Day Fifty-One: Mother or Woman (please circle one)

Image

I’ve had Kanye’s ‘Bound 2’ in my head for the better part of an hour, which got me thinking about the video clip. If you’ve seen the clip, you understand that once seen, it cannot be unseen, and it will play blow-by-blow in your head every time you hear or think of the song. I’m not that hot on the song. I think it’s a bit choppy, if I’m honest. But this is an opinion that I formed before I saw the video. As on Youtube commenter said, the song was actually being quite well received before the clip was released. Actually, what I think he said was, “Y’all just hatin on dis coz da video. Y’all were lappin dis shit up b4 da vid came out, now y’all hatin Kanye.” Wise words from a noble keyboard warrior.

I’ll start this off by saying that I don’t particularly like the video. It’s not that I’m offended in any way by its content, it just kind of bores me. Switching between glamour fan-assisted shots of Kim Kardashian and ones of Kanye standing up doing that arm thing that rappers do is not my idea of an engaging video. It needed more explosions. Or dancing. What everyone seems to be up-in-arms about is Kim’s apparent nakedness, and her penchant for ‘riding’ her man and his motorbike.

To get an idea of what the masses think, you need look no further than the Youtube comments. Actually, if you’re just looking for a way to spend an hour shaking your head and laughing, try the same thing. There are plenty of haters who lament the passing of Kanye’s glory days as a musician– “lollll sooo shit. Kanye lost it!”–and those who dislike Mr West’s attire– “nice plaid shirt, faggooooot!”–but there are just as many sage commenters who express concern about how Kanye and Kim’s baby daughter, North, is going to react to the clip when she’s old enough to watch it. Some of my favourite examples are below:

Christina Whorton

This has got to be one of the most disgusting and trashy things I have ever seen…. If I was her kid I would be so excited to grow up and see this is what my mom and dad did….NOT!!!

I don’t know about you, but if my dad was a world-famous rapper, and he and my mum appeared in a video clip together when I was a baby, I’d think it was the sickest. I mean, by the time little North gets to watch this clip, her parents will probably be old and boring. “Jesus, Mom,” she’ll say. “I didn’t know you and Dad had feelings for one another!”

Mella Jahovic

When they’re kid grows up and sees her mom naked with her dad on a motorcycle and singing so terribly…… I have a feeling that child won’t be able to go in public anymore….

You’re right, Mella. When they are kid grows up, she probably won’t be able to go anywhere in public–because her parents are super famous and she’ll get hounded by papparazzi. I wouldn’t worry too much. By then, she’ll be well into the business of appearing in public for a living, and won’t want to go begging just because she’s embarrassed by an old video.

Empress Say What

Kanye should get some tips from jay Z and beyonce in Drunk in Love video cuz Kim just looks & acts like a Hoe in this video compared to Queen B. Jay knows how to show off his woman in a sexy but tasteful way!!!! Kanye has NO CLUE!!!! Shameful!!

First things first, Drunk in Love is Beyonce’s video; if anything, she is the one showing Jay Z off. Second, if you’ve seen DIL, you’ll know that Queen B does some gyrating and sexy eyes of her own. She’s not naked, but she’s pretty close. To be fair to Empress, Beyonce doesn’t get all up on Jay like Kim does on Kanye, but some insightful commenters have pointed out that this demonstrates a lack of chemistry. (I don’t agree. Couples have different ways of expressing their affection, especially publicly. K&K are just those kids on the train who are trying to eat each other’s faces.)

Compare these to a comment on Beyonce’s video:

Sassy Browne

its cool that she did this video with her husband..the song shows that they are having fun while being parents and moguls!! way to go B…keep the fire burning!!

Perhaps Kim and Kanye’s fire just burned a little too hot? I still think it’s just hatred of Kim, completely unrelated to the video, that makes people trash her for showing off a sexy side. (Don’t get me wrong, I am not a Kardashian fan. I think people should actually be able to do something before they become famous, but hell do they make some money.) The most offensive comments, to me, were the ones I saw on the very first day I watched the video.

“Gross,” some people had written (I paraphrase, but this is pretty spot on). “I can’t believe he would put the mother of his child on a motorcycle naked, like a whore.”

“She’s just had a child. She ought to be ashamed.”

“These people are new parents. So trashy and inappropriate.”

You know what? If I’m feeling confident enough a couple of months after giving birth to strip off and make a sexy appearance in my boyfriend’s rap video (he totally has one in the works), then I’m going to go for it. If my boyfriend is so attracted to me after pregnancy has wreaked havoc on my body that he wants to simulate sex with me on a motorcycle then I welcome the opportunity. Of course, I’d rather actual sex on a stationary surface, but I wouldn’t complain.

This idea that women who’ve had children are supposed to become matronly, sexless paragons of virtue is offensive and ignorant. Guess what? Your parents had sex. They’re probably still having sex. Unless one is deceased. Then they’re probably not having sex. (You should be concerned if they are.) “He should have more respect for her than that,” wrote one outraged fan. If being respected has suddenly altered its meaning to ‘being treated as a saint without a vagina’, then I don’t want none of that. Having a child doesn’t make you any less of a woman (in fact, I’d argue that it makes you even more of a woman, since that’s like what we’re made for and stuff), and–I hope–doesn’t make the father of your child suddenly too ‘respectful’ to treat you as a sexual being anymore.

OK, when I have a baby I’m probably not going to jump on a motorcycle with my hair blowing in a physically impossible direction while my bare breasts are silhouetted against a desert landscape, but I reserve the right to one day be a mother and a sexy bitch. Like Beyonce. Remember how she also had a baby?

The video is tacky, and some of the lyrics are somewhat unromantic, but this is their way of advertising their love. They’re parents, yes, but they were a man and a woman before all that. Don’t make me draw you a diagram.

Besides, soon enough, this will all blow over, when some other pop star releases an even more sexually-suggestive video; they’re Bound 2, right?

 

Sorry…

 

TB

Day Forty-Nine: Six things that suck about Christmas

I can’t imagine that I’m the only person who looked at the calendar today and thought, “Oh shit, it’s a week ’til Christmas!” The holiday season isn’t exactly the most relaxing time of year (unless you’re smart like my family, and you escape it all to go on an actual holiday). I can certainly see the good side of Christmas–giving, eating, spending time with loved ones–but there are just as many parts that make me want to… well, you can read for yourself:

 

ImageWhat it is: Christmas shopping.

What it feels like: Supervising a candy convention for toddlers.

What it makes me want to do: Assume the foetal position in the centre of Target and hope that everything just sorts itself out.

What I would rather do: Give my friends and family each a $50 budget (and they can do the same for me) to spend on whatever they actually want. They can even wrap it and write that it’s from me if they can’t let go of the whole ‘opening presents on Christmas day’ thing. Essentially we’d just be buying ourselves an awesome present with our own money, instead of wasting it on buying a crap present for a friend. Genius.

 

ImageWhat it is: Listening to celebrity Christmas carols/albums.

What it feels like:  Every pop star in the world participating in a giant circle-jerk.

What it makes me want to do: Release an album of Easter-specific songs and see how they like it.

What I would rather do: Hear a few carols sung live by a decent choir. Also, get the word out that warbling on each note for five seconds and increasing the length of Silent Night to 14 minutes is a total dick move.

 

ImageWhat it is: Putting up a Christmas tree and lights.

What it feels like: Somebody found a way to knot 65 Rubik’s cubes together and threw them in some boxes in the garage.

What it makes me want to do: Bury the items in the yard, and feign confusion when I can’t find them later.

What I would rather do: Print a picture of a tree (any tree) off the internet and put it on the fridge. Actually, that may create a tripping hazard in the kitchen, what with all the useless gifts that will no doubt appear under it. Perhaps I’ll stick it to the TV, to remind myself that Summer programming is not worth my time.

 

ImageWhat it is: Reading thinly-veiled Facebook Christmas booty calls (All I want for Christmassss is youuuuuu! *wink*)

What it feels like: I’m reading an especially whingey entry in your diary.

What it makes me want to do: Steal someone’s loved one and mail them back piece by piece, beautifully wrapped. (That’s a joke, by the way. I’m terrible at wrapping presents.)

What I would rather do: See a whole bunch of posts between song-lyric-posters and their objects of desire that simply read, ‘DTF for xmas?’ So much less cryptic. If they’re embarrassed about airing their lust in a public forum–they shouldn’t be, given that they’re happy to post passive come-hithers to the greater internet–maybe they can try this thing called the phone. Or sexting. The kids are really into that.

 

Image

Not sure if racist…

What it is: Being served a buffet of fruit mince pies and Christmas puddings.

What it feels like: “Here, eat this ancient dried fruit that I’ve stuffed into a brick.”

What it makes me want to do: Stick a fork down my throat ’til I spew, then excuse myself. Alternatively, take a single bite of a fruit mince pie, spew, then excuse myself.

What I would rather do: Gee, I don’t know. How about enjoy all of the fresh fruit that Queensland has to offer at this time of year? While we’re at it, let’s reconsider roasting up a turkey and vegetables in the 40 degree heat, and just stick to some cold meat and salad. It’s so untraditional to celebrate Christmas in a way that actually caters to your climate though, right?

 

ImageWhat it is: Getting a photo with Santa (or watching some kid get a photo with Santa, given that I’m probably beyond my knee-sitting years).

What it feels like: Taking/forcing your small child to nestle into the lap of some dude you’ve never met. (Actually, that should be under ‘What it is’.)

What it makes me want to do: Call the cops and report a strange man in unusual garb inviting children to sit on his knee at the local shopping centre.

What I’d rather do: Not line up for an hour with parents and their shrieking angels only to have the kid in front baulk at the clearly terrifying huge bearded dude up on the throne and burst into tears–so his mother has to pluck him up and deliver him directly to the object of his terror for a gorgeous happy snap that they can send to all of their family and friends. Or, you know, just get one of the males in my family to dress up and take a pic on my phone. (I don’t have kids, by the way, but you just know I’m just going to nail the whole parenthood thing, don’t you?)

 

The best part about Christmas in my family is that our holiday is the present. There’s always the shopping to be done for the ‘in-laws’ and any friends who haven’t already received notice of my ‘let’s just not do this’ policy, but getting away for Christmas and focussing on the three Fs–family, food, and forcing my parents to wash and cook for me again–makes the whole thing a lot easier to deal with.

I’ll leave you with a lovely carol:

Haaaaaaaaaave yourseeeeeeeeelf a merrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyy liiiiiiitle Christmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas…. (Track length: 24:15)

 

TB

Day Forty-Eight: The bluntest advice columnist ever

Image

Dear NavyBoy, Why stop at two? Think of it as amassing an army.

 

My boyfriend and I were talking crap in the car today, and came on to the topic of replies we’d give to Agony Aunt-type letters. You know the ones. Dear Sally, it hurts to pee. Please help. From, Razorpiss. I feel (hope?) that at some point in my writing career, I might have the prestigious honour of answering these letters with insightful and encouraging replies. Ha. Just kidding. I would totally mess with them.

 

Dear Dr Bopf,
I think my boyfriend of a week is cheating on me. I looked at his Facebook the other day (because he left it open on his laptop) and he had been talking to some girl. It was just stuff like ‘hey’ and ‘what’s up’, but I’m 90 per cent sure he’s more than friends with her. Should I dump him, or do I need to just lay down the law with this other girl?
Totes Heartbroken

Hey Totes Heartbroken,
First, let me say that I totally agree. He’s defs banging her. I mean, guys don’t just say ‘hey’ to a girl unless they’re getting up on that, right? You need to think hard about this one; I’d hate for you to lose such a great, long-standing relationship over a jealous suspicion. I know that just asking him about it straight up, and starting your relationship on a firm grounding of honesty, is totally out of the question, so here’s what I would suggest: hack his Facebook account (hire outside help if need be); start a convo with this bitch; suggest some sex and see what she says; if she agrees, go to town on his account, like really mess that thing up–post pictures of animal porn, comment homoerotic things on his friends’ walls, post a big status about how he’s a cheater and a horse-fucker. He’ll either apologise and never speak to another woman again, or he’ll dump you and press charges. Odds are good on both.
Love,
Dr Bopf
P.S. If you haven’t already, check whether he’s ever agreed to sleep with this girl or if she’s just a mega slut who’s up for anything.

 

Dear Dr Bopf,
My husband and I have three kids under the age of five, and we really struggle to find any time to spend together. I recently found out that I’m pregnant again, but I’m nervous about telling him because we agreed that three was enough. What do you think that I should do?
Up the Duff

Dear Up the Duff,
I have to say that I’m surprised you even had time to write this letter. I’m can only assume that you drugged you kids, and I cannot endorse that kind of behaviour. I’m curious about how exactly you think this will play out. What should you do? Well, you could just not tell him, and avoid all physical/visual contact for nine months. After that, just adopt the kid out and it’s smooth sailing. Of course, most men aren’t so stupid that they can’t notice a pregnancy–particularly in your case, where pregnancy seems to have been your resting state for the past five years. The second option is to terminate celebrate the little miracle within you. (Sorry. Christian publication.) I’d say that you should just tell him and make a decision together, but where would be the fun in that? The cloak and dagger thing is so much more dramatic, right? But really, you’re already pretty f–ked; what’s another mouth?
Best wishes,
Dr Bopf

 

Dear Dr Bopf,
I’ve had this weird rash on my girly bits for about three months now, and I’m starting to get a little worried. Some days, it’s so itchy that I can’t stop myself from scratching, even when I’m at school. It’s really embarrassing and sometimes it hurts so bad I want to cry. Please help.
AntzPantz

Dear AntzPantz,
Seriously? You’d had a searing genital rash for three months and you’re only just now seeking help–from a magazine columnist, by the way. You know they just call me Doctor Bopf because it sounds cool, right? What I usually do when I have major medical issues that are causing me immense pain and discomfort, is just give them time and see if they go away. So, you’re right on track there. It’s always my preference to leave things until they require surgery/hospitalisation. Why make a fuss over something so insignificant as blood in your urine, right? If you haven’t already succumbed to your illness by the time you receive this reply, I would suggest showing your rash to your local member of parliament and see what they can do for you. I’m sure we elected those idiots for something.
Happy scratching,
Dr Bopf

 

Dear Dr Bopf,
Every time I have sex with my boyfriend, he spanks me on the butt and calls me Beryl. Beryl is his grandmother’s name. What the actual f–k?
Can’t Stop Vomiting

Hey there, Can’t Stop Vomiting,
I assume because you’ve said ‘every time we have sex’ that you’re still having sex with him, despite your apparent repulsion. You’re clearly kind of into the spanking. I’m not sure if you’ve read any of Freud’s work, but this is some next level shit. You’d better hope that he just had an ex-girlfriend whose parents were into old-fashioned names. On the other hand, maybe you just look like his grandmother. Have you met her? She’s probably a babe. Take it as a compliment. How many dudes’ grandmothers are so hot, they fantasise about them while they do their girlfriend? Lucky guy.
Have a bucket handy and enjoy yourself,
Dr Bopf

 

Well, now I’ve effectively ruined my chances at ever being hired as an advice columnist–unless it’s for a publication that deals in keepin’ it real and dropping truth bombs. I really hope this publication exists. I am waiting for your call.

But seriously, people don’t really write into those columns with legitimate problems, do they? I remember reading the advice sections of Dolly and Girlfriend and wondering how many bored kids with messed up minds had dreamed up these oozing genital warts and relationship ‘conundrums’ that an infant could solve (hint: dump him). Maybe that’s what failed creative writers turn to in their darkest hours. I’m looking forward to it.

And remember kids: always use protection. Unless your boyfriend has convinced you that you can’t get pregnant if you’re on top. Don’t Google it or anything.

 

Love and scorn,
TB

Day Forty-Six: The Drunk Blog (by request)

I don’t usually write blogs to fan requests–let’s face it: I don’t really have any fans. But today, for the first time, I present The Drunk Blog (by request):

Image

I used this one on my 21st birthday party invites – classy times

 

Hey bebbbbbz!

I am just having the best time. Are you having the best time? I hope so. Man, champagne is so fun. How many have I had? Like, three? OH MY GOD, I AM STARVING!

Holy shit, you guys, lunch is being served! Man, I am going to murder me some prawns.

Gee, this line is kind of long. Hey, person who I barely ever talk to! How are things going? Tell me your story. God, that is a strange choice of dress. Her eyes don’t quite follow you when you talk. I wonder whether she’s had her teeth done. Wow, we’re so close to the front! What are you guys going to get? Should I get one of those giant lamb shanks? No, I shouldn’t.

Fuck, I’m in white. Why did I not think of this when I loaded my plate with gravy? Nobody touch me or I swear I will punch you.

Hey, everyone at my table! What food did you guys get? Went for the lamb shank? Good stuff. I’m jealous. No, I do not want a bite. Please back away from the white dress. I never noticed his eyes before. They’re so intense. He’s definitely judging me. Tell a joke. Be funny. Shit.

Yes, photos! I love photos. Excuse me while I pick spinach from my teeth. What did I even eat? I hope nobody was watching. That went down way too easily. At least nobody will think I’m anorexic. Don’t go to the toilet within the next thirty minutes or they’ll call you bulimic. Yeah! Smiling for the camera! I’m going to make a stupid face, you guys. I don’t even care. Check out my tongue. I’m like the next Miley Cyrus.

Oh, hey person who could easily fire me if I say something offensive! I do love your tie. Classic observation about the buffet. You’re hilarious. Where do I look? Is eye contact too aggressive? Pick something across the room and alternate between it and his face. DON’T LOOK AT HIS CROTCH. Oh, you did. Fantastic…pants, sir. I do want another drink. Thank you for offering.

Let’s dance! Watch me dance, y’all! God, I am Beyonce right here. Are there talent scouts here? Because I deserve a contract.

A bottle? Sure, why not! The bar tab stops in half an hour. You guys are so smart! What? I have to walk over there and get one too? This could be interesting. Man, the bar guy has tiny eyes for the size of his head. And gappy teeth. But what a sense of humour. I hope he has a nice girl in his life. Or guy? Maybe he’s gay. I am not good at picking it. Stop staring now. Thanks, bar guy!

More dancing.

WATER.

Daaaancing.

Sure, I’d love to kick on somewhere! That is an amazing and well-thought-out choice to make.

Well, thank you for the sleazy compliment noticeably-short cocky dude walking with us into the bar. There are jacuzzis up there, huh? Would I get in? No way. Well, not for free. How much would it take? A thousand bucks. I would get in there for a thousand bucks. Deal. There is no fucking way I’m getting in that jacuzzi. I am naked under this dress. But a thousand bucks would be nice. Please stop considering effectively prostituting yourself. We’ll see. I have to go to the bar with my friends now.

You have a what? A bar tab? Well, why didn’t you say so? We would love to hang out with you. If you buy drinks for all of us.

(stage whisper) Are you guys ok with this? I’m not actually going to get into the jacuzzi. It’s all good. No, he wants to buy us drinks. It would be rude to say no, right?

Yes, please! One each!

Shots? No… well, all right.

More shots? Guys, no, this isn’t good for me. I know they were a gift from Bar Tab Guy. You’re right. It is just a tiny little shot.

Where is the bathroom?!

God, isn’t peeing great? Definitely said that out loud. I’m getting some nods though, so things are fine.

Is anyone else starving? Lunch was ages ago. Yeah, food, let’s go!

This was a longer walk than was indicated. Where is the damn food? A cab? I’m not paying for that. It’s only like one kilometre.

Oh, sweet, life-giving food! Splitting the bill sucks. Here’s 20. I don’t even know.

Let’s go home. No? More bars? Well, you seem to know what you’re talking about?

[scene missing]

Did these shots have milk in them? I’m not OK with that. This is not fun. I need to leave before this reaches my stomach.

Cab line! Na na na na na na na na cab line!

God, so tired. Are you tired? You look tired. Don’t fall asleep in the cab, OK? And text me when you get home.

Cold bolognese sauce? Yes. Yes times infinity.

Sleepy time. I love you guys.

 

 

To give you some background, I’m not a raging alcoholic (because I realise this post kind of contradicts this one), and I never ever write drunk. It worked for Hemingway, but I suspect that’s because quill and ink give you less of a spin-out than a glowing screen. Far from being a creative genius when intoxicated, I become a six-year-old whose most favourite game ever is Annoy the Adults. I don’t drink very often either, so when it happens, it’s kind of momentous. I don’t aim to get so wasted that I can’t feel my teeth (something my mum told me to watch out for when drinking), but occasions come up. Occasions like the work Christmas party.

And so it was that on Friday, I spent the better part of ten hours imbibing every toxic liquid that was thrust at me.

“Have some more champagne,” disembodied hands wailed at me.

“What do you want?” Water. “Vodka it is!”

“Which bar shall we go to next?” My bed. “So, Our Place?”

 

Other people just seem to want to see me drunk. To be honest, none of the things that I’ve written above is strictly true to my thoughts on the day (so if you were there, don’t read into the gap-toothed, bug-eyed comments). This is because I don’t remember my thoughts on the day. I just hope to hell that I didn’t say any of them aloud.

 

TB

P.S. I don’t have a hangover day. I have a hangover weekend. Don’t even talk to me about New Years Eve.

Day Forty-Two: The perks of early rising

Image(This would be me if I were an obese ginger cat–the likeness is stunning.)

 

Today I woke up at 5:30am.

Some of you will laugh: “Oh, a sleep in.”

Others will groan in sympathy.

For me, anything before 6am is officially still the night before.

 

In summer, though, darkness can’t be an excuse. This morning, it was already what I would call broad daylight when my alarm insisted that it was time to get up. My boyfriend got up with me. “At least it’s light,” I said to him, as we shuffled sleepily around the room, him looking in vain for a pair of shorts that he later found under the couch, me clipping door frames with my shoulders and hips due to poor spacial awareness. The other handy thing about summer is that there’s no bone-chilling cold to contend with. As much as I could stay in bed, snoozing and dreaming of riding a unicorn, I’m not completely averse to throwing off the blankets and allowing the morning air to caress my bare legs. So, getting up might suck if I’ve not had enough sleep, but at least my jaw won’t be locked shut until I can get the shower hot enough to defrost my blood.

As much as I hate to admit it, getting up early really does make your day seem more productive. In fact, someone told me recently that one of the habits of highly successful people is that they rise early. Before then, I’d been secretly hoping that Bill Gates enjoyed a cruisy 2pm wakeup, followed by an afternoon of massages, lobster stuffed with cavier, and a epic round of Fruit Ninja. It is a pretty amazing feeling to have achieved something before most people start their work day. Today, by the time 9am rolled around, my man and I had driven to the other side of town, enjoyed a stunning view and a coffee, and appeared as extras in a promotional video. When we got in the car to leave, I ogled the clock.

“Shit, it’s only just nine o’clock,” I told my boyfriend.

After we got home and showered (it was already pushing 30 degrees at this point), we managed to fit in a shopping trip and lunch before I had to work at 1pm. Normally, a day with a 1pm start would go more like this:

8am: Wake up.8:30am: Actually get up.
8:45am: Get in the shower after staring at self in mirror for a good 15 minutes.
9am: Eat breakfast while reading news on my phone.
9:30am: Straighten spine to a series of satisfying cracks and clicks, and put phone away.
9:45am: Lie on bed. Think about stuff I should do today. Read Facebook instead.
10:30am: Realise the time. Drag self to kitchen because maybe I’m hungry again.
10:45am: Think about going grocery/Christmas/clothes shopping. Look at recipes instead.
11:15am: Decide to cook some kind of muffin/slice/bread.
11:30am: Finish working out ingredient substitutions.
11:35am: Spill various flours/nuts/coconut all over the bench. Swear.
11:50am: Put slightly suspect-looking mixture into oven.
12:15am: Check baked goods. Struggle to decide if goods are cooked. Leave another five.
12:20pm: Run to remove goods from oven while in the middle of getting dressed for work.
12:21pm: Burn tongue severely.
12:25pm: Pack a meagre lunch and snacks.
12:30pm: Clean up kitchen mess.
12:45pm: Run out door, swearing loudly and thinking that the baked goods weren’t even that good anyway.

 

I’m definitely all for getting up early. Once a week. And not, like, mega early. 5:30 is as adventurous as I’ll get. Think of the things I’ll be able to achieve! I was never able to pull all-nighters for assignments–my brain had some pretty definite limits. I always preferred to just wake up earlier the next day (especially the day it was due; it kept things interesting). The only downside, of course, is that bedtime needs to be relative.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s 10pm, and my ability to string coherent thoughts together left me about half an hour ago. Guh?

 

TB

Day Forty-One: The graduate (in a totally non-sexual way)

Image

I graduated!

I felt a little ripped off actually, since there wasn’t any hat throwing involved. I did have the good fortune to witness another graduate attempting to get a photo of her throwing her (what I hope was not hired) mortarboard into the air in celebration. Let’s just say that the thing had many close encounters with the ground before they got the shot (or gave up, more likely).

Things that were awesome about this day:

Looking like we were in Harry Potter
Being the centre of attention
Receiving graduation gifts (I didn’t even know that was a thing until my mum started talking about my grad present a couple of months ago–score!)
Listening to the effing huge pipe organ play awesome academic-y songs while people entered the hall
Listening to the effing huge pipe organ play the Star Wars theme when it was our turn to exit the hall
Being bought champagne
Epic Turkish feast post-grad
Being the first of my siblings to graduate from university
That piece of paper that says I’m now qualified to do this writing stuff professionally

Things that were less awesome about this day:

The 34 degree sticky heat
Wearing a thick robe and hood in the 34 degree sticky heat (the air-con inside made this just bearable)
Fumbling to keep on a robe that is one size fits all (where ‘all’ is someone with wider shoulders than most women, and those who are accustomed to shoulder pads from their time in the ’80s)
The heavy mortarboard making me feel like my head was drooping to one side
The tassel on the mortarboard getting stuck in my eye (I kid you not–I flicked my head and blinked at a really bad time; it hurt)
Concentrating so hard on not tripping as I received my parchment that I have no memory of the moment where I actually received my parchment

 

So, here I am: a graduate. Enjoy the following cliched graduation photos that I pilfered from Google:

 

ImageImageImageImage

But mostly just this:

Image

TB

Day Forty: We need to stop fashion-judging each other

Image

They say that life begins at forty. I’m not sure who they are, but I’m hoping that a fortieth day is just as auspicious as a fortieth year. And if my life is to begin again today, I want to get a little confessing out of the way.

With graduation and Christmas party season coming up, I’ve suddenly found myself in the unenviable position of chief outfit planner (for myself). You may already be familiar with how I feel about fashion, but this is much more than choosing a dress; this is a full-blown shoes-bag-makeup-nailpolish-hair-jewelry red alert. The way I see it, dressing up for the party season can make me feel one of two ways: shit hot or just shit.

As a woman (and probably still if I was a guy), I really can’t help but compare myself to everyone around me. When I’m getting ready for a function, I’m typically thinking something like:

Is this too dressy? Maybe I should wear duller lipstick. God, my legs look like hotdogs emerging from a tighly-wrapped napkin. To bra or not to bra? Am I going to need to sit down/bend over/go to the toilet at any point tonight?

It gets worse as I head to the venue:

I definitely went too slutty. Will anyone else even be wearing heels? I hope nobody notices that my shoes are a different shade of red to my bag. Is that a stain? Fuck. Is it too late to call up and feign illness?

Finally, it’s all anxious thoughts to panic stations as I walk/stumble into the party:

SHITSHITSHITSHIT–oh, is that Meg? She looks nice. Better than me. SHIT. OK, two other people are wearing heels, but they’re both about five foot even with towering wedges. This was not a lipstick event. So sweaty. Try not to get armpits on dress. Where’s the bar? God, why isn’t my eyesight better. Where are my damn friends? Is that guy ever gonna peel his beady little eyes away from my chest?

 

Over the years, I’ve slowly developed a technique where I convince myself that nobody cares what I wear. This is both reassuring and depressing, given the amount of effort I put into presenting myself nicely. If fashion is an expression of personality, then surely I can turn up nipple tassels and harem pants and people will respect me for being confident. Right? It’s that or have me forcibly removed. It depends on the gender and sexual orientation of the party organiser, I suppose. There are plenty of other ways to make yourself feel better about your outfit, but the trap that I want to stop falling into is the old “well, at least I look better than her“.

We’ve all been there. You’re watching TV, or standing in a public place, or reading a celebrity magazine, and you see a woman. She might be famous, or just a stranger on the street. She’s dressed in a what you assume is supposed to be a ‘cute’ mini dress and sky-high heels. She’s really skinny but she does not have the legs to pull off a mini dress. To be fair, her legs are long-ish, but you can see the cellulite rippling on her thighs, and she definitely shouldn’t have tried to get away with not shaving today. Your breasts aren’t as enormous as hers, but at least yours are neat and tidy, and they don’t spill out of every outfit you wear and shout “Hello, world! I’m looking for some action!” She’s got really long, thick hair, but it’s totally ruined by the fact that she’s let someone do a tragic balayage job on it. She’s obviously had a lot of experience with a makeup brush, because her face is done flawlessly, but if you’re being honest, you think it’s way too much, and makes her look totally fake. Her clutch is Chanel, which makes you green with envy, but when you look at her feet, you giggle, because you remember seeing the same pair of shoes in Spendless last week.

You walk away feeling much better about yourself.

The thing is, we’re all out in the open ocean trying to avoid the crushing jaws of body image, fashion, and social anxiety. The problem with comparing yourself to another is that you’re holding a fellow water-treader under the water and using their bloated corpse to float yourself back to land. “Take her!” you’re shouting to the great gnashing monster circling you in the waves. “She doesn’t even know how to colour-block!”

Peer-sacrifice works for a while. Your self-confidence is bolstered by knowing that the blood in the water isn’t yours. The sharks are momentarily kept at bay by your inflatable ego. But it doesn’t last. Soon enough, you’re drowning in doubt again, and struggling to keep your head above the swirling eddies of panic. You look around, and the only thing you can see is other swimmers pushing their companions under. Soon enough, you’re almost completely alone. The current is no less strong; the sharks are no less rabid; your outfit is no more fashionable. Before, you could have held hands with those around you and shared your buoyancy; now you can only paddle meekly and hope that you’ll go unnoticed. You hear the splash behind you too late, and the hand is pushing you down before you can even turn to look at your attacker.

Nice dress. Shame about the horse face, you hear before the blackness takes over.

 

Dark ocean analogies aside, I do think that fashion can be fun and rewarding. I love to see an outfit come together, and to parade my efforts around in front of my boyfriend, but leaving the house opens me up to all the uncertainty and criticism of the wider community. Some people will think that I’m behind the trend; some will think my choices are boring; some will think they’re too radical; some will just want to see what’s underneath, no matter what I happen to be wearing. (Next time you’re out, try to pick which people are mentally undressing you. It’s surprisingly easy.) The point is that fashion sense is subjective. The most trendy people I’ve seen aren’t the ones who have everything in the latest Sportsgirl catalogue, they’re the ones who dress for their shape, understand a classic piece, and have the attitude to pull it off.

Thus, I henceforth solemnly swear not to tear down other people’s clothing choices just to make myself feel better.

Unless they’re this lady:

ImageIt’s, ummmm, a lovely shade of pink?

 

TB

Day Thirty-Six: Practical uses for mind-reading

Image

Photo source: armzrace.com

 

Sometimes I feel like things would be easier if people could just read my mind.

Not in like a “oh my god, that guy has a huge head–oh, shit, he’s looking; break eye contact” kind of way, but just so I could impart useful information directly from brain into theirs without the strain of having to articulate it. I’d be super selective about what I do and do not want to be transferred across. It’d be like a mass file transfer of anything marked “work” or “recipes” or “irritating chain emails circa 1999”. Heck, we could even make a brain ‘cloud’, where you can just access thoughts and knowledge as you need it, rather than sending your brain into a crawl for the eight hours that it takes to transfer the millions of thoughts across.

I bring this up because I’m currently training someone to do my job once I strike out in the world of Actually Doing What You Studied That Degree For. I don’t think I’m necessarily a bad trainer. I’ve improved since my days in fast food, where having a trainee trailing you and handling your orders made your food service decidedly slow. Back then, I gave my managers black looks when they saddled me with a newbie. It’s not that I don’t like newbies–everyone has to start somewhere–but they have to be told stuff more than once, which, for impatient me, is already once too many.

I’m not sure how many times today I just stopped mid-sentence because I realised I’d forgotten some important aspect, or ended a long spiel with “but we’ll go into that properly later”. Even the most intelligent person would have brain fatigue after the cognitive load that I just dumped on this poor girl today. (Luckily for her, she’s very switched on.) I’m not sure how much is too much for a first day, but I’m fairly certain I covered about a week’s worth of stuff today.

“I’m sorry,” she said mid-way through doing something that I’d showed her once. “How do I do this bit again?”

I felt like I was some kind of dictator (or overzealous parent), expecting her to understand everything after one explanation and mimic my tasks perfectly.

I’m sorry,” I said more than a few times. “I’ve never had to train someone to do my job before.”

It turns out that it’s a surprisingly hard thing to do. There’s no manual. I’ve never really written much down in the way of instructions. The secretary before me was kind enough to write me a cheat sheet with the basic tasks outlined on it, but a lot of that is outdated now. I found myself filling half an A4 page just with Stuff to Do at the Start of the Day.

Every so often, I’d stop and say, “I think that’s pretty much it,” only to be reminded several minutes later when a task was required that that most certainly was not ‘it’. How do you impart four years of tacit knowledge on to someone in a matter of days?

The answer is that you don’t. You leave them with as much knowledge and forewarning as you can, and then they just get to have a wild learning curve. It’s super fun. I did it four years ago, and it was probably the best way to learn.

Still, the brain-to-brain thing would be pretty amazing, right? Here are some other scenarios where it would be mega helpful.

 

Image“So, anyway, and then I was like–TURN RIGHT!”
We’re flung against our seatbelts during the sharpest turn I’ve ever experienced. The driver glares at me.
“What the hell, man!” my friend and glorified-cabbie yells.
“Oh, sorry,” I mutter, sheepishly. “I forgot that you don’t know where I live.”

This happens to me far too often. If only I could transfer a handy route map from my brain to theirs, I wouldn’t have belt burn on my throat right now.

 

ImageThat moment of strangled indecision could be avoided simply if a man could tap into the Responses to Women’s Impossible Queries section of his wife/girlfriend/female acquaintance’s brain. ‘What do you want to hear?’ would be an appropriate search term, with a more specific ‘How can I avoid being slapped?’ added as a secondary phrase.

 

Image“Oh yes! Yes! That’s it! Ye–did you just stick your pointed claw up my cloaca?”
And man, oh man, wouldn’t everything just be so much simpler if potential sexual partners could browse your preferred moves and Absolute Deal Breakers before engaging in playtime? First kisses would never be awkward again. Those weird sexual skeletons would be out in the open from the word ‘go’. Dudes who normally wouldn’t get a look-in would be able to upload their entire sexual history–including photographic memory references–and impress the socks (and panties) off a total babe. Mostly, it would just eliminate the need for any kind of awkward bedroom banter, including but not limited to, “Is that OK?”, “You like that, baby?”, and of course “That is strictly an exit only!”

 

But then, maybe it’s better than people can’t read my mind. Just now, I was thinking about chocolate and cloacas in the same ten-second stream. You don’t even want to know what kind of mental pictures that throws up.

If you do: start inventing!

 

TB

 

 

Day Thirty-Five: The Christmas Upgrade (iPads for everyone!)

Image

I shook this one and can hear the theme to Candy Crush…

 

It seems that when this time of year rolls around, I’m having the same conversation over and over with clients in my waiting room.

“Are you doing anything for Christmas?” they ask me.

“Yeah, just going up the coast. We do it every year. You?”

“Oh, we’re heading over to [insert amazing overseas destination here] for a few weeks.”

 

Now, I think that heading to the coast and having two full weeks of eating, sleeping, walking, shopping, swimming, playing, and eating (did I mention eating?) is the definition of awesome holidays, and I would have thought the same when I was a kid. But these people (and their lucky children) are basically taking a dump on my plans from a great height (roughly 40 thousand feet).

I had my first overseas trip when I was 15. I was the first one in my family who’d ventured beyond the seas by which we’re girt (Australia, if that’s too vague), and it was a pretty impressive feat. It was a school trip, though. I have never travelled overseas with my family. The furthest we’ve ever been as a group is Adelaide (from Brisbane). I’m sure the sudden increase in kids having more stamps on their passports than years on this planet is not because people today have more money–and if they do, they should be more time-poor or something, right? I get that airfares have dropped, and low-cost seats for the whole clan can be achieveable (if not affordable). But are we choosing grand overseas adventures over interstate roadtrips because we can afford it, or because it would be seen as remiss of a parent not to give their child such an amazing opportunity (depending on where they’re going, I suppose–I’ve heard that kids love North Korea)?

All this foreign gallavanting though is really just the start of the Christmas Upgrade. The other conversation I have on a daily basis goes something like this:

Me: So, Kasey, what are you asking Santa for this year? A Ferrari?

Kasey’s mother: (laughs) Oh, no, nothing fancy. Probably just a new iPod touch.

Kasey: I got one last year, but I broke it.

Me: Um, cool.

 

Did I mention that ‘Kasey’ is six? I don’t even have an iPod Touch, and my parents would probably tell me to go to hell if I asked for one for Christmas. (To be fair, I am 23, and we don’t do presents anymore.) At the beginning of this year, three siblings aged six, nine, and eleven proudly showed off their iPads. That’s iPads, plural. One each.

“Wow, that was a costly Christmas,” I said to their parents.

“Well, we couldn’t just get one, could we? There’d be fights,” their father replied, rolling his eyes.

 

The only thing I can think of is that iPads/Pods are the modern-day equivalent of a GameBoy (if you just forget the fact that GameBoys are still in circulation). For my brother and me, our enormous, black-and-white-screened bricks in stylish yellow and red were probably the most lavish gifts we’ve received to date. At the time, I’m guessing they set our parents back over 100 bucks each. Allowing for inflation, though, it’s still not anywhere remotely near to a freaking iPad. Again, I don’t have an iPad. I don’t even have a laptop that was made this side of the decade.

So, here’s a list of “expensive” Christmas presents that I wanted when I was a kid:

 

ImageThese things were the shit. Furbies came out when I was about eight or nine (Wikipedia says they launched in 1998). From memory, they were about 80 bucks a pop. My two brothers and I each got one, so that’s a cool 240 big ones right there. A 16GB iPod Touch is at least 249. Yes, yes, inflation, I know. But still. Kids of today are raking it in.

 

ImageThis little gem was my first mp3 player. Before you ask: yes, iPods had been invented. Did my parents feel it necessary to pay upwards of 500 bucks to equip me with 1000 songs? No, sir. This baby held a much more modest 15… if I was lucky and the songs were of average length. Seriously, listen to 15 songs in a row and tell me how long it takes. Then do it over and over again because you don’t have convenient access to a computer. God, I hated Avril Lavigne after that summer. My brother did eventually get a first generation iPod, but I have a feeling that he had to save up and pay for half of it himself.

 

ImageOh, man, was I ever stoked to find one of these under the tree. Again, I think we were looking at a price tag of around $80, but hey, she eats and craps, so it’s worth it, right? From what I’ve seen, dolls haven’t really got all that much more complicated since this innovation in mess-creation. But who needs the hassle of a real doll when you can just load yourself a virtual infant on your iPad? I’m sure many new parents are wishing they’d chosen a similar option.

 

ImageThis blurry masterpiece was our first flat-screen TV (not this actual one pictured, but I thought the quality was pretty accurate). It was the most exciting thing ever to happen to anyone ever when we woke up to find this monolith half-wrapped under the tree. (Half-wrapped because it was large, not because my parents are useless–although Dad did sample a little too much Cognac that year, much to Mum’s chagrin.) This one was probably a good 1000 smackers (or more, I don’t even know), but it was the present for all four of us. These days, I’m sure they’re getting one each, walled-mounted in their bedrooms, so that they can lounge on their queen beds and watch Dora without bothering their parents/siblings.

 

I shouldn’t really complain so hard. These days, we get a pretty sweet deal at Christmas. I get to move back in with my parents, but in an awesome apartment on the coast, and let them cook, wash, and just generally put up with me for two weeks. What shiny electronic device could top that?

 

TB

 

P.S. While I’m thinking about it, I remember pulling my Furby out a couple of years after it’s glory days, and it kind of reminded me of this:

ImageWuuuuuuuuv!

Day Thirty-Four: Once-a-month mental

Image

Today, my writer’s block is so bad that I’m not even sure if I can finish this sentence. Oh, there we go. Marking the page is the first step, right?

Around once a month, I have days where I’m overcome with an overwhelming sense of despair. Not for any particular reason. The world isn’t any darker today than it was yesterday, but today feels like a ‘curl up and cry’ day.

For a long time, I didn’t make the connection. The once-a-month connection.

I actually really hate the idea of blaming my moods or failures on my hormonal cycle. The number of times I’ve levelled a well-aimed punch into the ribcage of someone’s who’s said, “oh, she must be on the rag” is beyond counting. And it’s totally unfair to dismiss a woman’s anger or low mood as a ‘PMS thing’. Although these hormones can magnify what we’re feeling, if we’re yelling at you because you did something inconsiderate, it’s probably more to do with you an arsehole than with us being hormonal.

It’s frustrating to be a slave to your body’s every whim though. Over time, my ‘aha’ moments have been more frequent.

“Why do I feel like screaming into a pillow today?” I wonder aloud, my fingernails leaving deep gouges in my palms.

“Am I seriously crying over a broken peg?” I think, vaguely aware that I’ve slumped to the floor.

“Why did I just punch that poor gentleman?”

 

OK, so I’m not actually one to punch strangers (unless they really piss me off), but I have often found myself acting like some kind of horrible selfish toddler and failed to make the connection. Usually, a quick glance at the old calendar sheds some light. Not that the knowledge makes things any easier.

Explaining it to others is even harder.

Many a time my boyfriend will ask me how my day went, only to watch me dissolve into tears.

“Baby, what’s the matter?” he asks, genuine worry in his voice.

“I…don’t…know!” I gasp between sobs.

Because he’s an awesome person, he usually just holds me and strokes my hair until I’m coherent enough to talk properly. Then, he gets me to explain what’s bothering me. I’m embarrassed by some of the answers I’ve given over the years. Sometimes there were real stressors during these periods (no pun intended), like a toxic combination of uni work and band commitments. Other times, the only reason I could give was that my hair looked shit or I made cookies and they tasted like shit.

The best defence I have these days is just keeping an eye on the calendar, and surrounding myself with good friends and happy distractions. Today it was doughnuts and a good book.

Oh, and writing a fantastic blog, amiright?

 

Now this thing better post without incident or I swear there will be tears.

TB