"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Sunday, September 30, 2012

modern epidemics & medical fashion

Now Playing: Home by Kimbra (and I'm a dancing outcast, hoping for futures who outweigh the past)

*Warning: I'm stressed and I'M ANGRY*

I don't have very good pain tolerance.

Unfortunately, I have also spent a good deal of time in a good deal of pain, so I've had to find ways around that.

I don't like painkillers. I'm not trying to be a martyr but I don't like drugs - any drugs - in my system. Only someone who's had an opium headache and woken up feeling like they've died and want to die again after a surgery can be as anti-drugs as I am. I'll take an Advil very very occasionally if it's an exam and I've got bad period pain, but that's about it. Painkillers don't really work very well on me anyway - my mysterious 'pacemaker pain' didn't respond to liberal doses of paracetamol and codeine, and when I had chicken pox Mum gave me Phenergan and I slept for fourteen hours - and clawed at the scabs on my legs the whole way through.

Heat is a wonderful but underestimated form of pain relief. It's underestimated because it very rarely takes away the pain completely - and in our anaesthetic-happy culture we're willing to pop a pill or poke a needle of any random crap so we can continue in our bubble of utter numbness. But the feeling of comfort and security of warmth is very primal and is more important than fully eliminating discomfort.

The advantage of heat packs and warm cuddles that I find most disappointing - if that makes sense - is that it's silent. People have next to no sympathy for others in pain anymore. They see it as an annoyance, an infringement of their rights to go about their business. No. No no no no no no. When I'm in pain I don't give a fuck about your peace of mind or the epiphanies that require dead silence. When I'm in pain fucking help me, or I swear to God I will watch and laugh and not do a thing as you hobble down flights of stairs when you break your leg. The thing that is most useful about heat as pain relief is that it shuts you up - but I don't like bowing to that social pressure.

The best form of pain relief is physical - pacing, crying, 'vocalizing' - moaning and groaning and 'carrying on'. I didn't believe it until I tried it. You can groan your way through anything. And quite frankly I'd rather piss off a roomful of people I don't give a shit about then poison myself with drugs. I don't care if I'm quieter when I'm high on Advil or shoving a heat pack down my shirt. Humans had to live somehow before microwaves and ibuprofen. And I think humans were much better off without them.

I hate the stigma of so-called 'martyrdom'. Anyone who doesn't do anything they can to avoid the slightest bit of discomfort deserves all the pain life throws at them. You can't complain if you've got a headache if you refuse to pop pills. You can't complain if you've got the flu if you refuse to get flu shots. You can't complain of labour pain if you refuse to get an epidural.

No no no no no no no....

Medical fashion used to dictate that anyone with the slightest oral inflammation had their tonsils hacked out. I mean, what if we took that kind of approach every time someone broke an arm or something? We'd have a lot of limbless people in our society. In hindsight, it's stupid. The solution to a broken or faulty body part is not to hack it off (tell that to the porn industry, people - the labia minora is not a defect or an obscenity, it's a part of the fucking human body), but to treat it with, ya know - 'science' and 'medicine' that my teachers kept barging on about when I failed physics and biology. Now the medical fashion is drugging children who can't pay attention to boring stuff in a world filled with interesting stuff on demand - as if that makes any sense. Surely there's something wrong with the child who willingly concentrates on something they consider boring and ignores something they consider fun? Oh wait...that's the whole theology of abstinence education...

I don't trust doctors. It's a well known fact. I don't claim to be a medical expert but I do my research and I do know my own body - it is, ya know, my body, and I've had nearly seventeen years to get used to it. I don't trust that doctors always know what they're doing or that everything they do has the best motivations - I know that most C-sections (nicknamed the 'unnecaesarian' because let's face it, women have been having babies 'the old fashioned way' for millenia and the existence of the entire human race does not rest on the invention of the scalpel) happen between 6PM and 10PM, and there are higher rates of C-sections on weekends, Friday nights and holidays - coincidence my ass. I don't like doctors' attitudes towards drugs and painkillers and I don't like doctors' attitudes to the intense and traumatic experience that is surgery and I don't like doctors' attitudes towards 'statistics' - just because everything might be fine once you've drugged me and performed an extremely fiddly operation on me doesn't mean that it will be fine. Tonsilectomies, ADHD diagnosis, C-sections - they're just medical fashion. The actual medical necessities of these procedures are extremely extremely rare - much rarer than how often these procedures are actually performed.

A lot of people tell me that I live in some la-la land where people never got tonsilitis and never get ADHD and can squirt out babies effortlessly. Hahaha...no. But tonsilitis is rarely fatal, whereas the mortality rate of tonsilectomy is 1 in 15,000 - which might not scare you but it scares me, considering that's about the same stats as my heart conditions - and guess what? I'm the lucky bastard who has a fucked up heart. You could be the lucky bastard who dies because someone thinks it's fashionable to be tonsil-less. ADHD exists, I won't deny that, but it's not an epidemic. It certainly is not an epidemic that travels east across the USA, as Sir Ken Robinson humourously points out. And it's disturbing that ADHD diagnosis increases with the increase of standardized testing.

As for childbirth - people have been having babies naturally for millenia. C-sections should be the exception, not the rule. I was actually a C-section baby - being the drama queen that I am I just had to go into fetal distress and freak the crap out of everyone. But such was the perceived emergency that my mother had an anaesthetised birth - which is not normally done anymore.

So how do these two stories connect?


There was a way but I forgots.

the strength of femininity

Now Playing: Plain Gold Ring by Kimbra (he belonged to someone but not me, on his hand he wore a plain gold ring)

The main problem I find with feminism and some feminists is that people are, or are perceived to be, rejecting femininity.

I know femininity is a societal construct. I know that there is nothing intrinsically feminine about wearing dresses and lipstick. I know that we are not biologically designed for high heels and lacy lingerie. But, nonetheless, in our society these things symbolize FEMININITY, that I AM FEMALE - if not in terms of sex then definitely in terms of gender. And if you don't find anything feminine appealing then don't wear dresses and don't wear heels and don't wear makeup. But if you do - don't be ashamed of it!

I don't like the idea that in order to 'empower' women or gain women's rights we must pretend to be men. Masculinity is a societal construct just as much as femininity is, and has equal if not greater negative impacts. I do not understand what power is gained by rejecting femininity and embracing masculinity. It's like turning down McDonald's in favour of KFC down the road. If you like fried chicken better then go ahead, but don't expect to lose any weight because of your drastic lifestyle choices.

I love wearing sundresses. I love the freedom of sundresses - seriously. You just throw one on and go, you don't have to match it with anything. If you haven't shaved your legs you wear midcalf or ankle length dresses. If you want to go wading you just pull the hem up to your knees. If you're cold you wear a cardi. If you want to go running wear Converses.

Total. Freedom.

But then there's the way that sundresses drift and float in the breeze. There's something very feminine about floral prints and spaghetti straps and low necklines. When I get hugs I can feel how warm people are through the fabric.

I am a woman. And that is very, very cool.

I don't want being a woman to define every single part of me. I get so tired of people harping on about the FIRST WOMAN TO HOLD X POST or a WOMAN PRESIDENT or whatever. I just feel like we're treated as a gender, not as people. But I don't want people to forget that I'm a woman, either, because it is an intrinsic part of me.

I know, I'm a contradictory bastard.

I find strength in femininity because that is what I am. I love being pretty. I love being short and small and snuggly. I love having long hair and I love being looked at. I like flattery and chivalry but that doesn't make me any less of a feminist. There is no contradiction between being female, being feminine, and being a feminist. I think some people forget that.

I don't find the pill particularly liberating. I don't find fucking up hormones and inducing cancer and hormonal-related mental disorders particularly empowering. I don't feel empowered when I dress like a guy - which I have done on multiple occasions in deluded attempts to be taken seriously. I don't appreciate women trying to 'act tough' when they slam pregnancy, motherhood, breastfeeding and other things that are so intrinsically female. I think it's amazing that my body can create and feed a new life. If anything, it's something women have that kind of trumps men in terms of wow factor. Just saying.

Feminism is not a club or a church. There are no rules. There is no dress code. I'm a feminist in sundresses who dreams of one day having baby bliss. So what?


Now Playing: Begin Again by Taylor Swift (turn the key and put my headphones on, he always said he didn't get this song but I do)

I've gotten some lovely comments from some lovely people that I know and it's so nice to know that you drop by here when you're...supposed to be studying for mocks...:P

BUUUT I feel really bad because I can't publish any comments with my name in it :(

So if your comment doesn't show, I've read it and I love you! But I can't publish anything that breaches privacy.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

the stigma of self love

Now Playing: Both of Us by B.o.B ft. Taylor Swift (why so shallow? I'm just asking - what's the pattern to the madness?)

We live in a society where loving yourself is stigmatized.

I put this down to six things: the tall poppy syndrome which has infected Australian society, our pursuit of impossible perfection, our suppression of aesthetic expression and pleasure, the superficial image of love as depicted in popular culture, the glorification of normality and the fear of individuality, and our inability to acknowledge and celebrate how much we care about ourselves and each other.

The tall poppy syndrome is a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down or criticized because their talents or achievements elevate them or distinguish them from their peers. In Australia, this happens for a variety of reasons. The first is that we live in a hierarchical society despite all the 'classless' propaganda that is churned out - the idea of a meritocracy, where people are valued by innate talents and hard work, threatens whatever birthright people claim to have. It is the basis of xenophobia and discrimination against immigrants; because many 'true blue Aussies' think they are deserving of so many rights and privileges because of the purely arbitrary geographical location of their birth. The second is that our society doesn't value talents - or some talents, anyway - and there is so much emphasis on personal appearance, contacts, family background, wealth, etc. The third reason is jealousy - I don't know many people who are jealous of Brad Pitt or Taylor Swift because I don't know many people who are on first-name basis with Brad Pitt or Taylor Swift, but I know a lot of people who are jealous of the numbers I get on my English papers. When you know someone their talents are perceived as a direct threat to your place in society, because sometimes your achievements pale in comparison. But the most important reason is that we attribute, mostly falsely, things like selfishness or greed or vanity to these people who are just simply polishing up a few God-given gifts.

Our pursuit of impossible perfection is driven by our image-crazy society, and by the increasingly absurd images that are projected by mass media. We think that what is impossible is possible, and that we don't look like supermodels because we're not trying hard enough. My favourite line is 'there are no ugly women, only lazy ones' - no. There are no ugly women, and there are no beautiful women, either. Beauty is a myth. But the problem with this pursuit of impossible perfection is that when someone says that they are beautiful, people think that what they're saying is that they're 'perfect' - and when they are not, by our standards, they're branded liars. Personal best is no longer 'the best' - being the best of the best isn't 'the best', either. Being the best has become a feat of impossibility, but without the sense that you are the best you can be, you cannot love yourself. You cannot have self love when you feel that you are constantly in a state of mediocrity. We impose mediocrity on ourselves to prevent ourselves from loving who we really are. We forget that being 'beautiful' or being 'the best' doesn't mean that you're infallible and flawless; no human being can ever claim that. We forget that you don't have to subscribe to the social constructions of beauty or perfection to love yourself.

The schoolyard and the workplace - the places where we spend most of our lives - are anaesthetic environments. They switch us off - we go into automatic pilot, far too often. We forget the joy of seeing, hearing, feeling. The senses - sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch - we forget about them, and then when they are indulged in aesthetic environments it freaks the crap out of us. We teach our children that the natural instinct to touch and cuddle is 'clingy', and when they grow older that sexual intimacy is 'wrong'. People who cannot be anaesthetised by pure social conformity are drugged and diagnosed with ADHD or a host of other 'mental disorders' - when most of them really only have one 'disorder', and that is being human. We think that there is something 'right' about being a machine, being a robot, without indulging our emotions or our sense - and we think that there is something 'wrong' with being human. Self love is an aesthetic thing - it invokes powerful emotions and feelings - it invokes what is stigmatized and shunned by a society hellbent on making us fall asleep rather than waking us up.

Love is portrayed in popular culture as something superficial. The ability to love and to be loved in return is something that is put down to some bizarre cause and effect - if you have this and not that people will love you. What I've learned is that love is irrational - it doesn't matter what people look like or what they do. Self love is like that, too - love isn't about perfection, or turning a blind eye to faults and flaws - it is about embracing what isn't perfect and accepting it for what it is. We can't explain the appeal of a prince and the royal lifestyle because there isn't any appeal in it - a crown on someone's head shouldn't, to any rational person, make them any more or less appealing/sexy/lovable/desirable, and yet somehow in our fucked up society it does. When we lack the superficial qualities of beauty and status, we think we are unworthy of love in any form - including our own love.

None of us are 'normal'. I'm definitely not normal - and believe me, I've bloody tried. Normality is vastly overrated - why must we try to be the 10% of ourselves that we happen to have in common with  other people? Why is the 90% of you that makes you uniquely you bad or inferior? We stigmatize individuality because we don't understand why people endeavour to be different - and more importantly, we don't understand people who are different because they can't help it. Being 'normal' is only being 10% of everything you could be - 'normal' people are less than half of human. But nonetheless when we try and fail to be normal, or when we try and fail to suppress individuality, we don't love ourselves.

The number of times I have heard people say 'I don't care' or 'I don't really have much opinion on that' is absurd. We all care, and we all have opinions - that's why we vote, we write, we speak and converse and broadcast ourselves. If we didn't have that we'd all have no qualms about jumping off cliffs, and we wouldn't give a damn if anyone else jumped off a cliff. To care and to have opinions is the core of being human. And we do care, and we do have opinions - and as a result of this this has emerged in our disturbing and unhealthy celebrity cult, where we indulge in unethical paparazzi to find out everything about celebrities and criticize their every move. We care so much about what other people are doing people are paid to be looked at and criticized - think reality TV stars and Z-listers like Kim Kardashian. We need an outlet for all of this care and opinion but this isn't it; the celebrity cult is a sinister result of suppressing such an integral part of humanity. But we pretend not to have opinions and we pretend not to care because we're afraid - we're afraid of criticism, and we're afraid of vulnerability. The number of times I have been attacked - verbally, physically, in person, in the cybersphere - for my opinions is ridiculous; but I've got guts. And the number of times I have cared and been hurt because I care is heartbreaking, but I can't not care - if I do, I don't feel human. We have to be less afraid - and it's hard, in this dog-eat-dog world. But we have to stand up for ourselves, or we just become one of the crowd. When you can't tell the difference between you and everyone else on the street it's very hard to love yourself.

Loving yourself isn't about trying to be normal or perfect, or pretending that you don't care and don't have opinions. It's not about being something or doing something - it's about you, yourself, as you are. I love who I am, and it's not because I'm selfish, insecure, vain, or think that I am perfect and there is no room for improvement. But I have the ability to see what I can and can't do, to see what I am and what I'm not, and to love that. And even though self love is stigmatized and devalued by our society, you have to love yourself before you can expect anyone else to love you - so I'm not afraid to say that I love myself before anyone else. Do you?

A Thousand Thousand Fearless Things #80

Now Playing: Eyes Open by Taylor Swift (the tricky thing is yesterday we were just children, playing soldiers, just pretending, dreaming dreams with happy endings)

#747: Exam in two days. AAAAAH.

#748: I wish I could trust you.

#749: Begin Again. 

#750: ice cream love

#751: should probably really wash my hair...

#752: awkward conversations in the study room

#753: Black elastic belts. My true love. 

#754: Wednesdays in cafes

#755: skye kisses and bella cuddles

#756: Taylor Swift is releasing a new song every week for four weeks. Much love. 


#758: 'I don't even know her but I know I can't compete'
'Oh, really? But you have so much character!'

^ what friends do to make you all warm and fuzzy inside 

the marginalization of artists.

Now Playing: Begin Again by Taylor Swift (take a deep breath in the mirror, he didn't like it when I wore high heels, but I do)

What is 'smart'?

If you ask my friends, I am very smart. My friends tell me that I ooze character and I have such a dry, sarcastic, crass sense of humour. My friends tell me that I'm feisty and opinionated and clever. I'm not afraid to pick fights and sometimes the only way boys win is by picking me up and putting me someplace high up (which people have done on multiple occasions).

According to my literature and English and history teachers, I am also very smart. Even though I'm not the greatest history student everyone knows I can write well. The HOLA of the English department still remembers when I was in year eight and I spoke to him, a chubby little girl to a formidable literary scholar, of my love of literature and my passion for the written word. I have never lost my passion for English or my drive to succeed. Writing for me is pure joy; something words cannot describe. I can't count the number of times I've cried reading a book or writing an essay because I just feel so at home - it's a brief moment of comfort and security in a world in which I feel so out of place. My English teachers have watched my skills grow from the childish rambles of primary school to the academic polemic that I am now capable of, and I owe everything to them. They have helped me polish and refine something that is the core of my existence. There is no doubt in their minds that I am intelligent.

But if you ask my maths or science teachers, my politics and sports teachers, I'm dumb and unmotivated. My work is unintelligent and uninspiring. I ask silly questions and I don't do well. I'm quiet and confused in class and I fidget too much. I lack the mental capacity for greatness, and the motivation to make up for my shortcomings. I don't understand the classics and I lack the 'magic touch'. Everything I do is half-hearted and substandard. I'm polite and well-meaning but I just don't have it. I'm not a smart girl and good luck, because I'm going to need all the luck I can get. They laugh at my ambitions and my hopes for the future. They just think I don't have what it takes to make it big.

So what's with the difference in opinion?

The sad thing is, it's the second school of thought that has the most weight. We live in a world where being good at maths and science isn't just 'being good at maths and science', it's being SMART. And whilst it's a stretch to say that every football player is Einstein, their talents are definitely better valued (and better paid) than mine. In maths I am unintelligent and uninspiring. It takes me a long time to wrap my head around numbers and even when I do and I don't understand what I'm doing or the point in what I'm doing. Every single teacher I have had in these subjects have been vague and pretentious and condescending so in the end I just shut up and give up rather than endure their snarky comments at my 'dumb' questions. I don't give a shit about maths and science, to be honest - and don't use my pacemaker to blackmail me, because a good mark in a high school pop quiz is not exactly making any medical breakthroughs. But I cannot comprehend why people are under this...assumption that people who can smash algebra are better/smarter/more important/more valuable than someone who can write a kick-ass essay. I mean, they're both smart, but who's more important? It's all a matter of opinion.

Our education system marginalizes artists because their contribution to society and to the economy is undervalued - in the same way that gay relationships are marginalized because if their perceived inability to contribute to the population and, again, the economy. But it's a false dichotomy - you can't tell someone's contribution to the state by how their brain is wired. Just a few decades ago blue collar workers were marginalized because manual labour wasn't valued in a society of enlightenment and class hierarchy, but now we live in the era of the millionaire miner and the well to do tradie - and don't tell me that every single plumber on the planet was the dux of his school. Our school values maths and science students on the off chance we'll get another Einstein or Tesla. What they forget is that for every lit student there's an off chance we'll get another Shakespeare or J.K. Rowling, and for every art student there's an off chance we'll get another Monet or Goya. But there's also a good chance in all these fields - art, literature, maths, science, sport - that we'll end up with homeless bums and unemployed over-educated yuppies. We live in this myth that the only degrees worth getting are maths and science degrees when there's no solid evidence - and I know how much science people like solid evidence - that this is somehow the highway to success.

Artists are marginalized in a society that tells us that what we do is not worthwhile, not profitable, meaningless and not 'what smart people do'. It's tough living in a world where all your hard work is dismissed as 'daydreaming' and 'distraction', in a world where you constantly have to doubt your intelligence. I'm not any better than the kid who tops maths and chemistry, but I'm not any worse, either. I'm top in English and I should be on equal ground. But I'm not.

Friday, September 28, 2012

begin again: launching this summer

Now Playing: Begin Again by Taylor Swift (and I've been spending the last eight months thinking that all love ever does is break and burn and end, but on a Wednesday in a cafe I watched it begin again)

This year (at some point...cannot for the life of me find/remember the date) I renamed my blog fearless..., after my then-favourite Taylor Swift song, Fearless.

Fearless is about a perfect first date - but more importantly, it's about finding that person who lets you be yourself (you take my hand and drag me head first, fearless/and I don't know why, but with you I'd dance in a storm in my best dress, fearless). It's about having the strength to be yourself. Fearless is not being completely unafraid; it's about living in spite of the things that scare you to death.

I've spent so much of my life afraid of who I am and what I can do. I've spent so much of my life trying to suppress so much of myself - my beliefs, my intelligence, my sexuality, my desires and dreams and ambitions. I've tried so hard to fit in, to be normal, to try and get what I want. And...it didn't really work.

This year I have been fearless - or as fearless as I can be, anyway. I've been myself, and gotten a lot of flack for it. But I've also made a great friend who has helped me be myself, to be fearless. I needed something, someone, to help me see that I'm fine the way that I am and that people can love me for me. I never had that kind of faith before.

I've never been afraid of being dependent on people. I'm an independent person and I like working alone, but sometimes you need a leg-up. I love you to the moon and back,오빠 - but the past is the past. Next year I'm not going to be sixteen and little and frustrated and confused anymore. I'm a big girl now.

But fearless is something I am leaving behind me, soon. I want to begin again. I fell in love again this year, but it's the same people and the same stories and I'm tired of having to waste so much time in old haunts with old loves. I want to meet new people. Next year I begin again.

I am the eternal optimist, you know. But all love has taught me is that you have to endure being put down and hurt and degraded. All love has told me is that you have to give up the one you love for people you don't know. I'm waiting for my Wednesday in a cafe to teach me something different. I never really stopped believing - I'm a self-confessed idealist and romantic. I'm just getting a little impatient.

I don't know why I haven't learned anything from the past - but I'm glad. I want to fall in love again. I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to doing new things and seeing new places and meeting new people. I'm looking forward to new friends, new relationships. It really is a new beginning.

Sometime this summer I will be renaming my blog: the new title will be 'begin again...'. I will miss 'fearless...', but that's a lesson I've already learned and there are a thousand more I need to move on to.

As a chapter of my life comes to a close I've learned a lot of things. I've grown up, learned about love, made a lot of mistakes, discovered myself, made friends, lost friends, learned the hard way the consequences of playing with fire. And you have been with me every step of the way as I have written my heart on my sleeve - laughing and crying my way through life. Next year I begin again, and I hope you'll join me.

Video Friday: Sir Ken Robinson

Thursday, September 27, 2012

art and insecurity

Now Playing: Begin Again by Taylor Swift (for the first time, what's past is past)

There's lots of psychology and pop psychology concerning the apparent link between creativity and mental illnesses. The most well-known finding is the 'Sylvia Plath effect', in which female poets (i.e....me...) are more likely to suffer from mental illnesses than male poets, other creative writers and other eminent women.


I think the root of these findings is that art is about self-expression. And the people who most urgently feel the need to express themselves are the subalterns of our society - the poor, the powerless, the working class, women, people with alternate sexual orientations, the suppressed, the abused - and yes, people with mental illnesses. These people and their lives are also conducive to enormous amounts of creative energy in need of an outlet.

In some ways there is a grain of truth in all of these claims - some substantiated, most not - most of my art buddies are batshit crazy - including me. The artists, the drama nerds, the musos, the lit freaks...we're all fucking psycho, and we're...rather proud of it.

As artists we live in a world where our talents and our vocations are not valued. We live in a world where normality is vastly overrated and we are trained and conditioned and expected to pretend that we don't think and feel and hurt. If you lived in a world where anything aside from looking pretty or kicking footballs or finding a cure for cancer is useless you'd be pretty fucked up too.

But in some ways my art is the only thing that keeps me going, even at the lowest points. Because even when I hate the way I look or I've been ditched in favour of some pretty blonde darling, I've always felt like I am someone that people would like to get to know, that my inner thoughts and musings and who I am and how I express myself is important. My blog has given me a place, however small and insignificant, in this world - if I can't shake the world I would at least like to make a sizeable dent in it. As insecure as I am I've never felt for a second that what I have to say is meaningless or how I feel is irrelevant.

I want people to know who I am. I want to know who I am, too. I want people to know what I think and how I feel and I want people to understand that as random as I might be I don't do anything without purpose, without motive. I want people to know that I hate violently and love passionately and I feel everything. My drive to show the world who I am and what I think and how I feel and what I believe in has helped me overcome the severest bouts of insecurity. Because I can't shake off this undeniable feeling that I am in some way important, and what I say is in some way relevant. My art makes me relevant, and that protects me from all the shit life throws at me and protects me from myself when I sink down to the lowest of low points. My art gives me meaning, gives me voice, gives me strength. So yes, I'm still insecure. But I'm an artist, and somehow that makes everything okay.

outgrowing the cage.

Now Playing: Begin Again by Taylor Swift (I've been spending the last eight months thinking all love does is break and burn and end, but on a Wednesday in a cafe I watched it begin again)

I'll never forget the first term of high school.

Actually, I don't think anyone else will, either.

The English HOLA still remembers fondly when I marched up to the English department as a short tubby thirteen year old and spoke of my passion for literature and demanded to skip a grade. I think I'm the first person to do that in his career.

My parents never pretended that the work I was doing in primary school was remotely useful or relevant. My parents never pretended that every crappy art project I brought home could rival Monet and every page of math homework was bringing me closer to a Einstein revelation. I didn't live in that cocoon that the other kids seemed to thrive in, a cocoon in which the grown-ups gave a damn what mark you got on a spelling test or the aesthetic qualities of a hat made out of newspaper and poster paint. I never tried as hard as I could have in primary school, and thank God for that. I kept my sanity.

High school changed my life. I spent the last two years of primary school utterly suffocated. I spent most of year six ill - not life-threateningly sick, just unwell enough to ditch school. The prospect of wasting time there made me hurl. High school was scary and at times very sad - but it was also exciting. For the first time I was criticized, I had to work hard, I had teachers that believed in me and wanted to see me shine as much as I do. I met new people and made new friends - admittedly, I lost most of them, but at least there were people who had interesting things to say and were intelligent and challenged me on an intellectual level. I've grown so much since stumbling into high school in a too-big school skirt and a bag bigger than I was.

But four years later I've got that same restlessness I remember from year seven. I miss getting lost in high school, I miss meeting new people. Everyone looks the same and everything is familiar to the point of irritation. Academically I think I've done the best that I can at a high school level. I want to move onwards and upwards.

But more importantly there is people. I want to meet new people. I'm tired of the dramas of petty playground politics. I'm tired of having all my friendships and relationships stunted and distorted by the pressures and confines of high school. I want more friends and I want new friends and I want more people to look me in the eye and forgive me for being human; those people are kind of thin on the ground in high school. I want to fall in love again, I want to move on and let bygones be bygones. I want to let go of all the little hurts that are amplified and exaggerated by having to spend all day every day in old haunts with old loves. I want my Wednesday in a cafe to give me faith.

Every day when I'm supposed to be giving a damn about WACE which is just going to take all my hard work, fuck it up with standardization and moderation and spew out some number that has no correlation whatsoever to my true abilities and talents, I think about next year. All I want to do is to travel. I want to go to uni. I want to get out of uniform. I want to go out. I want to grow up and fall in love and do something with my life. And I feel like I'm on hold again. All this changing and growing and progress that has been on warp speed since year eight has suddenly come to a grinding halt, and even though the ram has touched the wall I'm trapped.

I knew this moment would happen at some point. Eight years at primary school was about seven years too long. The reason why I skipped a grade was because I wanted to make this pressure point as short as possible, or even avoid it altogether. High school doesn't change; people do. I'm not picking on the system or saying that I'm too good for it, I'm just stating the inevitable.

I've outgrown this cage.


quod me nutrit me destruit
i         couldn't          say          no

precarious and dangerous
how easily you provoke me

and i can count each scar and bruise

strength in itself is a vulnerability

and i am
of hating you

there is nothing to be gained
from spite

and i know i am selfish and greedy
but i will never stop loving

i was starved of touch
and from craving came caving

and sometimes i like to pretend
like a child

that a kiss will make everything alright

it is hard to stand on your own two feet
when you are volatile

click here for a discussion of volatile

still angry.

So I walked in furious and walked out...not furious.

There are some people you just can't stay angry at.

I know you lied to me. And I'm still hurt, and I'm still angry. And I know you're not telling anyone the whole story and I know more than you think. And I'm not going to apologise for being angry, for still being angry. You owe me this at least.

But there is no point in being angry. I can't tell you anything and I know you will deny everything. All this does is affect other people. And I suppose it is hypocritical of me to be angry at you for being a liar when I lie to you every day. And it is all in the past, I know.

I haven't forgiven you, not really. But all I can think of is how good a friend you have been and how close we have become and it's not easy for me to just throw that all away. I didn't blow over because I'm okay, I just want to think that we can get through all this exam shit and etc still on speaking terms. There isn't much I wouldn't do to keep things the way they are. I'm not tired of you, but I'm tired of the lies and I'm tired of getting hurt and I'm tired of crying and drama. And I'm tired of apologies and excuses and I am tired of forgiving you. When things are going good it's great but when you let me down it's really, really horrible.

So this is your last chance. If you hurt me again I swear I will never forgive you. If we are really friends you won't lie to me again.    

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


So I want to believe you, really, I do.

Because you're my best friend in the whole world and I love you to the moon and back.

I want to say that you'd never lie to me and that you've never told anyone else a different story.

But I know that's not true.

And I don't know what you're doing or what's going through your head.

But I know that I can't trust you anymore.

And it doesn't matter what other people have said or done, nobody's hurt me as much as you have.

Wordless Wednesday: The Freedom of Feminism

(image credit: Gay Marriage Rights in Australia Facebook Page)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Thousand Thousand Fearless Things #79

Now Playing: Begin Again by Taylor Swift (you throw your head back laughing like a little kid, I think it's strange that you think I'm funny because he never did)

#733: Two days of hardcore studying

#734: Sugar explosion. Never trust Barbie containers.

#735: The wonderful thing about public transport is that nobody cares if you're crying but everyone cares if you're reading a book called PRINCESSES AND PORNSTARS

#736: A girl named beauty

#737: Really. Noisy. Year. Tens.

#738: Pornstars? What pornstars?


#740: Call me paranoid but I SWEAR the Joondalup train used to be on the other side of the platform...

#741: Sundresses and cardigans

#742: New Taylor Swift song

#743: The Fuhrer having an aneurysm because I'm not in uniform and there's not a thing she can do about it

#744: YOWO (you only WACE once)

#745: Emotions running high

#746: Nothing like a long winded ramble about marriage equality to de-stress. Pity I sent it to Julie Bishop (unfortunately, my local MP), which is the equivalent of painting a Monet masterpiece and then using it as toilet paper. 

Monday, September 24, 2012


Now Playing: Is Anybody Out There (Cover) by Jake Coco, Savannah Outen & Caitlin Hart (I don't want to be left in this war tonight, am I alone in this fight, is anybody out there?) 

Trolling sickens me.

I do not for the life of me understand how people can extract pleasure from causing people pain. I do not understand how bullying with 'lol jks' tacked on the end is somehow acceptable. I do not understand why it is somehow okay to upset and humiliate and degrade people just to get a few cheap laughs. And I definitely do not understand how it is the victim's 'fault' for 'letting it get to him'.

Trolling is making derogatory, provocative or otherwise offensive comments, either in person or in the cybersphere, in order to extract amusement out of the reaction. When somebody confronts the troll for being inappropriate, they simply avoid all responsibility by claiming that they are 'trolling' and that people are 'idiots to take them seriously'.


First of all, trolling is not sarcasm. They are not comments made in good humour, but are designed to be perceived as serious, and therefore seriously offensive. Any negative reaction to these comments are not corrected but encouraged so that the person at the receiving end gets more and more upset, to the amusement of the troll. They often target controversial issues, such as women's rights or gay marriage, or things close to people like relationships, deaths, divorce, etc. Many comments are blatantly sexist, racist, homophobic or otherwise discriminatory towards particular social groups. And then at the peak the victim is made to feel the fool for 'buying into it'.

I am ashamed that some of my so-called 'friends' have sunk down to this kind of idiocy. I thought they knew better. I thought they knew how easy it is to hurt people. I thought they knew how to behave like decent fucking human beings.

Trolling isn't a joke. It is someone's real thoughts and opinions and attitudes - as bigoted as they can be - thinly veiled behind crude humour. Becaues these opinions are fast becoming socially unacceptable this is the only way these people can outlet them without retribution.

Why is this acceptable? It is not acceptable for me to say 'Normal healthy human beings: 1, Gay fags: 0', joke or not. A joke does not excuse deliberate attempts to hurt people. A joke does not exempt offence from apology. In no context is it okay to say 'annoying little stupid twat cunt fucker' and 'shitty little gook'.

It's not okay to say 'I didn't mean it', 'it's your fault' and 'you should be tougher'. When someone is being deliberately attacked it is a natural response to feel provoked and upset - natural, not weak. I am so sick of people saying that it's up to people who are victimized by violence, bullying and discrimination to deal with it. No. It's not my job to ignore things that are so obviously wrong, to turn a blind eye to behaviour that is so obviously inappropriate. It's not okay, it's not unstoppable and it's not inevitable. We have to try before we give up. I have been bullied all my life and that's the part that's not okay - the fact that I cried in toilets when people stuck pins in my arm and told me that I'd lost my virginity to a tampon isn't the worst part of the story, so stop pretending like it is. If you say something with the intent to insult and someone is rightly insulted, it's your fault, not theirs.

Accepting these kinds of comments under the guise of 'trolling' is accepting these attitudes in a society that should be moving on from these medieval opinions. Accepting these kinds of things is accepting that it's okay for people to willingly and intentionally hurt other people. I have been bullied all my life and it hurts me beyond belief when my facebook wall is vandalized with shit like this when I'm just trying to stand up for what's right. It hurts me beyond belief that other people have to deal with this shit. And you know what? Some people can't. I have depression. It's not all that uncommon. We all know someone who's taken their own life, and I believe it's shit like this that leads to people going to those dark places. I cannot believe that so soon after coming back from a funeral we're at it again. How long before we have to go to the cemetery again? I'm not being melodramatic. Trolling is more often than not xenophobia and bigotry, and at worst a hate crime. And the statistics all prove that these 'silly little jokes' can have a devastating effect on the wrong people at the wrong time.

I've become very disillusioned and disappointed with my peers of late. I thought we were family. Everyone tells me that everyone gets along, but it's not true. Every day I'm made to feel like I'm not worthy of my best friend. A few days ago somebody I trusted completely thought it was okay to blab my secrets to anyone and everyone and I've yet to receive an apology. A few days ago I said something in support of the LGBTI community on my facebook page and everyone thought it was okay to accuse me of being gay and insult me for being a woman, a feminist, an immigrant and anything else they could think up. Every day on facebook and on the internet, even to my face, I'm faced with 'trolls' thinking it's okay to wind people up and watch them unravel. The worst part about trolling is that people think it's okay, when anyone with half a brain can see that it's not, and anyone with half a brain can see how much it hurts people. How much it hurts me.


If there is love in a lie
It is not a sin, surely?
You cannot fault me for protecting you.

A shield takes the hardest of blows
That a sword cannot match
Wielded by trembling hands

I was born of royal blood
A bloodline of golden thrones and silver foil
Broken by fate and welded by tears

And yet I can't withdraw your heart from mine.

Inspired by Withdraw by Kimbra

Click here for a discussion of Withdraw 

Music Monday: Transcendence

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Thousand Thousand Fearless Things #78

Now Playing: The Scientist by Coldplay (questions of science, science and progress, do not speak as loud as my heart)

#712: New soap order!

#713: School's out!...exams begin. FML.

#714: My jacket's got THUMBHOLES.

#715: I've always found it funny that my closest friends can quote my blog ad infinitum. Makes me go all weird and bubbly inside.

#716: Shopping with mummy

#717: Cookie dough ice cream is my new boyfriend

#718: Recess parties. Oreos and Love. 

#719: Reading Women's Agenda. Apparently if things progress as they are we will achieve housework parity in 2050. The fuck. I will be 54 by then. C'mon, feminists! How hard is it to teach a man how to change diapers and do laundry without shrinking wool? (which my father has done on...multiple occasions...)

#720: I don't need a friend who thinks it's okay to blab secrets

#721: Losing the gay marriage debate. Maintain your rage, people. Gay or straight, black or white, marriage is a civil right.

#722: 'Sincerity is the beginning and the end of all things. Without it there is nothing.' Confucius, you may be a misogynistic motherfucker, but at least your son got something right. 

#723: Chendol. Hell hath no fury like a woman deprived of palm sugar. Feel the coconut love.

#724: I may be easy to read and bad at keeping my own secrets, but I'm also an excellent liar. Far too good for my own good. 

#725: I can do better than this.

#726: If I help you win the right to walk down the aisle can I be there to watch it happen?

#727: It's true, you know. You both remind me so much of each other, and I love you both. But you know I love you more. 

#728: 'I studied Bach, Jacques Chirac and Isaac Asimov, but I wasn't on the ski bus...'

#729: New quotes page - you likey?

#730: I know I'm sounding all aggressive and hostile and angsty lately, but for all of my friends...you all know that I love you to the moon and back

#731: There's something so pure about 100% Coconut Soap

#732: Spent all of yesterday brewing a rosmary infusion. There was something very theraputic about it and now I've got two litres of the stuff to play with. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

give me a straight answer.

Now Playing: Mean by Taylor Swift (I bet you got pushed around, somebody made you cold, but the cycle ends right now because you can't lead me down that road)

There is no legitimate argument against gay marriage.

Religion seems to be the main argument that keeps popping up. It's a combination of magic and mysticism and the sheer power of bigotry that seems to have its way in our secular country with our supposedly secular laws. But yet when you try and ask a religious person to justify their anti gay marriage stance, they can't. They tell you they don't want to talk about it, can you please move on, it's not a big deal, etc.

Wrong. It is a big deal. And it's an even bigger deal that you can't even justify your hate and your discrimination. If people are going to turn gay marriage into a 'debate', well, fucking debate me.

Australia is and always has been a secular country. We have no state religion and there is supposed to be a distinction between church and state. Even though 60% of the population identify as Christian, even if 100% of the population identifies as Christian, our country and our law is secular. Our law does not discriminate based on colour, sex or religion and applies to all, regardless of colour, sex and religion. So this theologically based discrimination in our secular law affects everyone, theists and atheists alike. And that is not fair.

Marriage is a legal institution. It is the legal binding of two people to provide access to specific rights and responsibilities. You are legally married from the moment you sign the dotted line until the marriage terminates either through death or divorce. Marriage in Australian law is not a religious rite. There is no God involved. And nobody can tell you who you can and can't marry.

The religious marriage ceremony is optional. There is no law saying that marriage only counts if its between two religious people married in a place of worship by a religious leader. Even religious ceremonies must have the legal 'signing of the register' or it is not valid before Australian law. Similarly, all marriage ceremonies are valid if there is a) a certified celebrant and b) there is the signing of the registry. Regardless of what religion or lack of religion, the concept of marriage applies to all.

Saying that marriage in Australia is purely a Christian issue is a violation of religious rights. It's saying that Muslims and Hindus and Jews don't have the right to marry according to their customs, and it's saying that atheists don't have the right to marry at all. It's implying that the only reason why other religious marriages and atheist marriages are 'legal' because they follow the Christian definition of marriage, which is a load of bullshit. In no way is a Hindu marriage ceremony remotely reminiscent of Christian doctrine. Marriage is a universal concept. Imposing the Christian definition of marriage to our multi-faith and multi-cultural society is a violation of religious freedom.

Legalizing gay marriage is a secular issue. It is the amendment of the Marriage Act 1961 to remove the discrimination against gays, lesbians, transgender, transsexual and intersex people from access to marriage rights. It preserves the religious freedom of religious leaders and institutions to refuse to perform marriage that are believed to be against their faith, but provides every couple with access to civil marriage. Religion has no part in this.

I have the right before Australian law to a civil marriage ceremony with a celebrant with no religious affiliation. I have the right to all the privileges of marriage with or without religion. I have the right to marriage, to the married life, to be a married woman. I don't see why I am only given these rights if my spouse is a man and how all of this can be taken away if my spouse is a woman.

The root behind the anti-gay sentiment is ignorance. It astounds me that most people have no concept of civil marriage. It astounds me that people actually think that Australia is a Christian state. It astounds me that people think that marriage didn't exist without Christianity and so Christianity controls what is and isn't marriage.

And it astounds me when people just assume that Christianity is against gay marriage.

The Bible is a text. There is no one meaning to any text, and it is reader context and not author intent that drives our interpretation of any text, including the Bible. Putting the word 'Holy' before it doesn't negate this rule. The Archbishop of Canterbury himself said that the verses of Sodom and Gomorrah are against promiscuity and non-consensual sex acts, not necessarily homosexuality in itself. There are 16,000 signatures on a petition started and circulated amongst Christians in support of gay marriage - Australian Christians who believe in equal rights, Australian Christians who reject the ACL as an appropriate representative of the Australian Christian community. And at any rate, the Bible has so many twisted definitions of marriage - one man, multiple wives, one man, a wife and a concubine, a man and his slave, a rapist and his victim - the Bible is an ancient text, a snapshot of particular social conventions of a time and place completely removed from the here and now. We have to move on from the fear and ignorance of the past. Religion has to change with the times.

Christianity is not homophobic in itself - it is only interpreted as such by homophobes. The proof? There are churches with gay members, with gay pastors and priests. There are churches that conduct and accept gay marriage. There are churches who don't believe that we have the right to discriminate against people and to violate their religious and sexual rights. There are churches that believe 'love thy neighbour' is a healthier Christian message than 'kill fags'. There are churches that recognised that the Bible does not explicitly condemn homosexuality or gay marriage. So why do people continually use religion as an excuse for discrimination?

As for proponents of "civil union" and "civil partnerships", they're not kidding anyone with their pretence of tolerance. "Different but equal" was the ideology behind the Jim Crow laws, which are undeniably racist. "Different but equal" is not equal at all - and denying people civil marriage in favour of civil unions is undeniably homophobic.

I don't accept 'being Christian' as a legitimate excuse for being a bigot, for discriminating against anyone based on sexual preference. Being Christian means nothing more than 'being Christian' - it is not excuse or justification for the blatant lies and fear and hate and discrimination that fuels the anti-gay sentiment in this society. If you have an opinion, fucking justify it. Don't avoid questions, give me a straight answer and fight for what you think is right, whatever that is. By hiding behind a book or a religious institution you're accepting that your argument is weak and your opinion is wrong. By claiming that being Christian justifies being homophobic is to insult Christianity and your fellow Christians who don't buy into the bigotry of sex discrimination. Homophobia is not rooted in Christianity; it is rooted in fear, hate, discrimination that is somehow accepted under the guise of spirituality. And as an atheist, I have to draw the line between tolerating religion and endorsing bigotry.

The straight answer on the gay marriage debate is that there is no reason why gay marriage should not be legalized. I have facts and reasons to back me up. What do you have? All you have is one specific interpretation of a book.

integrity and sincerity.

Now Playing: Come Into My Head by Kimbra (I want to show you what I really mean, but you're always on the outside looking in)

My facebook and email name is different to my real name.

Just the spelling. I prefer the orthodox spelling of my name to the spelling on my birth certificate. I think it looks prettier. But because I've been known by 'my' spelling of my name for, ya know, sixteen years now...some things stick. My best friends resolutely refuse to spell it any other way.

And so I can always tell when someone's trying to claim to be my friend when they don't really know me at all. They always spell it wrong, when they send me messages trying to make peace or deny that they've hurt me. If you can't even remember how to spell my name and get fooled by a username, how can you claim to be my friend? Even a friend I haven't seen for years wasn't conned.

I've never been very good at keeping my own secrets. I...I have to talk. Not to anyone and everyone, but there are - were - a few people I really thought I could trust. If someone tells me anything in confidence I can take it to the grave, but it seems like other people don't have that kind of sincerity. Integrity is not the rule, it's the exception. Everyone's telling me a different story and I don't know who to trust anymore.

Everyone seems to lack integrity. There's no sincerity in anything anyone says anymore. Nobody can give me a straight answer to anything, and nobody seems to have any qualms over telling my secrets to anyone and everyone.

You can't blame me for any of this. Hostility is a learned response. I'm tired of being stabbed in the back, being told what to do, not being able to trust anyone. If you think that I don't know exactly what you say and do and think behind my back then you are dreaming. You can't claim to be my friend if you let me down, if you can't say an apology straight, if you hide behind excuses and social convention, if you can't even spell my fucking name right.

my love hate relationship with abstinence.

Now Playing: Come Into My Head by Kimbra (but from the pews of the congregation you'll never know the real salvation) 

I grew up in a little world called Primary School where the girls were divided into two groups - the ones who wanted ten children and the ones who wanted none. Sex...didn't have any say in the matter. I think most of us operated under the assumption that children just suddenly appeared once you got married. When I first learned about the birds and the bees I was sucked into the romance myth. I believed that girls needed flowers and chocolates and diamond rings and mushy proposals to be loved - sex was our end of the bargain, the thing that we gave in payment for all of the luxuries of being adored. I believed that any girl who liked sex was a slut and any girl who slept with a guy without first securing all of the above was cheap.

We put virginity on a pedestal. We put virginity on a pedestal because we didn't know what we were talking about. We put virginity on a pedestal because even though we were underaged and unprepared we were growing up in a sex-saturated culture where virginity is stigmatized. We put virginity on a pedestal because we believed that it was our blackmail, our bribe, the one thing we had that could secure a future we knew nothing about. We put virginity on a pedestal because our sex education and exposure to discussion of sexuality was so sex negative that we were afraid of sex, afraid of sexuality, and tried to suppress it for the greater good. We put virginity on a pedestal because we saw sluts as a threat to the future we were conditioned to want - as Emily Maguire puts it, 'a 'cheap' woman has the same effect on the sex market as a budget airline has on airfares. Men can't be expected to 'pay' for sex by buying dinners and diamond rings and a three-bedroom house in the suburbs when they can get the same 'product' from the neighbourhood slut for free.'

When I was about twelve or thirteen I swore I would not have sex until marriage. Not because I saw sex as something necessarily bad anymore, but because I put sex on a pedestal in the same way we put virginity on a pedestal. I wanted everything to be perfect and beautiful and exciting and the society I grew up in convinced me that the only way to achieve this was a tacky wedding night in some highbrow hotel after a big white wedding. I was also hyper aware of my distinct lack of appeal to boys and I didn't want to be picked on for being eternally single. My Christian friends seemed to have a legitimate excuse for innocence. I created one for myself, out of fear. I wanted to look like I was in control when I felt so out of control when it came to love and other animals; I felt, and still feel, like my happiness and relationships are far too reliant on other people, and on the devil of luck.

The first thing that eroded my stubbornness was the fact that male virginity was never discussed. Ever. It never occurred to me that men could be virgins. I knew that when it came down to it sexual experience would be the last thing I would object to in a partner, as long as everything was safe and consensual and legal and STI-free. And as the feminist in me began to emerge I realized that this kind of acceptance would be something I would want in a future partner, too, and I was not aiding in this ambition in any way by religiously sticking to abstinence.

And in other ways I didn't find the notion of two totally inexperienced people committing to each other for life before even attempting something that is such a fundamental part of a relationship particularly appealing. I'd always liked older guys because I love people with experience - and I suppose that includes sexual experience, too. I love people who seem worldly, people who know things and have seen and done things and can teach me things. I'm always curious and I love to learn and I get very very bored in the company of people who don't know any more than I do, or know even less than I do. I just want to learn about anything and everything. Virginity just seemed less and less appealing to me as time wore on.

Of course there were hormones involved, too. I'd always been a kind of passionate, intense sort of person and that's translated into weird things as time has passed. Where do you draw the line, with this abstinence thing? What's sex and what isn't? Is flirting okay? What about kissing or touching? And if that's okay what's the difference between that and the actual deed? And, more importantly, why do I keep thinking that these desires and the desires of others are wrong? If they were so wrong why do I feel this way? How do I explain to people, and to myself, that what I want and feel is totally incongruous with what I will actually do?

They always tell you that you can 'always say no'. They never tell you that you can always say yes, too. What little I've done that I previously thought was wrong...I couldn't say no. The words were there on the tip of my tongue but nothing and nobody could make me say no to something I knew I wanted, and afterwards nothing could make me feel guilty. In the last year or so I've made more friends with boys - and more than that, deeper and weirder and stronger friendships with boys. The rush of a first hug from a boy was exhilarating, but no different to the second or third or hundredth hug. If it's the same deed under the same circumstances it will always feel the same, whether it's getting a good mark in an essay or a hug from a friend or wearing your favourite dress or having sex. 

And then there is the ideology behind abstinence and abstinence education that I find severely problematic; it functions around the concept that sex is purely for procreation, for male desire, that female sexuality is a commodity; concepts I don't agree with, especially the latter. There are so many examples of people using anologies comparing female sexuality and/or the female body to inanimate objects, and quite frankly, its insulting. People say that sex before marriage is like a man offering someone the same ring he offered to his ex-fiancee, and all I could think of was that this thinking was probably the reason why that fiancee is his ex-fiancee and not his wife. Female sexuality is spoken of as a kind of bribe, a dowry of sorts, and once you've spent it you've lost bargaining power over men. As Emily Maguire puts it, this thinking reduces a woman to one or the other of two things: a battery (can only be used so many times before it runs out) or a car (value decreases with each use). It's a horrific and distinctly misogynistic perspective, but it was nonetheless the perspective that underpins the concept of sexual abstinence in our society.

There is this assumption that women who abstain from any kind of sexual expression are more in control - because control is so necessary for women or they become like men - horny, desperate and fickle. Both of these stereotypes are harmful to both sexes, but the view that women must constantly control themselves is all-consuming. We must wear clothes that controls this and alters that; the reason why obese women are more stigmatized than obese men is that obesity in a woman shows lack of self-control, which is glamorized in men and stigmatized in women. We prize the thin woman in controlling, restrictive clothes and with almost no libido to speak of because a woman with desires - especially a woman who indulges these desires - is an unknown quantity. I didn't want people to love me by how well I can control and suppress myself.

The problem I have with abstinence and the glorification of virginity is that it casts sex as something bad and something to be ashamed of. The reason why I was into abstinence in the first place, and the reason why I am still a virgin, is that I think the opposite - sex is something beautiful and you don't want to corrupt that with recklessness or guilt. I don't believe in glorifying sex any more than I believe in glorifying virginity - but the problem I have with the general opinion of abstinence is that it is usually a very sex negative perspective.

And there is this assumption that you 'lose' all of these experiences - first kiss, first love, first time. Why can't we see it not as losing virginity but gaining experiences? Anything that has ever happened...I never felt any loss. I felt like I knew something, I was learning something, that I had another perfect moment to add to an inventory. I didn't know I would feel like this until before now, and it totally contradicted with whatever I had been told. Because love isn't bait, isn't blackmail, isn't a bargain. It's not a give and take or buyer and seller market. Love is not a commodity, and neither am I.

But the flip side of all of this was the insecurity that comes when you know you aren't the most adored woman on the planet, that you're still single even though you've decided to admit to yourself that you like all this stuff and you're not going to waste any more time feeling guilty about it. You lose that false security, that facade of control that abstinence gives you - you have to face the fact that it's not you, it's them - and not in a good way.

But I'm not sorry that I don't say that I'm into the whole abstinence thing anymore. The reason why is that I don't see virginity as an awe-inspiring thing; I see sex to be an awe-inspiring thing, which is why I'm not so keen on doing anything just to 'get some' just as I am not so keen on doing anything to 'just say no'. At the core of it my attitude towards sex is still the same - I still think it's 'special', but that informs my attitudes and choices in different ways than it did before. Virginity is so often seen as a moral compass - people assume so much about someone's character and attitude and prospects by what they may or may not do behind closed doors. Anyone who's been in high school can tell you that sometimes it's the slut who is there when things get tough and the virgin who can reduce you to a blubbering mess of tears in a heartbeat. Virginity is simply a state of being, not a moral high ground - just as being sexually active is also a state of being, and not a sign of immorality. I'll take things as it comes, explore, learn, grow, make mistakes, change colour. I'll say no when I want to, not when society tells me I should. We can only encourage sex positivity by establishing that virginity shouldn't be put on a pedestal - sex is the thing that should be valued, esteemed, enjoyed, not wasted either in recklessness or guilt.

Friday, September 21, 2012

breaking the silence.

Now Playing: Hearts a Mess by Gotye (you have lost too much love to fear, doubt and mistrust)

I firmly believe that behind every silence there is a stigma.

It's not always easy, to talk about gay marriage on the internet. It takes guts to openly admit you're a feminist. It's still hard for me to talk about sexuality and sex positivity and being open and open-minded about safe, consensual, legal sexual acts, even though it's something I really believe in.

But I do it anyway. It's my job, as a human being. Because I believe that behind every silence there is a stigma.

In primary school periods were not talked about. At all. They were simply wiped from existence, and anyone who succumbed was a deviant. And so the myths spread. One of the bubbliest, craziest girls I knew sat very, very quietly through all of recess and lunch because she was told that the blood would spread to other parts of her body if she jumped up and down. People thought you could lose your virginity to a tampon or that only sluts got their periods.

And with these lies come stigma. I was terrified of my period. Whenever it came about I would do anything to avoid being 'caught'. I had hormonal imbalances when I was younger so my periods were long and irregular and heavy and extremely painful, but I couldn't say a word because it was so stigmatized.

Then when I got to high school people suddenly became so much more...open about it. We help each other do the math and share horror stories. We whinge endlessly and relentlessly about it. We steal from each others' pad stashes because, you know, I'm totally disorganized. It wasn't that periods had suddenly lost their evil - people just understood them and, more importantly, understood how normal they are. People only get this epiphany through knowledge, and knowledge is only facilitated by open dialogue. Silence feeds ignorance, and therefore stigma.

You will not go blind and grow fur on your hands if you masturbate. You are not any less of a human being if you are attracted to men, women, both or neither. There is no such thing as too much or too little sexual activity. Virginity doesn't always give you the moral high ground, but it doesn't automatically make you a loser, either. You are not going to rot in hell if your gender identity and your biological sex and your sexual orientation don't match up in the traditional binaries. You are not a freak if you have hormones and nerve endings. And the law and no single person has the right to take away your right to safe, legal and consensual love, sex and marriage.

The root behind most of the stigma associated with gender and sex and sexuality is ignorance. Most of Laci Green's videos aren't justifying particular sexes or sexual orientations or sex acts, just explaining them - there's a helluva lot of myth busting to do. People believe anything anyone says and this ignorance is severely damaging to our fellow human beings. When I tell people I'm a feminist, nine out of ten of them don't really know what that means. When I say I support gay marriage, nine out of ten people don't think I know what I'm talking about when I understand the gay marriage debate better than anyone who tries to whack me over the head with the Bible (which I maintain is not inherently homophobic, only interpreted as such by homophobes).

It's scary, going against the tide. I know a lot of people judge me - believe me, I know. But as hard as it is and as scary as it might be, I can't stop. This is my job. This is my life. I know what it's like to be stigmatized and I don't want anyone to go through that for any reason. Behind every silence there is a stigma. So I'm trying to break that silence with a bang.

Video Friday: Laci Green!

Best. Vlogger. Of. All. Time.

Laci Green is a peer sex educator and founder of Sex+, which is a vlog series about - everything. Everything everyone should know but doesn't know. Her videos have provided me with most of the inspiration/information/guts for my more recent posts about feminism and sex positivity.

The biggest sex myth that I heard growing up was that masturbation would somehow...kill you. Like you were wrong or deranged if it ever crossed your mind. That only guys do it. That you'd never get laid/get kissed/get a boyfriend/get married etc. That people could somehow 'tell' if you'd been fapping.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Thousand Thousand Fearless Things #77

Now Playing: No Light, No Light by Florence + the Machine (and I'd do anything to make you stay)

#700: Lit Centre! Kirsty Murray! Woohoo!

#701: Dealing with each day as it comes

#702: Pacemaker being a bitch

#703: Sometimes I'm wondering who's six months older than who

#704: Feminist rant for my English assignment. I feel good.

#705: Too many assessments. Just. Too many. Assessments. 

#706: Cockroaches in the sugar...

#707: Hayfever season. Joy.

#708: Really scary Video Friday scheduled...

#709: Horror movies in English. AAAAAAAHHHHH....

#710: I have to leave straight after school on Friday so you'd better find me real quick and give me a hug before mocks okay???

#711: Apple cider vinegar leaving a really pretty red streak in my hair. Much love.

Wordless Wednesday: Elevator Love

Just something funny I found on Facebook:

(image credit: Facebook Page [you jelly, bro? nah I'm nutella])

...I am so doing some of these!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Now Playing: Paradise by Coldplay (the sun must set to rise)

Fun fact: My knees click when I sit down. All the time. Without fail. If I have to move from standing up to ass meeting the floor my knees will crack, and quite loudly, too.

I'm not entirely sure why. I have skinny knees, I guess. I'm not a biologist. They don't hurt. They're just noisy.

The reaction I get to this is hilarious. And hilariously sad. People cringe, throw me dirty looks - TELL ME OFF as if I'm just deliberately making funny noises to piss them off. I get yelled at more for my clicky knees than for saying fuck too much. It is really...truly...absurd.

It's just a split second of a funny noise and then life goes on as normal. It doesn't mean I'm ill or I'm going to kill you or you're going to die of rabies. I have had people yell at me, throw me dirty looks, whisper behind my back...and you'd think this reaction would be to the fact that I'm a feminist or I'm a nerd or I've said words like masturbation and orgasm on more than one occasion on my blog but...it's just me and my knees. And there's no way around it, either - if I stand up or sit on a chair, people say that they 'don't like looking up to me' or 'feel uncomfortable'.Maybe I should just amputate my legs and save everyone the unspeakable horror of my knees clicking in their presence.

I hate how people shudder and say 'urgh, I hate it'. No, you don't hate it. You just have a socially-acceptable opportunity to discriminate against someone for something out of their control - this same theory applies to anything - to being a woman, to being intersex or transgender, to being gay or lesbian or bisexual - we are obsessed with pointing out and discriminating against things that we cannot control. In Korea there is no such thing as objecting to someone smacking their lips when they eat or their knees clicking when they sit. It just doesn't exist. It's like objecting to the existence of elbows or something - which, knowing our society, will probably become a thing eventually. We base our negative attitudes towards things, especially things that cannot be changed and are nothing to be ashamed of, on what society tells us is okay. It's okay to pick on this. It's okay to act disgusted or offended and what is in any other culture not even worth a moment's thought.

I hate how we have to censor so much of ourselves - so much of our humanity - for what? So that some people who mean less than nothing to you won't be offended by someone who means less than nothing to them. When I am in pain I get dirty looks, as if I am just overreacting. When I cry people call me a wimp and tell me to grow up. When my knees click or I have a breakout or if I leak when I'm on my period it's somehow my fault, all my fault.

We have become so...intolerant. Intolerant of others, and intolerant of ourselves. Anything that isn't explicitly promoted as GOOD and BEAUTIFUL is immediately assumed to be BAD and UGLY. If we were meant to be something else we'd be born different. If hairlessness was so vitally important to continuing the species then we'd all be bald from the eyebrows down. If there was actually something wrong with all the little things our bodies do to function, then they wouldn't happen. I am the result of what happens when nature doesn't work out properly. My heart doesn't work properly and requires surgery. It is hard enough living with the knowledge that you are a defect, that you are deformed. The things that affect all of us, the little things that keep us alive and make us human...they are not mistakes.

We grow up in this world where people don't do anything but smile and look pretty - they don't laugh, they don't cry, they don't bleed, they don't speak, they don't fart or breathe and HEAVEN FORBID do they let their knees click.

I am a human being. I am not a catwalk model or a pornstar or a glamorous photoshopped actress splashed across a glossy magazine cover. I am not going to go out of my way to be silent, to be perfect, to become an inoffensive nonevent. I bleed. I have fat and pimples and body hair and scars and stretch marks. I get hurt. I cry. I'm human.


Now Playing: Fix You by Coldplay (when you're too in love to let it go)

My pacemaker was being a pain on and off for the whole day today.

Pain...pain is humbling. It reminds you that you're human - that you're not infallible and you're not invincible.

But pain, for me, is mostly humiliating. It's mostly frustrating. If you ever see me randomly break down into tears after an episode it's not because the pain is too much to bear - it normally passes quickly - it's because I'm just so tired of it, so sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Pain should have a purpose. To tell you don't do this, do that, don't touch that, don't go near that. Or the pain of bringing forth a new life, Or the pain of something broken mending and healing.

...my cardiologist told me that my pain would be 'annoying', but that there as nothing they can do and it doesn't really serve much purpose. It doesn't mean something's wrong and it doesn't mean something's getting better. It doesn't respond to painkillers and sometimes it doesn't respond to heat, either. I can go days without feeling a thing and go days feeling like my insides are going to tear up at any minute.

For those of you who wonder what's happening when I suddenly stop and cry out, it is kind of like getting stabbed and punched in the same spot, but from the inside. Or like a razor sharp wire cutting into you...also from the inside. Or every time you breathe in your chest feels like it's pressing against knives.

Yeah. Good times.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mon Ami.

If you live and die completely ignorant
It would have been my greatest achievement
And greatest failure

I will protect you and let you live
However you wish
And I will pick you up should you ever fall

I watched a caterpillar become a butterfly
You seem too vulnerable for human company
Because you are to me as fragile as a memory

And I know that my tears are my own
That my heart is my own burden to bear
And when I draw the short straw two cannot pay the price

I wish you did not believe my lies so easily, mon ami
I wish you did not love so much my smile.

Click here for a discussion of Mon Ami.

Music Monday: I Don't Understand Job

Just letting y'all know that these Music Monday/Wordless Wednesday/Video Friday posts will be uploaded at 6am on the prescribed day.

No, I am never up at 6am.

There's this beautiful thing called blog post scheduling.


Garfunkel and Oates is a band I came across when I was watching the Melbourne International Comedy Festival one night, laughing my way through my favourite comedians like Adam Hills and Jeff Green. They were singing 'Fuck You'...which is a 'sweet little love song'


I LOVE Garfunkel and Oates. They're so crass. And so clever.

Here is my favourite song of theirs: I Don't Understand Job

(note: they blocked my favourite video of this. If you want the audio I can email it to you...email me...)

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Now Playing: Eyes Open by Taylor Swift (every lesson forms a new scar, they never thought you'd make it this far)

What is blogging?

It's not quite journalistic, because a lot of my stuff isn't bibliographied to oblivion.

It's very polemic but not very academic.

It's not always autobiographic.

It is opinion, but not in the format of the traditional opinion piece.

It is a journal, but not a diary. It is for wider entertainment.

It is educational, but I'm not a qualified teacher.

So what am I?

I'm a blogger.

I always like talking to my readers. I like knowing how my writing is perceived by others, especially people who don't know me in person particularly well. And seeing as, ya know...you guys never comment...

It's nice to get feedback. Any feedback. But highbrow people tend to get a bit...deflated when I reveal my true inspiration.

Vlogs. And stand-up comedy.

I'm a visual learner. I need visual and audio material to learn. I love movies. I love YouTube.

I don't subscribe to many patterns or rules when I write, especially on my blog. I experiment, play around with different things. I like to try and write for comedic effect, but because my sense of humour is rather obscure and dry and cynical - and of late quite dirty - not many people really get it.

I don't research everything I say. I don't speak for all women or all Asians or all teenagers or whatever. I don't stick to specific formats and formulas. My opinions change and grow and evolve over time. There are contradictions and controversies, because I'm a contradictory and controversial person.

I love vloggers. I feel like some blogs are stale and dull because they have no voice - and the best vloggers have loads of that. It is what I try to emulate - writing should have sass and style and character. Otherwise words mean nothing.

A friend asked me an interesting question - do you write your blog to:

a) Encourage society to act differently
b) Entertain your friends
c) Provide yourself an outlet of expression
d) Experiment with writing styles

And my answer?

All of the above.

First and foremost my blog is an outlet of expression. I need somewhere to put my thoughts, but it is important for me to know that people read them. I have spent so much of my life silenced, marginalized, misunderstood...I needed just one place where I am in charge, a place to say what I want and for people to make of it what they will.

Secondly I love experimenting. I write opinion pieces, recipes, review, rants, political discussions, lists, pictures, videos, biography, poetry - anything that takes my fancy. I love the freedom on my blog - no criteria, no deadlines, no pressure, no marks, no passes, no failures. Of course, I aim for excellence, but excellence is not something you can always put a number on.

Thirdly, I wish I had the power to encourage people to think differently. Not exactly to agree with me, but to think about what they're saying before they say things that hurt people. To challenge societal convention, to challenge dogma. To understand that we don't have to swallow and endure all the shit society and popular culture forces down our throats. To realize that there are a thousand different variations of right and wrong and compassion, not conformity, is the key. I want people to be able to engage in open dialogue, and I want everyone to understand that everyone has freedom of expression. I want to be accepted for who I am, and I want to learn to accept others for who they are.

As a result of these three goals, which have been ever present when I write, my blog has also become a means to entertain my friends. Many of my blog posts reflect conversations I have throughout the day, arguments that I've won and lost, things my friends point out to me. Many of my blog posts I write for my friends' amusement, and I hope they find me entertaining - some writers find that offensive, but I believe entertainment is the best form of communication and education.

I also write a lot of things aimed at people. There are some things that have to be said that I can't say in person...so I put them here. At school it's easy to push me down and make me shut up. Here? Not so much. I like the power in that.

I didn't always want to be a writer.

Now Playing: Hall of Fame by The Script ft. will.i.am (do it for your people, do it for your pride, you're never gonna know if you never gonna try)

I remember when I was four my mother bought me a copy of the first Harry Potter book and I was riveted. I could read very well by about three years old, but obviously innocence and inexperience probably meant I didn't understand half of the words I greedily devoured. It didn't matter. I didn't care. I decided, then and there, that I was going to be a writer.

I couldn't write properly and coherently until I was about seven years old. I could read but I didn't make the connection between the scribbles grown-ups made to the neatly typed words on the book pages. I could write at about five years old, but backwards - Leonardo da Vinci style, and not in a way that was an efficient means of dictating my thoughts. Even now I prefer typing - I learnt to touch type when I was eight.

I've always daydreamed. I've always thought up stories and characters. I talk to myself a lot. I've started countless novels that I've never finished. And I'm always reading.

But I didn't always want to be a writer.

When I was about ten, I decided I was going to become an actress. A real, proper, Hollywood actress. I saw glamorous women on the red carpet and decided that that was what I wanted to be.

I didn't get a buzz out of acting. I half heartedly complained that my mother never sent me to drama school but I always knew that if I really wanted to I would make my own way with or without my parents' endorsement. I just wanted the attention. I just wanted to be pretty. I was young and silly and insecure and I bought into the beauty myth - that I would only be worth anything or get any attention if I were beautiful.

It was only when I got to high school that I rekindled my love of writing, to live and breathe my art.

And now I'm excited. I'm excited for what the future holds. I may never strut it down the red carpet; I may never be beautiful. But when I die people will know my name. I will make sure of that.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

pedantic semantics.

Now Playing: I Don't Understand Job by Garfunkel and Oates (will I make it upright if I move it like a Shake Weight?) 

So here's a thing that was pointed out to me in Princesses & Pornstars.

We. Use. The. Wrong. Words. To. Describe. Lady. Bits.

Now don't get me wrong, I have no problem with euphemisms and allusions. It stops open-minded, enlightened, sex-positive people like me from being beat up. But when we're going to use the proper medical terms for body parts, we've got to use the right ones.

I'm not a doctor. I'm not a biologist. But I'm a woman, so I think I should know how to label my own body.

When we're not using obscure slang or glamorous-but-very-unhelpful euphemisms, female genitalia is usually referred to as the 'vagina'. And not just by normal people - people who somehow make a living hacking up women so they look like porn stars call it 'vaginal rejuvenation'. Which doesn't make a lot of sense because nobody actually sees the vagina.

The correct term for the external female genitals is vulva, not vagina. The vagina is the birth canal, between the vulva and the cervix, which is the entrance of the uterus.

So what's with the terminology confusion?

Whether or not this is your personal motivation for the incorrect terminology, the root of it is this - patriarchy.

The vulva, not the vagina, is responsible for female sexual pleasure. It contains the external part of the clitoris and the clitoral hood, which is formed on female foetuses during the same time that the penis is formed on male foetuses out of the same tissue and is responsible for the most common type of female orgasm. It contains the labia - the parts that are legally required to be hacked off on porn stars - which is actually erectile tissue. In short, the vulva refers to the part of the female body that can not only be stimulated for sexual pleasure, but - get this - you don't always need a gentleman to start your engine. And that. Is why. It is never. Ever. Mentioned. In another time and place they didn't want to think about women getting erections or having the physiological capability of sexual pleasure - so they never spoke of it, as if to erase it from vocabulary is to erase it from biology.

Unlike the vulva, the vagina is not really associated with female sexual pleasure - it is thought that 80% of women cannot orgasm through vaginal penetration alone, which is the only kind of sexual behaviour that is condoned by the major religions, which preach that masturbation, oral sex and any other sexual activity that results in female sexual pleasure is BAD BAD BAD. Do you know what the vagina is associated with? Male sexual pleasure. And making babies. In other words, referring to female genitalia as the 'vagina' and not the 'vulva' was a social convention designed to reinforce the idea that female sexuality has two purposes: to service men, and to make babies.

Now, I know that most people don't think like that now - that the misused terminology is an innocent misunderstanding and not a deliberate attempt to subjugate women. But to only refer to the body parts required to make babies is like calling male genitalia the vas deferens. It's an insult to women and to the female biological function. It's an incorrect synecdoche. If you're going to talk about it, at least use the right words.

I am so getting lynched at school on Monday...

my boys.

Now Playing: My Boy Builds Coffins by Florence + the Machine (my boy builds coffins, he makes them all day, it's not just for work and it isn't for play, he's made one for himself, one for him too, and one of these days he'll make one for you)

I like hanging out with boys.

Not entirely unrelated, but I also love boys. I love men. I'm in love with a lot of guys. I fall in love way too easily.

There's this thing amongst girls that the more you hang out with boys the more they hate on you because you're somehow impeding on their ability to hang out with boys when in reality they won't anyway because otherwise they'll become that girl that people hate on because she's somehow impeding on other people's ability to hang out with boys when in reality they won't anyway because...

You get the picture.

I hang out with boys because I don't choose my friends by gender.

I like people I can talk to. I like people who respect me intellectually and emotionally. I like people who look out for me and care about me. I like people who are on an intellectually equal playing field. And most of the people I have met who fulfill these criteria happen to be boys.

On a side note, I do like flirting, and I do like flirting with my friends. Well, not so much flirting as proximity - physical touch is my language of love. And I have found that slightly easier to do with boys than with girls, what with being cisgirl and hetero and all that jazz. Not that I particularly care if people suddenly think I'm bi, because I won't be defensive about something that isn't offensive.

Anyway, there are a lot of myths about that girl who's sitting on laps of BOYS and giving hugs to BOYS and kissing BOYS on the cheek and talking to BOYS and hanging out with BOYS and buying BOYS gifts, the girl that a BOY who is not her BOYFRIEND dares to mention in passing. In other words, a girl like...me.

A lot of these myths are fuelled by jealousy. It is not always easy being that girl. First and foremost it's not always easy being friends with guys, what with friendzoning and hormones and gender differences and blah blah. But secondly...most girls are shy/think that they'll be negatively received/will become a slut/insert other irrational insecurity here and so immediately react negatively to that one girl who has the guts to, ya know, look at the opposite gender in the eye without hyperventilating.

MYTH #1: She's a slut. She's sleeping with all of them. ALL OF THEM. 

So the root of this myth is that men and women can't be friends - either he wants sex or she wants marriage or babies or all sorts of other scary stereotypes. Most of the guys I am friends with are friends' boyfriends or ex-crushes - bad idea when it comes to The Girl Crowd, I know. But whilst friendzoning and emotions and hormones can be a problem with male/female relationships, you don't have to be attracted to every guy you talk to. You don't spend a lot of time thinking about your girlfriends' boobs so why would you spend much time thinking about your guyfriends' dicks? You can like things like intelligence and sincerity without necessarily wanting to bang. Just saying.

MYTH #2: She's undateable/a lesbian/otherwise undesirable - that's why they're 'just friends'

I've never really understood the concept of 'platonic friendships' or 'flirt buddies' being somehow cheap inferior substitutes for 'deep meaningful rom-com romances'. I'm friends with my male friends for the same reason that I'm friends with my female friends... and any attraction is either non-existent/not mutual/not enough/just part of our friendship. The desire to fuck someone is not one and the same as the desire to spend time with someone. Friendships are an honour, not an insult.

MYTH #3: She only hangs out with guys because there's something wrong with her so she can't hang out with girls

The truth is that I hang out with guys because there's something wrong with GIRLS so I can't hang out with them. I'm tired of the judgement, the hostility, the false belief that all the pressure put on girls comes from guys. Some of it is, admittedly. But a lot of it comes from girls.