Destination: Some Place Else

…to get away for if only a moment

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25. A rad day…… From a former cynic

There are moments in life, where if you could hit the slow mo button, then you would. Not where you are all talking with a slow drawl and taking a really long, robotic time to get anywhere, but more like if you choose a moment that you could just hang out in when life gets a bit heavy, then that would be it.

Now if you had asked me many years ago, I would have said- oh I know, definitely that day we talked all day over that massive feast, or when we were out all night dancing up a storm, or even right now as I sit on a perfect beach in Phu Quoc, working on my tan. Never in a million years, did I think it would be my wedding day. Ok, this perfect beach is pretty amazing. Ok, and that night partying was super fun…well let’s just say, I have a catalogue. But as days would go, I think our wedding day was up there as the raddest day ever….and I’ve had some pretty rad days.

I was definitely never that little girl, dressing up her barbies in white frocks, picturing my dream wedding and the beautiful gown I would eventually get to wear myself. Instead, I was that tomboy playing with Lego and transformers, running round with no top on till way past the appropriate age. Back then, I didn’t think I was ever going to get married or even thought I would ever want to. I’m pretty sure due to my severe dislike in dresses till early/mid high school, my parents were just waiting for me to come out. But, time has a funny way of changing things.

My interest in boys toys, did eventually turn to dating boys, and as you date you have a series of firsts which can be beautiful, awkward and crushing. First playground crush where he hits you cause he likes you, leaving you uncertain about what love represents. The timid hand hold in the movie theatre, that sloppy first kiss where you keep bumping each other’s teeth and have to wipe your face afterwards, the first embarrassing boob grab where you are not sure if he is actually trying to grope your breast or rip it off. You know the other firsts, some you have tried to push to the back of your mind, some you are still reeling over (wow that was so hot! OR so not!), some we can now laugh about, some we are still experiencing. The list goes on.

But hopefully you find yourself in love or what you thought was your first and only love. Then you break up and think holy shit what was I thinking. Then you get older and things start to get more serious. You get your heart severely broken and you probably also really hurt someone else and either go on to make the same bad mistakes or learn to be different in the next time you put yourself out there. That is if you can scrape yourself back together and decide to date again. I know I’ve had moments of, seriously what is wrong with these men, and maybe that idea of being a lesbian, isn’t so bad…..but then ….I luckily found someone worth the wait.

I think a monumental part of my change was travelling overseas and having a good amount of single time, enjoying life and being free. I had the time to assess what I wanted from life, from a partner and get some carefree fun in too. Now I’m not saying you need to hike across the globe to go find yourself or be a raging slut. But I do think it’s important to know who you are, so when it comes time to settling down, you know you are also fine on your own, as well as in a relationship. When I first met Lewy I told him that for us to work, we had to have our own lives too, as that was something I once lost. I think that after nearly 7 years together, that is why we work so much…and he does everything I say.

Even after meeting Lewy, I was still sceptical about the idea of marriage, but that didn’t mean I loved him even less. I should have been fine with the idea as my parents are still happily married after 40 years, which is a pretty amazing feat in this day and age. I once read that over 50% of marriages end up in divorce, I’m not sure of the stats, but maybe that had been at the back of my mind. I always thought we are a great couple, we don’t need an piece of paper to warrant that. I still believe this. I never want the fact that now we are married means we change as a couple, or we forget how to respect and nurture each other. That just comes later when you have a baby doesn’t it?

I have plenty of friends who will never get married and that is their choice, or others that would love to, but our stupid laws about same sex marriage, forbids it (hopefully not for much longer), but whatever the decision is, every relationship is different and that is what makes it special to those involved. As more of my friends started to get married, it was never a matter of, wow that looks like a fun fad, let’s do that. I still went through moments of trepidation. I’m pretty sure I told Lewy on several occasions that I wasn’t ready or even sure I wanted to.

But then, something changed. Maybe it was the fact that I knew he really wanted to, maybe it was the pressure from my mum (just kidding, sort of), or maybe I was just finally ready. When Lewy proposed, for once, I had no doubt in my mind. Yes it was about the commitment to each other, but foremost we decided it was about having a party where we could celebrate our love for each other in a way that reflected us as individuals and as a couple. Something personal and intimate, fun and relaxing- so what better place than where Lewy grew up to have it, than in Little River at his parent’s pad. We had paella, hay bails, games, a band and we even camped. I think we can look back when we are old and wrinkly, and think we were once pretty cool.

In reflection though, it was much more than that. I look at every single thing that our loved ones did for us leading up to, on the day and afterwards and we will never forget it. It was truly a beautiful bonding experience for both our families and friends and amazing to know everything they did, was all for the love of us. You are not only joining each other, you are joining your families. There is never a time when you can bring two families together in such a loving environment. Only at a funeral, and there is certainly not the open hearted, warm spirit created. Especially over that amount of booze to get the guests there. I’ve got to say our wedding was an absolute love fest, even with the customary hook up between singles at the end of the night.

There is always ways to do it that won’t cost the end of the earth, or ways to do it that really reflects who you are. Some people opt to have all that taken care of and go to a venue, and there were definitely times when we were knee deep in making bunting for decorations when I thought, why did we start this. But on the day, when I looked around and took it all in, I have forever frozen that day in my mind. I also know that when I was walking towards Lewy, I have never felt more sure and happy about getting hitched than I did on that day!

Disclaimer: On the other side, eloping or not getting married will save you a lot of time, money and stress. But where is the fun and good times in that.


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24. A treasure hunt

If you are a film fanatic, literary lover, china collector, music maniac, home decorator/ hoarder, aspiring artist, sports savant, car crazed, tool toter, equestrian enthusiast, vintage votary, furniture freak, pre loved partisan, then maybe just maybe, you will like visiting the many amazing auction houses, garage sales, markets, second hand warehouses and op shops this country has on offer.

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For me, there is nothing quite like the feeling of stepping into these types of places, as it is literally like walking through time. Fragments of history all piled together haphazardly, often looking like there is no structure-but the owners of these stores would disagree. Smooth symmetry, ordered chaos-there is a plan for these little pieces of nostalgia. All laid out with purpose and vision for its next life.

I could spend hours browsing the shelves filled with anything from vintage toys, sporting or car memorabilia, avant-garde art work, suitcases and clothes, medicine bottles to electronics, furniture to signage to tool boxes. When you enter these places, you get to travel the world. Every single item has a beautiful story attached to it. Maybe that old medicine bottle was used during the war in Germany, then was packed away in a worn down suitcase, migrated to Australia and helped the sick, become well. I always love opening the front cover of old books and seeing what is written. I wonder if whoever wrote that special message would realize that one day it would end up in the hands of a stranger. So many lost messages that many will never care to hear or read. There is a sadness to this, but also something quite poetic.

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As we passed through post modernism, where nothing was considered as new anymore-maybe this is why these places of bric a brac have soured. I always liked this quote by Jim Jarmuch “nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.” So everything I now write, is it just some weird mash up of things that I have read or learnt, can one ever be truly original?

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If they can’t, maybe this is why people have gone bat shit crazy for pre loved relics and the smart ones are making a very lucrative lifestyle out of selling this stuff. Since the founding of consumer-consumer or business-business sales services like ebay in 1995, the idea of just ‘throwing out’ our rubbish has taken an interesting turn. My grandmother and I always used to have conversations about this. Her generation had the one TV for 30-40 years; whereas she couldn’t understand how my generation-one of disposable incomes & materialism would say- if it breaks, I’ll just buy a new one. After all, with technology racing ahead at warp speed, as soon as you buy, it’s value immediately depreciates. So what happens when we live in a world of such throwaway mentality? Do we all forget to value these items and take pride in them for the life they have lived and travelled?

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As I visit places like Chapel Street Bizarre, Camberwell Market on a Sunday, the Hock Inn Garage Sales in Horsham, to the local St Vinnies op around the corner, I wonder why all these ‘things’ were given away and the travel they took to come to its resting place. Was it for money, because someone died, a reminder of a past love, a broken dream, a revenge throw-out, a childhood plaything no longer loved or maybe the owner just thought it was junk. When I was moving a few years ago, I had to pack away a whole lot of my stuff into boxes and for over a year they stayed contained. When I opened them up to move into a bigger home, I thought how strange that these items were so special to me at the time, but then became, well, nothing in the end. It just made me take stock off all the crap people can buy because you think at the time it might make you look smarter or cooler, or make life more meaningful or efficient.

Are we really helping the economy by buying worthless crap or just assisting in clogging up in the landfills? I know I try to be more mindful of these things….or at least by visiting these places and buying something that was once someone else’s-I can find value and worth in my very own little piece of history and not always buy the newest version of whatever it is I think I need. Even if it is a tobacco jar or old piano stand. Or maybe I just browse those shelves, sift through the pieces, take a moment to appreciate its story and then move on.

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23. Growing Pains

Black- empty- nothing whispers in my ear.
Brings me to the ground.
Pounds in my mind.
Anxiety hits.
Confusion blares.
It has nowhere to go.
Turn to stare it down, make it
Leave. I can’t find it.
Disappears like a shadow
lost when the lights turns out.
Close my eyes. Try to remove myself.
Clear this madness. Happy thoughts.
This chain keeps pulling me till I am
submerged under a cement wall of darkness.
Must sleep.
Need a release.
1.52am 10/10/14

Heavy, I know. But a few Tuesday’s ago, this is how I felt whilst lying awake, feeling like absolute shit. I am normally a positive person, but yes I do have my dark, depressive days. I think it’s fair to say that most people feel down from time to time, or a lot. For some, it’s a lifelong battle. We are all on a spectrum of happiness that ebbs and flows with each passing day. There are days when we wear masks to cover our sadness, because it is just easier to get through the day that way. But these emotions good and bad are also one of the most beautiful parts of being human too. So I’ll take both any day, to know I am alive.

Maybe it was the strong antibiotics that were warping this sense of happiness; I mean I was so high on painkillers; I should’ve been floating on white, happy thoughts. But in those early hours, for some reason so much was going through my mind and I couldn’t switch off. I kept thinking how I couldn’t go to an event I had to go to……let me rephrase and say that I wanted to go to, as do we ever really HAVE to do anything. (I have been co-producing a doco for 6 months now and the event would air our teaser and kick start our funding campaign. Please support –any donations much appreciated).

But here I was at age 32 and had been diagnosed with shingles. I know what you’re thinking…isn’t that what old folks get? I certainly thought they did. But apparently after visiting the Dr. –anyone can get it if you’ve had chickenpox. Not to dramatise, as it’s certainly not the worst virus, but it was so damn painful. Think of stabbing needles in your nerves or someone stretching out your nerves with brute force. But again, as my body likes to do from time to time, is to say, Liv WTF, can you please slow down. Most of you who know me, know just how busy I am. “Let me just check my diary and we can schedule a catch up” might sound familiar….but it’s because I really do love life and want to make the most of it while I am here…. briefly, or hopefully for a long and beautiful life. We just don’t know.

The dark haze brought me back to a time that I won’t say I want to forget, as all those moments and memories have brought me to this exact moment which is good. I am not one for regrets, so I just learn from those portions of my life and that is why I am like I am. But I got shingles for a reason and my body just said fuck it, now stop. So I did. For a week, I literally did nothing but sleep, eat, watch TV, read, write and most importantly, reconnect with myself.

I also decided it was long overdue that I got back into meditating-I have been running a lot this year and kept saying that was my meditation. But there really is something to be learned from just being completely still and clearing your mind. Your body is a temple and it really does need time to regenerate. I sat down and did a chakra balance. It was the best thing to do, as when I got to my solar chakra which is known as the power centre, I found I was so tensed up that I was almost in pain. This is also an area when you hold guilt for saying no and I began to have the clearest realisation that I really do have a problem saying no. I am like the reverse of Jim Carey in Yes Man.

I spoke to my mum and she said her mother had said to her once that she was the same, so maybe it is hereditary. I certainly never thought of it as a bad thing, as it has made me a hard worker and I think a really good friend, but sometimes for the sacrifice, quite literally as my shingles have proved; of my health.

On that Tuesday night when I was lying awake feeling depressed about not going to the event, I should have taken a moment to realise you don’t have to do everything in life to be happy, but take solace in the stuff that you do have. I had beautiful friends and family who went regardless of me not being there and the support I felt was incredible. That week made things so clear for me.

So I say….coming full circle from my intro blog about making chill time for yourself when obviously in hindsight, I have not been doing enough of that is ….in the madness of the last minute wedding planning and the rest of life:
I will not be stressed; I will laugh and enjoy it all, because life really is too much fun.
I will be free and proud and happy for the journey that is coming my way and grateful for the man I am about to marry.
I will just be in the moment and take it all as it comes.
I will make time for others, but more importantly for myself.
I will just breathe.

See some pain does make you grow….

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22. Other people’s faces

Their faces creep in the shadows.
Deep down they hide in the depths of
my dreams. I am haunted by some.
They appear as themselves or as shapes,
or maybe they have become strangers now.
Some are reminders of the past,
of the person I was before.
Some are wishes of time that is lost.
Childhood memories, adult conversations
that I never really understood.
These faces are all locked away until they
are right there in front of me,
so close that I forget that are gone.

4/9/14 5.50 am

I awoke really early a few weeks ago, with the worry that somehow I had completely forgotten to give my Nanna an invite to my wedding. It was for these few beautiful seconds that I believed she was still alive. In the slumber of my dreams, I had been recreating our time together. We were sitting in a garden, talking about nothing in particular, but I felt like she was right there in my grasp. Then to awake to the horrible realization that she had indeed passed over 6 years ago, saddened me. I didn’t want her not to be here. I wanted to go back to the days I spent having long conversations with her. She made everything seem so easy to understand when my head was sometimes so full. I had a yearning for the clarity and appreciation of life she gave me. I’d like to think she was somehow checking in on me, or maybe my mind was just using her as a vehicle for guidance.

I’ve always been intrigued by the depths of my dreamscape and self awareness. As a teenager, when I was constantly questioning everything, I’d move from idea to idea of how my subconscious and dreams were linked. Were dreams a portal to parallel worlds or fragments of past lives, or were they just simply parts of my emotions, my fears, my desires and concerns all weaved together in some blurry confusion. As I’ve gotten older and read more, it is just as mysterious, if not more. Maybe we dream to assist our body with rest and repair or maybe it is to make sense of each day, reduce stress and our pent up emotions. All I know is, as my heavy eyes close and my racing conscious mind slowly fades away, I love venturing to other worlds and being visited by other people’s faces.

I know lots of people say they don’t dream at all but in fact everybody does, its just some people don’t remember them. I’ve always had the most vivid of dreams and yes my friends and family would probably agree, some of them are downright bizarre. Some have also felt so real, that I’ve woken up questioning whether it actually happened. Did I just scream at my mother, did my friend just die in a car accident, who the hell is chasing me? Heart pumping and covered in sweat, you wake maybe even crying….these are the ones I wish I could avoid. Or then there are those really good ones that you want to try and jump back into…you know….those sexy ones…..or powerful ones…..or where you are flying…..whatever floats your boat, because dreams are full of endless possibilities and can be used as a way of finding out more about yourself. There must be a reason why lots of people try to have lucid dreams after all.

As I sleep, lost friendships and lovers also fleet in and out of these dark spaces. Not knowing why at that time they choose to surface, sometimes just as an abstract presence, sometimes as if to pass on some secret message they never got to tell. Maybe it was because I didn’t want to hear what they had to say at the time. All these thoughts of past and present, all these faces fading in and out-maybe they represent parts of myself, maybe they filter all the thousands if not millions of messages I receive daily, so I can make sense of them. But maybe you have dreams when something really important in your life is about to happen and you can feel that those that have left you, can experience them too in some way. You bring together all your memories to create something new that is only yours to interpret.

A few interesting facts about dreams and sleep cycles:

Or a wacky film I love all about dreams, subconscious and our memories: Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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21. Begin again as it says

We all have a past that maybe
we have chased away. A something that
you want to forget, a time that was cruel.
A last goodbye.
A day that you wish you could take back
because you were not so nice.
A sad song that reminds you of the tears
that once flowed.
A word that you wished wasn’t the last.
A love that you are glad you got away from.
A friend that hurt you.
A broken promise.
When you were so angry you did whatever
you could to numb yourself.
When someone left this world forever.
When you were so lost you weren’t sure if
you would come back from it.

There are also times when want to begin again. Like everyday were your first and your last wrapped in one. When faith is restored that it all happens for a reason. When you realise that all that bad stuff in between, was to make the good stuff count. A simple moment that might seem so insignificant to others but made you inspired to try something new, do something different, be another person. A reason to get up and a reason to let go.

A sunrise.
A sunset.
A baby’s smile.
A quiet moment.
A first glance.
A lover’s warm kiss.
A new experience.
A fine wine.
A laugh till it hurts.
A laugh at yourself.
A piece of advice.
A cultural awakening.
A song that takes you away.
A film that moves you.
A best friend.
A new friend.
A memory.
An unexpected compliment.
A holiday that opens your eyes.
A beat that makes you body move.
A dress up party.
A family who cares.
A passionate encounter.
A meaningful cause.
A piece of art that inspires you.
A challenge at work.
A drive on a long, open road.
A partner who is your equal.
A book that changes you.
A good sleep.
A spontaneous act.
A meal made with love.
A thing called respect.
A right to learn.
A walk in the park with no shoes.
A chat with a friend across the globe.
A really good hug.
A guilty pleasure.
A stranger.
A swim in the ocean.
A rediscovery of something old.
A stupid mistake.
A sexual desire.
A moment when no words are needed.
An intelligent conversation.
A something that is just yours.
A walk in the rain.
A photo you took.
A love that goes forever.
A day that was just good for no particular reason.

Watch a film that makes you rediscover the beauty of making music and finding new love. Of walking in big cities and learning to claim old love and a way to mend broken wounds. ‘Begin again.’

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20. Anger pains

Run up a hill as fast as you can.
Run like you were that kid again
racing to the finish line.
Run like you’re scared for your life.
Run for fun, further and further upwards
you go until your muscles
are burning from the test.
All you can see is the steep
slope down and now you are the owner
of it all below.
This is yours just now.
Let your eyes follow the horizon.
Think of nothing but the freshness of this air
that floats and glides around you.
Now breathe and let all the hate, the anger,
the tension, the stress of the day, the past
–let it leave you.
Take gratitude in the silence and the peace that you have.
It can tumble down to the depths
of the earth for all you care.
Up here on your very own little hill.

09/07/14 10.20pm

I had an interesting encounter the other day with one very angry man. I won’t go into the details -just to know there was a long winded back story as to why he got so angry, though not enough to justify acting so dangerously. Have no concern, I’m not talking about anyone I personally know; it was just something I witnessed. But it really got me thinking back to all the times I had seen boys and men (and hey who are we kidding, sometimes really angry women) become overly aggressive. Luckily it hasn’t been something I’ve been overly exposed to firsthand, but there have been moments when I have seen eyes glaze over and quite frankly, not know which way the situation might go.

I had intended to write a blog about the many ways that you can let your stress and anger subside. How it really does take so much more effort to be aggressive in life than just to let things be. Though whilst sitting on a hill watching time pass may work for some in chilling their inner angst, there are other things to think about. See when I got to work yesterday I was listening to two ladies at my work talking and it made me think about the other side to anger. These awesome ladies are both mothers of teenage/early 20s sons and the differences in their attitudes to my own parents-who came from raising two daughters, is completely eye opening and something to take a note from. I mean I hope when I am a parent I am just as clued in as they both are. Maybe kids always think their parents have no idea what they get up to, but in reality they sometimes just choose to turn a blind eye.

Everyone has their own take on what can be right or wrong for kids these days, especially when it comes to violence and anger. But what if we took a deeper look and remember that men are actually meant to roam, to be wild animals in their essence. Rather than completely suppressing these natural emotions, causing moments like the mentioned angry man- should we actually look at embracing ways to harness it. If men can be men in a controlled environment, then maybe situations like king hits and street brawls may be lessened. Though on the other side, once drugs and alcohol is in the mix, it can be a whole other ball game.

Feminists might argue it’s because men have trouble expressing their emotions, but maybe their real emotions are ‘I want to wrestle and tumble and get angry sometimes and that does not mean I am then going to be violent towards women or other men.’ I mean is banishing toy guns and violent video games the answer, I really don’t know-as to be honest I’m not an advocate of either. But once upon a time, I was a tom boy and would run around with my very own fake pistol or super soaker and be utterly thrilled by it. Have I turned into some insane, aggressive women on a rampage-no? But I was allowed by my parents to enjoy the emotions I had, whilst they also kept an observational eye on it too.

So these mothers both believed their boys needed exposure to ways they could release their frustrations and testosterone without hurting someone irresponsibly. That is why I don’t think martial arts is bad, yes it teaches men and women alike to fight, but it is also about self defense (which I think is incredibly important for women) and respect for fighting without looking for the fight. I have days where I have an abundance of energy and yes sometimes I do get angry or stressed and need a release. I can find it by yoga, in sex, by having a chat with some girlfriends or sometimes I just need to run or dance so hard and push myself till I am sweating and panting but loving it. People need to push their limits at times to know they are alive. So what am I trying to say through all these words?

Being human is beautiful because we get these pretty rad things called emotions. Now some people feel more than they would like, other not enough. We all have our vices and vulnerabilities and some of us have worse baggage than others. Some of us cry for no reason, some of us laugh at situations as a means of coping and some people get angry very quickly. Anger, like fear, is one of the strongest emotions and is often considered to be a negative emotion. Yes, when people are hurt, then tick, yes it is bad. But what if we learnt to harness all this angry passion and redirect it into positivity and fuel for change. Use it to be successful, be creative, be athletic. Just don’t let yourself become that angry little man or woman who beats down on others because they can’t control themselves. Be better, be stronger and have more worth.

As the Kills say in their song ‘Heart is a Beating Drum’
Send your love on a rampage
Give her everything you’ve got
And when you come to hate her
Show her more than just a spark

‘Cause the heart is a beating drum
The heart is a beating drum
It takes more than you wanted before
To keep it on, it’s a beating

Listen to the song for some inspiration if you want your passion to play.


19. Hang with a kid

Let it Go, let it go, can’t hold it back anymore. Let it go, let it go, turn away and slam that door. I don’t care what they’re going to say. Let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered me anyway.

Why can’t I get this freakin song out of my head? For those of you who have been exposed to the movie Frozen or should I say empire…… yeah you know what I’m talking about. But I’ll come to that later.

So Lewy & I spent last Saturday & Sunday babysitting my niece and nephew and I gotta say it was pretty rad-but it always is. I’m sure my sister and husband more importantly enjoyed their night off too as it doesn’t come around that often. To break it down, there is just something about hanging with kids that I love. I think every adult should have a friend who is a kid because with them life is simple and full of rainbows and first glances and all the stuff that you forget about when you become all adult and responsible like. There is no bullshit, no pretences, no fake humour (well maybe fake giggles), they tell it like it is and love you for who you are- not for what car you drive, what you look like or who you hang with. I hate when that changes. So for now at 18 months & nearly 5 years, they love me just cause so that is why they are rad and I am happy. And did I mention they are funny. The stuff that comes out of their mouths without even thinking about it, well you could write quote books.

I enter the room with a bear hug from my niece Michala (you know the kind where you squeeze hard and make a weird bear growl sound) and it dawns upon me that this is what both my uncles used to do to me when I was little. The passing down of this act makes me feel all nostalgic and I am briefly reminded of how much I miss my deceased uncle. Which then makes me miss my nanna, but without going into some depressed downward spiral-I just hold onto that moment for the clarity it gives me. Then when she says she’s been practicing them, I get all gooey and that is the stuff that makes me wanna cry, but happy tears. I get a bit like this when I am around them. Then I scoop up Hayden who I think goes through moments of not-quite-sure about me but then also laughs at my funny faces or cuddles into me when I have smelly morning breath, so I don’t know. I like to think that when they’re both older they’re gonna think I am the cool aunty who got them into old bands like Rolling Stones, The Cure and Fleetwood Mac which I am sure my darling older sis Nicky won’t (no offence to your music tastes). Hey maybe we can even go to gigs together-but for now, I’ll just stick with Livvy.

I have to be honest, babysitting can be tiring too so when it comes to parenthood, I do commend you all. Playing barbies for consecutive hours can be draining but also quite funny. Whilst Michala spends most of the time getting them in and out of various outfits from ski Barbie to rocker Barbie, the only ken she has sits on the side waiting patiently for the party to arrive, or his wedding, or when he saves one of the other barbies from potential danger. The funniest moment was a few months ago when she had all the barbies naked in a pool and ken got to jump in. I don’t think she got it when I said ‘how lucky Ken was’ but I’m sure in a few years they will all be swimming with their clothes on-which is also kinda sad as it will mean she will be aware of things like body image. Or maybe poor Ken & Barbie will be packed up in a box replaced with the next fad like a Frozen doll.

After she made us dinner (alike to how we tell her she babysits us) and we had played ball with Hayden back and forth, we all sat down to watch her favourite film at the moment, Frozen. Now this is the bit where that song, oh god the song, creeps back into my head. Now it is not just me, one of the producers at work, a grown man who is smart and witty and can make sense of things, but who also has kids-has been walking around singing ‘Let it go’ or ‘do you want to build a snowman’-that then puts the crafty tunes back into my head-damn him!! I have to listen to music all day to distract myself; I even have to admit that I have dreamt about the song twice-now surely there is some weird subliminal messaging going on. Please can’t I just let it go like the song says?

But if having that song in my head means that I also got to enjoy them both snuggling into me, then I’ll take going mental with an animated musical any day. I’ll take playing in the park, dress ups, silly songs and dance routines for anyone who will watch, because it does one very important thing-reconnects me with my inner child and makes me think and dream big. When the world gets so crazy and your head gets so full of all the things that can potentially make you sad or mad, just let it go and unwind with some kids, because soon they will grow and they might realize that maybe you’re not as cool as you once thought you were.

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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

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:

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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 (The Other Woman-though I wouldn’t really recommend it for the cinema) (Only Lovers Left Alive) (2 Autumns, 3 Winters)

Some of my fav cinemas

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

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.