Thursday 20 December 2012

Don't listen to a word I say

I've been quite good with my New Years resolutions over the past two years so I am stating my next one.

This year's was to be mentally stable supported by having a stable job and a stable home. I've smashed that! :)

In 2013, I want to live a life with self respect and unwavering respect for those around me - be it friends, work mates or boyfriends.

There is a quote that says "Character is who you are when no one is watching."

That is driving my new year.

What is your NY's Resolution?

Monday 10 December 2012


There are so many people who I have interacted with lately who are a whirlpool of inconsistencies. They say one thing. They do another. They think they think but they really just apply logic to their emotional responses.

For all my flaws (and they are vast), I have one thing going for me. I am quite self-aware. Yes, I still do stupid stuff but I have the skills to sit down and work out why I really did what I did. Sometimes it takes seconds, sometimes hours and sometimes years. In the end though, I can attribute my actions or my emerging feelings to real human reasons.

Maybe I fear something so I figuratively hit it with a stick. Sometimes I resist something due to a trigger and it takes me a long time to realise the trigger is something that I've hit before many times. Sometimes I cry and although I think it is out of sadness, it is out of anger or joy or confusion.

Logical people are the worst. They make a decision quickly and attribute their actions to that very rational reason. Often, logical people are hyper-rational in an attempt to control the loss of control that emotional reaction has.

Lots of things are lower level. They come from our lizard brain (yes, yes, I know that's not biologically true) but they can be tempered with mindfulness.

Mindfulness is not about controlling your emotions or thoughts of responses. It is about taking in the whole situation and slowing down until you're dodging bullets in a Matrix like fashion. Then you can work out what is what and who is who and why is when. Sometimes, you don't work it out and just ride the wave until it takes you to your destination.

Rather than applying reason where there is none or even the wrong reason to an action and giving someone interacting with you whiplash, take a step back and try to work out why. Most often, it isn't the worst assumption possible that is driving it. Often it is a small thing or a nothing that has blown in to a huge thing.

Sometimes we are just grumpy and it has nothing to do with anything. We just are.

Try to align your thoughts, your words and your actions with their real sources and don't make up are good reason for your bad behaviour.

Sometimes we just behave badly.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Why your lack of delusion limits you

There is something that all amazing people have in common. No matter how normal they look or how sensible they act, they all have a slightly delusional side.

Optimism is a human state that propels us to want for more and truly believe it possible. One of the toughest things about being depressed is that you see the world in its raw reality, ignoring its wonderful possibilities. I see pessimists in a similar way but they don't give up trying like those suffering depression. They instead go on suffering reality for all the ordinary averageness and vanilla moments.

Now, really extraordinary people believe in things that have not been achieved successfully so far or even thought of as possible before. They aren't just optimists who believe in succeeding. They believe in achieving what everybody else thinks is just plain nuts so why even try.

Often people don't understand them but get swept up in their dreams. Often people don't believe them and snigger loudly at first and then sigh quietly when the dream becomes reality.

I surround myself with people who I've now realised dream bigger than they are allowed. Often, without asking permission or giving apology. The thing is, they succeed.

Children are a great example of people who haven't been told they can't yet so they just do and do well. Adults on the other hand are constantly aware of and restate their limitations with "I can't" and "I don't" or "I would but" statements. Adults live within their bounds and achieve what their limits allow them. The limits society set for them or they for themselves or their partner or their boss in their job.

Once you grasp the idea that there is nothing that can not be achieved then you are free to be great.

Saturday 20 October 2012

As It Seems

By Lily Kershaw

Well I knew
What I didn't want to know
And I saw
Where I didn't want to go
So I took the path less traveled on
And I'll let my stories be whispered
When I'm gone...

When I'm gone
When I'm gone
When I'm gone

Well in this life you must find something to live for
Cause when the darkness comes a callin'
You'll go back to where you were before
Cause this life is as
Fragile as a dream, and
Nothing's ever really
As it seems...

As it seems
As it seems
As it seems

Well I lost my innocence when in I let him dive
But the way that he looked at me
Made me feel alive
And now I know
Nothin' at all
But the release that comes when you're
In mid fall...

In mid fall
In mid fall
In mid fall

Cause in this life you must find something to live for
Cause when the darkness comes a callin'
You'll go back to where you were before
Cause this life is as
Fragile as a dream, and
Nothing's ever really
As it seems...

As it seems
As it seems
As it seems

One sided conversations

On my last night of a work trip in Auckland, I sat alone at a table in a restaurant. Beside me were a retired couple. Both Australians who had moved to New Zealand to be with one of their two daughters who had given them grandchildren. They'd spent several years of their retirement on the Sunshine Coast and finally gave in to the call of the grey babysitters.

Old couples are cute. They obviously know each other well and have stuck around for the long haul. I don't have flash forwards to my own life of aged coupledom or wish for that for myself. In fact, I am of the belief that I will always be young and beautiful... even at my current 36.

Those couples are comforting though. To know that people can persist through the good and bad and even the boring to come out the otherside together without one of them deserting is healing for me.

The wife was the one who told me their life story. The husband didn't make eye contact with me and spent most of his time staring out the window. This I understand. Not everyone is an extroverted puppy like me, who longs to connect with people... with anyone. She was though.

What irked me about the whole situation was that as the courses of their degustation dinner were served, she discussed each one in detail. She referred to how it should be done according to Master Chef or how you'd achieve a running creamy egg after baking it for two hours on 65 degrees Celsius.

He said nothing. He grunted once in a while during moments of scoffing food. He looked out the window a lot.

He did not share her passion. He didn't even humour her.

At that moment, I knew that I'd hate to sit in a restaurant savouring food and longing to discuss its nuances while my life long partner showed little to no interest.

Not saying he is a bad person or unloving or anything like that. For her to stay with him until death do they part, he must be something wonderful to her.

It was just that when the sum of your life is almost calculated and you are double checking numbers and reconciling the steps that get you there, I'd hope that the person across from you is at least in conscious attendance.

May I never share my passion and receive only a grunt.

Sunday 7 October 2012

Don't drive angry

There is a fantastic scene in Groundhog Day where Bill Murray's character is committing suicide for the umpteenth time and he lets the groundhog drive the car over a cliff. He casually says "Don't drive angry."

It is such a simple scene and wrapped in so much humour that you laugh it off without a second thought.

As someone who has watched that movie more than twenty times, it is poignant. It has meaning beyond a navigator guiding a rodent.

Life is this journey that you have to take. A road trip that you are destined to drive. An excursion that you must go on because you've been told to.

Awful stuff happens. Awesome stuff happens. Sometimes you don't want to participate. Sometimes you want to punch someone. Ok, maybe that is just me.

Bill Murray has it right when he says "don't drive angry."

Do not live an angry life. Do not hold contempt for others. Let it go and enjoy the new moments.

Malachy McCourt was right when saying "Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

Let the things that have been done, be done. Enjoy the rest.

Saturday 6 October 2012

Lengthening My Attention Span

Over the years and particularly through my depression, my ability to concentrate became almost non-existent.

I worked out a while ago now that multitasking is a fallacy. You end up doing twice as much stuff but half as well. For me, focussing on a task and ignoring interruptions has resulted in higher quality work and more enjoyment for me in doing it.

People will often hear me talk about mindfulness and being aware of and involved in each moment as it happens. I've been reading a lot of books exploring existentialism that encourage the idea of authenticity of experience.

For me, mindfulness and authenticity are a result of participating in the experience and savouring the moment as it envelops you. It is like a perfect kiss where you breathe each other in and kiss each other back.

What I have worked out in the last six months is that to truly appreciate life and live it in the best way I possibly can, I must pay attention to the parts and not live it in an event driven way where I follow the distraction to... well, distraction.

Even while writing this, I have flicked to Facebook several times to see what my latest notification is and then Twitter to mock the way I can't focus. I have a long way to go.

These are my current methods for lengthening my attention span and they are working:

Read 20 pages of a book every day

Reading has been the most successful mechanism for lengthening my attention span. At first I could read only 1-2 pages before feeling sleepy. Now I can read 10-15 before I start to wonder what else I could be doing. Fiction is the most successful thing for me to read but I'm trying non-fiction from time to time.

Spend time without my phone

Great ideas come to people in the shower because they are not distracting their mind with anything. They have time to think. These are called gap moments and we spend so much time filling them with distractions that we are losing the ability to think of nothing and let thoughts emerge. When I am standing in a line or waiting to meet a friend, I no longer use my phone as a distraction. I actually stare in to space or mini-meditate while doing nothing much.

Give people with you all your attention

Nothing bugs me more than being with someone who will take a phone call in my presence. If someone is with me and in the same room then they get my priority. Some person who calls me on a whim is not going to trump my present company. I will often take the call and say I am busy and will call them back or I hit a button that texts them and says I'm busy right now but will respond soon. Giving attention to the person I am with shows respect for the time they are giving me. I wouldn't spin my chair around and join another table in a cafe mid-sentence so why would I take a call and put the here-right-now person last.

These are just some of the skills that are helping me rebuild and hone my mind so that it is the bright little spark it was in my mid-20s.

If you have any other suggestions that work for you, please do tell me.

Thursday 13 September 2012


A lot of people are new to my life and they don't know anything more than the smiley faced girl with the tendency to talk too loud, talk about the awesomeness of cats and giggle at life often.

I wasn't always her.

I am here today because people asked me if I was OK and cared enough to listen.

That is not an exaggeration. In fact, it is such an understatement that I should really explain it.

This blog exists to explain it and to document a journey through the depths of depression that left me without solid memories of a time that although I'd rather forget, I know remembering will stop from happening again.

One day, if you get a chance, take a read. Between early 2009 and late 2011, my black dog held on and didn't let go. It is no longer dominant but it will always be here.

Without the kindness of my family, my friends and sometimes complete strangers online and in person, nothing of me would remain. Kind and gentle words are all your need to take someone from believing no one cares to knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Some people were quite actively unkind. Some were unfeeling, without empathy. Some told me to hide it and never speak its name. Some were fair weather friends. They don't matter now, though it shattered me at the time. Apathy or avoidance of the temporarily weak means that they lost someone who came through the cloud as a strong, wonderful, happy and understanding person.

Writing what I wrote and the comments I got online and in real life, showed me that I was not only in what seemed like a lonely struggle to not drown in everyday life. A lot of people experience the same thing and like having cancer, it is not a choice that you can just unchoose.

On the recommendation of a friend, I took photos of myself and events in my life and recorded them publically on flickr. The transformation in that time from opaque sadness to true honest happiness is visible. The events of my life that I recorded and have little to no memory of because of the effects of my deep clinical depression are there for me to form memories around now, now that I am ok.


Monday 4 June 2012

Working Everywhere

My last job and my new job have involved a lot of travel.

People look at me with eyes full of sadness and pity and ask why I am made to travel so much.

That makes me feel like I'm some sort of abused little girl who is forced to live a life against her will.

I do realise that other people may hate the idea of it but for me, seeing new places and getting the chance to work in them and hang out with locals is exciting. Eating foods I don't get at home and in places that seem so magical to me is exciting. Smelling salt air or polluted air or hotel air is all exciting to me.

It's true that I have a tolerance for about one week of travel that can be stretched to two weeks if I must but it is not forced or suffered and painful to me.

As someone who was tied down for so long, the bounce in my step as I close the door of my apartment and head off on a new adventure lifts my soul.

Until it stops feeling that way, I will travel as long as there is demand for my skills and I want something from it.

Do not pity me. I'm drinking champagne in another country while I do my job well and take in the culture.

My life doesn't suck.

PS. Vietnam in early August.

Thursday 24 May 2012

Nothing is planned but

I don't believe in fate. To be fatalistic to me, is to be a non-participant.

We aren't meant to sit on the couch and choose the easiest option. We aren't meant to wait for something to come and and solve a persistent issue or make us thinner or have our perfect partner appear!

Damn no!

We are supposed to get out there and get involved.

Walk for miles if you need better thighs. Read a book or five if you need a better brain. Talk to people who take you outside of your comfort zone if you want to meet someone awesome.

I've lived in too many cities where you can't see the stars. I have never waited for guidance. I've gone out there and screwed up with the best of them.

Don't wait for life to happen to you.

You are missing important moments.

This is not a bank ad.

Sunday 20 May 2012

The Northern Wall

The first reaction to any real pain, is to build walls around yourself. To defend against a known or unknown enemy. It will protect you. It will stop any further attack.

There are other ways to deal with situations that hurt. There are ways that are less inwardly destructive.

See, I have this theory...

It is that you can feel the kick in the stomach and then curl in on yourself and rock until it stops hurting and then never uncrunch because that is the safest way not to take another kick. The other way to deal is to get up again and face what is coming.

You don't need to defend and you don't need to attack. You simply need to get up and be a little more prepared. More prepared for the chance it may happen again but not so over-prepared that you never move again.

I don't quite understand why people are cruel. When I have my moments, they are usually driven by insecurity or past pain. I guess everyone has baggage. People have something about them that they have built a wall around so they will never be hurt again. They have closed themselves off.

Right now, I want to build a wall so high that I don't spend another weekend thinking about the whys and hows and WTFs. However, I don't think that will help.

Let the pain happen. Feel it. Let it register. Grow some scar tissue. Learn and move on.

Don't let that same person who injured you do it again. Never allow them the chance. Build the bloody wall around them.

Let the wonderful trusting person that you are trust again. Maybe the next chance won't kick you in the chest.

Friday 18 May 2012


There is so much power in belief. I won't rant about religion or faith or passion. You've heard all that.

I will tell you about the power that comes with life and lesson and learning.

We are all here. That's it. There may be no meaning. There may be no purpose. There may be no script.

There is however, honouring yourself. Living a life that is a tribute to the essence of who you are.

Growing up and maturing is realising that you have to be who you are supposed to be. Your meaning. Your presence. Your reason. It comes from a different place with every person.

Nobody can decide what that is for you. No one can set your path. It isn't written. It isn't predetermined. It isn't chosen or walked or lived or decided. It is what you choose. What is right for you.

Someone can love you and not get that. Someone can adore you and not get that. Someone can give you everything and not get that.

There is responsibility. There is responsibility. There is.

Don't hurt others. There is no need. You can find ways to be who you are without hurting others.

There are ways to be a good person. Be loving. Gentle. Kind. Even a little broken. All. All, without hurting someone else.


Sunday 12 February 2012

The problem with Australians

There is a thing called Tall Poppy Syndrome. It is a case of cutting down the tallest poppy so that all the poppies are the same height. Australian's invented this idea. They own it and it is so engrained in our culture that it will take generations and a lot of American TV to negate it.

People often find me inspiring or irritating. I think it's because of the same thing: I think success, beit mine or others is a wonderful thing. I use the word Awesome a lot when good things happen to people. Unlike my ex-husband, I don't laugh at the misfortune of others despite friendship of not. I think life is nice and if it isn't then it's up to you to realise it is.

There are many great things about being an Aussie. Lots of positives but Tall Poppy Syndrome and that national cynicism is pathetic. We are better than that. In fact, we are awesome. Accept it and stop taking others down.

Monday 23 January 2012


I look for you. Not in a search light kind of way. More in a Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan kind of way. The way that you know only happens in movies. That moment when she's searching a bookshelf and extracts a book to see him on the other side.

It's lame. It's even nuts because you aren't even in the same world as me. That doesn't seem to stop me from looking in to the crowd in an eatery or looking at the opposing escalator for your shoes and your knees and then.. oh no, that's someone else.

Sometimes, I sit on a seat and wait for you to pass by. You are walking another street in another place in another town, somewhere. You may even walk passed me and I don't see you because I'm staring in to the faceless crowd and looking for you in another time. A time when you would have smiled right up to your crows feet to see me.

That's the thing though. Even if it was a scene of only you, I won't ever see you again. You don't exist. Too much has passed. Too much is broken. It is so unfixable that for you to ever live again would involve time travel and amnesia and Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and fiction.

I think I'll keep looking for you. I hope to never be disappointed and actually see you. That would so ruin the feeling of the quick gasp before it's evident that it's not you.

Saturday 21 January 2012

Choose a Choice

Take one table and call me in the morning

People keep asking me for advice on choosing between a tablet and a netbook and then which of the array of choices will suit them. It's an interesting question but one that has only a single answer. Uno problem, uno solution.

I have a MacBook Air. I have an original gangster iPad. I have a MacBook Pro. I have an iPhone 4. I have an iPhone 4S. I have every accessory. My first computer was an Apple Mac. My Dad brought home an Apple IIC. When it comes to the PC camp, I love myself a good Tecra. Toshiba makes the best hardware for running Windows. The Tecras are the membes of the Toshiba family that sip French Champagne at family dinners and watch amusedly at the Dells and Compaqs that can't hold their cheap beer and local house red. When it comes to eBook readers, I'm a Kindle girl. Seriously, choose a eBook reader based on what you're willing to drop on your head when you are reading in bed and doze off. The Kindle was gentle tap your skull while and iPad will brutalise it with a jack hammer.

So when I'm asked what tablet someone should buy and if they should wait for the latest release of iWhatever, I die a little bit.

Just choose. It won't be the last choice you make.

I spend ours with my iPad. It's not the latest. It's not the greatest. There are droids and Sam-hungs and lots of other choices. There are netbooks that can be like a tablet with a real life keyboard with slightly more peripherals. There are small full-sized laptops with minimum-expansion but more use. Each step takes you closer to… to what. Ask yourselves that question as you say "if I only spend this much more, I'll get…" because that will stop you.

My recommendation is buy whatever is good at the time. Use it. Don't just buy it if you don't really want it. Use it. Get your money's worth. Accept new stuff will be released within a blink of an eye. Whatever you buy will one day be retro.

Accept that and you'll forget the overload of choice and simply enjoy your next purchase.

Scuze me