wasn’t going to let them win and be dragged down by hate. I began to realize that it was probably their own insecurities that made them this way. I chose to believe; no I chose to know that being nice to myself mattered. That when I loved myself I was better equipped in loving others and living a positive life, where positive things happened. Like those times when people have asked what superpower I would have, I think in real life, I choose to be a positive affirmations person.

I’ve said it before about how important it is to tell your loved ones that you love them but what about those you don’t know that well. “Hi so and so, how are you today?” “”I love your boots, where did you get them.” “I think this thing I just learnt about you is so cool.” Now don’t say this just because, you want to mean it. Because the thing is, everyone has something unique and special about them if you take the time to notice it, and that can far surpass looks, weight –all the superficial stuff. It is like we are all competing to prove our worth –but often it is our criticisms of ourselves that is the worst. We should be empowered by how different we are, but instead we don’t talk about the insecurities that we all have and they just multiply. I don’t think there is a single person who isn’t susceptible to it whether you are male or female. Everyone has baggage, but some is so real, so full of pain, that it might seem like there is honestly no way to scrap yourself out of it. Then possibly all it can take is a little light to be shone down and things start to look a little bit better.

So why be a hater, when you can be a lover. Why surround yourself with negative attitudes and unhealthy environments, because when you learn to love inward and change the things that you have the power of, things can seem a little brighter. Here are 10 positive affirmations that might come in handy should you be filling not so full of love for yourself. Like with AA it is all about steps, so starting small can sometimes be the path to a more self confident and happy you and that when you hear someone say “you are fat” you think, no I’m beautiful and I embrace my body.

1) I have the power to change my life.
2) I only say no to limits.
3) Fate assists those who persist.
4) Where others have gone, I can go.
What others have done, I can do.
5) I exude confidence.
6) A new life is unfolding before me.
7) I am the potential through which great things arise.
8) I have the daring to dream and the courage to do.
9) One step forward is one step closer.
10) If it is to be, it is up to me!

Also, here is a link to a poet called Natalie Patterson who I think it just rad-please take the time to watch ‘You have a beautiful body ‘and some of her other ones.

And another beautiful TED talk by Shane Koyczan: To this day
http://www.ted.com/talks/shane_koyczan_to_this_day_for_the_bullied_and_beautiful

And a link to the 2014 National Day of Action against Bullying & Violence which includes links to Kids Helpline & Eheadspace. Please stand up to bullies:
http://bullyingnoway.gov.au/

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17. A Spice Rack of Films

I just saw three films in 24 hours. I didn’t save the world or do anything life changing, but these kind of days make me take note that is a good day. Normally this would be saved for MIFF (Melbourne International Film Festival) or some other movie marathon but it just kinda fell that way and why not?

So here I am sitting on a tram in the silence of strangers, watching the rain fall down thinking about life as I so often do after a worthwhile film and am compelled to write. See watching these three very different films made me realize just how important it is to watch and do different things in life because it makes it that much more beautiful. I think we so often choose to follow the safer path of what we know. Like eat at the same restaurant, order the same dish and watch the same genre of films. Now some people may be perfectly fine being comfortable in life and that is totally fine. But I choose to fill my plate with the spices of life, ones that fulfill and enrich me. So I go to three different cinemas and see three films that are completely different and all have their merits, just because.

Now I can’t say that I live and breathe for chick flicks, but something has to be said for sitting down with your besties and watching a really bad rom com about sisterhood. I mean there was a reason why ‘Sex and the City’ was so popular, especially whilst sitting in your trackies, gulping down wines and eating pizza. Admittedly, my first choice (at the Rivolli) ‘The Other Woman’ was in no means a great film, not even close, I even found myself rolling my eyes at a few points. But it still made me look over to my beautiful friends and think, I’m lucky to have them. I learnt little about life, but a lot about women banding together to overcome a shitty circumstance. Afterwards, though Laura, Dani nor I chatted about how the film affected us in the most meaningful way, we enjoyed a coffee, some good conversation and our friendship –just like any good chick flick should.

Then Sunday night, Lewy and I headed to the Nova to see ‘Only Lovers Left Alive. ’ I’ve always been a big fan of director Jim Jarmusch (Down by Law, Dead Man, Broken Flowers) so was excited to see his new film. I was pulled into this mesmerizing rollercoaster of a life of damnation set against the desolate wastelands of Detroit. Tim Middleson plays a tortured musician and vampire who is living a lonesome existence, often referring to humans as zombies. He calls upon his lifelong lover, played by Tilda Swinton, who has been roaming the exotic streets of Tangier. It is not only the beautiful cinematography, amazing performances but the hauntingly good music. I can’t stop listening to the soundtrack with stunning Middle Eastern influences, especially from Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan, Dutch composer Jozef van Wissem and SQÜRL, Jim’s band with Carter Logan and Shane Stoneback.

Lastly, was a trip to ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) to the lighthearted, French film ‘2 Autumns, 3 Winters’ by director Sébastien Betbeder. The protagonist reminded me of my first boyfriend for some reason, vulnerable, misunderstood, unsure of his direction in life, but a good guy at heart. This film tracked the rise and fall of a relationship and like any good French film was filled with bittersweet, whimsical, slightly oddball (at one point the main cast start singing to the camera) moments that just sucker you in and make you feel good at the end. I also loved the fact that I had never seen any of these actors before. After most foreign films, I’m left with a philosophical mentality which is obvious by my waffle on the page right now. So as Mish and I exited the cinema and decided to walk in the light rainfall instead of using our umbrellas, we appreciated the beauty of an empty Fed Square at night. I like to think that the movie enhanced this experience too.

So now back on the tram with the strangers- I urge you to go to different things that are out of your comfort zone. It is like the faces I see on the tram before me, not one is the same and no story of theirs is either. So look up the local art house theatre and see something that sounds weird, or watch a doco about a bad soccer team in the Pacific at ACMI or Oklahoma at the Astor and spread those filmic wings…….it might translate into every aspect of your life.

The films
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDcaZ3StTfI (The Other Woman-though I wouldn’t really recommend it for the cinema)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycOKvWrwYFo (Only Lovers Left Alive)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZtDcCAyLwU (2 Autumns, 3 Winters)

Some of my fav cinemas
http://www.cinemanova.com.au/
http://www.palacecinemas.com.au/cinemas/westgarth/
http://www.astortheatre.net.au/

Only lovers left alive music


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16. Screaming to get happy

Like any good kid whilst travelling in LA, I just had to go to Universal Studios. I mean would you expect anything less from someone who is obsessed with movies? We had conveniently located a hotel next store, so dressed in our fluffy slippers and bathrobes we looked down on the studios with excitement. After the treat of a room service breakie, we were off to fake tinsel town and immersed ourselves in the inner workings of the American film industry by jumping on and off various rides and taking the studio tour like geeky film students. Yes the place was filled with swarms of over excited, coke slurping, pimple faced teens and their bum bagged, happy snappy parents, but it was a very fun and funny day. For those who like to be all serious and question why – the answer is this: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
HHHHHHHHHHHHHHhehehehehehehebahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
hehehbahahahahahaaahehehehehehehehehehehehehehe

That was me screaming loudly till my voice started getting all hoarse like I’ve smoked an entire pack of ciggies in one go. Followed by an, I feel confused little laugh, then more screaming. Then my favourite bit, the belly laugh. Not the fake giggle or the genuine little laugh you get when something is slightly funny, but the kind that comes from so deep down you weren’t quite expecting it or even knew it existed. It is where you don’t have control over your senses, your emotions and quite simply, I LIKE it.

Now, there is a difference between screaming from absolute fear of dying or pain-this kind I definitely don’t like or ever want to be faced with. But I’ve got to say the kind of fear that gets your adrenalin racing, your heart pumping and where the unexpected shock- like a sheer sudden drop in the dark whilst a fake mummy jumps out at you- is the kind that makes me go all silly like I’m a little girl spinning cartwheels in a park again (something else I highly recommend).

What makes me think about this now was a conversation I had with my amazing masseuse Amanda (or who I like to refer to as Jesus) over the weekend. She heads up to the Gold Coast every now and then with her boyf because they are big giant kids and bought a season pass to the theme parks up there. We were talking about just how good screaming is, as really, it is the very definition of living in the moment. Whether it is the sheer thrill of dangling upside down as a rollercoaster flips your senses and you don’t know which way is what, or sliding down a giant waterslide on a raft-you just can’t replicate that feeling that essentially brings you back to your innocent, childish, stress free days.

I reunited with this feeling a few weeks ago when I went away with my sister’s family to Moama. They had recently purchased a very fine speed boat that we all ventured out in. At first, we glided over the beautiful waters of the Murray at a pace suitable for geriatric holiday makers. This was time to take in the stunning scenery –from hundred year old gums that scatter the banks, some standing majestically. Or others that have found their fallen place, half submerged in the murky Murray. Or there is the old port at Echuca, a place I truly love. Even with the autumn chills, there were still a huge amount of people lounging on their house boats, finishing with kids on the banks or sipping beers camp side at the many caravan parks.

But here comes the fun bit, the screaming……

Nicky and Az had also conveniently bought a biscuit (the rubber inflatable kind not the one you eat on Anzac day) to go with the boat (alongside some awesome wake boarding gear). My niece really wanted to watch someone go for a ride before she attempted it, so of course being the great aunty that I am, along with Lewy, we endeavored to brave the icy waters and give it a go.

In short, after a combination of twists, turns, bumps and near flips, I could hardly pull down my top lip from it being stuck in a permanent gummy smile (my true happiness smile as much as I hate to admit it). Throughout this insanely fun activity my sister Nicky kept putting her thumbs up to check I was ok since I was screaming so much. I would give her one back, go back to gripping the handles and then follow it by an incredibly loud cackle. This is the stuff that the weetbix commercials are about……where you can retreat back to being a big kid if only for a brief few seconds or minutes.

So this weekend or sometime real soon, find a place where you can let go, unwind and scream a little dream to happiness. Like the ohm is to the yogi experts, a good scream is just as good in centering your mind and can create one a very happy person.