Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Headphones and hoodies


James Dalby, you make a sad day bearable.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Drink me to sleep

After an alcohol-free month, today is the day I am finally allowed to have a drink… yet I find myself inexplicably disinclined to do so.

Which is odd. Because I have been willing the 1st of August to roll around with more intensity than can be considered natural for anyone over the age of eight not waiting for Christmas morning. Seriously, this shit was difficult. Shamefully difficult. And at times the only thing stopping me from throwing in the teabag and downing some Pinot was the knowledge that (thanks to a StickK campaign) my best friend stood to gain $80 from my failure.

I quickly established wine-aversion tactics: soda water in wine glasses, late-night popcorn, motivational books, and a blossoming relationship with a Breville juicer. But none of these was able to replicate alcohol’s singular ability to quickly and effortlessly dissolve stress and emotional pain. And contrary to what I’d expected, the final week was by far the hardest; each day growing more torturous as the prospect of a freshly opened bottle of wine loomed. Whether this was as a result of the pressure of accumulated stress or the excitement of a difficult experience coming to an end, I don’t know. But I do know I came closest to surrender five days short of the finish line.

Which is why I find it so disconcerting that I now sit here, at ten o’clock at night, with two bottles of organic wine freshly purchased by my boyfriend sitting on the kitchen counter, and feel… reluctance.

Why?

Because during my 31 days of sobriety I accomplished things I’d been putting off for years. Things that seemed too difficult, or scary, or futile.

I wrote a funding grant for a theatre show, applied for inclusion in an Arts program, started a weekly eNewsletter, got published on artsHub, arranged reviewer tickets for a theatre show in Sydney, contacted a top acting agency about representation, registered a theatre company, and planned my stepson’s Communion. And as I write out this list I realise there may be something to this non-drinking thing after all.

So right now I feel as if I’m standing between my old self and new and I’m not quite sure which way to go.

Perhaps a glass of wine will help.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My issue with MTC's The Crucible

Depending on who you ask, MTC’s production of The Crucible sits somewhere between a sensitive and faithful interpretation of Miller's masterpiece and an excruciating poo.
It has been accused of depoliticising Miller’s text and likened to a staged reading. There’s even been a review of a review of the show.

But none of these commentators has identified my particular issue with this production: the depiction of Abigail, the 17-year old girl who starts the whole witch-trial cauldron bubbling.

High School students have been chewing pens over whether Abigail is villain or victim for decades, so I find it devastatingly disheartening that at a time when awareness of the ongoing vilification of women online and in real life is reaching a new tipping point, a mainstage production with the capacity to expose upwards of 15,000 people to this classic text has chosen the path of least consideration and settled on Abigail as bad-girl.

Let me explain.

Abigail Williams, as written by Miller, is a girl living in puritanical Massachusetts with her uncle after watching her parents get bludgeoned to death in their bed. She gets a job working for a family as a maid but sleeps with the man of the house and loses her job when his wife finds out. Problem is, she’s fallen in love with this man and now he wants nothing to do with her. Cue hysterical finger-pointing and contagious chaos.

Now look, you can talk about feminine wiles and manipulation all you like but a married man in his thirties who has sex with an unmarried 17-year old in the British Colonies of 1692 has a pretty good idea of the kind of future he’s sentencing her to.

And while I’m not saying that an interpretation of Abigail as vengeful accuser and villain isn’t plausible, there is certainly room for a much more considered, compassionate and socially relevant direction. One in which Abigail’s choices are a product of the cultural prejudices and situation in which she finds herself. Where we can see the fear in this girl, the helplessness, the adolescent selfishness and yes, the desire for revenge, but also the terror.

Otherwise what is this but a highbrow exercise in slut-shaming hidden behind fancy sets and award-winning acting.





Monday, June 24, 2013

On Step-Parenting

Falling in love with a man with children is not something I would have chosen for myself. But falling in love is rarely a choice. 

And the longer I’m in my current relationship, the more I’m able look back on the past two years objectively and see that I’ve tried to fool myself into believing it’s no different to dating a childless man. But it is. Very much so.

And it has been difficult.

From that first awkward meeting in his loungeroom being presented to an interview panel of two single-digit-aged boys, through fortnightly visits and school holidays trying to be friendly but unimposing, coming up with ideas of things to do, making them feel comfortable talking about their mum, and the girlfriend who came before me, it has been hard.

But it got easier. I told myself it did. And perhaps that’s true. Or perhaps I just grew accustomed to the feeling of being a living reminder of what these boys would never have.

And then the youngest came to live with him, when we still lived separately and my struggles involved remembering to pack spare clothes for work and sharing his towel and always forgetting where I’d left my shoes.

And even though I knew it would be hard, that it would change him, that it would mean making lunches and supervising homework and trimming toenails and steaming vegetables, I supported the decision. I encouraged it. I reassured him that it wouldn’t scare me away and that I wouldn’t love him any less. That it was the right decision. Because I wasn’t one of those heartless women who turn a man away from his children, distracting him with a shiny new brood.  Because I wouldn’t deny a son the chance to live with his father. So I told him it would be fine.

And it was. In a way.

And it wasn’t, too.

Because four months later we decided to move in together, and in one weekend of removalists and delicate negotiations around interior design, I became the woman this child would see more than any other. His city-step-mum. The primary focus of his attention.

And I’ve welcomed it, and loved him, and worked hard to fill the gap left by not having daily access to what only a mother can offer, but I wasn’t prepared for the sheer relentlessness of his need for attention. And despite my best efforts to remain disinterested, an instinct that I can only classify as ‘maternal’ has doggedly put down roots in my cynical soul, and I feel as if in that weekend I leaped from carefree kidulthood to middle-age, without my having any say in the matter.

Because whilst I’ve grown to love my boyfriend’s son and treat him as if he were my own, the fact is he isn’t, not only because that position is already filled but because he was not a choice for me. He was a choice made by the man I love and another woman in another time and although I will continue to love and care for him as long as I’m afforded the privilege, I can’t help but be reminded of their love and failed hopes every time I look at him.

Which, I get it, isn’t really a big deal. Except that it denies me the bliss of ignorance. It reminds me that what you are certain could be the one thing that will carry you through the rest of your life in a cocoon of awesomeness is actually just as likely to turn out to be horseshit.

But the worst part is that I’ve begun to question whether I actually want to have kids of my own, when I’d never had any doubts about their inevitability, and I feel as if I’m in mourning for my own children. 

And that’s a feeling I don’t quite know what to do with. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

How many ways can you lose a friend?

It still amazes me how well I can function even from within the depths of deepest darkness.

And I step outside and the world is bleak and beautiful in the same breath of wind. And I listen to Paul Kelly sing Careless on repeat and allow my eyes to well and dry in a pathetic loop of self-pity.

And I think back on all I have experienced, suffered, been blessed with, and overcome in my 32 years and wonder if I will ever actually learn to live with myself. If all this endless work to self-improve, to be kinder, to forgive, to let things go, to accept what is, has really made any difference at all.

And I sit in my comfortable, White, able-bodied certainty and feel sad because apparently that is my right.

And even my depression disgusts me. But it's still the safest place I've ever been.


___________________________________

How many cabs in New York City? How many angels on a pin? How many notes in a saxophone? How many tears in a bottle of gin? How many times did you call my name, knock at the door but you couldn't get in? I've been wrapped up in a shell nothing could get through to me. Acted like I didn't know I had friends or family. I saw worry in their eyes, it didn't look like fear to me. I know I've been careless. (I took bad care of this) Like a mixture in a bottle. Like a frozen-over lake. Like a long-time painted smile I got so hard I had to crack. You were there, you held the line, you're the one that brought me back. How many stars in the milky way, how many ways can you lose a friend?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cubicle blues

A friend sent me an email today asking if I felt, as she did, that our image and gender was under far more scrutiny working in an office environment than it had been working in fashion retail.

My response...

From: K___
Sent: Wednesday, 31 October 2012 11:17 AM
To: ____
Subject: RE: Interesting article about body posture and confidence hormones

Yes I agree.

Well firstly I'm not as free in my dressing here as I was there. And I'm pretty ‘free’ compared to most people here. But I'm yet to wear drop crotched pants or any really wacky combos… even though I do push back as far as I can.

And yeah, I think we do get much more scrutiny here. I'm a bit tired of people making comments on how I dress.
“Oh aren't you funky.”
“I love all your colourful outfits.”
“Oh look at your cute little shoes!”

In fact, everything about this place is getting me down lately. It’s just so.. dark. Negative. Caustic. Pessimistic. Devoid of love for our fellow mankind. Everyone is so entitled and needy and whiny. E___ noticed it when she left… how 80% of her time here was spent listening to, or dealing with, people whining about one thing or another. I just want to stick a sign to the outside of my cubicle saying:

DEAR UPPER-MIDDLE-CLASS WHINER,
THERE ARE PEOPLE DOING MUCH MORE DEMANDING WORK THAN YOU,
FOR 9 HRS A DAY,
FOR $18 AN HOUR,
WITH NO FREE TEA, OR BUSINESS LUNCHES, OR TAXIS, OR STATIONERY, OR A/C (EVEN IF IT DOESN'T WORK VERY WELL), OR PLANTS, OR ERGONOMIC CHAIRS, OR INTERNET ACCESS, OR INTERNATIONAL TRIPS.
SO PLEASE.
SHUT.
THE FUCK.
UP.

Ahhrgh.

K___
International Officer, Administration


I think it's time to either find a new job or take up meditation.

Friday, June 08, 2012

He built his wife a nest on the ground

The power of true love: a stork goes against instinct and builds a nest directly on the ground, because his partner can no longer fly.

The couple met in the Fedaczynski Rehabilitation Centre in the Carpathian Mountains in Poland. She came in with a broken wing; he with severe poisoning. Although the birds were emaciated and had very little chance of survival, the doctor managed to save them, and through the long months of rehabilitation they slowly fell in love.

"The love of storks is great," says Dr. FedaczyƄski. "Birds are very attached to each other and when they couple, it is for life.”

When it became clear that the female would never fly again, her fully-recovered partner chose to remain with his new wife and spend the winter in Poland, not departing for warmer climates. And then in the Spring he began to build a nest, collecting sticks and laying them directly on the ground, so that his wife would not have to suffer. Mrs Stork sits by patiently and clatters her bill in happiness while their new home grows bigger every day, and in a few weeks it should be home to a couple of chicks.

The unusual pair have become a great attraction in the area. People are watching the behaviour of the birds in disbelief; nobody has ever seen a stork building a nest on the ground like a duck.

And now there are signs that the pair's inventive solution is being adopted by other couples. The clinic is home to other sick birds, including those who had lost the ability to fly years ago. To date not one of them had made attempts at building a nest, but seeing the actions of the devoted couple they too have begun to tackle the construction of nests directly on the ground.

Source: fakty.pl

Monday, June 04, 2012

An open letter to the Australian Child Support Agency



This is a letter a friend of mine sent to the Australian Child Support Agency today, after years of frustration and heartache at the hands of this government organisation. He is a good man, and a good father, and if he were treated in a similar way by any other corporation he'd have numerous options in terms of getting support and protection. 
However, in this case, he had to take matters into his own hands.

I write this note with a heavy heart. 
Thanks for your note detailing my new income amount from 31st December 4000 to the 1st January 2001. I can only assume you’ve spanned these dates in reverse chronological order to give us lowly minions some idea as to exactly how long you plan to keep us in your grip.

Let me be the first to say I’ve been a huge fan of the work you’ve done in protecting the children of the 21st century. I do understand that some men feel it is unnecessary for them to raise and protect the children that they have fathered. I am not one of them. Yet repeatedly I’ve found that your tone in our correspondence indeed doubts the commitment I have to my children.

With this latest letter, and given my recent experiences with your organization (as a father who has custody of one of his two children and looks forward to seeing both of his children become fine young men), I had a teensie inkling that your systems may be letting you down. So, rather than take yet ANOTHER vapid and accusatory phone call from you, I took it upon myself to build a time machine and do some digging of my own. 
Fair warning, you are not going to like this. But let me assure you that I first checked my facts with Google (he’s a real person now, quite a nice fellow actually; we play darts and pool and drink Meta-beer of a Friday. That’s a drink here now).
Using your letter as a guide, I decided to visit the times mentioned.
My first port of call was to be the year 2001, but since I was childless then (unless you’re seeking support of pre-children? Ahh it’s SO confusing!) I decided the year 4000 was a better bet. So there (then?) I went. And what a time I had! I mean, I have a bionic freaking body now! (We could high-five but I might inadvertently crush you so let’s not and say we did!) 
Suffice to say, in the year 4000 everyone knows everything about everyone. But back in 2011, people did not. And by people I mean you. And by everything I mean anything. Case in point: A week before Christmas in 2011 one of your forensic accountants (do they wear goggles and labcoats? Please say they do) called and informed me that after careful consideration of the line items on my company credit card, he had concluded that many amounts were personal expenses and he would be adding these amounts as personal income. Ho ho ho! Was he ever wrong!? (The answer is Yes, but for future reference the tax office usually sorts you out if you try to buy, say, ANYTHING untoward on your corporate card! But you government agencies must collaborate right? Right??? *crickets*). Here’s something else that’s wrong: my kids had fewer presents that year. But, c'est la vie (French is still big here, except for vol-au-vent, as carbs are out.).  
Then, in April 2012, something ever more wonderful occurred. After taking custody of my seven year old I called to let you know of my changed circumstances and was told as this was such a tricky situation (2 kids, 2 parents, I know right!? Sometimes I just CAN NOT divide by 2 either! It’s meta-weird!), you needed to check with Barry in accounts (or whomever) and get back to me.

After no response you called me 3 weeks later not to give me Barry’s summation but rather to demand I make full payment on the spot or risk “harsh penalties” and would I like to have any of this information “reinterated”. Now, given my relationship with Google and the heady arguments we have over darts I was almost certain that the word was “reiterate” however after cheekily educating your staff member on this point the atmosphere became rather icy indeed (not unlike the ice-age of 3024 come to think of it!). 
I have actually given up attempting to have you provide a fair and accurate assessment of my income and the subsequent months of miserable torment you’ve inflicted on myself and my family (without a single meeting face to face) have left me feeling helpless. 
That said however, I don’t want you to worry too much (worry enough to just, you know, not ruin someone’s life or something). With my new time machine our worries are a thing of the past, and furthermore should you ever wish to break bread while we visit the moons of Saturn (Mimas is delightful this time of year!) then I have two Virgin galactic tickets at the ready (the meta-beer still isn’t included in the ticket price though). 
All that I ask is that for the sake of other fathers who may not be bad blokes, you simply look at your systems. Perhaps, one of the reasons your staff are so unhappy is that the policies and systems you’ve given them to work with are wildly inappropriate. That you start each conversation ready for an adversarial exchange because you don’t have THE FACTS (but rather a shoddily crafted depiction of them) is chiefly why you have such a poor reputation.

I do hope you get to visit us here someday. All I can say is that we’re happy to be safe and sound here in good ol’ year 4000. 
Yours (for the next one thousand nine hundred and eighty eight years), 
Ben McFly, Lachlan McFly & Thomas McFly

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thursday, February 09, 2012

My people

are cleaners, taxi drivers, waitresses and strippers.
They bathe the elderly and repair potholes in roads.
They pull (heart) strings to send their children to schools that they can’t afford,
because “education is everything”.
They swallow their pride, forget their egos, grow skin thick as bark, and learn not to fight back.
They smile rarely but laugh easily.
They skype home.
They pray to a God who doesn’t speak English.
They drink home-made spirits and eat white pork-meat sausages. Around tables covered from centre to stomach in make-do food over white lace tablecloths.

My people
held onto their language
through a hundred-and-fifty-years of not existing as a nation.
They rebuilt a city from war-ravaged rubble into an exact replica of its former glory.
They are fathers of modern astronomy, Nobel-prize winning physicists and poets, world famous composers, novelists, film directors and Popes.

My people are my blood.
My blue eyes.
My bone structure and my ashen hair.
My beliefs.
My weaknesses.
My fire and my fight.

My people.

My Poland.

I love you.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Tips for Men

Tip for Men #1: Never cancel a date via text within 24 hours of the date. You've already ruined her day and made it clear you're not that into her. At least be a man about it.

Tip for Men #2: Shower. Every day. And wear deodorant.
There is no exception to this rule.

Tip for Men #3: Never washing your jeans was a marketing gimmick invented by Nudie to make more money. They age better if you wash them every couple of months. Wash your jeans.

Tip for Men #4: Own a peacoat. Preferably in navy. Every man looks good in a peacoat.

Tip for Men #5: Get your teeth cleaned by a dentist once a year. I am deadly serious about this. You think I'm exaggerating don't you? I'm not. Noone will tell you that you have bad breath so just do this ok?

Tip for Men #6: Let women into and out of elevators and trains first. Yeah it's old-fashioned but it makes everyone feel special. (Women: if a man does this ALWAYS smile and say thankyou).

Tip for Men #7: Women are less overt in their flirting than you think. If a girl smiles at you, smile back. If she's still smiling she wants you to talk to her, I promise. Don't walk away it'll break her heart.

Tip for Men #8: When a woman uses the word "fine", it never is.

Tip for Men #9: Don't take other people's advice too seriously. Even mine.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Such be life

A recent avalanche of significant events has me feeling discombobulated. I’m fluctuating between sickening bliss, terror, fury, and fervent motivation of a kind usually reserved for evangelical extremists.

Here are the reasons:

1. First of all, there’s the problem of dating one person exclusively, and seeing them every day for two three (holy shit) solid months. Not only has my hard-earned independence disappeared, but so too my ability to be alone without pining for my lover’s company.  I mean, seriously, who am I? The saccharine quality of the time we spend together is so cloying I’m getting diabetes. But I CANNOT. KEEP. AWAY. Heroin would consume less of my time.

2. Then there’s the housemate who refused to leave when asked to do so. And who has become so Dexter-like in personality that I’m finding it difficult to physically and emotionally manage the level of terror, dread and fury she elicits in me.
God help my filthy pride, which would serve me better by shutting its dirty mouth and just letting me give in to all her unreasonable demands.

3. It’s three days until Polish family Christmas. Enough said.

4. And finally (well not quite, but some things don’t bear mentioning, even by one as honest as myself) there is my desire to finally get the theatre work up that I’d started planning 6 months ago but haven’t made any progress on since August, due to a combination of point 1, and fear. As well as my almost fanatical desperation to be involved in a film project with someone I consider an inspiration and (reluctant) mentor. Which, incidentally, I’ve already been told I can help with and which I’ve already put a little time into but which my impatient personality won’t allow me to stop obsessing over.


So.
No, wait. Hold up. I just thought of another thing.

5. That thing where when you start to love care about someone, you involuntarily begin to take on all their stress and pain as if it were your own. That thing’s happening to me too. 


So. That’s where it stands with me right now. Can you see why stuff be crazy in my head, heart and stomach?


Yeah...


So.


Such be life.


Afterword
I’m aware that as my readership slowly grows, and inevitably amongst people who actually know me, some of the life facts that I choose to disclose may seem overly candid. If that’s the case, I apologise. Albeit insincerely. If I can live with it, so can you.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Unbearable Weight of Staying

I have discovered, recently, an overwhelming and almost uncontrollable urge to escape any situation that makes me feel anything too strongly.

Because I am terrified with my current situation. With the potential for hurt, and disappointment - both my own and his. And the possibility, or inevitability, of the discovery of ugliness. And the future realisation that we are not perfect, neither individually nor for eachother.

And I wonder what the fuck I am doing here.

And I am reminded once again why I chose a solitary life.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On such a full sea are we now afloat

Why am I feeling so lost and discombobulated? Is this how it’s meant to feel when you meet a person you are attracted to and enjoy spending time with? Because if so, I think there may be a terrible flaw in the way our emotions develop and someone needs to say something about it.

I feel excited, scared, distrustful, happy, beautiful, anxious, exhausted, nostalgic, uncertain, protective and confused. In equal parts.

I mean seriously.  How is that a positive combination?

I’ve lost 3 kilos and I haven’t been to the gym in weeks. My room is a mess, I've got almost no clean underwear, I haven’t changed my bed linen and my dogs have forgotten what the park looks like. My parents are permanently annoyed with my lack of communication, my housemate is pretty much living alone, I have done no work on either of the theatre projects I had in planning, and I spend my work days writing about and reading up on things completely unrelated to work. I am, in a word, distracted.

And the most disturbing thing is that it’s gotten increasingly worse until today my head has screamed with the hurtful thought, “What am I doing?” and my instinct is to cut and run before I lose the wonderful relationship I’ve cultivated with myself over the last 3 years. But then what is the purpose of life if not to love and what will my life be if I forever run from that?
Well, peaceful for one. And lonely. Productive. Focused. Centred. And safe. Safe. 

Safe.

That's it isn’t it? Safety.
Predictability and equilibrium. Things I have chased my whole life and will continue to chase because that’s the legacy left by my childhood. But with that emotional security comes self-doubt, and longing, and nights curled up in bed with a Kelpie and an old teddy bear wondering what might have been had I not made the choice to live my life alone. Because I had made that choice. Whole-heartedly. And now the chipping away at my resolve is something terrifying and disorientating. And I long for my boring solo existence when emotions were rational and linear and my own company didn’t feel like there was someone missing from it.

So.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The world according to Ricky Gervais.

"I don't know what happiness is but it's definitely NOT just going with the flow. Going with the flow, for Christ sake? Don't ever go with the flow. Stop the flow, go against the flow, start the flow, but don't under any circumstance just go with the flow. It may ruffle a few feathers, but some people's feathers need a little ruffling. And remember: just because someone is offended doesn't mean they're in the right."


© Rich Hardcastle

Read the entire article here

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Peter Temple via Jack Irish

He can write. The man can.

From the novel Black Tide by Peter Temple, soon to be made into a telemovie starring Guy Pearce.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oh, That Way Madness Lies

A friend recently asked me if I have a “list” of dating non-negotiables.

I can’t remember my exact reaction but it was probably somewhere between a cringe and a guffaw. To me, the idea of making a checklist of desirable qualities seems prescriptive and calculating. It takes the one thing in my life that I approach spontaneously and instinctively, without much thought for my well-being or future, and turns it into something controlled, angst-ridden, and safe… which is how I handle almost every other aspect of my life.

So when it comes to men, I don't have a type. Or a set of requirements that must be met.

But.

There are some things I find very difficult to resist…

Like checked shirts. Blue eyes. Black-framed glasses, and bed hair.
Tattoos.
Hyper-intelligence.
Extensive music knowledge and a Penguin classic beside the bed.
Being good with children. Old-fashioned manners. The ability to fix computers or cars.
The courage to sometimes tell me what to do.
An uncontrollable urge to throwdown(1). 

Any one of these things in someone will immediately get my attention. A handful may start to overtake my thoughts. But all these things in one person aren't perfection, they're madness.

So no, I have no list.
But... if a man in a check shirt and messy hair, with tattoos and glasses, doing the cryptic crossword with a Bulgakov sticking out of his bag on the way to a gig, were to stop and open a door for me?

Well, I may just disappear forever.


1. throwdown
an act of sexual passion in which one of the persons involved is so overwhelmed with the urge to makeout/hookup/have sex with the other person that he or she loses control, taking passionate, almost aggressive charge, and intensely makes out with the other. this act may involve pushing someone against the wall or onto a bed and may also include grabbing of the face and hair.
Source

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One day...





















 
Portia Nelson (1920-2001)
I have carried this around with me since 1997.