do you realise?

The Flaming Lips have a song called “Do You Realize?”, and the second half of the chorus goes:
You realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun don’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

The sun has always fascinated me. I’ve seen my share of sunrises. Posted them on the internet too, so I’m sure this is no surprise. And there’s all sorts of facts that I’m sure we learnt in Year Three or something but then never rehashed and have since fallen out of brain, which seems to store strictly useless information such as my old job’s ABN (99 155 674 990 – when will I ever need to use this again?). But the sun can lose its … awe-inspiring capabilities.

It’s made the mistake of rising every day. It’s reliable, consistent. It’s risen every day for a fair couple of years. Risen, set, risen, set. But the other day the Flaming Lips’ song popped into my head: the sun don’t go down; it’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round. And it made me stop and think for a moment, we use those terms, rise and set, as it’s they’re the best description, but it’s not like that at all is. Then the very next day I was ‘lucky’ enough to see the sunrise, and a thought occurred to me.

When you stop thinking of the sun as the sun, but as what it is but less commonly referred to – a star – it changes your whole perspective. When it’s early in the morning and it’s first started to rise, all big and orange in that illusory way and you can still look right at it, you’re in fact looking at the very surface of the star.

The Earth, spinning at nearly 1600/km as an hour, has rotated to the point where you can now see, about 150 million kms away, the surface of our closest star. The same star who has a diameter 1.4 million kms, in which 1 million earths could fit.

The Sun is travelling at 220km/second around the Milky Way, of which one orbit is approximated to take between 225-250 million years. Around that spinning star is us, spinning at our own 444.4km/second.

And every day we get to stand on the edge and watch that star come into view, and for a few seconds stare at its very surface.

sun facts: https://theplanets.org/the-sun/

this ones for the girls.

Growing up I was one of those annoying girls who would say stupid shit like, “I prefer being friends with boys. They’re so much less complicated.” I would throw my fellow females under the bus in order to feel like I was different. You know. Not like other girls.
But over the years I’ve learnt how stupid that is, and how wrong I was. How freaking necessary each of my female friendships are to my sanity. How no matter how much I need to impress dudes cause of my weird father issues, the girls in my life will be there for me, to tell me in no uncertain terms how ridiculously stupid I’m being.
Because, firstly, dudes are as much dramatic as girls. I love y’all, but your egos are just such a thing to be considered it’s a wild time. And while I know that’s a hugely sweeping statement, I don’t mean it in a negative way. The self-confidence that can come from being a man is something I truly envy. And I’m not saying it to put you down. I’m saying it purely to put you on an equal footing with “dramatic” females.
Secondly, females are bloody wonderful things. All the friendships I have with them are the most beautiful things. Which is obvious, because why wouldn’t they be. This is more just me, going publicly on the record, making amends for my youthful stupidity.
Female friendships are just freaking everything. And maybe being raised in a house where, of the 6 of us, 4 were girls, that I originally took it for granted. But ever since I moved out of home, some three years ago, I’ve realised how important they are, and how absolutely 12/10 it is when you get an especially banger one.
Because living with girls is cups of tea around the table gossiping about boys. It’s knocking on their door for outfit advice, which shoe goes best, should I play up my eyes or my lips, cause obviously it can’t be both. It’s them understanding that PMS is a very very real thing and should not ever be mocked. Do you have enough drugs, do you want a hot water bottle. Honey, I’m so sorry this is happening to you. It’s supermarket runs to get either black forest chocolate or those 4 pack of crunchies for a pound (iconic).
But it’s also text messages of “are you okay? you seemed off. let me know if there’s I can do? x”. It’s picking up on the subtleties, the sighs or the off-kilter laugh. Long talks in the night about why life isn’t going to plan, or why the boy you like might not like you back, but that’s okay. It’s being bellyflopped onto to be given a bearhug of affection.
I’ve lived in a girls-only share house for 2.5 years, broken up by a stint in flat of 13 but where I lived in a girls only hallway and made super close friends with three of them. It’s living in the same room as my sisters for nearly 17yrs, and still being able to message them asking if I can borrow a dress for a wedding.
And I’ve been incredibly lucky. I’m blessed to call a lot of dudes good mates. Heck, I’m open-minded enough to even have some as my best mates. And their friendship is something I’m so grateful for. Their kindness and wisdom and what can be incredibly annoying logic and pragmatism is truly brill.
But this here is for the girls. For Sarah. For Kath. For Amelia and Elle. For Frankie, Anna and Ellie. For Siahna and Bell and Mum. For Rach and Hannah and Mel. If I keep listing all the females I know and love on here I’ll never get back to watching Riverdale.
But this is for all the women who I’m lucky enough to share my existence with. Dumping all my stupid boy drama on. RIP to you guys who have had to keep up with my crushes, I rotate on a near weekly basis even I can’t keep up. For letting me know which top goes best with this skirt, and yes definitely wear the boots, comfort is king. But for also telling me to believe in myself, that ‘treat em mean, keep em keen’ probably isn’t the best basis for affection. For putting up with my stress and sitting right there next to me with a beer in hand. For learning how I take my tea, and making it without having been asked. For genuinely making me feel loved and cared for and lucky to be one of the gang.
In my own semi-tipsy words I found in my notebook: I love boys. Everyone knows that. But girls are to die for. Female friendships are such an epic part of my life. And I know that I’ve been especially blessed with my mates of the wombal variety. They’re my favourite and I love them so very much.
So this ones for the girls x

guys. we got to be better

Australia is a beautiful freaking country. We’re bloody lucky. The fact that this beach is a 5min drive away and I only went to it because the beach a block and a half away would be busy kinda speaks for itself. But with Aus’s current state I am only ever nationalistic when it comes to sport, and even then it’s backing the socceroos as far as the prelims and shaking our fists at a piece of sticky tape or whatever the hell it was. There’s so much about Australia that I love. The beaches. The nodding of hello as you pass someone on a walk. How we only ever talk about the weather. It really has been a scorcher though. But when it’s cold we complain that we want it hit again. How’s it going and good thanks mate yourself and not too shabby mate well you have a good one yeah cheers you too.

But the day that’s been elected for us to celebrate everything that’s good about this country (Bunnings’ snags, need I say more) is shameful. This is a sad day for the history of this country. This is the day that, for better or worse, whatever your opinion on colonialism and what our country has turned into, foreigners arrived on a beach, proclaimed the land to be theirs, and took it from the natives, the Aboriginal people.

This land is their land. It was taken from them, and then compounded by atrocities and political policies that are a genuine embarrassment to humanity. They were treated appalling, nearly wiped out, and now live as a disadvantaged society.

And the day we chose to celebrate Australia is the day it all began.

So, could we finally get our bloody act together and change the freaking date.

Until that point the 26th of January will just be another day. One not to be celebrated. But to hang our head.

We can be proud to be Aussies. But it’s not today.

I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, the Dharawal people, and pay my respects to elders past and present.

time is a funny thing.

    I’m sitting in bed with what I’m sure is the beginning of freshers flu and mulling over the concept of time. Time is a funny thing. Bending and stretching and twisting. It has only been a week since I arrived on campus at Lancaster Uni, but it simultaneously has been the fastest and most forever week in my life.
    It’s a funny experience that. And looking back. Just over a week ago I knew no-one here. I was worried I’d make little-to-no friends. But now i have Grace and Hannah and Lydia and Lily and Ben and Freddie and Cole and Rich and Harrison and Alex and James and Tom and Michael and Vazz. I have my flat, Flat 8 – Ellie and Anna and Frankie and Em and Lucy and Will and the rest. The reps and the JCRs and pretty much the rest of Bowland. Not to mention the hundreds of drunk girls I’ve made friends with in various bathrooms. From getting-to-know-you drinking games to sweaty nights out to movie nights in with everyone’s legs playing a game of Jenga on the coffee table.
    It’s beautiful and lovely and almost terrifyingly serendipitous. The speed at which you can get to know people. A year can go by and you can barely get to know someone. A week goes by and you feel like you’ve known each other for yonks.
    It’s fickle and it’s gorgeous and it makes you realise all the seemingly small things that have brought you to this.

a long metaphor with no real payoff.

People will sometimes ask why you haven’t written in a while. They’ve been keeping an eye on your website they’ll say. Writer’s block? they’ll ask. Like it’s that simple.

Sometimes.
Sometimes it’s just too sad.
Sometimes it hurts too much.

To write is to think and feel openly. To bleed openly. Like galleries where you can walk through and look at the artworks one by one. Examining them for meaning. To read into the use of the colour blue. To write is to try and use varying combinations of just twenty-six different letters to describe human emotion and experience.

Sometimes to write is to throw everything you have onto a wall hoping that something will stick for you to throw a frame around and say tada. Throwing everything you have in a series of different ways trying to eloquently put into words:
I am spent. This is all of me.

And after a while all the pictures in the gallery start to look the same. You can’t see, you can’t feel, any growth. Just the same story, the same questions asked in every way. And it breaks you. It breaks you in a way you wonder can ever be fixed.

I’m not even sure where I’m going with this. I have no epiphanic answers. No closing statements that tie together metaphors to bring a succint ending. Again I have what feels alot like nothing. A piece that is about not writing pieces. Like florals in spring, groundbreaking.

I don’t know.
Maybe a piece about nothing is better than nothing at all. At least it’s still writing. Right?

something different. spoiler: it’s a rant

The Liberal government’s war on young people has become an actual freaking joke. And “war on young people” aren’t my words, actual real-life paid writers and journalists have been bandying it about for a couple of years. I am near-livid that the government who is supposed to both represent and do what is best for its people has done this. Cause they’re not. They’ve gone and skipped a whole freaking generation of care and respect and duty. And young people should know about it.

In the past couple of days the Liberal government passed new legislation to decrease the HECS repayment from $52,000 to $45,000 a year. That means that anyone earning over roughly $730/week will have to start paying it back. Even if they’re still undertaking those studies. That’s only $10 more than the minimum wage. AKA what has been determined as the necessary amount of dollars to live.

In June of last year penalty rates for those in retail and hospitality (aka the bread-making industry for nearly all young people) were set to be cut in a series of financial years. So in 3 days time that’s going to take a hit.

Adding fuel to the fire are the bunch of tax cuts which help mainly, surprise surprise, the wealthy, with an increase in benefits for those earning $180,000 and above. Clearly they need it.

All this comes from a government of whom the majority didn’t have to pay for their university degrees. Turnbull has admitted that he didn’t pay a cent for his 5 year long Arts-Law degree at Sydney University. For which the dude now makes roughly 500k/year.

This government’s disdain for young people is evident. The Minister for Youth was scrapped from the cabinet in 2013. Any complaint is retaliated with contempt: “we’re spending too much on smashed avo”. The price of existing has never been higher and don’t even get me started on real estate. There are more UNI graduates than jobs, our income doesn’t increase with the cost of living. Paying over $1.50 for petrol is the norm. But our generation is clearly entitled and doesn’t know what it means to work hard.

People, especially young people, should be informed and aware. Politics affect us. Hugely. Evidently. Come voting time, I so often hear, “I don’t really pay attention. I’ll probably just donkey”. And sadly, we are the ones bearing some of the brunt of policy and policy changes. Even more sadly, the majority of the brunt is shouldered by refugees. Which if you aren’t educated on and don’t find repulsive and aren’t a little ashamed to be Australian, then I have zero existence for you. But we need to know what’s going on. Cause it will impact us. A lot.
Here are the references if you want a closer look, or further reading:

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/australia-s-young-people-are-under-attack-20180418-p4zaa3.html
https://www.spectator.com.au/2017/08/war-on-young-australians/
https://www.buzzfeed.com/aliceworkman/free-ride?utm_term=.swYqaRP63#.xb3avmDz5
https://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/penalty-rates-and-allowances/penalty-rates-changes-2017
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/graduates-on-730-a-week-to-pay-back-loans-after-government-strikes-deal-on-student-debt-20180626-p4znsv.html
https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2017/03/04/charting-the-war-young-people/14885460004299
https://www.hospitalitymagazine.com.au/new-hospitality-penalty-rates-from-1-july/
https://theconversation.com/most-of-the-benefits-from-the-budget-tax-cuts-will-help-the-rich-get-richer-96348
https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/03/26/australia-really-needs-a-minister-for-youth-mps-say_a_22012970/
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/may/15/australian-millionaire-millennials-avocado-toast-house
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/may/17/australian-wages-growing-more-slowly-than-cost-of-living

norman.

It happens when you’re driving home one evening and daylight savings is over so it’s already dark and for some reason it reminds you of your childhood. Maybe it’s because winter nights in your childhood seem more memorable for some reason. Driving when it’s dark and cold and you can use your breath to mist up the windows and draw pictures. And in this moment of nostalgia you find the frequency for ABC radio, which you listened to a lot growing up. Especially Norman the Quiz, with its distinct theme song, and sound clips that have etched themselves in your memory, like the way they said multiple choice.

So you’re driving along and it’s an especially cold and clear night where you can see the same stars you could see when you were little, and the quiz comes on. But it’s got a different host and a different theme song and they use a different sound clip to announce multiple choice questions and it’s this sudden reminder that you can never go back. Those memories of sitting around the dinner table with the family, listening to the quiz and getting excited when you think you know one of the answers. Never again will you hear James O’Loughlin’s banter, or count on your fingers how many you got right or wondering if you should call up because maybe, with your whole family as a brains trust, you could win this round, make it to the end with its iconic fanfare.

But instead it’s a different lady who seems lovely but just can’t give you what you want. And you try to listen for a while but it’s just not the same and it sets off that gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach that you’re not too fond of, that somethings can never go back to the way they were. And while it’s exciting because it means there’s so many ways your life can change and become new and evolve, well, it’s sad too.

stay soft.

We as human beings face much hardship. We must learn to juggle study, work, a social life, good mental health, and all the while pay our phone bills on time. We have to try to be kind to everyone, forgive anyone, and nod and smile at the bus driver even when it’s not our day.

But the hardest thing that we must do is stay soft.

Because the world is sad and life is hard and people hurt us and say things they either did or didn’t mean and the boy you think is pretty won’t like you back and it’ll be for the seventh time in a row. And you’ll have to wonder if it’s the way you look or the way you are cause you’re not sure if you can change either.

And people will see that you’re sad and will ask you why and having to put into words that you’re slowly imploding and loneliness is a tangible feeling right in the middle of your chest below your heart and above your stomach. And when you feel like they don’t understand you not sure in how many ways you can explain that more and more days you can’t feel anything behind your eyes.

And it’s those times that you will want to flick the switch. To turn off any feelings, so that you’ll no longer spend nights lying awake in bed staring at the ceiling wondering why life is like this and when it will stop.

But you’ve got to stay soft. No many how many times your heart may break, you’ve just got to pick up the pieces, again and again. And, to the best of your ability, you’ve got to put it back together the same way. Still just as fragile, still just as soft, still just as breakable.

Because softness is the price you pay. It’s the cost of real and true happiness. Whenever it decides to show up.

“…but do you want to know what I hate most of all?” she asked, taking another sip of her tea.
“I hate choosing it. Opting to stay here. Having to think with my mind all the damn time. Telling myself over and over that it’s for the best. That being alone is better than company which, deep down, I know probably isn’t going to be brilliant. That a short-term of good banter, compliments and maybe even the occasional friendly handshake isn’t worth heartbreak later”.
She was staring out the window now, lost in her thoughts. I didn’t know what to say, how to console her.
She started again, “It just hurts, you know. Saying no to something you want. For the greater good. Especially when the greater good requires you to feel so damn alone”.

your twenties

your twenties have the potential to suck.

you’ve moved out of home, and now have to properly adult for the first time. pay the utility bills, eat food that isn’t junk food, attend classes at uni, submit all your assignments and actually get good grades, turn up to work and work well, never having a bad day, trying to also maintain friendships and maybe, just maybe, also try your hand at love.

it’s a lot to manage. more than one at first realises. and, unless i’m the only one in which case this will be embarrassing, some days it will get you down. the odds are stacked against you on that. you will have bad days.

but this is where your twenties get good. you are surrounded by absolute legends. best friends who will send you funny youtube videos that you can then watch at the same time and send each other their favourite lines and you’ll tell them when you’re crying or “just can’t even this is too funny”. housemates who make you a cup of tea when you’ve had an average day. and not just a normal cup, but made exactly the weird way in which you like it. gal pals who purposefully try to expand their friendship circles to include the guy you think is pretty. friends back in your hometown who send you “how have you been lovely? x” messages, who put up with your LDR that you chose to create.

big group dinners, where some of you cook, some of you clean. playing emperor/scum while it’s in the oven. all sitting around the table, swapping stories and throwing banter. drop in cuppas, having a good old yarn over tea and whatever you can find in your pantry. work mates, ones that you will happily spend free time with, even as far as going to the gigs of the token barista/boy band member.

your twenties are filled with people that you are comfortable with. getting maccas after work and then going back to their house, having a nap on their lounge while watching parks & rec.  getting coffee, going on road trips and small adventures. enjoying each others company, and genuinely being excited for their existence and everything that is going for them.

it’s filled with weddings and engagement parties and birthday weekends and end-of-exam celebrations. but also small, non-descript evenings where you make a throw together meal and have a beer and tell stories and laugh. you laugh a lot. your twenties could arguably be the hardest years of your life. they’re definitely the hardest so far. but they are also the best.