I Found a Therapy Chat Room and Started Talking with Strangers

That has always been a dangerous statement to make. It infers a lot without actually saying anything. That you are lonely and have no friends and have to resort to talking with strangers on the internet. That you are totally fine talking with creepy people who are probably 50-year-old perverts wanting to have internet chat room sex with you. I decided to go on a quest to discover what people were really wanting to talk about online and how much we are willing to divulge to strangers.

Strangely enough, it all went down very differently to how I’d imagined. I found a website where you can nominate to either be a ‘listener’ or a ‘venter’. Each person who went on the site was given a pseudonym that was randomly generated. I nominated to be a listener. I thought it would take a lot of small talk to discover what people were really looking to vent about. Most people dove straight in. Each conversation I had began with the venter beginning with, “Hi” and I’d respond, “Hi. How are you going?”. Instead of the stock answer response we usually give in real life (good, fine, alright, tired), I had real answers.

“Not good.” “Mostly ok.” “I’m lonely.” “I have a problem and I’m looking for some advice.”

It was refreshing to talk so openly and honestly with people, even if I didn’t know the full story.

The first few people I talked to had similar conversation topics. College aged (18–23) white guys speaking openly about their insecurities. To be honest I don’t know for sure that any of them were white but all the conversations I had were very #whiteboyproblems.

There was nothing revolutionary about any of these conversations. They were bland stories. The typical indie movie story where an outsider white guy has no real connections and overthinks everything. My immediate reaction to these early conversations was to hypothesise that people from this demographic don’t have the real authentic conversations that women friends do. Most of these guys would have benefitted from just having one real life person that they could talk to about everything — even the small things (“I blush when girls talk to me”).

But I soon realised that there were more people on this website than the first three young guys I talked to. It wasn’t just college guys who struggled with opening up to their friends. It was most people. These stories were anything but bland.

I talked to a US man struggling with severe medical symptoms that made life almost impossible. He hadn’t seen a doctor despite the debilitating effect it was having on his life because he couldn’t afford the medical bills. This seemed almost absurd to me, given the very different health system here in Australia.

I talked to an 18-year-old girl who worried she was pregnant, and instead of getting a pregnancy test, she wanted an opinion from me (a stranger) to decide if she was pregnant. She told me she had used a condom with her boyfriend three weeks ago but her period was late and was experiencing nausea and a range of other symptoms. She was religious and both her and her boyfriend wanted to wait until marriage but they kept having ‘slips’. She was scared to go out and buy a test.

I talked to a guy who was in his final year of high school. He had just been diagnosed with ADHD, along with a previous diagnosis of depression and anxiety. He felt relieved that there was a medical reason he was struggling with procrastination, despite his high intellectual abilities, but was worried about what it would mean for his future. He didn’t feel he could talk with his parents about his worries as they were focused on his older brother who had made previous suicide attempts. He wanted some advice on how to channel his anger and anxiety.

I spoke with a guy from India in his early twenties who was frustrated that he couldn’t have a relationship until he got married. He lived in a small village and wasn’t allowed to interact with other women. He often wasn’t allowed to leave the house.

I spoke with a European woman (I wasn’t sure where she was from) who was a History teacher to high school students. She had a male best friend whom she had been close with for 15 years. His girlfriend of two years was immensely jealous of their relationship and wouldn’t let them spend much time together. Both women had previously had a conversation about it but it didn’t solve the jealousy issue. It was extremely frustrating for her.

I spoke with a woman who had been separated from her husband for two years. They lived in different countries. She had hoped that they would rekindle their relationship. Her husband emailed her a book to read and asked her to respond with her thoughts. The book was about a man who left his wife to sleep around before returning to married life. She wondered if he was trying to insinuate that he similarly had many sexual relationships with other women during their separation and now wanted to resume their relationship. When she replied after reading the book, he ignored her response and continued to talk about his own career.

I spoke to a person — the only identifier they gave was ‘lonely’. They asked that our conversation remain genderless. We didn’t talk about anything specific. They asked if they could hold me. I was confused at first but realised they wanted some sort of role-play. I found it weird at first. Was this just a gateway for them to have chat-room sex? It became clear it wasn’t. They offered me a soft blanket. Told me I was safe with them. They looked into my beautiful eyes. Told me I was lying on a big comfy bed. They stroked my cheek. It was all G-rated. But I realised quickly how much this person was craving intimacy.

I spoke to a guy who was frustrated that the girl he liked wasn’t responding in kind, even after he had given her gift certificates to theme parks and texted her often. I was a bit creeped out by him. He told me that he couldn’t handle, “hoes or rachets. It’s not me. I only like modest women who have a sense of humor. Call me sensitive, but it makes me happier. I am not the man to find a woman stuck up by nature.” I frankly found the whole conversation repulsive. I tried to inject some feminist ideas (i.e. don’t call women ratchets and hoes), but I don’t think anything I said could change his whole viewpoint on women.

The last person I talked to was a young guy from Australia. He said he was doing ‘alrightish’ but didn’t want to discuss any problems, he just wanted to have a chat with someone. This conversation was different to all the others. He wanted to know about my life, just as much as he wanted to talk to me.

It was striking how different all the people I talked to were. Many of them came from very different cultures, and probably would have held different political views to me. Yet all of them wanted to talk to someone about things they didn’t feel they could discuss with the people in their own lives. It was sad to think that none of them trusted the people close to them with these issues. Sadder still, to think that most people have something they would love to talk about but feel they can’t.

Social media and photo-sharing apps, in particular, are often portrayed as infrastructure that promotes ‘fakeness’ and self-promotion, eliminating the ability for people to talk openly and honestly. I do think this is a phenomenon that is becoming more prevalent. We share the best bits of our lives and hold close to our chests the things that tear us apart inside. Slowly this seeps into our ‘real’ lives. We curate our lives so much so that we are worried everything we say will define us — will live forever in the museum that is our life.

Maybe we need to start answering, ‘How are you’ more honestly.

Today I’m not feeling so good. But that doesn’t mean tomorrow I won’t be.


 Originally posted on Medium

Are We the ‘Apathy Generation’?

I always find it uncomfortable when the media tries to associate a label or descriptor with a whole generation. It seems misguided to class people from different backgrounds and experiences under one descriptor, especially a negative one. Generation Z is most often described as materialistic, self-absorbed, and worst of all, apathetic. Stereotypes such as these paint a bleak picture for the future. But they show what the wider community view as the next major societal challenges.

In an increasingly globalised world, information is becoming an emerging means of power, such that the individual has more access to previously private quarters. Social media has irrevocably changed how we send and receive information. Even cultural and language barriers are being broken down through technological advances. But some argue that this mass cultivation of information is too overwhelming. Suddenly we are all painfully aware of the huge problems in the world that don’t seem to be getting solved. We are becoming used to seeing horrific images on the news and becoming desensitised. The little grain of sand on the beach philosophy can create a negative inner dialogue. Who am I to change things? The system is too ingrained, the problems too big. Information no longer used as a tool of mobilisation but pacification. Will there be a point where we simply stop caring?

In response to this apathy label, I use an old Australian proverb: ‘Yeah, Nah’.

Sure, there are elements to this argument that are inherently true. It is overwhelming to see just how far wars and conflicts stretch across the globe, to see abuses of power and exploitation of other human beings. But are we as a generation, apathetic to this? Are we so far removed from each other and our humanity that we have simply given up, ambivalent to what occurs?

No.

The assumption that technology is so far advanced that everyone is free to communicate and do as they please is a westernised expectation that is inherently false. Information is still power. Technological advances have definitely increased the ability for things on one side of the world to affect events and people on the other. This does not mean everyone has access. Still, millions of girls around the world cannot get an education simply because of their gender. Censorship is still a widespread issue across the globe. The idea that as a generation, we are apathetic, is a privileged way of viewing people. Not everyone can afford to be apathetic. Not everyone has the ability to ‘make it’ in the system as it currently stands.

I think the larger issue here is not whether our generation is apathetic but where to start. The issue is not that we as a generation don’t care. It’s that people feel powerless to change things. What do we do now that we know X problem exists? Young people aren’t the rule makers or the legislators. A lot of the time, volunteers for various non-profits need to be 18. Even then, the majority of volunteer spots open currently involve requirements of various skill levels that young people in High School or University don’t own. So how can young people shed the label of the ‘apathy generation’ if there continue to be restrictions on who can help?

There is a feedback model . Young people don’t have a platform to take action with the same impact as traditional forms of change making (government, non-profit, money). When people do try and take action, these voices aren’t magnified to the level they should be. The wider community then believes that young people are apathetic, and young people believe that their voices aren’t taken into consideration.

With the rise of corporate media, traditional forms of protest that created a turning point in the 1970s just aren’t enough anymore. Protests rarely appear in the news, despite their regular happenings. The power of the media is deeply engrained. Causes that do not fit with the traditional media agenda are easily silenced, no matter the volume. Democracy Spring in the United States is a prime example of this. There were over 1200 arrests in front of the capital building in Washington D.C. in April. Protestors highlighted problems within the American voting system and Citizens United (a court case allowing large campaign donations). There was barely any media coverage, save for the footage of actress Rosario Dawson being arrested. This was an example of people taking their fight outside of social media and into the real world, yet did it make a difference?

One of the triumphs for the internet generation this year was the live streaming of the House Democrats’ sit-in in June, a response to Republicans blocking gun control measures after the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting. Twitter and Periscope allowed these actions to reach hundreds of thousands across the globe. It may have restored people’s hope in the democratic process but no material gain occurred on the actual issue. Still, the major decisions came down to two hundred or so old white guys.

Over the last year, young people-led protests did not pierce through the fear and hate blasted through all mediums. A lot of people have given up. But people do have power. Social media has power.

People are successfully finding ways to create systems that fill needs through social media. Organisations such as Too Good To Go and Rescuing Leftover Cuisine are finding paths to end food wastage. Using apps and social media to help restaurants, the homeless and people who are simply throwing away too much food, to create a working system that benefits all. These organisations are fantastic examples of people finding real problems and creating solutions without traditional forms of change-making. But there are forms of change that at present can only occur through government, an avenue that feels very stagnate. Apart from targets and goals, what are governments actually doing to address climate change?

So how can young people gain enough power to actually do anything? Or is this a self-fulfilling prophecy? Is the ‘apathy’ label something created by the powerful to maintain their position? Why doesn’t social media power always translate into real change? Is it enough to just yell into the schism that is the internet?

2016 seems to have consisted of too much outrage and not enough material action.

Maybe it’s time to regroup and figure out how we can combine the power of social media and real-time actions to get progressive issues back on the table, combatting the fear agenda of 2016. Right now, what we’re doing isn’t working.

Apathy shouldn’t be our generation’s descriptor but we do need to figure out how to get social media to work for us more efficiently, with actual concrete means of progress, or it might as well be.


Get Naked (no actually do it)

Most feminist philosophies express the importance of “knowing your body”. It isn’t an unreasonable task. I think most people know what their body looks like and how it functions. It might take some people longer than others to really know themselves, but it happens. Yet I realised recently that if someone asked me what was the longest amount of time I’d ever been naked for, I couldn’t tell them. I can’t imagine what type of person would go around asking such a question, but it seems a reasonable question to ask oneself.

I’m not talking nakedness for the three ‘S’s (sleeping, showering, sexuality), but just casual nakedness. Why does it feel just a little bit weird being naked? That feeling in your stomach where it just feels off.

I don’t feel particularly prudish. My parents walked around naked, I’m not particularly fussed in change rooms and yet somehow when I’m alone it never occurs to me that I could just be naked. I’ve always been a pyjama person and living with other people, I just haven’t been naked that often.

In all forms of media, exercise and healthy eating plans seem to be almost inescapable. Simultaneously, the idea of body acceptance is meant to coincide. This odd dissonance between the idea that we should never be satisfied with how we look but also totally content with our bodies seems to create this weird phenomenon where we don’t really look at our bodies that much. How much time do we actually spend naked?

Is it possible to really be at peace with your body if you never spend much time with it?

This strange juggling act that we play between our bodies being for aesthetic and sexual purposes, and as a machine that allows our continued existence means that we are always worried about the maintenance and upkeep but never look at the product itself.

Moving out of home has meant a lot of changes. But one of the most surprising has been just spending some time naked.

It started one day when my college room was a bit overheated. I had been so frustrated with myself over how messy I’d let the room get that I had started a frantic clean of the place. Not just your average daily cleaning of picking up stuff, but scrubbing, and dusting and sorting through things to chuck. I was just so overwhelmed by it all that I stripped down. It was hours later when I realised that this was probably the longest time I had ever just casually gone about my business naked. And it didn’t feel weird at all. I’d occasionally catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I wasn’t bothered. I had just done a massive clean and I was virtuous.

Getting naked now means actively embracing my machine and just being. It takes time to work through the immediate rejection after spending a life clothed. But I feel powerful when it’s just me stripped down.

Get vulnerable with yourself until you aren’t anymore.

Let it Hang Out!

 

Film Photography vs. iPhone Camera

I recently wrote a post that explained my new hobby of Film Photography. I recently got 3 rolls back and I thought I’d show some comparison shots of my Spain trip.

The Sagrada Familia, located in Barcelona, is perhaps the most beautiful church in the world. Its unconventional architecture by Spanish mastermind, Antonio Gaudí paints it as a truly unique site. The way the light hit the stained glass windows and the beautiful tree-like columns made me speechless. As someone who isn’t religious, it felt really special being in such a sacred space and truly experiencing the beauty of religion. *Note if you are planning a trip, the church will finally be finished in 2028!

I didn’t feel like my photos on my phone truly captured the beauty of Gaudí ‘s architectural work. However, the photos on my film camera really portray a different insight, which I think highlights the spirituality of the space.

Here are three pictures I took on my iPhone and the following three on my film camera:

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I think what makes the difference is how the light comes into the camera. The iPhone just didn’t really cope with all the different light sources while the film camera and perhaps the ability to change more settings helped (as you would have on a DSLR). The film pictures seem to have more atmosphere and somehow seem more romantic in their colouring. iPhone pictures are also made for a quick snap, capturing a quick moment, whereas all the pictures I took on my film camera took a lot of thought and planning (what settings, aperture, focusing etc).

Which do you prefer?

iPhone:

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Film

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Feel The Urge to Create? Don’t Let It Pass By – 4 Tips on Getting Started.

I have always wanted to spend more time just making. Sometimes I just want to write, draw and sing but I don’t feel like I have anything specific to say. Or I read something and I feel so inspired but I’m not sure how I get from that spark to having something tangible.

Here are 4 things that have moved me past that initial barrier:

 1. Quotes from Makers

I love nothing more than having an insight into the beauty that is creating for someone else. Here are some words that describe creating in really different ways:

On writing poetry:

“I write in lines. So the lines find their way on paper whether I overhear two boys insulting each other at the gas station, or see a gull cleaning her feet, or two old men playing dominoes on the hood of a car, or two young women kissing at the fish market. They become lines on recipets, on my hands, on a water bottle, on other people’s poems. Lines collect for years, but once in while they discover that other lines are sexy and, well, the poems may come from that sort of a relationship. If I am lucky.” – Ilya Kaminsky

On making:

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Read the full story behind this cute lettter 

 

2. The 2 Minute Rule

James Clear’s 2 Minute Rule is a good one for procrastination – but it can also be used to get that kick start into creating. The rule has two parts. Firstly, if it takes less than two minutes to do – do it now. The second part revolves around habits. If you want something to become a staple in your life, pick something that can be done in 2 minutes. Realistically, most things take more than two minutes. But, often the hardest part is just starting. If you want to write more, tell yourself that every evening you will set a time to write. Just two minutes. After that two minutes, you can either move on to another task or keep going. More often than not, the act of starting will take away the microphone from the little voice in the back of your head giving you bullshit reasons for why now isn’t the time. Now is the time.

 

3. Give yourself a task

Rules and Restrictions never sound sexy, nor do they immediately conjure the perfect instigator for creating. But sometimes a little prompt, idea or sound can make the difference.

i. Poem a Day – currently being run by @alexelle on twitter, a great poet giving three words every day for the month of august to prompt daily writing (think 2 minute rule here!)

Here is my first poem of August with the words unraveling and gaze:

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ii. Sounds – read the famous NYTimes article about the importance of sound colouring our perception. Set yourself the task of hearing the nuances of the mundane and turning it into something new.

4. Consume but don’t choke

Sometimes, when you consume a piece of art that you admire, it can be off-putting.

  ‘Nothing I do will ever be like this.

Which is true. Get past that initial fear and realise the only way for you to feel that energy, making and creating – IS TO MAKE AND CREATE! So read and consume as much as you can. But don’t get caught up in comparisons, because they’re never helpful.

What gets you started?

WM

 

 

 

INSPIRATION WEEKEND

I have completed my first semester at University. I feel stronger now. A lot of things have shifted, and I feel really excited to do new things and just create. The last weeks of semester involved a lot of procrastinating from studying for final exams. But for the first time it actually felt like productive procrastination. What? I know. I actually felt like I was infused with happiness and inspiration while I was studying for exams rather than sinking into bouts of anxiety. Instead of spending those precious minutes away from study watching endless BuzzFeed videos or in a loop on YouTube, I set myself parameters. I could only procrastinate if that procrastinating actually made me think or learn something new.

Instead of feeling guilty for not studying, I actually felt more productive. The time I was studying, I was in a much better mood because I was excited by the content I had engaged with and felt motivated.

Here are a few of the things I’ve been engaging with recently:

1. MyPeoples.TV

I cannot stress enough just how beautiful and moving this new weekly panel is. Founded by a couple of my favourite people (Rosario Dawson and Erica Williams), MyPeoples is an underground talk show that is livestreamed every Sunday (Monday for Aussies!) that aims to discuss issues, ideas and philosophies that aren’t talked about or perhaps celebrated as they should be in the main stream media. What I love about these weekly episodes is the positive and action-based framework. Often the issues the panel talks about seem too large to tackle but are spoken about in new ways that really make one think. I also love that periodically thorugh the show, they break to show a new and upcoming artist (Spoken Word, Music, Art), which provoke thought in different ways.

Here are a few of my favourite clips from the previous few episodes:

*Live from Democratic Convention this week so keep an eye out on their twitter: @mypeoplestv

2. Documentary Pick: How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change

I think it’s impossible to watch this movie by Josh Fox and not feel inspired to do something about Climate Change. Inspired is probably the wrong word. Throughout this movie I felt restless. Immense grief. Physically sick about what we are doing to the world, and what we aren’t doing to fix it. I’ve already written a personal plan on how I’m going to personally make changes to my lifestyle but also how I’m going to try and contact my local and federal representatives here in Australia. Shit needs to happen now.

Extra: After watching read this article

2. Jazz Music

I realised recently that I’ve been listening to the same three artists on repeat for far too long and that wasn’t helping me move forward. I’ve always really found a deep connection with music, it can really move me. I can sit for hours and listen to music and the intricacies of a song. I accidentally pressed shuffle one day – something I never do ( I go with tried and tested!), and discovered a jazz song that was part of my Dad’s music collection. I think it was My Funny Valentine by Miles Davis. I then started playing all his songs that I had on Apple Music on my way to Uni every morning. Ever since, I’ve been hooked on Jazz music. My Dad kindly put together a playlist of his favourites.

Here are my current three favourites:

  • In A Sentimental Mood, Duke Ellington
  • My Funny Valentine, Miles Davis
  • Watermelon Man, Herbie Hancock

Don’t stop what you love because it’s just for fun.

I realised recently that I stopped doing a lot of the things I loved. Why? The only reason I could come up with was that I was never going to be an expert at them. Isn’t that ridiculous! I stopped singing, playing instruments, photography, journalling because I was either a) not pursuing a career in them or b) I was never that great or didn’t have the discipline.

But fuck did I miss it! Doing something for the hell of it rather than for a grade or bettering my skills. The funny thing is, I stopped doing them because I wasn’t having fun, but I wasn’t having fun because I was seeing these activities as chores and not passions.

 

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So after my first semester of Uni, the day before I left for overseas, I dug out an old-school film camera that I bought when I was 14. I went to the nearest store in Sydney that sold film (not so near) and packed it into my suitcase.  I got to Spain and discovered the light meter inside my Minolta SRT-101 didn’t work. So I did some research and taught myself how to control the camera manually while I travelled.

While I definitely learned the drawbacks of a manual film camera, the worst being just how heavy it is to carry around, I found it so exciting to be learning and playing with something just for me. For the hell of it.

There is something really special about the delayed gratification of film. You don’t know if any of the photos will work out, so you just focus on the moment. Lining up the shot, focusing, changing the settings. Since the number of shots per roll are so finite, the whole process is very deliberate. It was interesting using both my iPhone camera and my Minolta. The iPhone photos I took were of the quick moments, that wouldn’t be able to be captured on film, or of landscape shots that were too wide for my lens. While the photos I took on my Minolta were portraits or moments where I could step back and really plan a shot.

I’m waiting to see if any of the photos are any good, but I feel confident that even if I only get one decent photo, I’ll cherish the experience. I’m going to wait for some of the film photos and post a comparison between film and iPhone pictures.

For this semester of Uni, my goal is to keep doing things on the side for nothing but enjoyment. Maybe I’ll go buy myself a bunch of flowers!!

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WM

6 Ways to Keep Up With Life Transitions (High School to Uni)

I always assumed that once you got into University, things would suddenly start to make sense, take movement and happen. Rather than any of those three things occurring, it actually feels like I’m years younger than I ever had been. I have quickly realised just how much I didn’t know. Which – perhaps is a fantastic way to view the world, as being inherintly unknowable. Yet, this kind of philosophy is pretty overwhelming!

Here are 6 ways I’ve started willing movement in my first semester at University and first time living away from home.

  1. Discover what triggers unhappiness, anxious moments or loneliness and REMOVE IT!

The easiest thing to do is be consumed by negative thought patterns – letting it settle in your bones. I got so stuck in my unhappiness and disappointment in my choice of University that I let it dictate all my future interactions with things that might have otherwise made me excited.

So I figured out what triggered negative thoughts and found ways to avoid these activities or create actionable steps to cope.

My worst offender was sitting in my dorm room for long periods of time (especially in the afternoon). If I find myself getting restless, or anxious I try and leave the room. If I need to study, I’ll go to the library, my favourite coffee shop or pack a backpack and ride to a secluded spot out near the local lake (of course bringing snacks!) and get down to things I’ve been avoiding.

2. To-do lists – be realistic!

When I’m freaking out about how much I have to do I tend to write huge lists that are almost impossible to achieve. Of course the things you don’t want to do are often tasks that seem too big or tasks that will never be completed in a way that you are satisfied by.

Often when I’m anxious at night, the time when issues can’t really be solved, I write a realistic list. The title is often something like this:

What can I do tomorrow that will leave me satisfied with the day’s work?

When I am most paralysed by my inability to get things done (11pm at night) – I force myself to set much more manageable daily goals. The lists end up looking more like this:

 

  • Wash hair
  • At breakfast, skim through readings for the day
  • Sort out 2 x small errands (i.e. renew student card, take passport photo, pick up assignment feedback)
  • Go to all three classes

I just outline small manageable tasks I can do that will help me feel accomplished at the end of the day, even if it wasn’t a ‘perfect’ day. Maybe, I didn’t get time to do all the 40 pages of readings for a class – but I skimmed it at breakfast and understood the gist, so I sounded halfway competent in my tutorial. Even making it too all your classes can seme like a small ask. But suddenly when attendance isn’t recorded, it can be a slippery slope from saying ‘I’ll listen online’ to ‘I’ll do it later’.

3. Morning Routine/Evening Routine

Perhaps, its obvious by now that I’m a bit of a perfectionist. Although I haven’t previously aligned with the term (as I don’t inherently believe there is perfection), I set standards for myself which are often unreachable. So,  I feel most relaxed when I am following my routine and getting through the small everyday tasks.

When I moved to another city, it felt like a lot of the stability of my life had gone. High school is such a structured environment, that it feels odd when you don’t have a highly functioning routine. Structure doesn’t fit everyone, but when I’m sticking to a schedule, it somehow tells my brain that I’m ready to get shit done. Creating a schedule can take time, when everything in your life is completely different. But figuring out the small things such as: when you wake up, shower, eat breakfast and get a coffee can make the big changes feel doable.

My favourite time in the morning is when I leave my college and walk to get a coffee at my local coffee shop. I put on my music, listen to a song, call my mum and breathe in the cold air. Its the one time of the day when there is nothing to think about. I can just be.

 

4. THREE THINGS/FREE FINGS

When I was little, the routine in my house at the end of the day was to say three things which made our heart sing that day (FREE FINGS!). As I grew up, this ritual wasn’t practiced as regularly but now its something my mum will ask me when I’ve had a bad day or if I’m finding it heard to see the positive things.IMG_4953

The last couple of months, right before I got to bed I write the following headings and write my three things.

3 things right now that scare you, 3 things that you are feeling right now, 3 things you accomplished today, 3 things that made your heart sing today, 3 things you can do tomorrow to change things.

It is a method of releasing lingering tension, and setting steps to take action – so you don’t have to worry when you are trying to sleep.

 

 

5. Change the situation

College life isn’t for everyone. I just don’t like living amongst so many people, eating meals in a dining hall and showering with thongs on. At some point, there is only so much one can do to make the situation better.

I decided a month or so ago that I was going to transfer to different accommodation – a self-catered mini studio thing with its own bathroom. I’m hoping that when I move in, a lot of the things that are getting me down are going to shift. But maybe they won’t. And thats cool too. I have the option to move back home next year and go to a different Uni. To me, the most reassuring thing is that I have options.

I’ve just got to use them.

6. Find a side-passion

There is only so much passion one can find in University work. International Relations and Law are both very interesting areas, but like high school, I need stuff on the side to keep me going. I was one of those overly involved kids who did way too much extracurriculars – choir and committees.

I realised recently that writing has always been something I’ve wanted to pursue – whether it just be typing up a story on my laptop, writing in my journal or here, on a blog. The thought of creating something, even if I’m the only one who will ever read it, has given me excitement that Uni work perhaps will never do.

Keep it moving!

WM

 

 

Ode to Claire

*Spoilers for Season 1 of Daredevil

Claire Temple. A completely fictional character. Yet, she has been on my mind for weeks. I’m not sure what it is, whether I’m desperately seeking a Claire in my life, or if Claire and her simultaneous strength and vulnerability – her raw openness is something I want to channel.

Claire pulled a blind vigilante out of a dumpster and stiched him up, put him back together. And while I certainly wouldn’t wish for her life – being kidnapped by a bunch of Russian criminals – there is something about Claire that is very comforting.

Perhaps, it is her overwhelming empathy, her doggedness for what is right and true, even when it hurts. Claire, who opened her door to a stranger, opened her life to the danger that association brought because that was her job, her calling – to help where she could.

Maybe, it wasn’t that she let people in, where others probably wouldn’t have, maybe it was that she knew when to stop. To introduce boundaries. To exit herself out of a situation where she became not only an enabler to Matt, but to herself.

I put Claire on a pedastool, not because she is perfect, but because she doesn’t need to be. She seems so atuned to reality, to groundedness in a fictional world that is often chaotic and uncertain. I love that she goes out of her way to help people, but knows where to draw the line. I love that she doesn’t give a fuck what anyone else thinks, but is so fiercely empathetic.

Claire is a character so rarely found on TV, that I’m clinging to her with a fierce grip. Strong but beyond the archetype of token ‘strong female’, not falling into any clear stereotypes that WOC characters often do.

Often, outside the safe space of the internet, people are reluctant to show their appreciation for fictional characters. But in a time where most young people watch/read their content online, I think its important to appreciate that inspiration comes from all places – even fictional characters. I think as a society we often perceive younger generations who watch a lot of TV as just pure consumers – who watch thoughtlessly. Discussing TV shows, fictional characters and their relationships has become pretty common place on the internet. Yet there seems to be considerable disconnect between the appreciation and analysis of TV online and offline. In the real world, people who watch a lot of TV are people who have ‘obsessions’, yet someone who reads a lot of books is considered an intellectual. Web series and streaming sites seem to be taking full advantage of the types of shows that are often overlooked by network television. Now, shows that display complex queer characters, people of colour and different gender identities are appearing in the online sphere, filling the void that traditional forms of media seem to only just be catching onto.

I think it will be interesting leading into the future to see how we transition our openness and safe spaces online into the real world. When will wider society accept TV as another form of creative expression with just as much to offer as traditional sources of art? I think we are definitely stepping into that direction.

Be it Clare Temple or any other character that speaks to you, seeking attributes or qualities in a fictional character is valid. If seeing someone on screen motivates you to do things differently, or continue striving for something because you see something is possible – that is such a fantastic thing. As a society, we should be embracing TV for showcasing wider representations of people and their lives. Visibility matters.

Thank you Claire Temple (the writers of Claire!) and Rosario Dawson for portraying such a complex and nuanced character. Maybe some day I’ll meet a real life Claire, or ingest some of her radiance!!

WM

 

Willing Movement

As an Australian, the ‘college experience’ never really held cultural significance to me growing up. It was always expected that I would go to university in my own city and stay at home for a couple of years until I could venture out on my own. I’ve always viewed living on campus as an American thing, where hazing and sexist culture would be rife. So it was all a bit of a shock to me when three months after my last high school exam, I found myself in a whole other city, in a dorm room. Although it was a conscious decision to go to University outside of Sydney, I later realised I hadn’t really thought it through. I was so desperate to leave the restrictions of high school that I jumped at the chance to meet loads of new people, to try out independence. But what was supposed to be a new beginning, quickly felt like an alternate reality where I was doing the exact same thing as high school – waiting.

I think we all love to hear the sentence ‘it gets better’. Its comforting. It makes you think that the hard times, the tough obstacles will lessen after you pass [X] event. When you finish your exams. When you find people who get you. When you finish the year, the next two years, three years. I think naively, I thought that as soon as I started University and became an adult, I would feel like my life had finally started. That I would be meeting interesting people, studying something I love, being spontaneous and trying new things. I would be moving. The train would have started, the wind blowing in my face.

But movement doesn’t just happen to you. And my life didn’t start as soon as I left high school. In some situations, waiting is all you have – it helps you get through the week when things aren’t working out. But treating my life like it’s a storm I had to weather was just suffocating. Hating the now and somehow assuming that tomorrow things would be better was a stubborn mantra I kept telling myself. It may have given me warmth in the short term but it just kept removing all the will I had to make big changes to my thinking.

Moving to a different city was a huge physical change, and one I didn’t particularly enjoy. It felt like everything had changed around me. My home, my friends, my family were all further away. Yet nothing had changed about me. I was still digging myself deeper – piling all the furniture on top of me in hopes that the hurricane wouldn’t take me. I think the craziest thing is that I’ve always known there was no hurricane. Nor a specific date where everything would be perfect. Somehow it helped me to pretend.

When you’ve willed yourself into the life of waiting, the hardest thing is to move. But its so wonderful to see the scenery moving – even if bits of it are a little overgrown.

This blog is going to document my goal to start moving. To make changes – especially when its easier to keep things the same.

WM x

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