Saturday, May 14, 2016

Pilots and Nightsweats

I was going through files on my computer today, and came across this poem I wrote. I have no clue when I wrote it, but I must say, I'm quite happy with it. Enjoy, or don't, it's not really an uplifting piece. 

She forces her eyes shut
Tighter and tighter
Until she sees shapes and lights
That she draws with her mind
Torn between the two
She doesn’t know
If the shapes are forming
Reality or dreams
But she knows
She can no longer inhale
And her voice is stolen
For she says to herself
“scream, scream so loud
So they can save you”
She opens her mouth and hears gasping
Maybe if she’s lucky
she’ll mutter something incomprehensible
And talk about fingers and toes
All the while
Choking on her own fear

Her thoughts run rapid
Memories flashing ferociously
Yet none set as concrete
So they become distorted
Scattered skulls
broken bodies
Little ladies
With bare backs
caught in cages
Shouting sounds
That echo in the distance

Her mind transcends
Caught between realities
Trapped in those moments before death
Where she lets her body relax
Preparing for nothingness
Fearing eternity
She says to him
“take me. I’m ready”
But somewhere amongst
living and dying
her room becomes a ward
Where her bed is engulfed by bars
She hears the nurses shuffling their feet
And doctors telling her to keep quiet
“ssshhh…it’s a secret” they whisper
“just lay very still, and it will all be over”
She hears the beeping of the machines
And aeroplanes flying overhead
She knows the pilot all too well
As she feels the plane crash
While children are playing in an empty room
Desolate
she screams to the pilot
who lies paralysed
“get up! Get up!
Your children need you”

She hears the pilot’s apathy
And cradles the children in her arms
As the house crumbles behind her
Fading into darkness
Away from the nurses
And machines
And the pilot
She wakes exhausted
Damp sheets
Covered in her sweat
She looks outside
The sun is rising
Relief floods her skin
She has survived
One more night.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dear Anxiety

Dear Anxiety,

There is so much I was going to do today. I had planned on accomplishing a lot of things. All that marking, those reports to be written, they were going to be ticked off my list. But…then you decided to visit. Firstly, you were not invited. My tablets are supposed to stop you from coming around uninvited too…but you just don’t get the hint, do you? You’re like an ex who just keeps calling and calling, even when they can see that you’ve moved on.

So, now that you’re here, guess how much of my list I have completed? That was rhetorical, you don’t need to answer. If you’re not sure though, the answer is none. I have done nothing that I was supposed to do. I was supposed to take over the world today. Instead, the world is taking over me. It is debilitating, weighing down on my shoulders. It is making me jump at every single noise, turn quickly to every flash of movement. It is preparing me for the horrifying possibility of my phone ringing. Hey, it even convinced me that the plane flying overhead this morning was going to crash on me. Yep, I had prepared myself for the escape route and all. As you can tell, no plane crashed, and while I was sitting there stressing about it, everyone else was getting things ticked off their list.

Guess what else I have done today since you decided to visit? I have gone to the toilet a lot, even though I’ve hardly eaten. You have a knack of causing that. Let's see? I have tapped my foot against the floor enough to burn at least 1000 calories. I have also checked my phone a million times, stared at the wall for about half an hour (not all at once of course, you wouldn’t allow for that level of relaxation). I have taken my puffer convinced that I’m having an asthma attack. Oh, I’ve also nearly completely bitten the nail off one of my fingers, though I’ll count that one as an accomplishment. I need to give myself some encouragement.

Anyway, I don’t want to be rude, but I’d appreciate it if you left now. You see, everyone else will complete their list, and I’ll still be lagging behind, which no doubt will cause you to come back tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. Meh, even when the list if finally done you’ll probably just decide to hang around and tell me that I’m not exercising enough, or I’m not reading enough, or that I’m simply not good enough. And if you don’t manage to be that harsh, I’m sure you’ll converse with all the planes, making sure they all fly ominously overhead, as low as they possibly can. Ha, and you’ll no doubt decide to pull all those files out of my brain that are well hidden…you know, the ones that are stamped “Past experiences - don’t read” because they always set me off into a traumatic downward spiral. That won’t be enough will it? No doubt you’ll get into the “fears and dreads” file too, and just for entertainment, you’ll watch them replay again and again and again in my mind, until I’m so convinced that I’m caught in the  midst of my last breathes, that I have to call my loved one's and tell them that my time is almost up.

Yep, you’re definitely that toxic friend that you try to cut out of your life, but you just keep finding your way back in. So anxiety, take a hint. Our friendship is long expired. I have things to do, and a life to live, and I plan on doing it without you in it.

Regards,

Em 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

To Medicate, Or Not To Medicate? That is the Question!

Over the past years I have read many biased opinions on why people should not medicate mental illness. Here are just some of the comments:

“It ruins your body”
“you can self-heal”
“It’s just the drug companies trying to get money off you”
“it’s addictive”

And then there’s those who tell me what I should be doing instead:
“you need to sleep more”
“you need to exercise more”
“you need to eat healthy”
“you should be in therapy”
“try natural therapies”

So, what happens though, when you are already doing all those recommendations? When, no matter how much you sleep, how healthy you eat, how many natural therapies you try, how much you exercise, or how much therapy you get, your mental illnesses are still stopping you from living a fulfilling life? I have tried all the above, and I still do all of the above, however without medications, alongside my sleep, exercise, healthy eating, and therapy, I am a danger to myself.
I’m not denying that these things help…they help a lot, and for many people that’s all they need to change their mindset, but for some, those with severe mental illness, often caused by both nature and nurture, more is needed.

First, let me explain that this is only my opinion. Different things work for different people. These are my observations, and I have observed totally different things that work for others. For example, I have had friends who have appeared to be in a state of depression after a break-up, but what I believe they were experiencing was grief. They were suffering from what Freud would call “mourning”, which is a stage that passes over time, and usually, does not need medicating. I say usually, as if one experiences this over a prolonged period, it may then become a state of “melancholy”, otherwise known as clinical depression. It is essential to take each case separately. You should not simply say “this worked for me, therefore it will work for you”, or “medication did nothing for me, therefore it will do nothing for you”, because everyone is different. We have our own genetics, our own childhoods, and our own life experiences. This is simply one experience…my experience.

I have suffered from social anxiety for as long as I can remember, general anxiety for roughly 13 years, and depression for about 16 years. I have previously done a blog on this (Dealing With Depression) so I will not go into the details too much. I have also been diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, an attachment disorder (which is sometimes what triggers major depressive, and anxiety episodes), and told I have “aspie traits”, though I believe these traits are symptoms of my early childhood, and not a disorder. I have only been getting treatment for all the above for the past 9 years, so life has been a struggle at times. To try and list all the medications I have been put on, would be stretching my brain, however they range from anti-depressants, benzos, anti-psychotics, and stimulants like Ritalin. Some have worked…some haven’t.

The Ritalin was great as it enabled me to focus, however the anxiety when it wore off (think of the contrast of having a focused TV channel for a day, then suddenly having a brain full of static and switching channels constantly), was horrendous, and had to be balanced with Valium or Xanax. I swore to myself that I would never become the person who needs one pill to counteract another pill, so I stopped the Ritalin, and work on others ways to manage the ADHD symptoms. The anti-psychotics were a nightmare, and not something I will ever allow someone to prescribe me again (falling off a chair, while asleep in the middle of a uni tutorial is not exactly pleasant). The benzos help in emergencies, but…my saviour of all these has been anti-depressants/anxiety pills, and other than that, Xanax here and there. That is all I regularly take now (along with fish oil, and natural treatments).
There has been times though, when I have not been on anti-depressants. I have tried to fight against them, and saw myself as ‘broken’, or not the ‘real me’ if I were on them. I thought they were inhibiting my writing, and stopping me from reaching my full potential. Being off them though, was even worse.

When I was not on them my panic attacks were controlling me. They would occur when: I crossed the road, when I put my foot on concrete, when I served a customer at work, when I wasn’t sitting near an exit, when I was in the cinema, when I drove on a freeway, when I drove through a tunnel or over a bridge, when I drove through a major intersection, when I was on a train, when I was on a tram, when I was in a crowd, when I was in an elevator, when I was walking through the shops and not holding onto the wall or a side ramp, when the green man was flashing for me to cross the road, when I had to talk in front of a crowd… you probably get my drift. Any moment, where I was not in total control of the situation, resulted in a panic attack. For those who have experienced panic attacks where you start sweating, feel like you can’t breathe, everything goes blurry, you can’t stand or move your legs, and are convinced you are dying…well you will understand how hard simply living daily life was. People would tell me how they used to experience them, and how they got better, but during the year when this was happening daily, I could not seem to find the hope they offered. Around this time I was adamant that I would get through this un-medicated. I consistently told my therapist this, and thought exercise, healthy eating, sleep, and therapy would heal me. As I have previously mentioned, all that did help, however, it was clear that this was not something that could be fixed that easily. When I finally decided to go on medication, my life started to improve. I’m not saying that I did not still experience anxiety, however, it was not as debilitating as it was pre-medication.

Then there is the depression. This is something, that I think when you have a chemical imbalance, you will struggle to treat without medication, however, I’m sure some people do. I have battled with this since I was 16, although it was unknown to me at the time that that’s what it was. I often wonder if I would have taken a different path had I have had an earlier diagnosis. My depression presents itself in very stereotypical ways. Suicidal thoughts, no hope or dreams for the future, nothing seems positive in the world, self-hatred, self-harm, extreme negative self-talk, all the classic traits. I have tried managing this on and off the meds. Being off them, always leads to me being a danger to myself. This year I decided I would go off them again. I started weaning down at the start of January. By February, I was self-harming again, and on a suicide action plan with my therapist. During the time off, I still kept up all my exercise, ate healthy, etc. I was even working more closely with a naturopath to try natural medications. She had me on the strongest doses she gives out, and resulted in needing to say “I want you to go back to your doctor to get on anti-depressants/anxiety medications. It is my duty of care to talk to you about this, as you clearly need something much stronger than I can give you”. When a naturopath says it, you know it must be needed.

It took until April for me to stop being so stubborn, and to go back on them. I am now in a much better place, and even don’t need to see my therapist regularly anymore. It’s amazing how much it shifted me. Something I have hated during all this though, is feeling the need to defend myself against people who are anti-medication, and even anti-mental illness. As though an illness in the brain is not real, because they can-not see it through blood tests, or x-rays. I suppose partly this entry is my response to all those people. When someone is in such a deep state of depression and anxiety, the worst thing another person can do is argue with them that it doesn’t exist, that it is all “in their head” (no shit! Isn’t that half the problem?), that they have somehow caused this themselves. I am so fortunate to have had an amazing therapist (and my new one is also wonderful), a great personal trainer, some loving friends and family, and a once in a lifetime partner, who have been so patient and understanding during the journey. When I hit rock bottom my partner lets me stay in bed, makes me chai, and puts my favourite TV show on, but then helps me back up when she knows it’s time for movement.

So, what I hope you can take from this, is knowing that everyone is different. What I recommend though, is making sure you try to eat healthy, sleep well, exercise, and find a good therapist, although often medication may be needed in order to get sleep, and exercise happening in the first place. It all depends on the individual. I suggest not to let a doctor you don't know well, treat you the same as everyone else. Don’t let them just instantly medicate you because you’re grieving through a break-up. Find someone who knows you, who takes the time to listen, and who understands you. Listen to your body. Listen to those who listen to you. I know what I need to do to maintain my health, but it has taken a long time, and a range of treatments to work it out. It has taken intense therapy, complimented with treatments, and good health. I don’t believe I could find progress in one area, without coupling it with the other areas. You will find your own strategies, and during the hardest times other people can say things, that while they think they mean well, can be damaging. Surround yourselves with those who understand you and love you, and know that when you get through the other side, you will be a much stronger, and empathetic person, than the one you were before. This is what I have done, and in 8 years I have gone from being someone who could not talk in front of a class, to someone who teaches high-school students every day. From someone who could not drive anywhere, to someone who can now drive interstate. By no means am I perfect though. I still jump at the sound of a loud noise, become traumatised by violent films, experience night terrors, am hyper-sensitive, and go through days riddled with anxiety and depression, but, I am living. I am waking up each day, and wanting to make the world a better place. I am wanting to help young people overcome these kind of issues, and teach others to be more tolerant and understanding of each other. This is why I need my medication. I hope you find something that works for you. 

Here is a picture of me not on meds, and on meds. See if you can notice the difference.

And if all that fails, get a kitten (or if you're a dog person, get a puppy). No-one can be sad when playing with a kitten or puppy. This is me and my cat Olie. He makes me smile every single day. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Tribute To The Best Guy Ever - My Pop

My Pop was such an awesome person. Seriously, no-one will ever compare. He was funny, smart, caring...all those adjectives that come along with a person being amazing.

Our birthday's were a day apart, so we always celebrated together. This made the day extra special for both of us.

In order to celebrate how kick ass he was, I am sharing my top 10 memories with him. 
  1. When I told him I had a boyfriend, he replied with "tell him if he hurts you, I'll break every bone in his body".

  2. Riding in the car with him. He never had volume on in the car (if he did it was always classical music at a low volume), so to this day whenever I hear a clicking indicator, my mind takes me back to riding with Pop. Pop used to make furniture, so a lot of these trips involved delivering chairs to others houses.  

  3. Picking up tacks (nails) in his workshop. He had a magnet on a piece of rope, and would give me 1 cent for each tack I collected. This turned out to be a lot in the 80's/early 90's. I would get a good 100 tacks a time, which added up to $1 (a kid could buy a lot of mates at the school canteen with this back then). 

  4. The trade of money once I got my $1. The conversation would go something like this. 
    Him - "How much money you got there Emmy?"
    Me - "$1"
     Him - "I'll trade you your 1 for a 2"
    Me - "Awesome"
    The trade happens.
    Him - "How much money you got there Emmy?"
    Me - "$2"
    Him - "I'll trade you your 2 for a 5"
    Me - (about to burst with 8 year old excitement) "Really?????"
    The trade happens.
    Him - "Don't tell your dad"

  5. Listening to him banter with Nanna. Nanna hated Poppa pulling out his false teeth, so of course what else would he do, but pull them out. He had such a good sense of humour. He once juggled the plates when doing the dishes, and dropped all of Nanna's good china. SMASH! And those terrible jokes. The amount of times I heard this one "Emily Wood is no good, chop her up for firewood, if she is no good for that, feed her to the big Tom cat".
    Nanna and Poppa had so much love for each other. He worked at home, and Nanna would always page him on the intercom for lunch and morning tea. They had such a beautiful relationship. The extent of this can be seen by how much she struggled to continue on without him, 

  6. Morning breakfast. Pop always had the same breakfast. It consisted of an orange, a bowl of Just Right, and a poached egg. While eating it he would read the paper. What made him extra awesome was that he would pick out the sultanas for us so we would eat our cereal (this was usually Just Right, and sometimes even Sultana Bran. It that's not love, then I don't know what is), then when pouring the milk we were required to say the word 'woo' when it was enough. No other word was accepted. I still say 'woo' to this day, when someone is pouring me a drink.

  7. The Little Things - Playing eye-spy in the morning's. When we stayed we would always go straight to Nan and Pop's bed when we woke up, and play some epic games of eye-spy. I can't remember who won, but I remember experiencing such a feeling of safety being there with them.
    Him picking me up so I could put the 1 and 2 cent coins in the huge scales, then see how many stone I weighed. If I remember correctly I usually weighed about 4 stone.
    Watching him do the crossword during morning tea every day.
    *I will continue to edit this section, as more little memories come back me. 
  8. With Santa at the Christmas party
    The lodge Christmas party and lodge visits. Pop was high up in the lodge, which if you know anything about the Masonic lodge, it is a very secretive group. It was not until I was much older and talking to someone else who is a member of the lodge, that I found out that that Pop probably should not have shown us the huge Chess board (I swear that's what it was), or shown us the 'secret' hand shake. The best part about him being a member of this was the Christmas parties each year. This was by far my favourite   part of Christmas. There would be egg throwing competitions (my dad was really good at those), peanut hunting comps (we had a group of about 10 of us, and would win. Every. Single. Year), and Santa would arrive on a trailer bearing gifts, followed by trailer rides. Strangely, one of my most vivid   memories of this day was the Peter's Ice-creams in cups, and the supply of soft drinks (which Pop would always sneak more of to us than allowed).

    Even with sacks on we look good.
    All tied up and nowhere to go
  9. My deb ball. I am a terrible dancer. Poppa was not. When we were dancing together, he told me to stand on his feet, so I looked like I knew what I was doing. He passed away about 5 months after this.

                               

  10.  My very last memory with him. He got very sick, very quickly. I was in his room as he was     bedridden, and I was telling him all about how I wanted to save up to go to America. I didn't realise it would be one of the last times I would see him. As I was about to leave the room he called to me and said "Emmy, you are the most beautiful girl in the world. Don't let anyone ever tell you any different".

    *The older I get, the more I realise how much he has impacted who I am. With Pop, I share my love of music, and reading. Since his passing, we have found the letters he wrote to Nanna while he was away during the war. He wrote such beautiful, romantic declarations of love to her. I'd share one, but their love deserves the respect and privacy that they gave each other in life. Just recently I found the last thing he gave me. It is a small teddy bear, holding a heart, that says "I love you". To me, it symbolises everything about our relationship. 

    I hope he is proud of the person I have become. Love you Pop.


    Daggy song, yes, but these lyrics have always reminded me of him. The more I understand about my childhood, the more I know that the love from him and Nanna shaped me to become who I am.

                                  



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Greek Adonis

I remember the day I proudly told my therapist that I had found the key to happiness
I told her “I will never love again”
I told her that I will be strong and not let anyone break my cast-iron heart.
That I will be strong enough to walk away from beautiful women
That I will be strong
My god…I was wrong
Because then I met  you
And you were too beautiful to walk away from
And I said to you
Here is my tattered heart
And you can break it into a million pieces
For you…it is worth it
Even if I can never put it back together
For you…it is worth it

You opened up the dictionary 
and showed me the definition of strong
Not locking up myself like some gutless bully in a playground
but by saying here is all of me
and I know if this ends I will want to die
and I can imagine all the pills I will take to stop the pain
and I will probably end up in a psych ward
screaming “I love you. I love you. I love you”
but loving you is worth that risk
it’s worth the panic attacks every damn time that plane lifted off
and the fear of seeing a snake in the country
and no that isn’t a metaphor for a penis
it’s worth saying “I have an attachment disorder
but baby, I’ll attach to you like a lost three year old
and curl into the foetal position if you go".

I realise now I wasn't wrong
when I told my therapist that "I would be strong"
Because now I have biceps and a 6 pack to grate cheese on.
You my love
You make me as strong as a Greek Adonis
I could take on anyone with you by my side
When they question “do you even lift?”
They will regret even asking
My god! 
With you by my side I could be in the Guiness book of Records
Because you my unicorn
You have made me the strongest person alive.
Now let's wrestle.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

10 'The Little Prince' Quotes We Should All Live By

I remember when I first read Antoine De Saint-Exupery's 'The Little Prince'. It was as though all those morals I believed in, all those things I thought made someone a good person, were all in this one book. Here I have compiled my top 10 quotes from the book, and explained why I think they are essential to live an honorable and meaningful life. I will explain what each means me to, and why I love it so much, but of course this is only my own interpretation. It will be impacted by my life experience, so like all great literature, you may interpret it how you like.

10. When it is a bad plant, one must destroy it as soon as possible, the very first instant that one recognizes it.





I don't consider this to be just about plants. To me this is about people. When you start to see some negative behaviours in a person you need to work on helping them manage them as soon as possible. Obviously you don't destroy the person, but you must try and treat the behaviour before it gets out of hand. The longer someone has a bad habit for, the harder it is to break. As soon as it is recognised work on breaking it.

9. I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.



This can be taken two ways. To you it could mean that in order to be around beautiful things you need to often be around, and accept, the not so beautiful things (I say beautiful as in means of a soul, not appearance) to find them. I see this moreso though, as people can grow into more beautiful souls. That often it is the one's you would not expect who turn into the butterflies.

8. I did not know how to reach him, how to catch up with him... The land of tears is so mysterious.



This doesn't need much explanation. How do you really reach someone who is hurt? Can anyone really feel someone elses pain and get in there with them? It feels so alone to be in a state of depression, but it feels just as lonely watching someone you love go through it.

7. All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it.




This is an ongoing theme in 'The Little Prince'. I don't view the grown ups though, as adults, and I don't view the children just as kids. I view the children as all people in the world who still have an imagination. Those who hold onto a sense of innocence, and don't lose themselves as they grow up. I view the adults as those who care only about the extrinsic things; about money, appearance, what job you have, etc. So, from this quote, everyone once has had the innocence and imagination of a child, but many forget it and lose sight of this. I have known many teenagers who have already lost it, who appear to already forget what it was like to have that sense of wonder about the world. They stop questioning, they stop wanting to know, they start thinking they know it all. I hope one day they all remember what it was like to be a child again.

6. Words are the source of misunderstandings.




There is another very famous similar quote to this one - "silence is the only thing that can not be misquoted". Basically, this is saying that through words we misunderstand what others are saying, and that people often say things without realising how the other person would take it. Words can also mislead people. Someone may interpret it the way they want to hear it. Think about when you first start to like someone, you take anything they say as hope for there to be a potential relationship. Words can be dangerous, and you should always be careful with them.

5. It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.



There are billions of people in this world. To an alien we would all look the same, unless that alien got to know someone, to care for them, to love them. They would then look different from everyone else. This is what I believe this quote to be about. You don't find someone important, or love them, just because they exist. It is the time you have spent together, the things you have battled through, the memories you have built, that make them so important to you. As 'The Little Prince' says "I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in the whole world".

4. One runs the risk of weeping a little if one allows himself to be tamed.




When we love someone, and get hurt, we get so angry at ourselves for letting them in. You must remember though, that as soon as you let someone close to you, as soon as you trust them, then that is the risk you take. Of course, it might hurt. God, I know how excruciating the pain can be, but that is the chance you take to feel the happiness of love.

3. It is much harder to judge yourself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself, it's because you're truly a wise man.




This shouldn't need explaining. People spend too much time judging others, and talking badly about them. That is easy, but how many of these people can really look at themselves properly and see what they don't like? How many of us really face ourselves and are willing to change things? Instead too many people spend this time judging others, rather than facing what really could better themselves. As Jung said "everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves".

2. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.



Stop living by appearances, and thinking others are how they look on the outside. Look beyond that. Look at the person they are underneath the exterior. That is what is important. I have often said that we should wear our brains and hearts on the outside (not in a gross way) so that people are really seen for their true beauty.

1. You become responsible forever for what you've tamed.




This is my all time favourite quote. It has meant a lot to me, and hits me very deeply. Basically, it's this. If you care for someone, if you make a promise, if you let them know they are your friend, then you are responsible for the way you treat them. You can't just walk away when you're done, and treat them badly, and think it's ok. If you have a child, it is your responsiblity to look after them. If you tell someone you love them, you must mean it. If you make a friend, always be mindful of the kind of friend you are. Be aware. Be kind. Be responsible. 


Honourable Mention - What makes the desert so beautiful, is that somewhere it hides a well.


Honourable Mention - "What makes the desert beautiful," says the little prince, "is that somewhere it hides a well."

Because sometimes you will find what you need in the places you least expect. That’s what makes them so beautiful.

So, that's my top ten favourite quotes. If you haven't read the book you need to asap. Here is a link: The Little Prince



This post is dedicated to my good friends Ann and Kate who introduced me to 'The Little Prince' at a time in my life when I really needed him.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Things that make me go GRR!

1. People standing side by side on escalators and travelators
Seriously, use your brain. Not everyone is as lazy as you, or has the time to stand there waiting for the snail pace escalator to reach the top. Have some courtesy and stick to the left so others can get past.


2. Passive aggressiveness
If you are ever angry at me, please just tell me. I do not want to spend all my time trying to work out what I may possibly have done wrong. I will rarely get it right, and instead try to fix everything I think I could have done wrong, thus giving you more reasons to be annoyed at me. No one likes walking on eggshells, or lego, or fire, so just tell me what the issue is so we can talk about it and move on.


3. People not thanking you when you let them in while driving
I know this annoys a lot of people. How hard can it really be to just give someone a wave to show appreciation? I will probably mention this a few times, but I can't work out if people are ignorant, stupid, or just plain rude.



4. Snoring
I know it is of no fault of the person snoring, but damn it makes me angry. I have been know to hit, kick, and maybe even put a pillow over the head of a snorer. It is even worse when staying in hostels. I really believe that if I ever murder someone it will be due to their snoring.


5. Bad grammar
Refer to my previous blog entry 'Grammar Nazi'.


6. People talking on their phones at the gym
How can you possibly get a proper work out while on the phone? What annoys me even more is when they do not have hands-free. Firstly, holding the phone is definitely not going to improve your exercise. Secondly, I do not want to hear your loud conversations about your boring life. Shut up!


7. People slowing down to watch something on the side of the road (which ends up being someone simply changing their car tyre)
You know the story. Stuck in a traffic jam. Can't work out why as it's not peak hour time. Get to the place of the jam, and there is either a car accident, a police car, or someone changing a tyre. Then as soon as you pass the scene, traffic clears up, and runs smoothly. GRRR!



8. Litter
Not only does litter pollute the environment, but it is ugly to look at. Unless crows are attacking the bins there is no excuse for this. How hard is it to put things in a bin? It also frustrates me when I ask a student to help me pick up papers, and they tell me it's not their rubbish. Who cares? If people only cared about themselves then the world would not be a very nice place...oh wait.


9. People smoking out the front of exercising venues
I find this to be extremely arrogant. Have some respect people. If others are exercising near there they are obviously interested in keeping healthy. Rude!


10. People listening to their music without headphones (or extremely loudly with headphones) on a train
The even more frustrating thing about this is the ones who are arrogant enough to do this, are the ones with the worst taste in music. Read carefully - no one wants to hear your music while on a train. Get over yourself and think about others.

You know who doesn't annoy me. Lauren Graham. She is perfect.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The broken sausage roll bag

When I was a kid my parents sat me and my sisters down and told us they were getting a divorce
And I remember being so angry that they chose then to tell us
Because we were meant to go swimming with our next door neighbours
And they made us stay home instead
But things started to look up
Because my dad and sister went out
So mum gave me money to go to the milkbar to buy a sausage roll for dinner
I rode my bike there
But the sausage roll bag broke on the way home
And I cried and cried over that damn bag and the lost sausage roll

About a year later my mum took a bad turn
And she had to go to emergency
It was about twelve at night
So dad woke us up and took us in our pyjamas
We waited there for hours
Playing hand games trying to kill time
I don’t remember when we got home
But the next day
My teacher asked us all who had brushed our teeth that morning
hadn't
But I was too scared to tell her that
So I lied and felt guilty about it all day

When I was a teenager my poppa died
I slept in the room with my parents that night
Because I was so scared I would see his dead body
And the dark became a place for trepidation
As soon as night time began
I was convinced he would be standing there
Staring silently at me
 I never cried at the funeral
Instead I watched everyone else cry
And wondered what was wrong with me

My sister was really sick around the same time
She had a broken heart
It had been broken for a long time
But she didn't know how to fix it
So instead it tried to destroy her
I used to visit her in the hospital
And wondered why the other patients did strange things
Like bark like a dog in front of the television
But it helped drown out the sound of her screaming
After one particular visit
I got in trouble the next day at school
My teacher told me to stop listening to my disc-man
So I threw it at her head
She sent me to the co-ordinator
And I started crying in front of her
I was so embarrassed
But kind of relieved
Because I never got punished for throwing that disc-man

Mum was back in hospital again
And I was old enough to visit her myself
So I caught the bus afterschool
And went in to see her
When I got back home
I had to hang the washing out
While I was halfway through
Our dog  peed in the basket
I was so angry at him for doing that
But that wasn't unusual
I always seemed to be angry back then
I think that's why my sister called me "attitude"

A few years later my dad sat me down
And told me a big secret
that took away all my trust in others
And all I thought was
“why did you tell me this?
it would have been easier if I didn't know”
And I started thinking about making newspaper hats
And going out drinking with my friends
Dad asked me if I had any questions
I asked him how to spell the big secret
He said he didn't know

When I was in my twenties
I started to get panic attacks
And couldn't leave the house
So I went to the doctor
who referred me to a psychologist
who referred me to a psychiatrist
They all tried to work out what was wrong with me
But it was too hard
Because they couldn't pinpoint the exact cause
So I spent years talking
And drinking
And punching walls
And cutting myself
While they continued to try and work it out

I went to the library a lot around that time
I wanted to know about everything that was wrong with me
I researched all I could
About the workings of my mind
From the day I was born
Until the present
I learnt all the tricks the shrinks used
To try fix you
(they hated this)
But no matter how much I learnt
It was never enough
To fix myself
All it left me with
Was a knowledgable psychological mind
And no degree to support it

They said "my brain was rewired
When I was just a small child"
And I imagined looking inside a computer
With cables and cords and electrical currents
So I asked them
"Why can’t someone just open up my brain
And move the cables around
So they are all in the right direction?"
They always laughed then
As if I was telling a joke
Because I always told jokes
But that time I wasn't trying to be funny

They told me "it’s too late"
And mumbled something about
“developmental stages”
And “that the time in the hospital
And the time in foster care
Happened at the wrong time”
As if there is supposed to be a right time for those kinds of things to happen
So instead of opening my brain
And fixing the cables
I was told to "take a tablet once a day"

I don’t cry anymore
The medication numbs me
Which is worrying
Because isn't not crying
What got me here in the first place?




Thursday, November 15, 2012

Marriage equality.

Watch this -

Now that I have your attention and hopefully disgust like that video gave me, I would like you to read on. 
Recently my year 10 students have been doing persuasive oral presentations, which is a great avenue for them to direct their opinions. What I have found difficult is listening to a few presentations opposing same sex marriage. It disgusts me to see that some people believe they are above others so much that they can determine who they can commit their life to. The only people who should be able to decide on that is the two people in a loving relationship. What is even worse is that in Uganda they are currently trying to implement harsher penalties on homosexual people, for simply loving another human being. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20318436. I know I am biased on this topic, as I hope to one day marry my girlfriend, but let me present you with some of the arguments they give against it. 

1. It is unnatural
So love is unnatural? Dying hair is unnatural too. Do they oppose that? I'm sure if they needed an organ donated they would want that. Would they ban it because they consider it unnatural? While I disagree that same sex relationships are unnatural, I put forward those questions just to show how much of life is 'unnatural'. 

                             
2. If it is allowed we will start opening the door to other things like incest marriage -
I find this so offensive. That someone is comparing the love I have with my partner to incest. I don't believe that they can even be acknowledged on the same level. But, if we take this argument let's look at the past. Once upon a time a black man could not marry a white woman. Women couldn't vote. Australia had a White Australian Policy (which didn't end until the 1960's). Times and evolution cause for change, but this doesn't mean people will become barbaric and want to marry their siblings. If my argument is confusing you check out this video.
                               
 

So the arguments being used against same-sex marriage are the same as those used against black people before the Civil Rights movement. But of course, things can't change, can they?

3. Australia is a religious country so it should not be allowed
Let me give you a word that you probably already know "Secularization or secularisation (see spelling differences) is the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward nonreligious (or irreligious) values and secular institutions. The secularization thesis refers to the belief that as societies "progress", particularly through modernization and rationalization, religion loses its authority in all aspects of social life and governance."

Now let me show you the Australian constitution. "section 116 of our Constitution states that parliament cannot discriminate against people because of their religion. It also says that religion must not be a prerequisite for office, nor can the state establish or promote any particular religion." (http://humanrights.gov.au/about/media/media_releases/op_ed/20091120_secular_nation.html)

So what does this all mean? It means that Australia's laws legally are not to be determined by religion. That they are totally separate. So we have to abide by the constitution in not marrying, but the constitution doesn't need to be followed when passing the same sex marriage bill? Seems a little contradictory to me. 

4. It is against the bible
If you believe on basing your views on something you have no actual proof exists (yet there is mountains of scientific proof of evolution) you will probably use the bible as an argument. I can't blame you. It has probably been instilled and guilt-ed into you by your parents since you could talk. You have probably heard these scriptures again and again in church:
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 - "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." (NIV).
  • Leviticus 18:22 - "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable." (NIV)
  • Leviticus 20:13 - "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads." (NIV)
I suppose though you have also read these:
  • As for your male and female slaves whom you may have-- you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.Leviticus 25.44
  • I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.Timothy 2:12
  • Let the women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as also saith the law. 
  • And if they would learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home: for it is shameful for a woman to speak in the church.1 Corinthians 14:34-35
  • You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard Leviticus 19.27
  • Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.Peter 2.18
It appears that some sins are worse than others, and people tend to pick and choose what they will out of the bible for the arguments. Of course, the bible is not outdated at all, so it must all be true (sarcasm). Haven't convinced you yet? Follow this link. Even if I have convinced you follow the link. It's brilliant - http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/drlaura.asp

                      

Here is a link for the above picture in case you can't read it. http://bobcargill.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/biblical-marriage.jpg

5. If gay people are allowed to marry it will make other people gay
Um? Really? Is this really an argument? Well ok, I'll work with it if I must. Newsflash, allowing gay marriage isn't going to create more gay people. People will be gay whether or not it is legal. All it will do is allow gay people to see that they are accepted by their society, and that it is ok for them to be who they are. Now, while some may look at the figures and say that it has created more gay people, an intelligent person would see how it opened the doors for people to accept who they are. 

Listen to this song. Just do it. 

6. Kids need a mother and a father
Firstly, I thought this bill was about marriage, not parenting, but anyway, as people choose to use this as an argument I will bring it up. All gay couples I know ensure that the child has both a strong male and female figure in their life. All children I know who have same sex attracted parents believe they have had a loving childhood, often much better than those of their peers. To have a child when you are gay you must go through a lot of planning. If someone is willing to go through all that wouldn't that mean they want the child so badly, and will therefore give it unconditional love? Wouldn't it be better to have two loving parents than two parents who do not get along? It certainly was for the man in the following clip.
                                      

7. They weren't born gay. It's a choice
There is no hard evidence to support this. While it is questioned a lot whether it's nature or nurture, recent research has contested that it is part of one's genetic make-up. Click on the link to read more about this. 

One of my students argued that it's because gay people were brought up in gay households by parents who weren't strict enough on them. Um, pardon me if I'm wrong, but isn't it usually heterosexual people who give birth to gay people?            
Furthermore, why would someone choose to be gay? Don't get me wrong, I love my girlfriend and our relationship, but being gay hasn't been the easiest road. You have to prepare to be judged, ostracized from your friends and family, and discriminated every day of your life. "According to Suicide Prevention Australia, 38% of gay people have experienced discrimination. 50% have experienced verbal abuse. And shockingly, 74% of this abuse happened at school. Around 30% of Australian gay teenagers will attempt suicide. In Australia, on average over 200 young people will suicide this year. Around 30% of Australia’s gay teenagers will attempt suicide. Gay teens are 14 times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers." (http://www.samesame.com.au/support/5987/Wear-It-Purple-to-support-gay-youth-at-risk.htm).  

Now, I can imagine some would argue that this is because being gay is a mental illness (even though it was removed from the DSM in the late 1970's), but I can guarantee you that this would be because of the judgement and exclusion by others. La Trobe University's 2011 'Writing themselves in' report, which surveyed the experiences of over 3,000 gay youth between 14 and 21, found that 79 per cent of students attracted to the same sex had been physically assaulted or verbally abused. Would you choose to be subjected to this?
(http://www.sharongrierson.com/SharonGrierson/Resources/120820%
20Marriage%20Amendment%20PMB%20Jones_GRIERSON.pdf) 

Moreover, a student argued that babies aren't gay. Hmm, ok, I didn't realise that babies were sexual beings (Freud would argue this). Many people do not realise they are gay until they start to get to an age when they are attracted to others. The same way people do not realise they are straight during the 'boy/girl germs' phase. When one asks 'how did you know were gay?' the answer should be as simple as 'how did you know you were straight?'

8. We can't change the constitution. It's always been that way  
Funny that, because it was not until 2004 that the Howard government changed the 1961 bill by amending it to say “Marriage, means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life." Prior to this there was no specification as to whether gay people could marry or not in Australia. Obviously our bills are something that can be changed at will, so why now does it appear to be fixed?

I find it very heartbreaking that there is so much hate and fear in the world. That people are fighting against this when it doesn't affect them in any way. That they feel they can take away someone's human right for equality because they don't understand it. Let me just remind you of the United Nations declaration of human rights. "Basic rights and fundamental freedoms are inherent to all human beings, inalienable and equally applicable to everyone, and that every one of us is born free and equal in dignity and rights. Whatever our nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status, the international community on December 10 1948 made a commitment to upholding dignity and justice for all of us". (http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/hr_law.shtml)                                     

I will conclude my argument with a clip that shows why we need marriage equality...because gay people are just the same as everyone else. We love, we hurt, we feel joy and sorrow, we bleed, and our hearts can break. 
Feel free to add comments below. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Quotes

I love quotes.Some authors just have a way of making every word blend together in such a sublime way. I think one of the reasons I really love quotes though, is they manage to connect to me in a way nothing else can. I think a lot, but am terrible at putting my thoughts together into ideas to explain what it is I'm thinking. Books though, they always seem to be able to put them into words. So, here are my favourite quotes, of which I mostly relate to, from some of my favourite authors. Also, if you have any you love and want to share please add them to the comments. :) 

Haruki Murakami 


If you remember me, then I don't care if everyone else forgets.

Here she is, all mine, trying her best to give me all she can. How could I ever hurt her? But I didn'understand then. That I could hurt somebody so badly she would never recover. That a person can,just by living, damage another human being beyond repair.

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

Memories are what warm you up from the inside. But they're also what tear you apart.

Don't feel sorry for yourself. Only assholes do that.

Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back.  That's part of what it means to be alive. But inside our heads - at least that's where I imagine it - there's a little room where we store those memories.  A room like the stacks in this library.  And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards.  We have to dust things off every once in awhile, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases.  In other words, you'll live forever in your own private library.

Listen up - there's no war that will end all wars.

I have this strange feeling that I'm  not myself anymore. It's hard to put into words, but I guess it's like I was fast asleep, and someone came, disassembled me, and hurriedly put me back together again. That sort of feeling.
                             
Time weighs down on you like an old, ambiguous dream. You keep on moving, trying to sleep through it. But even if you go to the ends of the earth, you won't be able to escape it. Still, you have to go there- to the edge of the world. There's something you can't do unless you get there.

Every one of us is losing something precious to us. Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back again. That's part of what it means to be alive.

No matter how much suffering you went through, you never wanted to let go of those memories.

According to Aristophanes in Plato's The Banquet, in the ancient world of legend there were three types of people. In ancient times people weren't simply male or female, but one of three types : male/male, male/female or female/female. In other words, each person was made out of the components of two people. Everyone was happy with this arrangement and never really gave it much thought. But then God took a knife and cut everyone in half, right down the middle. So after that the world was divided just into male and female, the upshot being that people spend their time running around trying to locate their missing half.

                                     

Despite your best efforts, people are going to be hurt when it's time for them to be hurt.

Don't pointless things have a place, too, in this far-from-perfect world?

Closing your eyes isn't going to change anything. Nothing's going to disappear just because you can't see what's going on. In fact, things will even be worse the next time you open your eyes. That's the kind of world we live in. Keep your eyes wide open. Only a coward closes his eyes. Closing your eyes and plugging up your ears won't make time stand still.

To know one's own state is not a simple matter. One cannot look directly at one's own face with one's own eyes, for example. One has no choice but to look at one's reflection in the mirror. Through experience, we come to believe that the image is correct, but that is all.

I'm not so weird to me.

No matter how far you travel, you can never get away from yourself.

And once the storm is over, you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about.

What happens when people open their hearts?"..."They get better.

When I wake up, my pillow's cold and damp with tears. But tears for what? I have no idea.

No truth can cure the sorrow we feel from losing a loved one. No truth, no sincerity, no strength, no kindness can cure that sorrow. All we can do is see it through to the end and learn something from it, but what we learn will be no help in facing the next sorrow that comes to us without warning.

But if something did happen, it happened. Whether it's right or wrong. I accept everything that happens, and that's how I became the person I am now.

                          

As long as there's such a thing as time, everybody's damaged in the end, changed into something else. It always happens, sooner or later.

My shadow is only half of what it should be.

She's letting out her feelings. The scary thing is not being able to do that. When your feelings build up and harden and die inside, then you're in big trouble.

Each person feels pain in his own way, each has his own scars.

There are some things about myself I can't explain to anyone. There are some things I don't understand at all. I can't tell what I think about things or what I'm after. I don't know what my strengths are or what I'm supposed to do about them. But if I start thinking about these things in too much detail the whole thing gets scary. And if I get scared I can only think about myself. I become really self-centered, and without meaning to, I hurt people. So I'm not such a wonderful human being.

I've never met a girl who thinks like you...."A lot of people tell me that," she said, digging at a cuticle. "But it's the only way I know how to think. Seriously. I'm just telling you what I believe. It's never crossed my mind that my way of thinking is different from other people's. I'm not trying to be different. But when I speak out honestly, everybody thinks I'm kidding or playacting. When that happens, I feel like everything is such a pain!"

I don't care what you do to me, but I don't want you to hurt me. I've had enough hurt already in my life. More than enough. Now I want to be happy.


I've built a wall around me, never letting anybody inside and trying not to venture outside myself.


Life is a lot more fragile than we think. So you should treat others in a way that leaves no regrets. Fairly and if possible sincerely.



Antoine De Saint-Exupéry


Goodbye, said the fox. And now here is my secret, a very simple secret. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.

Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them


To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world....


All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it.


What makes the desert beautiful, said the little prince, is that somewhere it hides a well...


People have forgotten this truth, the fox said. But you mustn't forget it. You become responsible forever for what you've tamed. You're responsible for your rose.


I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings.


Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.

                    
I did not know how to reach him, how to catch up with him... The land of tears is so mysterious.

I am beginning to understand, said the little prince. There is a flower... I think that she has tamed me...


It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.


One runs the risk of crying a bit if one allows oneself to be tamed.


They never say to you, 'What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect  butterflies?' Instead, they demand 'How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much money does his father make?' Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.


That is the hardest thing of all. It is much harder to judge yourself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself, it's because you're truly a wise man.


But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you.


To forget a friend is sad. Not every one has had a friend. And if I forget him, I may become like the grown-ups who are no longer interested in anything but figures..


Jonathan Safran Foer

          

Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living.

I love you also means I love you more than anyone loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, and also, I love you in a way that no one loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, and also, I love you in a way that I love no one else, and never have loved anyone else, and never will love anyone else.


You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.


I regret that it takes a life to learn how to live.


I think and think and think, I've thought myself out of happiness one million times, but never once into it.


I hope that one day you will have the experience of doing something you do not understand for someone you love.


When I looked at you, my life made sense. Even the bad things made sense. They were necessary to make you possible.


There were things I wanted to tell him.  But I knew they would hurt him.  So I buried them, and let them hurt me.


Why do beautiful songs make you sad?' 'Because they aren't true.' 'Never?' 'Nothing is beautiful and true.


I'm so afraid of losing something I love that I refuse to love anything


What about little microphones? What if everyone swallowed them, and they played the sounds of our hearts through little speakers, which could be in the pouches of our overalls? When you skateboarded down the street at night you could hear everyone's heartbeat, and they could hear yours, sort of like sonar. One weird thing is, I wonder if everyone's hearts would start to beat at the same time, like how women who live together have their menstrual periods at the same time, which I know about, but don't really want to know about. That would be so weird, except that the place in the hospital where babies are born would sound like a crystal chandelier in a houseboat, because the babies wouldn't have had time to match up their heartbeats yet. And at the finish line at the end of the New York City Marathon it would sound like war.


I feel too much.  That's what's going on.'  'Do you think one can feel too much?  Or just feel in the wrong ways?'  'My insides don't match up with my outsides.'  'Do anyone's insides and outsides match up?'  'I don't know.  I'm only me.'  'Maybe that's what a person's personality is: the difference between the inside and outside.'  'But it's worse for me.'  'I wonder if everyone thinks it's worse for him.'  'Probably.  But it really is worse for me.


Songs are as sad as the listener.

                                         
Being with him made my brain quiet. I didn't have to invent a thing.


We had everything to say to each other, but no ways to say it


In the end, everyone loses everyone. There was no invention to get around that, and so I felt, that night, like the turtle that everything else in the universe was on top of.


Why didn't he say goodbye? I gave myself a bruise. Why didn't he say 'I love you'?


The end of suffering does not justify the suffering, and so there is no end to suffering.


But I still couldn't figure out what it all meant.  The more I found out, the less I understood.


I shook my tambourine the whole time, because it helped me remember that even though I was going through different neighborhoods, I was still me.


I didn't understand why I needed help, because it seemed to me that you should wear heavy boots when your dad dies, and if you aren't wearing heavy boots, then you need help.


I hope you never think about anything as much as I think about you.


It  was one of the best days of my life, a day during which I lived my life and didn't think about my life at all.


I thought for a minute, and then I got heavy, heavy boots.


It broke my heart into more pieces than my heart was made of, why can't people say what they mean at the time?


Parents are always more knowledgeable than their children, and children are always smarter than their parents.



Mark Haddon 

             


I do not tell lies. Mother used to say that this was because I was a good person. But it is not because I am a good person. It is because I do not tell lies....and there was nothing to do except to wait and to hurt. 

I do not like strangers because I do not like people I have never met before. They are hard to understand.

Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.

I think people believe in heaven because they don't like the idea of dying, because they want to carry on living and they don't like the idea that other people will move into their house and put their things into the rubbish.

Everyone has learning difficulties, because learning to speak French or understanding relativity is difficult. 

Being clever was when you looked at how things were and used the evidence to work out something new. 

People say that you always have to tell the truth. But they do not mean this because you are not allowed to tell old people that they are old and you are not allowed to tell people if they smell funny or if a grown-up has made a fart. And you are not allowed to say, 'I don't like you,' unless that person has been horrible to you.

You could say all you liked about reason and logic and common sense and imagination, but when the chips were down the one skill you needed was the ability to think about absolutely nothing whatsoever.