Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Accept It


People are always telling me that I will find someone who is right for me. Someone who will respect me and not be intimidated by my brains, success of flirty personality. They say he will treat me right and not lay a hand on me in anger. They say a lot of things.

My bestie Allison said that people say that because they think that is what I want to hear. The truth is that I don't want to hear that. Seriously.

For the first time in over a decade, I am truly happy. Each day, I get out of bed and look forward to an amazing life filled with meaning and love. That to me does not mean "a man" to complete me. In fact, I feel complete.

Every time someone tells me that I will find that person, I actually feel a little cr@ppy. I don't feel incomplete. There is so much love in my life. My loving family and my amazingly wonderful friends make me feel complete in that way. I have no doubt that people love me and that I am lovable beyond belief.

The thing is that I feel complete. There is nothing missing from my life. Nothing lacking. Nothing lost. If I found a great friend who I wanted to spend my whole life with then I would but I certainly don't need that.

Please don't tell me what I need to hear. Just accept that I'm happy and be happy for me. Please.

I love you all and appreciate your help. Love me for who I am.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Invisible Idiot


There is a computing joke about a guy giving a demonstration of a language translation application that can translate anything to and from different languages. He chooses to translate the phrase "Out of sight, out of mind" from English to Chinese and back again. The result is "Invisible Idiot". The computer took "Out of sight" to mean "Invisible" and "Out of mind" to mean "Idiot". Together, the original meaning is lost but we are left with a literal and logical translation.

This is how I now refer to my ex. He is out of sight and out of mind and that means that my trigger for my depression is no longer present in my life. Happiness abounds and there are no regrets. Life moves forward and upward, with me smiling and blowing kisses the whole time.

A few days ago, he decided I should be the first person to know that he was moving to Chicago with Thoughtworks. Two years after leaving, he thought I would be thrilled for him? Celebrate his success? Honestly, I'm glad when anyone does well at their job. Good for him. I still don't think I am the person to tell about it.

A friend pointed out to me that men will often leave their life long partners and go out in the world and re-sow their wild oats. They'll find friends to party with, women to kiss and a freedom like they forgot they could ever have. Then a few years down the track, the party slows down a little and those people who supported you in your breakup go back to giving you some of their time but not all of it all the time, as they did when you needed them. The women they had short term relationships with or a few months of whatever, start to bore them and they move on. The job they spend hours on starts to be a job again and dedicating non-stop time to it isn't as liberating as it once felt.

Then one day, he gets the biggest news of his career. He is stoked. He wants to share it. The first person he calls is that person that he used to share all his moments with. The woman who would squeal at the end of the phone and do a little dance, in shared excitement. The person who would demand they go out and celebrate or bring home a bottle of French champagne and talk of nothing else but the thrill of the achievement.

But too bad. She is no longer that person. She has friends, family and her own person to share life with now. She doesn't miss him. She doesn't feel any real thrill at hearing his achievement. She is actually a little surprised when she sees the caller ID on her phone.

Where was I again? Oh yeah, hypothesising.

You can not walk out of someone's life in such a destructive way and believe that two years later she will be waiting for your call and be thrilled to hear your news.

Remember how you said I had to move on. Right back atchya, my old love.

You're an invisible idiot.

Monday, 13 December 2010

A Crash Course in Australian History

We Aussies are very proud of our cosmopolitan population. There is the tens of thousands of years of gentle occupation and respect of the land by the Australian Aborigines. Then Captain Cook found a good dumping ground for the British criminals condemned for starving and stealing stale bread. The settlers who conquered the land by trying to be English farmers and settling on breeding and farming what ever animals didn't die. There were the gold rushes in the 1850s that brought the Chinese immigrants and their vast knowledge of farming practices and hard work to improve what the settlers had started. The gold rushers rebelled and gave us the Eureka Stockade and made the southern cross an emblem of our independence.

Then we decided to dam (or damn some would say) one of our most beautiful and powerful rivers to make electricity. That brought the Italian and other southern European immigrants to build the Snowy River Dam.

In between, we loved our criminals. There was Ned Kelly who was our Irish Robin Hood but the poor people he gave the money to were his family so they hanged him. This led to the habit of the Victorian Police shooting people first and asking questions later. The NSW police weren't angels either. There is a great story about the Victorian and NSW Police meeting at the border of the two states to do a joint operation. The Victorian Sergeant in charge said "We won't shoot anyone if you guys don't steal anything. Deal?"

We can't help it though. A lot of people don't like our national anthem: Advance Australia Fair. It doesn't really represent anyone who actually live here. It's more the kind of anthem that would be written by a music geek in high school who had never listened to Triple J and thought the Carpenters were so happenin'. Instead, most locals will claim that the true song of the nation is Waltzing Matilda. It's a story about a starving guy in the country who steals a sheep to kill and eat. He steals it from a rich settler which were called squatters at the time. The squatter called the cops in. They were most likely Victorian because they found him and shot at him. He refused to let them catch him alive and he jumped in to a small lake that we call a billabong. Now he haunts the billabong and every school kid and sporting fan in this country sings that first when they think of a national song.

The World Wars came and went. They took a lot of our young men. Many as canon fodder for Churchill, who didn't return the favour when Darwin was bombed to smithereens in 1942. That was the one time that a foreign country attacked Australian soil. It was our Pearl Harbour. That's when the Americans who Australians so love to hate came and helped us after Churchill said he could not spare our boys or his at that moment. When I'm whinging about American world domination, I always stop and remind myself what they did for Australia, Papua New Guinea and the whole of the South Pacific when the rest of the world was too busy protecting Europe to care about the antipodes. There is really no excuse for Sarah Palin or Tom Cruise though.

Australia had The White Australia Policy that lasted from the founding of our country in 1901 until 1973. That was 3 years before I was born to a white father and a black mother.

That is when it became cosmopolitan. With immigration from all over the planet, this finally became a place with a little more flavour. No more "meat and three veg" meals. The country blossomed in the 1980s and became known as the lucky country.

It still wasn't very lucky for the Aborigines who had to live with centuries of racial segregation, extermination and the heartbreaking and quite unjustifiable Stolen Generation. I went to school with kids whose parents were victims of the stolen generation. Half castes were always the first to be rescued and brought up as whites in the world that hated the mixed coloured skin.

Yes, there are plenty of wonderful things to say about Australia and being a melting pot of different cultures is one of those wonders. I don't think we are all the way there yet. We aren't a place without racism and bigotry but I think we generally try to be good people. There is a lot of ignorance out there about a lot of things. My quick history of Australia might not mean anything to you but the more I read and learn, the more I understand the distrust and reasoning behind the inequalities. We have so far to travel but we are this cool collection of misfits who kinda make up the rules as we go along. I think that will work for us.

This is the song that I think should be the National Anthem...


Stuff and Nonsense



Disobey my own decisions
I deserve all your suspicions
First it's yes and then it's no
I dilly-dally down to you, oh
But I've got no secrets that I battle in my sleep
I won't make promises to you that I can't keep

And you know that I love you
Here and now, not forever
I can give you the present
I don't know about the future
That's all stuff and nonsense

I once lived for the future
Everyday was one day closer
Greener on the other side
Yes I believe before I met you
But I soon learned your love burned
Brighter than the stars in my eyes
Now I know how and when
I know where and why

And you know that I love you
Here and now not forever
I can give you the present
I don't know about the future
That's all stuff and nonsense

Sunday, 12 December 2010

If we all understood..


... a gentler place.

Single Bright Female


2010 has been a bloody fantastic year for me. Yes, it's relative to the hell that was 2009 but I'll take what I can get. It was a very good year in so many ways. One of the ways I want to discuss is what it has been like to be single.

I won't lie. My first thought on starting all over again and being "alone" was not a happy green field filled with bunnies and butterflies. No sir, it was more a moment of terror that spanned a long few moments.

That was 2009. That's last decade, baby!

At the beginning of 2010, I decided on a new year's resolution that was only shared with a few select members of the Mana inner circle of awesomeness. That resolution was to spend one whole year on my own. I would not get in to relationships or look for love like a lost puppy.

This was implemented in several different ways including filling my time with the distractions of hobbies and habits that were chosen to switch my brain from Damana-in-a-couple mode to something else. What that was, I was quite willing to wait and see.

People told me the clock was ticking and some even called me passed it, at the ripe old age of 34. I ignored and kept on with my promise to myself that this year was the year that I would be my own person and find a way to be alone without being lonely.

My life then filled with time for good friends. It has been like being at university again - hanging out with my girlfriends, drinking a glass of wine and talking about life, the universe and everything. Those friendships were nurtured and have become a rock that I know I can lean on at any moment from now until... well, for ages anyway. They are what I call real friends. You know that saying... Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies. I have me some body movers although I'm sure Bernada and Kellie would not be happy if gunk got on their shoes.

There was time for family and observing the wonderful relationships between them and their significant others. Seeing how people can treat each other with respect, not hurt others and love through everything life throws at them. For better or worse; richer or poorer; and in sickness and health.

There were propositions for relationships - instantaneous; lasting; long since dead; casual; formal; odd; and often unwanted and unsolicited. These from possible princes; predators; punks; already taken partners; pretentious pricks; and an assortment of actually nice guys.

I said thank you but I'll pass this time.

Yes, I understand that they may never come around again. That love is important. That people are in different stages of their lives. That it seems nothing can make me happy.

The truth is that I found who I am this year. I don't know exactly what I want but I have a flaming good idea of what I don't want and some clues on the direction I am heading.

We each must be self-contained and able to identify the "me" in the throng of people or the intimacy of a relationship. My learning has brought me to understand who I am and who I would like to be. If being single is not my lot and a person walks in one day and rocks my world then I'll still have a strong sense of who Damana is. I won't lose her to the sum of a relationship, like I would have in the past.

Now that I can like me, other people can too.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Chain of Fools



Chain of Fools - Aretha Franklin

Chain, chain, chain, chain, chain, chain
Chain, chain, chain, chain of fools

Five long years I thought you were my man
But I found out I'm just a link in your chain
You got me where you want me
I ain't nothing but your fool
You treated me mean oh you treated me cruel
Chain, chain, chain, chain of fools

Every chain has got a weak link
I might be weak child, but I'll give you strength
You told me to leave you alone
My father said come on home
My doctor said take it easy
Whole bunch of lovin is much too strong
I'm added to your chain, chain, chain
Chain, chain, chain, chain,
Chain, chain of fools

One of these mornings the chain is gonna break
But up until then, yeah, I'm gonna take all I can take
Chain, chain, chain, chain, chain, chain
Chain, chain, chain, chain of fools

Monday, 29 November 2010

Amazing Women: Megan

There are some amazing women out there and I'm not talking about celebs and unattainables. The most interesting and inspiring women I've found are ones that actually exist in the world around me. Having asked one of the strongest women I know to write a few words about how she became who she is, I'm happy to say that it is here for you to know too.

Megan and I met on twitter, via a shared love of shoes. We aren't shoe addicts but see ourselves as collectors. She is a lawyer by day and mum, shoe lover, wife, writer and trend setter every other moment.

Hopefully, you will gain as much from learning about where others find their strength as I have.

------


“What does my name mean?”
I remember asking my mother frequently. “It’s Welsh” she would say “It means the Strong One because that is what you are – strong.”.

If someone tells you that you are strong, does that make you become strong? Strong willed, strong minded, strong opinioned – independent. Or is the name a talisman to protect that strength?

My grandmothers, both of them, were strong women. By some strange stroke of fate, both were named Helen. The name Helen originates from the Greek and means (apparently) ‘the bright one’. Both were possessed of incisive minds and biting wits.

My Scottish gran, wee Nellie, the youngest of 13 children, won a scholarship to St Margarets Convent. Her parents decided that going on to high school would just lead to problems. Aged 14 my gran was apprenticed to the J & P Coats Mills in Paisley. She always claimed that her parents had made the right decision but there was a simmering anger within her that evinced otherwise.


It was this anger, this ferocity that always impressed and terrified me about her. On one hand she was verbally though not physically affectionate. Every week she and I would hang out and I would polish and pootle about with her collections of brass miniatures and antique buttons and talk. Then we would walk. “Let’s click hen” she would say to me linking arms with me in a conspiratorial way when I tried to hold her hand. At some point my gran would meet someone, some elderly woman that she knew from the church. At that point she would relinquish my arm and stare the other woman straight in the eye. A conversation that appeared cordial would then ensue. After what seemed an eternity to me (probably 5 minutes), the conversation would draw to a close and the parties would disengage. “See you hen” my gran would smile and wave. “That one” she would then mutter to me “I would piss on that one if she was on fire, she’s a spark out of hell that one”.

The childhood me often wondered why Gran spoke to people she disliked so intensely. Later I realised, like a Mafioso she would keep her friends close and her enemies closer. Her single most important piece of advice to me was – “tell no one anything hen, you only empty your mouth to fill someone else’s”. To this day, I follow her advice. Anything that you tell me in confidence will stay in my confidence. Completely, absolutely and irrevocably.

There was another ferocious grandmother Helen in my life, the chain smoking, languid, elegant one. The one who wore beautiful clothes and shoes, who was never seen without a shampoo and set or a manicure or a full face of make up.

“tell no one anything hen, you only empty your mouth to fill someone else’s”

Grandma Helen and I were never going to see eye to eye. Her concept of good grandchildren were children who sat quietly and ate instead of talking. “What wonderful appetites your children have!” she would exclaim to my mother. This was all very well until I became a teenager when she would remind me frequently not to eat too much. There was an odd tension in my grandma Helen’s eating habits. On the one hand she would drink Tab diet coke




and on the other hand, she could and would happily eat her way through a retail display tray of Cadburys® Crème Eggs at a single sitting. While chain smoking and drinking diet coke.



And yet despite her girth and the fact that her breasts rested on her knees without a bra, my grandma Helen carried herself, all 5 foot 2 inches of her, with elegance and grace and an innate sense of her femininity. “I may be fat” she would say “but I have amazing legs” and she did.
From her I learned that there is no situation for which a good outfit, a decent hairstyle and a healthy dose of self belief can’t prepare you.

"...there is no situation for which a good outfit, a decent hairstyle and a healthy dose of self belief can’t prepare you
"

And then there is my mother. My mother who once was a talented ballerina, who decided that dancing was never going to be a way to live her life, who decided at a very young age that looks do not last and that the only thing that she could rely on to get her through life was her brain. My mother who has healing hands and the ability to avoid judging anyone. My mother who once said “Love expands us.”

From each of these women I have acquired a gift – my fierce protectiveness of my friends and family from Gran, my appreciation of nice clothes, scents and shoes from my grandmother and my belief in the overwhelming power of love from my mother.

Mental, like physical strength, something that we are either born with or something we can acquire by through persistence and hard work. When I look at my strong willed, independent, ferocious little daughter I realise that her battles won’t be so different from mine, from every other woman out there. And I hope, and I pray that it won’t take her 40 plus years to figure out how to fight those battles effectively. Like me.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

You are the only exception



For B.

We're Catching Bullets in Our Teeth

Now that's a snake


Apparently, this was taken in North Queensland. This is why I am always nervous about living in the tropics. I am unsure of who took this photo so I can't give credit but really wanted to share it.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Who's the boss?


There used to be this TV show on in the 80s, starring a young Alyssa Milano. She was the daughter of a man who basically worked as a maid for a rich upper class American woman. I don't quite remember why it was called that but I think it had something to do with the confusing idea that a man was in a female job working for a boss who was a woman.

[Quick addition: I'm not saying anyone is the automatic boss or there is a boss at all. I'm talking about how times have changed from even the 80s.]

I recently heard someone complaining about the idea of the show and saying that the question and name of the show didn't make any sense. That the woman who paid the man maid was the boss because she paid his salary. That sounds obvious now, as we sit here in late 2010 wondering how late we can leave it to buy all our Christmas presents.

I nodded and said "hey yeah, she was the boss and why did they even ask that?" then remembered that there were very strict gender roles at play in the past. Even in the 80s with Madonna calling it a Material World and women walking around in shoulder pads didn't really mean that much was different in the world.

Sure the sixties changed things. Women burned their bras and took the contraceptive pill on the way to liberating themselves. The world did change. No disputing that.

The strange thing is that I keep thinking it changed in the sixties and that we are sitting pretty now because of that. That nothing happened in between. Of course, that is ridiculous.

I remember TV shows that were dominated by kickass women "like Joan Collins in Dynasty, Victoria Principal in Dallas" as @maverickwoman on Twitter reminds me. There were movies with amazing female characters who had strength and independence. They went after their dreams and those dreams were not always the 50's view of a white picket fence and a yard full of kids.

That is what I grew up with. Not the sixties view of things but the 80s view of the world. A world with great possibility. Women were as strong, greedy and flawed as men. We can't stand around and talk of equality and forget what that means. Equal in all ways means good and bad. I saw that. It impressed me. It empowered me.

Why am I talking about this? Someone said that the sixties changed it all for them. Of course it did. It was the rolling start to the snowball that became the avalanche of feminism. BUT for me it was the 80s and it's awesome women who inspired me.

I hope the young women growing up now have that too. In fact, I look around and know they will be stronger and more blasé about the way it eventuated. That is fantastic. It is awesome. It gives me hope and a lot of it.

:)

Saturday, 13 November 2010

I said..

I like the idea of living every moment; experiencing all the joy and pain; and ending up smiling because you are glad you played.

Closure

Today was one of those perfect Sydney summer days. Up early and with all my chores done by midday, I spent a few hours chilling on the couch and taking in the peace around me.

Fingers crossed, I'll be starting a new job soon and the next chapter of life starts. It's time for it. I'm excited and happy. This is the way I want life to be.

Goodbye to some things and hello to new ones. Goodbye to old friends and hello to new ones.

Life is pretty awesome.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Confessions of a Recovering Drama Queen


The problem with having lived the last few years as a drama queen is that everyone's first assumption is that you've completely overreacted to any situation :o)

Having had a week or more of zen and sh!t, it surprises me when people ask if I'm ok and stress that I might be freaking out. I guess in time, consistency is the only thing that will change their views.

Truth is that the old Damana used to be a calm and unimpressed ocean of smirks. She is on her way back

Until then, I shall giggle a lot and drink lots of water.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Faith

People have dreams. Some people will realise them and do amazing things. Others will fear failure and not even try. The one thing that I do know about successful people is that they had faith in themselves, even when others lost faith in them.

When you know you are here to do something great then do not let anyone else tell you that you can not. There are many people who will give advice and warn you of the risks but they are your risks to take.

Be brave. Have faith in yourself.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

You need not search for it



"There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path." — Siddhārtha Gautama

There is no more important thing a person can learn than that happiness is intrinsic. It is not the resulting effect of some other action or of a certain circumstance that you have wandered in to. It is not brought to you by others or kept there by following a set of rules laid forth for you.

Of course, there are things that can happen that will harsh your mellow. It's not as if people suffering disease or living in war torn countries can choose to be happy and the bad stuff goes away. I'm not a self-help guru with delusions of all the ills of the world being solved by a smile and some well-formed motivational sentences.

However, there is something to the idea of choosing to be happy when that choice is yours to make. Those of us living the privileged lives of the first world are most often able to make this choice for ourselves. Factors like mental illness, life pain and other baggage can bring you down but in the end the journey back to happiness starts as soon as you decide you are happy and that you shall accept no less.

I love the idea of a happy moment causing a smile and a smile causing a happy moment. They are interlinked and both are cause and reaction.

Be happy by making the decision to be happy :o) Trust me, it works.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

I've got this theory


Most of my brilliant or completely insane moments start with the line "I've got this theory..." and this shall be one of them. I will let you judge it.

Some people are so angry.

This is a waste of energy.

If you are going to be angry in the vicinity of me then I am not interested. Life is far to short to waste it on negative thoughts and energy. Be mad for a second and then let it go and move on.

Smile :o)

Tigger has the right attitude to life


"Excuse me a moment, but there's something climbing up your table," and with one loud Worraworraworraworraworra he jumped at the end of the tablecloth, pulled it to the ground, wrapped himself up in it three times, rolled to the other end of the room, and, after a terrible struggle, got his head into the daylight again, and said cheerfully: "Have I won?"

Monday, 18 October 2010

My New Superpowers



When you think nothing else could go wrong, something does. If you cry then it's going to get you even more than it just did. If you stand outside yourself and look at it then you can often have a big laugh. These things give the best stories. I'm sure you'll read a post in the future that laughs even harder at this.

Do you all remember Spiderman? He was bitten by a radioactive spider and it made him so crazy he kissed Kirsten Dunst? Poor guy.



And then there are people who are bitten by a wolf and end up having excessive facial hair issues and the major grumps once a month. Not unlike a few women I know. Now there will be a picture of a half naked Taylor Lautner, for no real reason. Oh yeah, he was a werewolf in that Twilight movie.


Well, you know how I was not supposed to walk around much on that broken foot of mine? This rule was just enforced by a pesky little arachnid.


I don't know what the little bastard looked like but I'd say the picture above is pretty close from what I remember.

Brilliant me decided to take a street parallel to Bourke St, in order to avoid people. I am not all that Paris Hilton today. I have been wearing around thongs (flip flops for the Americans) to be nice to my broken foot. I stepped over a pile of rubbish that looked like what used to be an office chair or ninja training ground. It was easy enough to avoid but did push me towards a fence and a pile of old leaves and other outdoorsy type materials.

That is where my friend, apparently a wolf spider, lay in wait. They are super shy but he may have heard about my recent unkind words towards introverts because he stuck his evil little fangs in to the side-ish bottom-bit of my left foot.

It didn't exactly hurt straight away. It was more like a little prick. Then it got very painful and incredibly itchy. It's not deadly poisonous to humans because we are so damn big but it hurts and is swollen. The doctors at St Vincent's cleaned up the bite and gave me antibiotics. Apparently, it could get infected and... oh good, all those horrible urban legends of spider bites come to mind. Quick, change the topic.

I'm lying on the couch. Am supposed to ice the foot once in a while. That helps the swelling. I have a plaster over the bite and it looks like a mosquito bite with more lumpiness.

Who knows what will happen next? I don't think I've read a comic book with enough information to help me deal with being a Spiderwoman Werewolf Superchick. Maybe I'll end up kissing Kirsten Dunst like flat chested women and then biting their faces off.

That is a superpower being used for good, right?

You Want Some Advice?

No one else can advise you on what you have to do as a depressed person, to recover from the funk you are in beit passing or constant. You have to find that balance or focus or whatever it is, yourself. You are not alone though. People will help you. Other people do understand you. You must talk to them and sometimes let them talk to you.

For me, a realisation dawned last night that made me feel much better than I have in a long time. I did not beat myself up or think horrible things about myself. The words "useless" and "abandoned" didn't enter my mind at all until thinking of writing this blog. It's not because I somehow realised they weren't true. Of course they aren't. That's the depression pushing the painful thoughts to the front and burying the positive ones in a black sticky ooze at the back of my brain.

This realisation was that I have to stop thinking I am selfish and actually be selfish. Most of my day is spent trying to work out how the hell I can make everyone else feel better about having to put up with me. How taxing I am on all those around me. How it is a matter of time before they all leave me and I am abandoned and alone.

Screw it. If it happens, it happens. If they leave, I make new friends. If there are no more people in the world left to be my friends, I'll get a damn dog. If the dog leaves, I'll get a fish. If the fish jumps on to the carpet and commits ritual suicide rather than be with me then I'll start Internet dating.

See! There is always some kind of alternative when fit hits the shan. People come and people go. They call me all sorts of stuff and most of the time they are right, at least with the information they have. I can't think of them at the moment. When I'm strong and able to stand alone without rocking then I'll start prioritising others. For now, it's work and me. Work so that I can afford the time to look after me.

Me. Me. Me.

For once in my life, I'm going to stop joking about only thinking of me and do it.

See you all on the other side of this "getting better crap". Or, see none of you. Whatev...

I will not die an unlived life


"I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible;
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit."

--Dawna Markova

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Smile


Smile though your heart is aching;
Smile even though it's breaking.
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by.
If you smile through your fear and sorrow,
Smile and maybe tomorrow,
You'll see the sun come shining through for you.

Light up your face with gladness,
Hide every trace of sadness.
Although a tear may be ever so near,
That's the time you must keep on trying,
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile,
If you just smile.

That's the time you must keep on trying,
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Tonight I told my mother

People don't actually understand what it's like to be mentally sick. They don't understand that it's not as easy as it seems. Some days I try so hard to be normal that I have to go home and sleep for 4 hours just to recover. Other days I sit on the floor and cry. Some days I explode and kick at the world. Push everyone away. Fall apart. Those days are fewer and far between and I recover faster. All I can do is survive and live every day until the days are easy to live :)

responsibility

I accept responsibility for everything that has gone wrong in my life.

Afraid

I'm going to be honest with you. If you get no other consistency from me, you will always have my honesty.

Last night was a good night and an awful night. It started well with arrangements to see almost all my favourite people in Sydney. It ended badly when I lost it with four of my best friends and told them I could not be friends with them anymore.

I'm a drama queen on my calmest of days and with only a little provocation. Late last night, I was a bloody diva on steroids.

What triggered it all was finding out that these four people had regularly seen my ex at outings and never ever said a word to me about it. They had all decided that it was best to not tell me because it would just upset me. Damn right it upsets me but not because they hang with my ex. It upset me because it showed that none of them thought me strong enough for them to be honest with me.

I am a honest person. I love that all those people out there are protecting me from myself and acknowledging fragility on my part but the truth is that I am doing ok.

So I hate that my ex husband went and joined my old workplace of two years and now jetsets around the world drinking and working with people who I introduced him to. It upsets me that he comes across to the world as the reasonable one and I am the wild crazy bitch.

We were together for over a decade. We were married. When he told me he was leaving me, he stayed six more weeks before he moved out. In that time, he systematically broke me down so that I would not have any self worth by the time he left. My family and close friends at the time saw this. They picked me up and stayed with me when I was not allowed to be on my own at all. When I was a danger to myself.

So yes, I do not like that man but to be honest he simply does not matter anymore. There is no scenario in the world where I would welcome him back in to my life as even a friend. He knows that. I know that.

So I cut off four of my best mates. Along with Rob's silence and their absence, I am all alone again. I'm tough though. I've got my family still. There is this online place that has people I can't see. I will continue to blog for them.

What happens next? I do what Mum taught me: Pick yourself up, brush yourself off and move on.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Earthquakes and Lightning


It's been almost a week since I moved in to my new place on Cat Alley in Surry Hills. It is called that because it is a no through road heaven for it's 14+ feline inhabitants and two dogs. There is a woman who yells at bike riders, fast drivers and kids on scooters to not run over the animals. It's a short cut for runners trying to stay off the main roads. People wander up and down looking at the award winning gardens that make the place look like a small lane in an English hamlet.

At 34 years old, this is the first place I have ever lived on my own. I chose it. I am in the process of furnishing it. It is all mine. There is not one thing in this place that holds the scent or memory of my past life. There is no sign of Giles or Rob or any of those things that are what I call "then". It is only now and the future and that is refreshing, freeing and terrifying, all at the same time.

The other day, I opened the door in a very Cameron Diaz Spiderman underwear in Charlies Angel scene to a smiling plumber who apologised for waking me but thanked me for making his day. It is fun to be able to dance around the house or use only candles for light or watch movies until 3am and not annoy anyone else. I don't have to excuse myself or ask permission or worry about lying normally in a bed. It is finally my life in my place and I can do any damn thing I want. That's very liberating. It's also a little funny.

There are some things that are odd, in that they don't feel quite right. If I hear a sound then I worry that I'm here on my own and only know three kinds of martial arts. See that warning potential stalker jerk. Sometimes I want to tell someone something that has just happened and made me giggle until gingerbeer came out my nose. At least I have Twitter for that. There are no cats. They will be coming down in a few weeks. Oh, I so miss my kittehs.

Last year, I had different friends; different men; different furniture; different priorities; and many different issues. Now that is pretty much cleared up, I can start moving in to the rediscovery of my career and work out how the hell this living alone thing works.

I will let you know how I go. Just know that I'm very happy at the moment. There are those episodes of grumpiness or too much self-analysis but all in all, life is good. No, it's damn good.

Thanks, Universe. Muwah!

Friday, 8 October 2010

HTFU Princess


"HTFU Princess" is the abbreviated way of saying "Harden The Fuck Up Princess" when someone is whinging about something.

Yesterday, it was the cool thing to say "R U OK?" because that was theme for the day. As you can tell, I feel a little bit of contempt for some of these depression awareness days. Of course, it is for people without depression to remind themselves not to be complete thoughtless shits to those around them suffering depression.

Trust me, not all depressed people are as vocal and bloody ranty as me. There is at least one person around you who regularly suffers from it. While you are sitting there discussing work issues at a meeting or over a coffee with friends, they will be fighting off the idea that they could end all this misery if they took a cab ride to The Gap (suicide point) and just walked off the edge.

Those are the ones who feel destructive inwardly, like me. There are others who think only of hurting the world around them in anyway they can. They are men and women. They are young and old. They are alone in their heads, taunted by their brain chemistry.

So you guys have your one day a year when you ask if your mates are ok and then you go on to pink ribbon day or feed the starving kids day. It eases your middle class guilt. It lets the liberals believe they are so empathic and in touch with the real lives of those less fortunate.

I know this because I was like that. I was you. I thought I understood and empathised and cared and showed support. Damn, I was wrong.

If you give a shit about people around you then ask "are you ok?" every single time you see them and listen to the answer. It won't always be "yes, darling I'm brilliant". One day, that silent miserable soul will tell you the truth AND it won't be on International Give A Shit Day.

Walk more than one day in their shoes. They have to. I'd not wish it upon a single one of you to go through what I have experienced in the last year and a bit. Not even on my worst enemy or my ex-husband.

Next time you tell me to HTFU Princess, I'll laugh hysterically at you. I'm much stronger than you EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Protocols


Ummm, excuse me.

My friend Megan (aka @Gabfran) described me as a people observer. It wasn't until that moment that I thought of it that way. Having grown up a maths geek and transforming in to a fluttering computing geek, I have spent most of my life not really understanding what other people think.

There is a disconnect between me and the next person. Thanks to my mother's repeated teachings to myself and my siblings about putting yourself in other people's shoes, I have a good amount of empathy and an addiction to shoes. Having an understanding of people was not something that was innate for me, like it was for my younger sister. Most days, most people were mostly unfathomable to me.

Because of this lack of understanding and like a good little conceptualist, I took it upon myself to look at what was happening and attempt to see the patterns of behaviour. Over time and by about the time I hit my late teens, I had a fairly good model of human behaviour. That does by no means say that I understood or even now understand people. I doubt I ever truly will. What I do know though is how to listen and absorb what is being communicated and understand the meaning and motivation behind the message.

It may sound mechanical, constructed or even insincere but it isn't. People are just a hobby of mine. I often refer to my portfolio of friends and the idea that you can tell more about someone from the people they surround themselves with than from the person themselves. We all wear masks but our treatment of others will often betray us.

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” -- Emily Post

One thing that bothers me on each visit to my home in Darwin, is the way that people are willing to treat each other. Of course, these people I speak of are the exception and not the rule but they are more common than pandas.

Having worked in my sister's jewellery shop regularly, I have experienced moments where I spoke to someone who entered the shop and got not even eye contact in acknowledgement. At first I thought I'd done something to offend them or had been too forward but on reflection a simple "hello" is hardly toe stomping.

It seems that people with little to no social skills do actually exist. They walk this earth and look just like everybody else. They pay taxes. They breed. They own property and to my peril, they like fashion jewellery too on occasion.

I often used to take this behaviour and other more subtle inhabitations of this as some reflection on my manners or presence. Then it came to pass that no matter how much more considerate, respectful or thoughtful I was, these people never changed. Words like "please", "thank you" and "excuse me" did not exist to them. Other people were and are a disturbance in their life and there is not protocol demanding they be civil so they are not.

“Good manners sometimes means simply putting up with other people's bad manners.” -- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Not all is lost though. In my life, as in my work and all interactions, I believe that the most powerful way to change the world is to set a good example yourself. Lead the way through demonstration and consistency. If someone is rude, don't be rude back. Rather be who you are, consistent in your behaviour and respect for others.

I may not know a lot about people but I do know that kindness is like a spark that lights a fire. The way you treat others will bring the same back on you. Kill the bad manners with good manners. You won't save all people but saving people is over-rated. Save yourself. Be someone you can live with. Please.

Thank you.

Friday, 1 October 2010

The way it ends

"What makes a man a man? A friend of mine once wondered. Is it his origins? The way he comes to life? I don't think so. It's the choices he makes. Not how he starts things, but how he decides to end them" -- John Myers in Hellboy

Thursday, 30 September 2010

The Tim Show

Tim was the best man at my wedding and the most relaxed

There was this guy a knew when I lived in Canberra, called Tim. He was a pretty easy going kind of guy and not much seemed to phase him. When I was affronted by the smallest snub, he would smile and tell me not to take it personally. My rejoinder was often a quick snap back of "it's happening to me so how do I not take it personally?"

Tim and I didn't really understand each other. We were both a friend of a friend and that node was enough to bring us together regularly. In any other situation, Tim would have driven me insane with his overly-relaxed view of all that occurred around him.

One day over many beers, I asked him to explain to me how he saw the world. Why didn't he seem pissed at anything or anyone, ever? Why was stress never knocking at his door yelling "Police, we have a battering ram!"

He told me in a very matter-of-fact way that was because he was the star of the Tim show. On the Tim show everything was about him. When people interacted with him, they came on to the Tim show to do a cameo. When the characters told him something, he took it at face value. If he went for a job and they said he was over-qualified then he simply took that as fact. When someone rocked the boat in the Tim show, it didn't sink. That was because any negative stuff was more learning of morals on the Tim show.

The way he saw it, each other person in the world has their own show that they star in. Sometimes there are spin-offs and guest appearances. They didn't always remember that other people were on their shows because it was all about them. If a decision seemed mean or affected Tim badly, that was either because they had a lesson for him or they were too consumed in their own show to realise the consequences. People were not bad. They were just thoughtless at times.

I have passed on this tale of the Tim show to many people in my time, when they needed to know that it is all about you, except when it is all about someone else. The world isn't made up of good and bad; right or wrong; or even black and white. It's just a bunch of sometimes mismatched TV shows with egocentric stars who are teaching and learning from each others lessons.

If you have a day when you feel a little or a lot stressed by those around you. Treat it like the Tim show or the Damana show. Don't stress too much. Tomorrow's episode is going to be better.

Scratch That

Last night, I asked the oracle (AKA: Twitter) if copper saucepans were the best kind out there. There were many responses, from which I learned that the base should be copper but the food should never be exposed to it. Copper is an excellent conductor but must be coated or sandwiched between alloys that are not so reactive. Stainless steel will probably be my choice.

Then a Darwin friend Jewel, asked the following question... "Saucepan shopping is fun. Is it sad that I think that?"


My response was not at all. I understand that sentiment very well. At the moment, it is more than saucepans with copper bases that cause that inner tingle. It's the whole nine yards.

You see, I'm starting from scratch. After 2009 (The Worst Year of my Life), I decided to sell every single thing I had and start again. I kept my books, DVDs, clothes, shoes, computers and kittehs. Everything else is garage sale history.

I have never lived on my own. Every decision I have ever made had to be run by another person. It had to be OK'd and negotiated and agreed upon. Nothing was mine. Everything was ours.

Now things are much changed. Everything is mine to choose. Mine to select. Mine to take responsibility or blame for. What a freeing feeling. What an exciting and magical time for me.

Those of you who are not serial killers or kleptomaniacs are invited over to see what becomes of the Mad Den (yes, a play on my last name). It might not be as exciting for you as me but just nod and pretend you understand :o)

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Real Eyes Ation

One of the sweetest realisations of my life was discovering that being alone does not mean being lonely.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

I crave. I love. I've waited long enough.

Am I not pretty enough?
Is my heart too broken?
Do I cry too much?
Am I too outspoken?
Don’t I make you laugh?
Should I try it harder?
Why do you see right through me?

I live, I breathe, I let it rain on me,
I sleep, I wake, I try hard not to break,
I crave, I love, I’ve waited long enough,
I try as hard as I can.

Am I not pretty enough?
Is my heart too broken?
Do I cry too much?
Am I too outspoken?
Don’t I make you laugh?
Should I try it harder?
Why do you see right through me?

I laugh, I feel, I make believe it’s real,
I fall, I freeze, I pray down on my knees,
I hope, I stand, I take it like a man,
I try as hard as I can.

Am I not pretty enough?
Is my heart too broken?
Do I cry too much?
Am I too outspoken?
Don’t I make you laugh?
Should I try it harder?
Why do you see right through me?

Why do you see, why do you see, why do you see right through me?

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Manic Pain


I wish I could find the strength to explain the pain at the aftermath of a hypomanic episode to you.

Mine are usually fueled by drinking for a few days in a row but can come upon me without any help, if they choose. This the opposite to the low of depression. It is not like being fully bi-polar. That usually involves mania and full loss of control.

This instead is like being so drunk or drugged that you have zero inhibitions. The thing is, you don't have to be drinking or drunk or drugged at the time for this to occur. It's just the result or precursor to a depressive low.

You feel invincible, mighty, incredible and bulletproof.

In the same way that a depressive state can drive you to self-destruct, so can a hypomanic state.

Usually, I don't have any idea of how much damage I've done. Usually, to friendships.

The worst thing is the shame you feel after it. The loss at destroying another friendship. The fear of what you've done or said. Although mine are few and far between, they are there.

I'm sorry if you have suffered at my hand when this is the case. I will not blame anyone else for it as it is me. I am it. There is no excuse good enough for the person it happens to.

I am sorry.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Confusion for One

AF: What happened? I thought he loved you.
DM: I thought so too.
AF: I guess everyone but he knows.
DM: I guess.

Surry Hills' Secret Life


The personality of the suburb of Surry Hills is very much a reflection of the people who live in it. Let me explain.

Overwhelmed with excitement at the return of AC from an overseas trip, I was up nice and early (two hours too early in fact) and decided a nice early morning stroll was in order. It's a fresh crisp Spring Sunday morning in Sydney. Most of the streets have road blocks on them for the 2010 Sydney Marathon. Police are loitering at corners ensuring cars don't go where they need to go. Pedestrians are allowed to wander around, and I was.

On the second street I turned on to, I had first the displeasure and then acceptance that my path would be painted with vomit.

You see, by day Surry Hills is a funky little suburb sprayed with cafes, boutiques, neat terraced houses, pubs pretending to slum it and the wide variety of people who frequent those places.

There are the little old ladies who yell at the skeg sk8er boys going clunk clunk clunk passed the late-in-life mothers pushing thousand dollar prams around the 19 year old homeless guy who is calling out names at the gay couple who didn't drop him change. And don't forget the hipsters with their deliberately mismatched aged designer label outfits, who smirk at the try hard bogans as they complain about the over-priced beer.

It's eclectic, to state the obvious.

In the evening on the weekend, she transforms. This funky suburb goes home after a late afternoon lunch with machiatto and puts on her coolest threads, then goes drinking; eating; dancing; prancing; and afterward, vomiting.

As some of us wake early and shower then take in the fresh cold morning during a walk, others are not finished partying. They stagger alone or in rowdy unsteady gangs up the streets. They discuss such topics as "how good was that thing?" and "are you sure this is the right direction?"

Sophisticated Surry Hills had a bit too much to drink last night and she's a little precious. I sure hope those over achieving marathon runners keep it down as they stomp passed her.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

At My Best


"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." — Marilyn Monroe

Which came first - the freak or the egg?


Surry Hills is an interesting place. I've spent 3+ years living here, which is the entirety of my time in Sydney. I've ventured out to stay in North Bondi (NoBo) and Manly lately and this has given me an entirely different take on Sydney.

Just now, I returned home (to a friend's place I'm cat sitting at) after breakfast and a visit to the local grocer. There was a girl power walking with weights, up and down the small street. She was wearing some kind of shiny black plastic tracksuit. I was chatting to the neighbours as she went by over and over again. Finally, I asked what kind of material it is. I only asked. She jumped away from our group and screamed "don't touch me!"

For the record, I had no intention of touching her. I was standing behind two 70+ year old ladies. We all stood there and stared as she swore a few times and walked down the street.

There are these moments in Surry Hills when I wonder if people act like freaks because they are scared of freaks or because they are freaks.

It maybe one of those chicken and egg things. They are all freaks.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Ideals


A lot of what you read here is the product of conversations that I had with friends and family in real life. We talked about something and it sparked a chain of thoughts that finally came out here, in electrons on a blog on a server in a Google cloud somewhere.

That doesn't mean that I repeat what someone said to me or expose or negate their point of view. Not at all. Instead, I take the final dump of what has developed as an over-think in my mind and place it here. Maybe you can read it and snuff out the spark with a brilliant and enlightened comment or take it with you and think on. Either way, the idea goes on.

A friend asked me recently if I am an idealist. The question is like a bit like the uncertainty principle. Asking me makes me change the way I would answer the question because it sounds a little like a bad accusation. A closed question with only one sane and reasonable answer.

Once you get passed 25 years old, you should be more cynical and less idealistic. Ideals are for university students and tree huggers who don't use deodorant. Not for hipsters that frequent trendy bars and discuss the lives of the middle class, as if they were concepts from a Steinbeck novel.

That's not how the question was asked though. This person was just asking, in order to approach a possible explanation for why I no longer believe in love.

The theory was that an idealist young woman grows up believing that her prince will come. He will be a knight in shining armour and take her away in to a sunset filled happily-ever-after.

A realist probably thinks that it is going to happen more like Shrek crossed with Reservoir Dogs.

As for who is right, I think it isn't so much a case of right and wrong but of how you look at things. Yes, yes, that's the typical Damana with her "perspective changes perception" outlook on life. I've even been told that I am delusional for believing that there is a silver lining to every cloud and it's probably 925 sterling.

Whether it is delusion or not, I do believe perspective builds perception and perception is reality. Does this mean I was shattered by my marriage because my prince was a complete tosser? No, I still think marriage vows mean something to me that they did not mean to him. If I get a chance again, I would still strongly believe in commitment and love.

Do broken friendships and abandoned promises make me think that people are junk yard dogs, waiting to go for my jugular? Nope. I think the majority of people are good. They have different priorities to me so they may not choose a path that satisfies my life needs but it is their path.

Will I ever fall in love again? Not easily. Maybe never. Does that make me feel incomplete and less idealistic? Again, no way. I think there is a prince out there for every princess. I don't want the dude to save me. I'm a self-rescuing princess. I don't need anyone saving me. That doesn't mean there isn't salvation to be found with a partner. Someone you can share your life with and who completes you.

It's quite possible that all my possibilities have passed but I will remain idealistic. Instead of uncertainty, the friend who asked has reinforced my resolve to continue to be idealistic. To believe that the world is mine to form with my perspective as the building blocks to giving me my preferred perception.

Who knows? Maybe some day, my prince will come.

Lost


There is an odd kind of lost that a person can be, even when they know exactly where they are. It is the kind of feeling that leaves you wondering your purpose, whilst the whole time seeking it.

When I think of being lost, there are flashbacks to childhood. Wandering off in a supermarket while my parents were doing grocery shopping. Wondering if I would ever find them again. The gaining panic as each aisle revealed they still were not there. Going to the last place they were and not having the relief of finding them. There is that panic that comes with being lost and thinking you may never be found. It is not the most rational feeling but it feels real. Of course, you will escape this currently black hole. You'll climb out from the bottomless pit with dirty fingernails and all the wiser. You will be found again.

The trick is hanging on to the knowledge that it won't outlast you. That you are stronger than the darkness. That you aren't trying to find the light and that's because you are the light.

Hold on.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

My Emily


Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.


by Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Gentleness


“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength” -- St. Francis de Sales

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Analytics Fail

For those who are using blogger and change their theme: Don't be a n00b like me and forget to re-add the google analytics tags for your blog. I forgot and lost at least a week of data. That's not the end of the world on my personal blog but it could be if you are out there and care.

The Carriage


This is pure awesome. xkcd mashed with my favourite angsty girl poet. Love it!

Are you anyone outside of the Holodeck?


Everyone knows what Twitter is. My sister described using it as similar to watching TV - a form of entertainment. She isn't on Twitter. I doubt she ever will be. She likes to live in the real world and although she understands others do use it, it simply isn't her thing. My sister is highly educated, articulate, extremely driven and a very secure individual. There are many days when I turn to her for advice, support and sometimes a good slap of sense. Social networking simply isn't her thing. That's good with me. I'm not quite sure whose thing it is.

After this conversation with my sister, I started wondering if there is a type of person who embraces this online world. The mostly intangible, often unreal, sometimes ephemeral locked-down self-controlled utopia that is an online life.

There are many people willing to discuss this idea online. I got many reactions to questions about what drives us and makes us live partly at least, an existence made up of electrons and the perception of only two degrees of separation. People I asked on Twitter sat in two camps - those who didn't see themselves as living that life; and those who were quite defensive about me analysing it. I myself, have frequently fallen in to the latter.

My whole life, being a geek has been a bad thing. To want to spend more time with a machine than a person is often looked upon as lacking social skills or not valuing human interaction. Of course, that is complete bull. Me wanting to write code all night or spend hours reading about niche areas of interest does not a freak make. In fact, it should be clearly delineated that being a geek is not a term interchangeable with freak, misanthrope or anti-social. Often these are labels thrust upon other members of society that do not portray a normal expected exterior.

An author of a book I read when I was 22 years old, which changed the way I saw people said it best: "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal." -- Albert Camus

Geekdom has changed of late. Maybe it was the dotcom boom connecting geekiness with brains making money. Lots of money. Money is good. If you make it then you are good. Simple logic. We are simple creatures. Money makes a lot of behaviour acceptable. Paris Hilton is the poster girl for this argument. In fact, Paris Hilton has so much money that what she does is not just acceptable but a cool thing to emulate.

So being a geek became more acceptable. Then, social media came along and every Steve, Bill and Ada who could use a computer to create a Facebook, Twitter and tumblr account started to identify as a geek. As a geek this became quite confusing as I did not identify with this new crowd. They spoke lots of buzz words and made that good stuff - money - off of talking about web stuff but they thought a left fold referred to to something to do with their dry cleaning.

At first I screamed and accused them of masquerading as geeks. I wanted my gang name back. They should wear their own colours. Slowly, I realised that the meaning of geek had changed and the gang was bigger. Thing is, it's not really a exclusive group you can identify with when everyone is allowed in. Maybe Groucho Marx was right when he said "I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members."

It may feel like a tangent but there is a point here. It wasn't geeks that I was looking at when I entered a room of Twitterati. Yes, this is a real term. Online definitions define it as people who use Twitter but it's more than that. The Twitterati is the upper echelon of those who frequent that social networking site. In each town, city, country and even the world, there are people who tweet as celebrities. Without the use of bots or follower gathering tools, these individuals have amassed a pipers worth of loyal followers. These followers listen to what they say and agree or disagree publicly depending on the emotive response required from their leader. Followers follow and he or she leads. They copy and retransmit what this powerful person says over and over again so that other followers will see and join the fold. This is called Retweeting. In fact on Twitter, the power of your retweeted voice defines the span of your influence.

Notice how I did not say depth? I used span because I believe this is a shallow and fleeting power when it is removed from it's context. Next time you think of retweeting someone, instead stop someone in your office and say "blah blah said this" and see what the reaction is. Is that power? Is that deep and lasting influence? I'm not sure. Not saying it isn't but it would be interesting to explore the idea.

I'm a geek and in most situations there exists a Star Trek episode or analogy that will help explain any complex idea. If that fails then Hitchhiker's Guide of the Galaxy has everything. In this case, the best comparison to Twitter and it's power that I can find is that of the Holodeck on the Enterprise-D, in Star Trek: TNG. The holodeck uses replicator technology to create things that a real person can touch, feel and interact with. Those things can be mere everyday objects to complex life forms like human beings. Anything that can be replicated is fair game on the holodeck. With enough data giving a simple description, an item to an entire mapping and generation of a planet can be created. Real people enter the holodeck and interact with other real people or fictional characters. They can take on any persona and interact with the environment in any way they choose - be that actively as a participant changing the environment; passively as a watcher; or either at different times.

The thing is that the tangible things, creatures, objects and people created on the holodeck only exist there. Real people can come and go but once the hologram attempts to leave the holodeck, it will cease to exist outside of the range of holo-emitters (those things that create the hologram).

Twitter and social networking can be like this. This is not to say that real friendships, business and other real life rippling effects can't come of it. In fact, there is plenty real that happens in real life (IRL) that is created in the intangible and unreal world of online social networking.

What I think is fleeting and not as solid without it's holo-emitters is how powerful a Twitter person is in the real world, outside of Twitter. People get upset when I say it but unless you really have thousands of people following your every move when you walk down the street like a quasi-Michael Jackson (RIP) then you aren't "all that" outside of your tweet stream.

There have been many occasions when I've met people who are shocked when myself and others have not heard of them on Twitter. Several men have told me how many followers they have and waited for me to ooh and ahh with glee. To be honest, most of the people I follow on Twitter are either people I know IRL, people I want to know or those who amuse me. Sometimes, they are all of these things.

It means little or nothing to me if you are big on the holodeck. I don't have a Twitter status to brag about so that might be thrown at me. That's fine. What I do want to know is if you guys see it as important and real.

Does your Twitter status and ranking follow you in to the real world? Is the line between the two blurred or non-existent? Is who you are online, part of who you really are?

I'm interested.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Quote Me Tweet Me Kiss Me Beat Me


"After all, all he did was string together a lot of old well-known quotations."
-- H.L. Mencken on Shakespeare

One Liners

It is easy enough to be twitty. Yes, that is witty on Twitter. People think there is such limitation to being forced to sum it up in 140 characters but they are wrong. You actually have 120 characters so that you can be retweeted (your tweet copied in to someone else's tweet) and it isn't actually that hard.

Say it. Don't explain it. Own it.

What is actually difficult is writing an entire blog post with a beginning , middle and end. Holding the readers attention is much harder when it involves scrolling. I used to be thrilled when I saw a random tweet retweeted over and over again by a hundred people but now I feel very meh. It often takes no effort and there is little reward in praise for an off the cuff remark. Not saying that a speedy retort isn't brilliant but it's passing. Lost in the stream. Giggleworthy but not noteworthy.


Twitter killed the video star

For a while there, there was nothing to blog about because everything was half exclaimed on twitter. It was a lot like standing on a wooden box and calling out the headlines for the local rag. You get the idea that something is going on and you think that you should read more about it but that doesn't always happen. Just like a low cut top, the promise is all there is for most people.

I'm not going to let Twitter silence me with all my own noise.

Summarise in 140 characters or less

Must blog more and give substance. That means tweeting less.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Recover


Imagine if everything you ever did in your life amounted to nothing because for 6 months of your time on Earth negated it all.

At the beginning of last year, I was the sickest I have ever been in my life. If I'm granted no other wish while I live, may I have this one. The wish that I will never see as dark a time and feel as much pain in my soul as I did then.

Through it all, I tried to hang on to my work. Ines told me to work through it and that would help me focus and deal. Lindsay said that anti-depressants would take the edge off and I would then be able to cope. In the end, it was my mother who was right. She gave me a place to go and rest where my existence was peaceful and my soul had the time it needed to heal.

Coming back to Sydney has taken a strength that I never truly thought that I possessed. For all the years since I learned to read, I have lived in books with magical tales of amazing people who faced struggles that none of us would surely survive and they damn well survived them. My path to 2009 was quite a tranquil one. Life went as planned by my parents and then my ruling husband and I plodded along it sublimely happy.

Then reality struck. The hardships that I only read of came to visit. They stayed as unwelcome visitors and would not leave me. In the end, I packed up all my belongings and went away to the one home I knew I would always have. Over the last 9 months in Darwin, I have tried and failed and tried and succeeded and then tried and failed again. There was a point I reached when I realised that it was time to go and try again but in Sydney. Oh Sydney, the place where I did not only fail but watched the life I had wash down a vomit filled Surry Hills drain. There was no way in hell that I was going to let the past defeat me... to scare me away from the life I want and the way I wish to be. Who I am, I guess.

Today marks one week back in my old stomping grounds. In this manic city, it feels like a life time has passed in only 7 days. I've succeeded, celebrated, rejoiced, cried, been picked up, loved, hated, ignored, kicked and finally failed.

The option of running back to Darwin has entered my mind. Will I ever get a job and a chance to work again in this town? Will people forgive me for the horror that was my last six months living in Sydney, last year? Will anyone ever understand how hard it is to try again when you know you stuffed up big time?

If your life has fallen apart, really really fallen apart at one stage in your existence then you will understand what I am saying. All I want is a chance. A chance to stand on over a decade of proving I am a great engineer and a good person. A chance to make up for the time when I could hardly find the strength to get out of bed.

The problem with this world is that we are all pretending that we are ok. A lot of people aren't. I am one of the few lucky people to say that I have had the chance to truly get to know myself and like who I am. I'm not pretending to be ok because the truth is, I'm pretty damn well. Life will kick and trip me but I will persist. One day, I will be back at my best. That day is not far away.

The people - be they friends; employers; strangers; or whoever I meet - who give me a chance now will benefit from the even more amazing person I will be when I fully hit my stride again.

Those who choose not to take a chance and turn away are going to miss out. Life is there for the taking but it belongs to those of us who risk appearing ok and actually strive to be better than that.

On the cusp of this difficult week of adjustment and the good week that lies ahead, I will keep going on in a positive direction. Upward and onwards.

Stick around.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Starting Sydney


When you return to the place where it all went wrong, there is a very good chance that you can fall back in to old habits and watch it all go wrong again. The thing is that life is not something for me to watch happening to myself, like rubbernecking a multi-car pile up.

Last night, I celebrated my 34th birthday with a bunch of Sydney friends. It was a typical crazy night that leaves us with plenty of stories and much to deny. There were glamourous shoes on beautiful people, who were saying intelligent things in sophisticated accents. The French champagne flowed freely like the shouts of laughter in retort to someone's witty comment. The extroverts took their positions, claiming their audience and executing tried and true enchantments to hold the watchers captive.

When this is the world you are used to living in, it is very easy to collapse back in to your usual role. The one that people know and almost expect. The closest thing I can compare it to is getting dumped by a big wave, in to the hard sandy bottom of a beach. You can struggle and fight and push up and refuse to swallow the water but the wave is king and it is going to take you down with it. Slamming in to soft sand still hurts. Being winded is never nice. The wave takes you where it always takes you.

My friend Cathie McGinn said to me this morning... "I think you can live a new life in a familiar city." She does have a way with words. One of those people who you can blabber on and on to for five sentences with all the wrong punctuation and brain dump disorganisation of a forming thought and she will summarise succinctly in response. You know she isn't just listening to you but also hearing you.

My life is blessed with these sage like people who for some unknown reason are willing to spend time with me... this jagged little pill. I've always said that you can best judge a person by the company they keep. Your pedigree is the sum of the quality of your friends and the depth of your friendships with them.

To escape the wave and avoid getting sucked in and body slammed, this chapter of my life must be approached in a different way. No more talk of things "happening to me" but instead more talk of "making decisions". Less thinking of regrets and more living life in a way that leaves me respecting who I am.

These are 3 things that I vow to do to make life different:

  1. Take life slowly. Absorb each moment and take from it only what is worthwhile and positive. Mistakes will be made. There will be failures but that is a normal part of the journey. Being mindful of each step will allow for better decisions and more favourable life outcomes.

  2. Respect yourself and others. Give the same consideration to yourself as you do to others. Be aware of boundaries and limits with each different person. Actively show that people are important and valuable. Do not take anyone for granted. Set boundaries and limits for yourself and honour them.

  3. Improve your mind. Spend more time reading, learning and listening. This life is short and there is so much to do and know. Chose carefully what you will spend your time absorbing and focus on goals that will bring you closer to a beautiful mind.
Wish me luck and remind me of this if I start surfing that wave again.