Friday, December 31, 2010

A New New Year's outlook

I have always been very superstitious about New Years. For as long as can remember, I have believed that however I am feeling as the clock strikes 12, is how the rest of my year is going to be. And for the most part, it has worked out that way.

But I'm starting to wonder if maybe it has all been a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe the 'not so great' years I have had, have been mostly my own doing. It's more than likely.

Take New Years 2006 for example. I was in a very busy club (what was I thinking?!) having a very miserable time. As the clock struck 12, just as I had realised that I had managed to lose my friends and would be bringing in the New Year alone, a very drunk individual managed to pour his entire glass of wine down my back. And that was it. I decided then and there that my year was going to terrible. No matter what. And the year did turn out to be pretty ordinary. All because I was expecting it to be.

I ruined an entire year because someone spilt their drink down my back one night.

It is the same with New Year's Resolutions. Every year I have decided to change something about myself, then felt like a failure when that bad habit does not automatically disappear on January 1st. I have never met anyone who has actually kept to their New Year's Resolution. Seriously, whoever came up with the idea wasn't thinking clearly. We are expected to come up with a meaningful, manageable resolution New Years Eve when we're more likely than not to be quite intoxicated, then start it the next day when we are feeling the effects of said intoxication.

Not a good idea at all. Shame on the founder of New Year's Resolutions.

So I have no resolutions this New Year. The only thing I am going to do is try and enjoy the night. And if I don't, I'm going to remind myself that it's not the end of the world, nor an indicator of the coming year, cry a little bit inside and then move on.

I think it's high time I started shaking off some of my old superstitions and taking each day as it comes.

Ahh the benefits of growing up.

ps. what do you lovely people have planned for bringing in the New Year?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve has come at last

It is officially Christmas Eve. My life is now officially complete once again.

I mean, I love life and all..but usually it just feels like I'm killing time until Christmas rolls around once more.* I love Christmas. In case I have not mentioned that before. Love it. So much in fact that if it had proposed to me at the same time Joel did...I may have chosen Christmas. Sorry buddy. Nothing personal.

I was not in such high spirits this morning. Why, you ask? Because *drum roll* was a cloudy day. This may not mean anything to you, but due to the fact that Canberra has been in a severe drought for the last 10 years, Christmas Eve has always been lovely and sunny. We sit outside, wear summer dresses (this is optional for the guys), soak up the sunshine, and eat until we feel sick. THAT is Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve does NOT involve carrying an umbrella, sitting inside and wearing a jacket.


And I was angry. God I was angry. The world had turned it's back on me.

I was all ready to get my anger out 'road-rage' style (because I am a young awkward looking girl who keeps to the speed limit and still has her P-Plates on - not because I'm on my P's but because I'm too lazy to take them off; people think it's ok to tail-gate me and cut in front of me. Then I get to beep the horn and yell. It's a good system).

But today people were exceptionally polite. It may have been because it's Christmas Eve. Or it may have been because inside my car was presents, a Santa Hat, and a 22 year old woman in Christmas earrings muttering angrily to herself and glaring at everyone. You don't mess with that.

But as you can see, my mood has changed for the better. Because all of the things I love about Christmas are still there, regardless of the weather. Which should have been obvious in the first place. But have I mentioned an aversion to change?

As the day went on, I saw that people were smiling more, were more cheerful than usual. Everything seemed just that little bit sweeter.

I love how the Christmas spirit seems to get in everyone, even the oldest and most disheartened of us. I love how people wish each other well, and genuinely mean it, which is something that can't be said about any other time of the year.

I love the time spent with family, and the silly little traditions.

I love the food, and the gorgeous sparkly decorations. I love driving around looking at Christmas lights. I even love tacky Christmas music. Not for the music itself. But because it reminds me of the feeling of Christmas.

Mostly I love how the whole country comes together and indulges in this silly festival with all it's heart. We buy the trees and snowmen decorations, even though it's (usually) 30 degrees celsius. Most of what we do doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

But THAT is what so magical about it. We all become kids again. And we do these silly little things simply to make ourselves and the people around us smile. We don't gain anything but a little bit of happiness. Which to me is worth all the money in the world.

LASTLY (I do so love to save the best for last): I love our REAL Christmas Tree. When I was little we always used to have a real tree. Until my 7th Christmas. I will always remember the day when my parents brought home a fake Christmas tree. Coincidentally, that was also the day a small part of me died. From that moment on, I vowed that the first Christmas I had out of home I would have a real Christmas tree. And after a large amount of bargaining and threatening, I got one. And it is wonderful. The smell of pine fills the whole house. And the 7 year me is as happy as any 7 year old can be.

It is all of these reasons, and so many more, that make Christmas the very best time of the year.

ps. My cats have nothing to do with the post. But they do look rather sweet, right?

*this may be an exaggeration. But exaggeration is what makes life so interesting!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Wednesday quote fit for a Thursday

I want a guy who will send me flowers just because it's Wednesday

-From Juwanna Mann (haven't seen this movie..not really my thing. But I just love this quote)

Image from:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Conversation Killer

In case I haven't made it clear...I'm rather socially awkward. Not that I have trouble talking, but most of the time I tend to ramble and put my foot in my mouth. Well, every time.

In an effort to maintain at least the appearance of normality when I meet strangers, I have started to watch what I say. And it's getting increasingly difficult if the person I am meeting is as awkward as me. Socially acceptable conversation starters are not my specialty. My old method used to be to fire questions at somebody I had just met until I found something we both liked, or had the same view on. Or if we had differing views, then we would at least have something to enthusiastically argue about.

However, at Joel's work party I really did want to make a good impression. Mostly because I've made such a bad impression at the last few. Note: do not drink as much as you can as quickly as possible to calm the nerves. Particularly when the drinks are free.

It was all going fine...until: Joel left me with someone as awkward as me.

And I had nothing to say.

I don't mean that I had nothing interesting to say.

I mean I had nothing to say AT ALL. Complete mind blank. I was desperately racking my brain for even just a coherent sentence. I stood there getting more nervous thinking 'what do people say to each other when they have nothing in common?'. Then it hit me.

The weather.

I could talk about the weather! It's non-offensive, I couldn't possibly say anything that in some way insulted his long-dead great great great grandmother or his cat, and hey, it's something in common right?

So I opened my mouth to say 'it's getting quite hot lately'.

..but I couldn't do it. I didn't care about the weather, and I'm sure he didn't either. And why would I talk about something both parties had no interest in. When did it come to this? When did I become so dull that the ONLY thing I could think to talk about was the weather.

I just couldn't subject either of us to a pointless, dull conversation that would probably make things even more awkward.

So I said the first thing that came to my head. Instead of 'it's getting quite hot lately', I ended up saying 'I'm completely socially awkward and can't think of anything to say right now. I seriously have nothing to say.'

And it felt so good to be completely honest. Unbelievably good. I didn't have to force conversation. I didn't have to talk about the weather. I could just be myself. And myself had absolutely nothing to say right then.

Why has society forced us to feel that we always have to say something, no matter how dull or irrelevant it is? Why can't we just stand there in awkward silence and stare at a wall together? (which is what happened straight after he awkwardly laughed at me).

So from now on, I will always choose awkward silence over weather conversations. Just pray that you are never the person standing next to me when I run out of things to say.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


So, these are the shops near where I live. Queanbeyan is officially flooded!

*sigh* so much for warm summer days.

Floods are pretty cool too though, I'm not going to lie.

I think now would be the time to test the reliability of my brother's blow up raft, yes?

ps. photo by Graham Gall!/graham.gall

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Procrastination is an art form

Well, I am officially back. Holidays have started, uni is over for another two months, I am free, free, free.

However, I just HAD to share an important life lesson with you all before I start blogging about the wonders of the holiday season (which will probably be my only focus throughout December. I love Christmas/everything Christmas related. Love. It.)

Well, as I was 'studying' for my language ed exam, I decided to quickly check to see if my Maths marks had come back. They had not. But I did stumble across a forum post from a fellow student. This student had uploaded not 1, but 2 helpful maths studies that will assist us in our studies and future teaching. She called this 'procrastination'.

This was not procrastination. This was making efficient use of time while having a break from studying.


All I could think was 'That poor poor girl. Obviously no one has ever shown her the way. And now it's too late. The path to true procrastination will be forever closed to her.'

And I just couldn't bare the thought of another person out there suffering the same fate. So I complied a 5-step guide to procrastination for you. Because I care.

5-Easy Steps to Procrastination:

As I mentioned above, making efficient use of your time is not procrastinating. Ever. No ifs or buts. That is why it is rule number one. Studying for another subject does not count as procrastination. Being able to tell me the life cycle of a bee (as long as you're not doing science) does. Procrastination friendly sites are: facebook, wiki, failblog, lamebook, lolcats, google searching your own name and fml. Anything else will need prior approval from me.
Note: If you are reading this while studying for an exam, I applaud you. Procrastinating by reading about procrastinating? Gold star!

Wasting an hour while trying to study does not count as procrastinating. It is a short, well deserved break. Until you have sat in front of your computer for 10 hours, at the end of which you realise that you have not written more than 1 sentence (in fact, you have no idea what you actually did in that time), well that is when you know you have become a true procrastinator.

Why? Because you shouldn't have even started your assignment/exam until that time. Thinking about your assignment weeks in advance and counting that as study is acceptable, provided you don't actually put pen to paper (or fingers to a keyboard)

If you are a chilled out person who just likes to get things down at the last minute because 'hey man, that's how I work best', then you are not, and never will be, a procrastinator. You may meet all other requirements, but if you don't have a sense of unease that slowly morphs into a panic attack when you realise you only have an hour left, then sorry buddy. Go take your chilled out competent self elsewhere.

You should ALWAYS procrastinate until the last possible second. In the case of assignments: you are allowed to get them in on time, provided you almost miss the bus/suffer an impressive case of road rage, then have to sprint the last 100 meters (preferably past the teacher as they are walking to pick up the assignments). In the case of exams: If you do not experience a sinking feeling as you look through your exam paper- then you failed at procrastinating. Sorry. Better luck next time.

I hope this guide serves you well during your remaining years as a student. Good luck my fellow procrastinators and make me proud!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

blog vacation

Hey guys, as you have probably noticed I've taken a bit of a blog vacation. 
I'm just terrible at multi-tasking, and final weeks of uni/exams + blogging..well it just doesn't work, I get waaay too distracted. Especially because there are so many amazing blogs I follow that I just couldn't resist checking out if I logged on! 
So until December the 3rd I'll be studying like crazy while trying not to get too distracted by life/my cats/funny clips on youtube.
So I'll leave you with some lovely quotes about happiness that will hopefully make you smile and feel all fuzzy inside like they made me:

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have"
Frederick Keonig

"Don't rely on someone else for your happiness and self worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can't love and respect yourself - no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are - completely; the good and the bad - and make changes as YOU see fit - not because you think someone else wants you to be different."
Stacey Charter

"Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."
Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta

"You can make more friends in two months by becoming more interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you"
Dale Carnegie

"The only moment in which we can be truly happy is the present moment. The only moment over which we have control is the present moment. So be happy now! Because if not now, then when?
(I would love to give you the author, but I forgot to write down the website I got it from. When I tried to google it, SO many people have stolen it and tried to pass it off as their own words! Not good!)

Have a wonderful few weeks my lovely readers! xoxo

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

There is nothing like a bit of fresh air

One thing I have really been missing since I moved out is a backyard. Lying in green grass, surrounded by flowers, bees buzzing overhead. Watching the clouds pass and maybe having a nap in the sunshine.

Not that I did that often. Which is a shame. But that's usually the way. You don't know what you've got til it's gone etc. etc. insert similar, equally overused quotation here.

But it really has been a positive too. Because I have become so much more eager to be outdoors. I have started to take any opportunity to go for walks, sit in the sunshine, read a book in the park. And it's great. I feel so much healthier. And have more energy. And enthusiasm for life.
All because of a little fresh air.

It made me realise how much we're missing out on by spending so much of our lives indoors. We work in offices, lock ourselves away, rarely venture out if the weather drops below 18 degrees (Celsius!). Sit in front on tv and ignore life.

So this summer, due to the lack of backyard, I am going to view the world as my backyard instead (I just read that back.. too lame perhaps? Yes much too lame. Oh well!).

I will soak up as much sun and life as possible. And get a herb garden. And eat my breakfast outside. And dream in the sunshine.

So thank you 'backyardless' apartment, I owe you one :)

ps. I have realise how a few of my posts now have become about grievances..and it got me thinking. I'm 22 years old, healthy and happy. I don't have time for grievances. Not until I'm old and crotchety (I kid! I hope..).
But seriously, time for a new outlook, time to throw away old annoyances and enjoy the good things. Hello Christmas and herb gardens!

pps. image from

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

the power of words

Words have the power to break a heart

Or inspire a dream

The ‘Virtues Project’
Linda Kavelin Popov, (2000), page 3

Image from:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Why I loved teaching these last three weeks

I am the kind of girl who overthinks things. Not everything..but things that are especially important to me. Maybe that's necessary sometimes, but sometimes it is better to follow your heart and go with the flow.

I did not want to teach. Every rational part of me told me it was a bad idea.

Not only was I terrified, but at the age of 10 I decided i did not have anything to say to children and I have stuck by that. When I started this degree, I had NO idea I would be placed in mainstream schools (I was only interested in special needs). I was on the verge of dropping out of uni altogether only a few short weeks ago.

But I decided, against all better judgement, that I didn't have anything to lose. And so I went.

And I loved it.

I loved getting to know the kids. They were amazing little people, and much more complex than i had ever given anyone under 13 credit for.

I loved those moments when you knew you had made a connection with a difficult student. And while things weren't going to always be smooth sailing with them, it wasn't going to be impossible anymore.

I loved those moments when a student who had been struggling with a subject suddenly got it. They were so proud. I was so proud.

I loved when my lessons got through to the students, when they were interested in what I was saying and were excited about learning.

I loved the funny comments, the joking around, the colour and the laughter.

I loved that every day was different, and new, and nothing ever went according to plan and that was ok.

I loved the last three weeks.

While there were tantrums, tears (both the students and mine), lessons that were complete and utter disasters, days where the kids went completely nuts and made me feel like screaming, sleepless night after sleepless night planning lessons, days where I wanted to run away and never set foot in the place again...

I wouldn't have had it any other way.

While I could sit and think about all that went wrong, contemplate whether this is what I want, discuss it for days..I'm not going to.

It felt right. And when it comes down to it, that's really all that matters.

Even if common sense is telling me to run :p

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A post about facebook

'We expected more from the twenty-first 
century. Some direction, some push, some instruction
for living in the present continuous. 
A cure for boredom,
perhaps, self-annihilating or otherwise.
Instead we set the scene,
take the photo, update our status

as well as the shared sense of oblique geographies:

forcing us onto the side of the road,
somewhere near 

Aden Rolfe’s ‘Exchanges

I absolutely love this piece. And sadly, it is so true to life. 
People aren't living for themselves anymore. They are living lives that they think other people want to see. 
Everyone wants to feel special and important. They want to BE someone. And they want the world to watch.
So they upload a photo and update their status.

I am starting to hate facebook. And yes, I have one. I update my status. I upload photos, write on walls, click attending when events come up.

But it's not me. Nothing on there represents me. It may represent who I want to be. Or who I am when you first meet me. Snapshots of my life.

But not me. 

I hate feeling like I have something to prove. Like I am living my life through other's eyes. When really, the majority of 'facebook' friends I have don't care about me, and know nothing about my life. I am starting to hate the idea of people forming an opinion in their head of what I am like. When they barely know me. An idea that I foster. And work on. And change. 

But one that doesn't represent me in the slightest. 

So I think I am going to give facebook a rest for a while. No more pictures, no more updates. Some freedom to live as who I really am. That is not to say that people shouldn't have one. It's social in it's own way, it makes it easy to catch up with people who you wouldn't be able to keep in contact with otherwise. 

But maybe it's just not the thing for people like me. Who over think everything. I just...I guess I just want a fresh start to work on myself for a while.

Without an audience. 

People could (and will argue, even if it's not out loud) that a blog is the same thing. 

When I started this it was going to go in a completely different direction. It was going to be short. And full of colourful pictures and quotes.

Honesty never factored into it. And personal revelations? Don't even go there.

But somehow it turned into a mishmash of my innermost thoughts and feelings. I may not upload too many pictures or talk about my day to day activities. I don't let you know what is happening in my life every hour. Nor what is happening in my life every week. 

But this represents me more than a million status updates and pictures ever would. And I have nothing to prove. No one is on here to compare their life with mine, or see how many 'friends' I have. 

Maybe a blog is just another self-absorbed way of showing off to the world. And maybe this generation does all want an audience. Maybe I do.

All I know is that facebook makes me feel like I am not good enough; whereas this blog makes me feel happier and healthier than I have in years. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Everyone needs at emotional Heimlich now and then :)

My favourite quote from Pushing Daises: 
 I can’t even hug you? What if you need a hug? A hug can turn your day around.
Ned: I’m not a big fan of the hug.
Chuck: Then you haven’t been hugged properly. It’s like an emotional Heimlich. Someone puts their arms around you and they give you a squeeze and all your fear and anxiety come shooting out of your mouth in a big wet wad and you can breath again.

ps. Apologies to my followers/people I'm following, I have been reading blogs (love them all!) but have had no time to comment because of professional experience :( One week to go!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Why I want to live in France

Have a mentioned that I want to live in France? 

My dream has been Germany up until now. I fell in love with the country and the wonderful people when I went there three years ago. The cobblestone streets, the bikes and cafes, their love of Christmas that borders on obsession. 

Ahh, it's everything I ever wanted. Perfection. 

But..there is something very appealing about France to me right now. It's not the fact that most of favourite authors come from there. Nor that I'm in love with wine, bread and cheese (though I am). Neither is it the beautiful language, the fascinating history or the amazing architecture. 

It's that they don't take anything lying down. 

Politicians don't just blindly run the country, ignoring what is good for the people. Ignoring what the people want. If the government makes a decision that people don't like, you hear about it. 

Boy do you hear about it. 

While I'm not saying I support riots (as I have never been in one so I have no idea what one is really like), at least they're standing up for what they believe in. 

I have become so disillusioned with Australia. And the government. Our supposed left-wing government. People here aren't satisfied with the majority of the choices being made. But we'll be damned if we do anything about it.

Our retirement age got lifted to 67, the people went 'that sucks'. Recently our 'progressive left-wing' Prime Minister decided not to pull troops for Afghanistan. Again the people went 'that sucks'. Then we all went back to shopping, eating etc. and forgot all about it. 

The government here can do anything. They can manufacture a story about refugees on a boat throwing their children overboard, admit to lying about it right after an election won solely because of the racism the story encouraged (Don't let anyone tell you Australia isn't racist. It's disgustingly so.)

..and no one does anything. 

The government blocked gay marriage in all States, though the State I live in are strongly for equal rights for everyone. No one says anything, no one does anything. We may have a peaceful little protest against these things, but without any real conviction. Without any real hope for change.

I want to live where the people fight for what they believe in. Where the government faces the consequences for their actions. Where they are accountable to the people. ALL of the people, not just a select few. 

And that's why I want to move to France. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This week has been crazy. and busy. and wonderful.

I don't remember the last time I have felt this exhausted. But in a good way. I feel like I'm really living in the moment. Throwing myself into everything headfirst. It's nice. Really nice.

So it will be a quick blog today, simply because anything I write will make little to no sense.

I just wanted to share the wedding dress I just bought.

I didn't ever want to go traditional. Ever. But it's rockabilly, and lace, and everything wonderful. So I swallowed my pride and got it.

What do you think?

ps. Dress (and pic!) from

Sunday, October 17, 2010

when life starts to suck

I did not have a good week.

 I was going to blog about it too. I was going to get on here, vent, whinge and complain until I felt all better. A minute ago I logged on here with the exact intention of doing so. Because it's my blog and I'll damn well complain if I want. That's right. 

But you and I both know that rehashing life's little problems, after the first bout of complaining to loved ones, does not solve anything. It just makes you feel worse. If it's over it's over. And even thinking about posting it makes me feel that little bit worse.

So here are the positives from the week instead. More fun to read for you guys (I hope!), and a lot less soul crushing for me. (note that the soul crushing line is a wild exaggeration. My week wasn't all that bad. I am just dramatic. It's more fun that way)

But I did have a win. Oh and what a win. I got a HD on the 75 activities I made up for my language education class. This may not seem like a big deal but here's the thing:


In fact, I know nothing about teaching. Also children terrify me. They are not yet at the point where society has molded then into 'white-lie telling' individuals. If I wanted complete honesty I would...well I just don't want it. 

I am getting sidetracked- mostly because I am on professional experience starting tomorrow and once second week hits I have to teach. 

I am terrified. But less so now that I feel like my activities aren't totally horrible. Maybe, just maybe, they won't kill me and eat me or whatever kids like to do these days. 

But you know, I needed this little win. I really did. Give me an essay on a horribly boring political or social topic and I'll make you proud. Get me to do anything remotely abstract (lesson plans, reflective responses, anything involving being good at computers etc.) and I fall into a quivering mess on the floor. But maybe I might be getting the hang of it. And it feels good. This is what I have needed all along.

Also, when my weeks go a bit topsy turvy I tend to make matters worse by forgoing healthy tofu dinners in favour of chocolate and bread for dinner (seriously). I stop sleeping, stop going out and give up dancing, piano, writing, and anything else creative that might get me out of the slump.

So..once I realised that I was falling into the same trap I did something about it. 

This a big deal for me. Normally I just keep on existing until something happens that forces me to love life. 

But this time I made the effort. 

I cooked myself not only elaborate dinners but breakfasts as well (seriously, how can you have a bad day when it begins with a fantastic breakfast? That's right, you can't). I started exercising and dancing like a crazy person to my favourite 50's tunes. I forced myself to practice piano and it was ok. I did sudoku and memory games in an attempt to get my memory back (I really think I am losing any semblance of memory I ever had, but that's a post for another day...). I meditated. I showered, wore a nice dress and put on makeup. I started War and Peace, which by the way is fantastic. And I kept mostly away from the tv (except to watch Mr Smith Goes to Washington, so good!), which I think is affecting my quality of life more than it should. 

After all of that I am feeling ok again. Not great, but better. Much better. 

And it's really rather nice. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why I love the rain

I just love the rain. The smell, the sound, the feeling. The idea of it even. Nothing is better than being curled up in a warm room enjoying a cup of tea with a cozy sweater on. Listening to rain as it falls against the roof, creating a symphony all on it's own.

I used to hate the rain. It equated to frizzy hair and a day stuck inside.

However one day I had one of those moments. Those moments when everything feels exactly as it should. When you are exactly where you want to be.

This happened when I went to a festival in the middle of summer. And not only was there a severe thunderstorm, it was hailing. And freezing. I have been to Germany in the middle of winter and I don't think I have ever been so cold as on that day.

We decided to stay for half an hour. So we didn't feel like we had wasted our money. We were miserable. All we wanted to do was sit somewhere warm. But we forced ourselves to stay just for a little bit.

We ended up staying for 8 hours. Dancing in the rain. Moving with the music while lightening flashed overhead. My hair was dripping wet, mascara was running down my face, my clothes were soaked through.

And I have never felt more ok with myself. It didn't matter what I looked like, what I said, how I danced. I just was. I felt more alive than I ever had before. Everything in my life, all the insecurity and nervousness, seemed to wash away.

And you know, it's never really come back since. Maybe all it takes is a day of not caring about things that aren't important, of being who you are and not being ashamed of it, of enjoying life simply for what it is.

That is why I love the rain.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happy birthday sir!

Happy birthday dad!!!!

Thank you for always being there for me and for being the best father anyone could ask for.

Oh, and thank you for passing your attractive genes on to me :p

Unconditional like cont...

I was going to write a completely different post today, but after listening to a recording from a lecture that I had missed, I decided to write a continuation from a post I wrote in August instead:

Basically my stance was that the self-esteem movement in schools may be more harmful than helpful to students. And after listening to the lecture for my 'Promoting Positive Learning Environments' class (I am studying Primary Teaching for those that don't know), research is backing up my claim.

To go a little bit off track, I had started to become disheartened with my degree because everyone was so politically correct (both the lecturers and my fellow students). All of the classes were about making the children feel special, building self-esteem, making sure to eliminate any hint of competition in schools etc.

That's not to say that I don't agree with these an extent. But I felt like I was the only one who wanted to explore other avenues. What about teaching them to be the best they can be, not just telling them they already are? What about teaching them to not be completely satisfied with every piece of work; rather, get them to aim higher? Teaching them to work towards being a better person? Teaching them to fight for change?

I don't think that the self-esteem movement is helping anybody. And neither does the research. In fact, self-esteem courses at school have been linked to lower test results. Because after all, if the students are praised for everything that they do and are told that they are the smartest, what do they have to aim for? They're already the best. There is no room for self-improvement, both academically and personally.

I'm not saying the people should not have high self-esteem. I think it's fantastic when people do. BUT there needs to be a reason for it. People need to work towards becoming a person who should be proud of themselves, rather than simply being proud of themselves because the teacher said so.

Now, to move onto something a little bit controversial (more controversial I should say!). I think that this whole self-esteem movement in schools can be linked to (one of many reasons) the increase in depression in children. Think about it. Children are constantly told how special they are, they never experience competition, and they never have the opportunities to amuse themselves (tv does it for them). Then the real world hits. All of sudden you don't get a reward just for competing. You realise that though you are special and unique, the whole world doesn't revolve around you. And it's a little bit disheartening. It makes sense that people are not as happy as they used to be

Another problem with this focus on self-esteem, happiness and well being, is that if a child does not feel happy all the time, or are not seen as 100% 'normal', they are immediately labeled.

I see labeling as one of the biggest problems of the self-esteem movement. The self-esteem movement (as I see it) isn't just focused on self-esteem, it is also focused on well being in general. And if a child isn't happy, or social, or is a late bloomer with maths or english, or has bundles of energy..they are given a diagnosis. Depression, ADD, Aspergers etc. There are pills and courses for all of these, the kids are diagnosed and 'fixed' (I'd love to see the statistics for how often any of these medications or interventions work) and the poor kids carry this label with them usually for the rest of their lives. It is the same with adults. From a young age we are taught not only to be introspective, but to be too introspective. Every mood swing is seen as a problem. Every down stage of our lives is called depression. So much focus is on the self, rather than on the world we live in and the other people who live in it.

*Note: That is not to say that none of these conditions exist, that they don't affect a number of people and that they aren't serious. I was exaggerating for the purpose of this blog!

It has been shown that one of the best ways to raise self-esteem and to combat depression is to help someone else. Even little things can make a huge difference; not only to the person you are helping, but also to your overall happiness and well-being. Maybe it's the huge focus on 'Number 1' that is actually making so many people miserable. Not their lack of self-esteem.

So, if and when I become a teacher, I'm going to ignore all of those PC people yelling in my ear, and I'm going to teach the children to care for others. And I'm going to praise them for trying their best, not for simply existing.

Random blog I know, but these ideas were all running through my head and I just had to get them down! Do you agree? Or do you think there is lot more to it than that? I welcome all criticism because I still haven't fully formed my opinions on any of this yet!


Sunday, October 10, 2010

What can I say? It's love!!

I believe that exclamation marks make every sentence better.


I believe that exclamation marks make every sentence better!!!!!!!!!!!


Point proven.

Friday, October 8, 2010

thoughts about love

When I was kid I never wanted to get married. Ever. I was too busy thinking about how to take over the world (for the good of mankind of course... I learned later that it's called a dictatorship..) than to ever think seriously about the opposite sex. Don't get me wrong, I did plan on having a boyfriend one day. I  was going to meet some easy going guy who was madly in love with me and I would grace him with my presence maybe once a month. I was never going to be in love though. Not only was I completely against the idea of letting myself love someone, but I did not believe in it at all. I mean, divorce statistics speak for themselves. What was particularly perplexing to me was that not only can people fall in love, people can fall out of love. How can so much trust be placed on something that seems to come and go faster than the seasons change? And people just keep on going back for more. Not for me. No thanks. 

And when I met Joel I felt the same way. Here was a cool easy going guy, I wouldn't mind spending some weekends with him. We liked the same stuff. It could be cool to have someone to take to parties. But then it all backfired.

Weekends were suddenly not enough. I found myself wanting to see him as much as possible. I thought about him all the time. And everything changed.

Things that had never bothered me started to bother me. Emotions got in the way. Things become messy, and complicated. Wonderful, yes. But complicated. 

I started to get why people would tell me that being in a relationship was hard. People are always saying that. You always hear people talking about how they 'want to be single for a while, it's less complicated'. But then I thought about it. Being single was complicated too. Not only because of things relating to the opposite sex (why hasn't he called me? etc. etc.), But because of life. 

Life is complicated. 

It doesn't matter who you're with, if you're in love or not, there will always be some sort of complication. It may not be fair, but then, what is? I guess I had succumbed to the hollywood notion after all. That once you fall in love there will be fairy-tale ending. Everything is perfect from that moment on. And if you do fight you have silly fights, over things such as what to get at the grocery store. They will be cute fights, fights you look back on and laugh. But let me tell you, fights over what to get at the grocery store can suddenly mean the world to you. They can make or break a relationship. 

And now I find myself, the one who never wanted to get married, thinking about things like seating plans and hair appointments. And other horribly trivial things that I never wanted. I can just see 16 year old me shaking her head in disapproval. And fear. I am signing up to spend the rest of my life with someone. I am relying on love to keep us together when it is not something set in stone, it can disappear without warning, and so many times is not even enough in itself. 

But I guess, when you think about it, we're just a boy and a girl who like the same things, think the other just fascinating, and can't imagine a life apart. Out of all the complicated things in life, this doesn't really seem that complicated at all. In fact, I couldn't imagine anything more simple right now. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Spring has Sprung! (yes I said it)

Oh my goodness, spring is FINALLY here!!!

I promise myself every year that my mood won't rely a good deal more than it should on the season. But every time the cherry blossoms come out and the jackets come off my spirit lifts immeasurably. And I know I'm not only one.

People start to smile more, seem to become more at peace with themselves and the world. Everything just seems to slow down and become that little bit more relaxed.

I love being outside when it's warm, with the sunshine dancing and the smell of spring wafting through the air. When work is over and nobody rushes home because the sun is still shining and the day isn't over. When long summer nights are spent with friends, rather than spending short winter nights curled up at home under a blanket.

Not to mention the dresses (oh, the dresses!), iced tea from cute cafes, reading books under trees, road trips,flowers, fresh fruit, festivals, bare feet, holidays and picnics.

Ahh Spring, I'm so glad you have arrived!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dear Diary, today I...

I don't normally write about the things that I have done, mostly because I don't want to sound too 'Dear diary, today I blah blah blah, boring boring boring'. But I have had such a fabulous few weekends that I just had to share! (the fact that both weekends were long weekends made them that little bit sweeter, I have to admit). I also have no idea how to put photos nicely into blogs so here are photos from my weekends just shoved haphazardly here, there and everywhere..

Last weekend I went to Nightfest at Floriade with Joel and my friend Mel. For those that don't know what Floriade is (basically anyone who doesn't have the same postcode as me), it's an annual flower festival in Canberra. It's really lovely. There are handmade markets, art displays, and an amazing tulip exhibition (the flowers are arranged to create pictures). We went on Sunday night (hence the term 'Nightfest'..lame I know) and it was so beautiful. The whole park is lit up and in one section they hung colourful umbrellas from all the trees and placed a lightbulb in each. It didn't really work in the photos, but it felt like we were walking through Wonderland. We spent the night browsing the markets, going on the Ferris Wheel,  having a picnic of brie, crackers, strawberries and grapes while watching the outdoor movie (Up), then watching a pretty terrible stand-up comic who made me laugh harder than if he had actually been funny. 

On Monday I had to do a belly dance performance at Floriade. Now, I am terrified of performing. I hate every second of it. But I did promise myself I would do more things that I was scared of and this was a perfect candidate. I was so scared of messing up in front of everyone. But I went on stage and guess what? 

I did. I completely messed up one of the dances. But..I survived and all that really happened was my pride got a little bruised. It turns out that it's really not that important. So I went back on stage, faced another fear and danced at the front. And I had a great time. It was still a pretty shameful effort on my part and I wish I'd spent more time practicing, but we all had fun. Life lesson learned.

As it was me and Joel's 4 year anniversary we spent the rest of the day walking among the flowers and eating ice cream, before going home to watch a documentary and eat Turkish bread and dip. It wasn't the fanciest anniversary we've ever had but it was definitely one of the nicest. Sometimes the simplest things can be perfect. 

On Friday night I went for drinks with a girl from college and her friend (who I went to high school with, Canberra is just too small!) . We never really talked at school but met again recently and got along really well. It was really fun, she's such an upbeat positive person. She was telling me about how she got a tattoo that says 'fearless' because she sometimes lets fear get the best of her. Now every time she is too scared to do something she remembers her tattoo and faces her fear because she has to live up to it. I thought that was really inspirational.

That night I also went to the Canberra short film festival, which was a really good experience. There were some really great films. And some really awful ones. But it was a good night. 

This weekend has been fantastic in that I have done almost nothing. I haven't had a weekend like this for.. well I can't remember the last time I had a weekend like this. I have just eaten junk food, read, and watched horribly trashy television that I am too ashamed to say the name of. But it was just so nice to have a break for a while and recharge. 

We managed to get out of the house briefly yesterday and go to out for tea. We stopped past the lolly shop, which is amazing. It has every kind of sweet you can imagine from every different country. I am a huge fan of Reece's Peanut Butter Cups so I was in heaven. Hence the ridiculous consumption of junk food both yesterday and today. The tea shop that we went to is probably the most wonderful place in the world. They have over 200 different kind of tea. 200! I had strawberries & champagne tea, which was the best tea I have ever had in my life. We also got homemade dutch pancakes. And there was a jazz band playing. If there was a heaven that would have been it. 

I have just realised how mind-numbingly dull this post was. I apologise. And it did get a bit 'dear diary', didn't it? But hey, nothing like a bit of self-absorbed ramblings about the humdrum aspects of my life every once in a while!

 If you feel like joining me please tell me all about your weekend because I would love to hear about it :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hugo's thoughts on love

As to the words they spoke, they were breaths and nothing more, but breaths that set all Nature stirring. They were a magic which would have little meaning were they to be set down on paper, those murmurs destined to be borne away like puffs of smoke under the leaves. If we rob the words of lovers of the melody from the heart that accompanies them like a lyre, what remains is but the shadow. Is that really all? - mere childishness, things said and said again, triteness, foolishness and reasonless laughter? Yes that is all, but there is nothing on earth more exquisite or more profound. Those are the only things that are really worth saying and worth hearing, and the man who has never heard or uttered them is a bad man and a fool. 

-Victor Hugo

Saturday, October 2, 2010

thoughts about failure

I have not been able to blog all week, mainly because I have had a major assignment due and procrastinating by writing a blog rather than simply sitting...well it just felt too productive so I didn't do it.

I have been thinking a lot about failure lately. About how there is so much pressure to do well. All the time. Not just at school, or work, but life in general. We all go around only doing the things that we are good at; or avoiding things just because we are scared we may not get it quite right. Scared of being a 'failure'. When really you need to fail to progress in life. To become the person you want to be. To experience life as it should be experienced, not simply through the little protective bubbles we put around ourselves. 

For a long time (as long as I can remember) I wanted to be perfect. At everything. In every way. Failure terrified me. But I did fail. All the time. 
I was so far from the perfection I craved that by the time I reached college my self-esteem was in shatters. But I had a life plan you see. Everything was going to change. I was going to reinvent myself at college, make millions of friends, get top marks, study law, graduate at 23, buy my own house and become somebody. 

Then college happened. And I realised that I wasn't going to get into law. I was just not good enough. And I hadn't reinvented myself at all. I was still the nervous neurotic self-deprecating self I always had been. My plan vanished. And I was left with nothing. I didn't know where I was going, I was so uncertain about the future..and I was still me. 

So I stopped eating. 

That was something I could do. It was something I wasn't failing at. All my self-esteem, every part of me was focused on this one thing. Every kilo lost was a win for me. It became my life. I didn't have to worry about the future any more. I didn't have to be terrified of change. Because when you stop eating nothing ever changes. Life just stops. 

Obviously my family didn't let that continue. I got shoved into an out-patient program, 3 days a week of intensive cognitive-behavioural therapy. It didn't do anything. I hated the place, I hated my family for putting me there. Most of all I hated myself. 

But one day, as I was arguing with the dietician for the millionth time about having to have an extra half cup of juice, she just looked at me and said 'Do you want to get better on not? Because it is up to you and only you'. And she was right. I hadn't realised it before. It was my choice. And so I did the most difficult thing I have ever done.

I decided to get better.

I would like to say I was out of there in a week, all smiles and roses, but it was a year of hard work.I remember on my last day of school I looked around and realised something. I did have friends. And they were amazing. I did like my teachers and the classes. I loved my home and my family. And I loved college too. I could have had an amazing time. I didn't have to reinvent myself or stop failing. If I had decided to just relax and give myself a break things would have been great. It wasn't the situation that had made me miserable at all. It was only me. All of it was my choice.

So I chose to life live and enjoy it. I didn't get into law.. and that was ok. I modified my plans and started a Social Work/Arts degree instead. And since then my plans have kept on changing. I make a mistake, learn from it, and try something new. It wasn't failing that had made me a failure. It was giving up and not trying. I would count my biggest failure (not eating) as one of my biggest successes too. It taught me more than I ever thought I would learn, and it has encouraged to make the most of life. To appreciate it. And to appreciate myself, warts and all (figuratively and literally!). 

(n.b. it also stopped me from being such a middle-class egotistic teenage drama queen. Mostly.. :p )

Besides, all the winners that I know aren't amazing at everything. They aren't the smartest people, or the most good looking, they don't have amazing jobs and stacks of money.. but they are the kindest. They are the people who hold doors open for someone, give money to homeless people, and make random strangers smile. If I can make someone's life a little bit better, then I guess I'll be a winner too. Failures and all.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A human among humans

This is my inspiration when things get a bit tough. When all I want to do is hide away from the world.

Husserl has restored to things their horror and their charm. He has restored to us the world of artists and prophets: frightening, hostile, dangerous, and with it's havens of mercy and love. He has cleared the way for a new treaties on the passions that would be inspired by this simply truth, so utterly ignored by the refined among us: If we love a woman, it is because she is lovable. We are delivered from Proust.

We are likewise delivered from the 'internal life': in vain would we seek the caresses and fondlings of our intimate selves, like Amiel, or like a child who kisses his own shoulder- for everything is finally outside: everything, even ourselves. Outside, in the world, among others. It is not in some hiding-place that we will discover ourselves; it is on the road, it the town, in the midst of the crowd, a thing among things, a human among humans.

-Jean Paul Sartre

Thursday, September 23, 2010

thoughts about life

I have been reading Les Miserables over the last few weeks, and it honestly has changed my entire outlook on life. Don't you just love books like that? So rare, but when you find them they are worth a million hours spent reading.

There are a group of students in the book who are dreamers. They are revolutionaries. They want to change the world. They sit around and have discussions around human rights, politics and the universe. They spend hours sitting in the streets of Paris observing the people. Observing the world. They meditate under trees and think about important issues. They think about life.

And it made me realise how shallow and unimportant so much of the world is. So much of my life. So many hours are wasted discussing clothes and television, rather than ethics and altruism. I know a lot of people think this all sounds stupid. That sitting around dreaming is a waste of time. But what were we given brains for if not to think with? Why were we born in this amazing world if not to immerse ourselves in it? Not just in the shallow aspects of human life, I mean REALLY experience the world. And really care about other people, and feel a sense of social justice, and want to fight for change. To fight for what is in important.

Victor Hugo also talks about poverty. How it makes or breaks a person. How you need to look at your life, and strip away everything insignificant until you're left with what you really need. The things that are important in life. Love, laughter and friendship.

While I am not saying (and he wasn't either) that poverty is a good thing, or that more people should be thrown into poverty; it is important to recognise in your life the things that you can live without. And the things that you need (apart from food, clothes and shelter) to live. And it made me think of all of the unnecessary things in my life. The piles of clothes, the expensive food, decorations for the apartment etc.
It made me realise what is necessary to my life. My life is not going to be any less worthwhile (it may be even more so) if I don't buy that dress, or that food, or that makeup.

But I do need Joel, my family and friends, my pets, love, fresh air, the natural beauty of the world, books, music, creative outlets, opinions and the ability to think and daydream. These are the things necessary to my life. They may be (and are most likely) different to yours. But these things are the backbone of my life.

However, while I daydream of running off to Paris, earning just enough to sustain the necessary parts of my life and spending the rest of my time immersed in the heart of the city, among people, mediating and debating about important issues... I am not going to do that. I am not that person yet. I write this, and yet and I am not about to sell the majority of my clothes, or forgo good cheese, crackers and wine. I'm not going to pull myself out of the rat race. I am going to finish my degree, and earn money, and maybe get lost somewhere along the way in this fast-paced world. And it makes me ashamed. There is one consolation though: as a teacher maybe I'll be able to instill in the students these values that I lack. Maybe I will help change the world in a small way. That would be nice.

There will be some small changes in my life though. I will take the time I haven't before to appreciate the world around me, to stop and think. About anything and everything. To go for walks, turn off the television and have conversations. To spend my money on more meaningful things rather than objects per se. On experiences. Plays, music, dancing, trips to other places, books. And on other people. To become more charitable. To do something to help others. Not just talk about it.

I want to keep caring about the world, and the people in it.

Thank you Victor Hugo for opening my eyes, even if it was only a little bit.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

thunderstorms and rainbows

I read an article in the newspaper a while back about the amazing imagination that children have. The incredible way they see the world. The woman writing the article had a daughter who used weather to describe her moods. For example she would say she felt 'thunderstorm' or 'rainbows'.

I think this is perfect. I never feel as if words like 'sad' or 'ecstatic' can ever come even close to covering how you are feeling. But thunderstorms and rainbows? Now that's the way to describe things!

Today I am feeling sun-showery. How are you feeling?

Friday, September 17, 2010

a clean slate

I cried the other day. For no reason at all. I couldn't stop. It was like all of my worries, frustrations and heartbreaks came out at once. And it hurt. Really hurt.

But the next day I woke up feeling like a whole new person. Well, not a whole new person. But the beginnings of one. It was if the tears of the day before really had washed everything away. And when I stepped outside the sun seemed that little bit brighter, my step a little bit lighter, and I fell in love with life all over again. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

10 Things that Make Me Happy

1. Making cupcakes. There is nothing better! The mixture tastes amazing all the way through and you can decorate them any colour that you want afterwards!

2. Dancing around my room to music that I love. Downside: I look amazing in my head, but when I go out I realise my imagination has deceived me once again..

3. Happy music in general. It always puts me in a good mood :)

4. Watching my favourite movie or reading my favourite book. I can do either of these activities over and over and over again and I am just as happy every time.

5. Going for a walk. Especially in spring, when all the cherry blossoms are out and the whole world is transformed.

6. Hugging my cats. Or my friends. Or Joel. But my cats can purr so they win.

7. Playing piano and getting lost in the music.

8. Road-trips! Singing loudly at the top of our lungs and getting into crazy situations.

9. Sleepy conversations about life, love and the universe

10. The person who stuck teddy bears to trees along the highway to the coast.

What makes you happy? I'd love to hear it!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Stepping back in time

I am going to a 'Bohemian Masquerade Ball' tonight. I am quite excited. I have never been to anything 'Masquerade' before and it is such a romantic word (is it French? Because the French seem to make all their words sound romantic). There will be magicians, gypsy bands, cabaret, burlesque and circus acts. Is that not the perfect combination?
I went to something similar last week, called 'The Gangsta's Ball'. It was amazing, everyone was dressed in 1920's-50's clothes and it was just like we stepped back in time... to a very confused era of time that wasn't sure which decade it was, but it still looked wonderful! And I just love dressing up. My favourite part of that night though was looking at the view from our hotel. My partner had booked the top floor of an apartment directly in the middle of Sydney city that had windows all around. I wish I had taken a photo, it was if the whole sky was filled with colour and we were in the middle of it.
I am wearing a corset tonight though.. this scares me. I did promise myself i would do things that scare me. But I am not a corset girl. I guess there is a first time for everything.

These are photos from the Gangsta's Ball. I would have subtly slipped them in the middle of this post but technology is not my strong point..

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Where I want to go

This is a continuation from my last post. I got a comment from Brandi of (no idea how to link people properly...wait I figured it out!) that said it helps to write your intentions on a wall. Well this is kind of a wall isn't it? A virtual one yes, but it will do :) Anyway I thought it was a great idea (thank you Brandi!). I was already thinking about a post like this, after writing down one of the quotes from Rocket Science (yes I know, I am scarily obsessed with this movie):

'Do you want to hear your problem? You have no agenda. Strictly head in the ground material. Look at me. Look at me. I wake up every morning and what do I do? I create an agenda for the day, which is a sub-agenda for the month. Which is in itself a pie-slice of my agenda for life.'

Though it was said by the 'miniature Hitler' of the movie, I still really like it. It made me think.. what do I want out of life? And I guess what I would like out of life is to make a difference. To change people's lives. To be happy and to make others happy. So.. that's my agenda for life, now to make goals for the year. If anyone reads my blog (Joel..because I make him.. and that's about it..) then it would be great if you could tell me your goals; what you hope to achieve this year, or to achieve in life. Do it Joel :p

So, here are my intentions for the year:

- Do one kind act a day, whether it be giving money to the homeless, doing something sweet for a friend, or saying something nice to a stranger.
- Stay at university. I may not enjoy it (who would after 5 years of study?), but it will be worth it in the end.
- Try my hardest at everything I do.
- Keep doing things that terrify me, especially things like dance performances
- Learn to crochet
- Learn to enjoy playing piano again
- Finish the story I started two years ago
- Choreograph a dance
- Do some more Rockabilly and Swing lessons
- Learn time management, so that around assessment time I am still able to spend time with friends and do everything I said I would do, without getting snowed under.
- Give myself a break before I burn out, which seems to happen every year
- Follow my budget and save money, so that I can celebrate finishing my degree with an amazing holiday and know I worked for it and earned it
- Keep buying only handmade, ethical or op-shop clothes, as well as 'animal friendly' products (which by the way is way more difficult than it should be!), even though the consumerist young lady in me finds it very hard..
- Smile at everyone I pass
- Show Joel how much he means to me
- FINALLY have a Halloween party instead of talking about it every year
- Do the decorations for the wedding myself even though I don't have a creative bone in my body and it will most likely be mildly ridiculous (I want rainbows of colour everywhere!)
- Learn to accept my awkwardness
- Make time for my friends
- Think positive
- Take risks

AND the one thing I promise myself I will do every year that seems downright impossible: STOP CHEWING MY NAILS!! - Not going to happen. Ever. I've given upon this one already.

So.. They are my intentions for the rest of the year. I probably won't achieve all of them, but it's nice to have a direction towards my agenda for life :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Feeling a little more responsible

It’s time for a change. A life overhaul if you will. I have wasted so much time feeling sorry for myself, blaming the world when things went wrong. Or blaming myself and getting depressed and frustrated... but not doing anything productive or making an effort to change the circumstances I was in. I’m tired of always getting second best simply because that is all I have aimed for. Over the years I have developed an almost learned helplessness. I get into trouble, mess up, then fall back on the people I love and they fix it for me (when it is usually my own mistake). For example I am terrible with money. Absolutely awful. I will agree to do anything at any time regardless of cost, then turn around and realise I can’t pay my phone bill, or afford the bus, or food. Then someone bails me out. I thought moving out would automatically turn me into an adult. I would become responsible over night. Well it turns out I actually have to make an effort and work at this type of thing. It is the same with university. I whinge and moan because I don’t get amazing grades, and yet I’ve never made any effort. I don’t go to lectures, barely make it to 50% of tutorials, and think 3 hours is the most amount of time anyone should ever spend on a piece of assessment. It is not that I am lazy (or not entirely)... more that I am terrified. What if I put in a lot effort...and I still do badly? I don't do too well now because I don’t try, but what does it say about me if I do badly when I do try? This is the reason I have been failing at life so much lately. I am so scared of trying my hardest and it still turning into a colossal disaster. I don’t think I want to be a teacher, but I have never given myself the chance to want to be simply because I have it in my mind that I would not do well. From now on, it’s effort and happiness. Even if I do fail, I will fail with a huge goddamn smile on my face. Because I’ll know that I gave life all that I could give, and I made the biggest mark on the world that I could.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My winter blues have turned sunshine yellow.

I used to hate winter. Every time the season changed my mood would change with it. I never felt like myself until the cherry blossoms came out and the weather warmed, warming my heart along with it. At the end of last winter I decided I needed to make a change, learn to love all of life, not just the parts that were easy for me. And so this winter I changed my whole outlook on the season. I started venturing out as often as possible, going to cafes or pubs with friends and sitting by fireplaces. I started to take walks and enjoy the feeling of the crisp winter air in the mornings. I watched the season change, and learned to appreciate all of the little things I had never noticed before. The trees becoming bare, and looking so romantic against the sunset. The frost transforming the world, every leaf and blade of grass covered in tiny diamonds.
Now, though it's not my favourite season, I have learned to love winter.
I love the big cozy jackets and jumpers, the tights and boots, the scarves and old 1940's style hats. I love drinking tea or hot chocolate curled up under a million blankets. I love feeling my nose tingle and my cheeks turn pink as I walk gloved hand in gloved hand with Joel. And I love sitting in pubs with friends, drinking cider and watching the rain. Now I can't wait until next winter to do it all again.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

unconditional like isn't always the healthiest option

Lately there has been so much talk about self-esteem. Learning to love yourself. Learning to like yourself. YOU are perfect. And this talk can be good. It can help people who have difficulty accepting themselves. People who hate themselves. And I do agree with it... to some extent. But this talk completely misses another important aspect of life: self improvement. Yes, people should love themselves. Everyone deserves love, you no less than anyone else. But not everyone deserves unconditional like. And that’s the problem. You can like yourself as a whole, that’s healthy. It’s just as important to like yourself as a whole as to love yourself. But you don’t need to like everything about yourself. If you like everything about yourself, then how will you ever grow as a person? How will you ever change? How will you improve your life? How will you improve other’s lives? I am not saying don’t like your imperfections, imperfections can be much more beautiful then perfection. But what about those things about yourself that make you (or others) unhappy? You don’t need to like them. You can look at them and say: ‘I don’t like this about myself, I want to improve’. It doesn’t mean that you need to beat yourself up over it, or hate yourself, or dislike yourself as a person. But there’s nothing wrong with recognising that you’re not entirely the person you have a capability to become.

This doesn’t mean being that person all of the time. No one can do that. If you are, in general, a nice person, then you do something nasty or hurt someone’s feelings, this does not mean that you are a nasty person. But (for example) if you are consistently feeling sorry for yourself and/or ignoring other’s feelings in light of your own, then maybe you can try and improve on that aspect of yourself.

There are aspects of myself that I don’t like. I am not ashamed or guilty about it. I used to be, I used to try so hard to change, then become extremely depressed when I did not act like that person 100% of the time. It felt like I became worse, and messed up more often, when I strived for perfection. So now, I just try to improve on the things about myself that are adversely affecting me. And the people close to me.

And I mess up. More often than I’d like to admit. But I’ve come to accept that it’s ok. I pick myself up, forgive myself, and try my best. I’m not trying to fix everything. I can’t. But I chose the aspects of myself (both consciously and unconsciously) that did make me feel like I didn’t deserve to be liked. And by slowly working on them I am much happier, and have much higher self-esteem, than if I just sat back and believed I was perfect exactly as I was. Because I'd know deep down I wasn't. And I would hate myself for that.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How I knew he was the one

I have worn makeup for a long time. A LONG TIME. It was the easiest thing to hide behind without..well without actually hiding. Whenever I stayed at a friend's house I would make sure I woke up earlier than them, just so I could brush my hair and put on a full face of makeup and pretend I woke up like that. I could not bare for anyone to see me for how I actually was.
The first time I stayed over at Joel's house I made sure I woke up early so I could hide my face. I woke up and thought about reaching for my bag. Then I changed my mind. I fell asleep again. And when we woke up together I let him see me for me. And he told me I was beautiful.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rocket Science

I know, I know, 2 posts in one day. But I just had to share all of the many many beautiful reasons why I love the movie Rocket Science:

'That years national debate topic was farming subsidies. And if you don't know how farming subsidies could inspire all this commotion, then you don't know life. And there's nothing that can be said about it. Suitcases end marriages, and farming subsides cause cataclysms.'  

'Can a voice travel from one person to another, like yawning and mono. sure it can. The will to speak traveled that night across the dark new jersey highways, until it arrived on this very block. where it would take up residence, or try to, in someone new.'  

'Do you want to hear your problem? You have no agenda. Strictly head in the ground material. Look at me. Look at me. I wake up every morning and what do I do? I create an agenda for the day, which is a sub-agenda for the month. Which is in itself a pie-slice of my agenda for life.'  

'Resolved, that Hal Hefner should really stop letting the world tell him what's possible and try and figure it out for himself.' 

'Before this, there was the nothingness of Plains-borough New Jersey, but now Hal Hefner suddenly had only one thought. And it felt like all his life his brain had been waiting for this thought. So comfortably now did it fit in, and take up all the room there was.' 

'Hi, do you want to sit down and listen to an old couple work through their marriage through music therapy?'

Ginny: 'Have you ever felt like you could burn the world down?'
Hal: 'Every day' 

'It was like he was pretending. Pretending that it could all be what it was. But it can't. You can only pretend for so long before the forces that be take that away from you. Just like that it took off. And he found himself sprinting. It was ridiculous but he did, he sprinted. You don't let love collapse all around you and not put up a fight. You punch back. Unless you can find someone else to throw the punch for you. Then by all means, do that.'  

'Have i got this right? Your contention is that we should debate as a team. You; an inexperienced kid with a bad and unpredictable stutter. Me; not have debated at all this year and having no knowledge of the resolution. In support of this you basically offer up that you threw a cello through someone's window. It's charming, no doubt.' 

'I swear, I don't know what you'd do without someone in this family who could steal and then organise.'

'Come and visit me sometime if you want, we'll reminisce about this, what it means'  

'Well, ahh, today was not my day, OK? But some day will be. And on that day, you will be sitting at home, alone, at home, and you'll think to yourself..when you're alone, that I knew him when. Him, being me.' 

'Don't you dare go thinking that this was easy for me, or simple. If you think that my feelings on the matter were clear then you'd be underestimating my complexity. And while i see that you don't recognise this now, you actually have me to thank, in part modesty forces me to acknowledge, but in large part for your newfound zest of competition and gamesmanship. That was very clever of you to find ben. Surprisingly clever, and very painful, which means that I upped your game little man. You're welcome.'

*about love: 'Well i guess there comes a point, see when you reach a certain age and.. you're in jersey, or someplace just like it, and you stop trying to figure it all out, you just..are glad for what you have.'
'Eventually all of this would pass, and the memory of it would give way to embellishment, and fantasy and outright distortion, until it was hard for Hal Hefner to remember what he was really like back then, when he still carried in his head the sound of a made-up perfect voice, the voice that could speak it's heart. The voice he used to wish he had. Until the day he stopped wishing he sounded like anyone else, and just started talking as he was.'