Search

papabayj

be good to yourself.

An open letter to every guy I just unfollowed on instagram. All 541 of you.

Dearest,

By the time you’re reading this letter, you may have noticed that I have unfollowed you. Trawl though you might through the countless thousands of people who have hitched their wagon to your sexually-charged star, you will find my name is missing. I only hope you know that my leaving you does not in any way diminish the special nature of our former relationship, nor how much I value our time together. It’s just that I’ve become a different person, and it is time we went our separate ways. I hope this letter gives you some clarity as to why I’ve made this hard decision, and if you still can’t bring yourself to move on, then please snap out of it because you have thousands of other people eating your shit up with a spoon, and thousands more on the way I’ve no doubt.

It occurred to me recently as you flashed by on my phone screen, that the standards for male aesthetics are still very high – much as they are for women – and when it comes to the sexually diverse community, the permission we’re giving you to direct our consciousness by sole virtue of the fact that you’re fine as heck to look at is more than substantial. Men are feeling more and more incompetent, incapable, and unimpressive because of these standards. Further, our society is worshipping the standard more than I believe we ever used to.

The former standards for men’s beauty was shaped by physical labour, which gender equality has somewhat distributed across the sexes more. Now, instead of allowing male beauty to change to reflect the new structure of life for men, we made gyms and kept the old constriction held as idol.

Anyway, I worked out that I’m part of the problem. Our relationship is fuelling this cycle, with you as the Adonis-influence, and me as the lowest-common-denominator-consumer. I can’t be this to you any longer. Your “fitspiration” didn’t get me into a gym, or out for a walk at all. Truth be known, our relationship is purely sexual, stimulative. And you deserve more, for all you may not want more. I definitely deserve more.

Let our breakup not take away from the work you do – it is hard, unrelenting work in a highly competitive industry of social media engagement. I admire what you do, there’s no way I could do it. The fact is though, that in spite of the inspiring quote in your bio, your content is focused almost exclusively on you naked, or at the gym, or naked at the gym. Intermittent depictions of the meals you make, clothes you buy, brands you sell with sex appeal appear as diamonds in the rough.

Somewhere along the way, your particular shape attracted hordes of thumbs double-tapping and following your progress, compelled as I was once by mild arousal, perhaps envy, perhaps encouragement. That number that reigns and ranks you at the top of your profile has got the attention of agencies, product companies etc who then pay you money, ask for your endorsement, and encourage you to increase your activity. In turn, you feel rewarded for your work, and some of those followers will feel the need to push their own physical forms to also become an “opinion leader” as you are.

By this new order, the development of your mind, networking of your thoughts and investment in your sense of self all come secondary to what will place you on a platform to distribute your influence upon the world. Your six-pack makes you credible, which I find incredible. So I set about to end our relationship.

I suppose it’s fair I tell you, ours isn’t the only tryst that I have called time on. I looked over everything you have contributed to our connection, and having discovered that nothing really inspired me creatively, I had to end it. Don’t be mad or jealous if you discover other men that you think deserved the same treatment are still carrying on with me. The truth is that somewhere those men still made me laugh, or made me think, or just interspersed their naked ambition with something, ANYTHING, else. I don’t feel like I asked a lot, and I would’ve appreciated more effort on your part in the past; it became very apparent you took advantage of how unlikely I was to spend the time and battery and brain to check up on you and really evaluate who we are as people, and what impact we make on the collective consciousness. In truth, I feel quite betrayed.

You know, it wouldn’t have been hard to keep your promise to inspire me by throwing in something intellectually, artistically, politically, spiritually interesting. It’s like you don’t even know me, like you couldn’t even take a couple of minutes to give me some credit and try to spice things up. But no, you just kept calling yourself an actor when you’ve shown no interest in the profession, or saying you’re an artist or fashion photographer or beauty blogger when really you just do nude portraiture. That’s OK, just be honest! Worst of all is when you say “welcome to my life” but all I see is the parts of your life when you’re kissing someone else! At least the other guys make the effort to pretend they’re being random!

I’m sorry. You should know this was hard for me. To look over all our delicious moments together and walk away. I even got rid of the one Kardashian I follow because she was guilty of the same crimes you are. Please understand, I had to do this. I need to be needed, and there are smart, creative geniuses, political brains and sustainability causes that need my thumb-work. I’d like to think that I’ll come across you in my Discover feed someday and see you’ve changed, and if you haven’t tagged twenty other aggregate accounts, of course I’ll reconsider our relationship. Until then, go with my blessing, and I wish you all the best.

Before I go, I will say this. For all that I want you to succeed, I hope that you will take my advice. Take responsibility for the unbelievable volume of people willing to be influenced by you, don’t mistreat them as you did me, give them something to be activated by, show them a way forward not just physically but also for the benefit of our communities, our countries, our planet. Sure it may not get as many Likes, but when this whole celebrity-for-no-reason thing comes to an end, you’ll feel like a better person – for all that you’ll likely have retired by then.

Yours no longer,
Brodie

Advertisements

Sisters Unite! A Review of ‘Suffragette’

When Suffragette opened in London, a woman I know was there, waving her banner and fighting with fervour for the rights to safety of women everywhere. When it came here to Australia, I waited three days and joined perhaps eight people to see the film that is part of revolution in cinema: films that gather and mobilise women in their production, their distribution and their attention. Eight wasn’t enough, but it was better than one, and better than none.

The film is wonderful, I suppose that’s why you’re here, to see if based on my opinion that the film is worth forking out a fair cop of money to see. And it is worth it, not because of my opinion, but because if you do spend the money, you’re telling conglomerates and industries that this is a good thing: telling these stories, hiring these women on merit and demonstrating what equal rights look like in the artistic domain.

The term ‘suffragette’ has been somewhat archived, though there are still suffragettes now, rightly so. The term refers to a movement of women (and some men) seeking the right to influence law and political leadership of the countries they work, produce children, and contribute to the sustainable environment of. In the film, we see the movement through the perspective of Maud Watts, excellently portrayed by zephyr Carey Mulligan. Suppressed actively by her boss and passively by her husband, Maud is haphazardly brought into the inner sanctum of the suffragette movement thanks to local insider Edith – yes Helena Bonham Carter can absolutely still act – and the encouragement of suffragette icon Emmeline Pankhurst, played by Meryl Streep. You could say she loses everything, but then having it was a fragile façade built with brick and paper by the men who thought nothing of her strength and importance.

Maud Watts isn’t everywoman, nor everyman; someone who sees the iniquities around them and for all their pain and pity, can’t muster the strength to stand up to those with more power, more influence. But with friendship, resilience, and a sense of integrity unable to be ignored, finds themselves doing the work in this life that will change lives beyond them. Maud Watts isn’t a reflection of each of us, for all that she should be.

The movie does not end happily, but you knew that already because we are living the ending: each day, where 1 in 3 women will be killed by her partner or ex-partner. The story of this film is true, and ongoing. There is bred in us a gentle apathy, cleverly painted with compassion and naiveté to fool our mirrors into throwing a picture of benevolence in our faces that we wear with pride, not knowing what Emperor’s New Feminism some of us parade the streets with.

Don’t mistake Suffragette for a period piece, nor a skewed biopic. It is a film to remind us how history repeats, and snowballs as it does. It is a film to enlighten us to the battles that bore a fruitfulness we greedily feast on, with the skirmish forgotten behind us in the newspapers, in our Facebook feeds. It is not a film to be heartened by, but one to be awakened by. One to walk away from calling our mothers, and sisters and friends to make sure they’re alright, to tell them they’re not alone in whatever struggle they face now. A film to go home from and start showing people our bruises, holding people accountable for their prejudices. We are ten times more fortunate than we can comprehend or be taught, and infinitely more than we deserve.

Many points are to be made about the rise of films that are led by female heroes, host female-dominant casts, and are made by female-dominant crews and financers. Much of the representation has balanced, but the inequity exists still in the shadows. I say the same thing to people talking about how much has improved for the gay community: it’s not better, it’s just quieter. The diseases of prejudice and discrimination aren’t dormant, they’ve merely become immune to the floodlights of social media and mainstream television. Violence against women, political and domestic, has only finessed into certain hours, certain rhetoric, certain communities and become slipperier to grasp at and tear apart than ever before. Injustice against women hasn’t reduced, it’s simply adapted, become better at hiding itself. Applauding our successes in doing whatever part we have, passively or actively, to create the environments for female-focused films is crucial to the continual pursuit of complete parity, not a laurel to rest on. Know the difference. Please.

5612b4aa1800002d00dc1299

Let it last be said that I am a man, with a privilege that may be ingrained, but not impotent. I don’t intend to use what gifts I’ve innocently been born to against a cause that truly must be run by those it will provide equality to. But as someone who will benefit from feminism, my stance is in firm, active support. And if yours isn’t, whoever you are, and whatever disillusion you live under, then go see the film. Wake up.

 

Here are some places to learn about and contribute to the safety, agency and equality of women globally:
http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/finding-help
http://www.bigsteps.org.au/about
https://unwomen.org.au/
https://sistersuncut.wordpress.com/

Here is another review of the film I enjoyed reading:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/29/suffragette-reminds-us-why-its-a-lie-that-feminists-need-mens-approval

Here is one I didn’t:
http://www.afr.com/lifestyle/arts-and-entertainment/film-and-tv/movie-review-suffragette-2015-20151224-glujye

Please share your comments, links and stories x

I wrote a poem. It’s called Perfection. I hope it helps you with feelings.

She’s better, she’s done more
She’s smarter, and more sure
She’s worthy and more promising than I’ll ever be
And she hates that she’s me

She’s not a machine, she’s not a queen
She’s a self-confessed perfectionist stuck inside a has-been
She’s always dreaming about the next big thing
She’s always screaming that I’m not good enough to win
Even when I’m in, I’m actually out, she’s in

I’m something but she’s not sure what
I’m tiring her out, I’m everything she’s not
If she didn’t need me like she does, she’d cut me out
I’m just trying to reflect her as best I can

If I succeed, the credit’s hers
Only blame and lessons come my way
She’s perfect here where you see her
She’s just so quick to tear me
She’s vicious, and ambitious
And in all honesty
Without her hatred, I’m scared that I wouldn’t be me

Original work written by Brodie Paparella. Please do not reproduce without permission outside of this post (so sharing is cool). Image from Sitara, ‘In the Water’ music video.

Sia Talks Healing.

Oh yeah, she’s swinging from chandeliers and keeping everyone guessing now. But any true Sia lover would remember what I’m about to give major snaps for: the spoken word/interview lines on her early-noughties, did-you-blink-and-miss-it-fool album ‘Healing is Difficult’.

I’ll keep this quick-yes I’m serious!-because essentially this article both warrants and encourages a full-album session with HiD. Seriously just chuck it on and let it play out. Although songs like Get Me, I’m Not Important to You and the titular tune absolutely rock your feelings place, I just need to put out there about the goings-on between songs.

Here’s the full script once you take out the tracks:

I reckon fear is like a, sort of, if you, if you’re afraid of something that isn’t there
Sometimes I do have fears
Shakin’ about, like I’ve seen a ghost or something
Sometimes I do have fears

That noise again?!

When I receive something, I just feel good about myself

It’s a saying that my uncle told me, he said
“Treat people how you want to be treated
See your character coming, near you”
And do you reckon it’s scary being judged?
Yeah, I do, but you’ll get the hang of it
I think I’m being judged by myself
So I just think I’ll be judged by myself always
Treat people how you want to be treated

Vampires are known to sneak around
Don’t laugh, please, I actually want to be a vampire when I’m older
*laughs
She laughed!

If you could write a song what would you write about?
Um, I think I’d write about…me!
I did it!
You did it

Now let me make clear it resonates far deeper obviously when you hear it, and I cut it all together for myself but I can’t put that on the internet because obviously. Anyway..

Before ‘We Are Born’ gave us Big Girl Little Girl there was this tender from-the-mouths-of-babes genius. To deliver the simplicity of viewing adult problems as a child, Sia showed depth of talent and craft. Before taking on the music industry, all kinds of self-worth might exist and we’ve all seen how reality television and corporate executive trend-analysis can destroy all that esteem and optimism about the value of one’s own voice. Even if your ambition seems as impossible to mum and dad as becoming a vampire. How can we hope to achieve the first dream when of course we feel ridiculed or misunderstood by idol, family, friend and stranger alike?

Further, children understand far too early in life that before they can decide anything, before they are considered capable physically and emotionally they are going to be scrutinised. Even more so in the digital age. Before even developing awareness about their own gender or identity, they have been splayed across social media and offered advanced (maximum-access, credit-card,chargeable) technology to play with. Of course it’s going to be hard to take on any idioms about self respect and character when early childhood is facing children with failure, pressure to compete, and a performance culture in the West at least. Is all this pressure even there? Marketing and comedy have bred a subliminal nature in almost all of us: the passive-aggressive mechanism, sarcasm and satirical approaches to conflict, slang so far removed from correct communication we barely know what we’re saying (let alone text language), sexisms and stereotypes so subtly ingrained we can’t defend our own children from them. It’s incredible.

So when children face trauma, or children become adults who can’t process trauma, of course a journey as complicated, personal, nuanced as ‘healing’ is going to be difficult. Resilience is immeasurable, in the same way dosages of medicines are right until they’ve caused irreparable damage.

I think there’s a stack-tonne to gain from these moments, especially when interlaced with the way similar concerns appear again in adult life, sung by Sia.

So get a little jazz-grimy. Give this a listen. Share some Comments and Musings. Would love to chat with you.

Keep reppin’ Sia.

from facebook today: On Art and Terror

Seems like 2015 is a year we’re going to put Art right under the lights.

Isaac Newton told us every action has a reaction. John Lennon was made the martyr he didn’t wish to be by a man inspired by a book. Galileo was locked up several times for his astronomical discoveries. Journalists have been captured overseas for decades, only now are they simply not being released. The stereotypes and comedy instilled by wartime propaganda are still in effect today, around Jewish people, Asian individuals, homosexuals, women and the Nazi movement-regardless of what truth was ever contained therein. Some time ago now society at large watched in fear and resignation as Christians shipped around the world to concert or cull and they called it a Crusade. It is still called a Mission today and though they’re not killing your neighbours, it’s still happening. Sia made a pop music video which is being called out for promoting pedophilia because men over a certain age cannot interact with women under a certain age.

We see it makes no difference which religion it is, for it is the people who commit the crime. And then we can’t just chuck out religion in favour of “reason” because we haven’t removed violence, just the justifying foundation upon which violent people build their art. And those who use the same foundation for hope and salvation while bombs fall on their homes or troops roam their streets, well I guess it’ll just be tough(er) for them. A father tried to detonate his own daughter recently in Africa.

Charles Manson has as much of a message as Marilyn Manson. We know what risks we take when we create, we know what damage Art can do. Some of us are just hobbyists, some lifelong believers, fellows and preachers of the virtue of Art. Some try and extol Art’s value by running therapies and workshops. Some of us are preachers who take to mass media and wide followers to talk about our type of art and what it to be gained by avowing to it, making pilgrimages to where we’ve hung it up like a proverbial multimedia Jesus. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Here’s the thing: stop living like this. Stop going to Syria to report on private politics without thinking you might be caught. Stop running documentaries on Eastern spiritualities shooting inside inner sanctums of churches you’ve been specifically asked to keep sacrosanct and then crack it when you’re kicked out. Stop going swimming in the oceans thinking that there’s no chance a shark will attack you for coming into his house. Stop drawing and writing about the Prophet believing you’re justified by the unwritten laws of “satire” that your offended audience don’t understand or have a word for. Stop provoking the Henny-Pennys by making a video with an underage girl and adult male in underwear and expecting they’ll get you (which she didn’t I’ll note. Good work Sia.). Stop commenting on these sieges and skirmishes like they aren’t part of a real World War that’s been going at large since America got involved. Stop saying we should just bomb the Middle East because we already are. Stop living like nothing has a consequence and that you can just do what you want without any repercussions or impingements on your life. I am not writing this blog thinking it will make much difference, and if I get shut down or put on a list well so be it because I’m not ashamed or unsure about my actions or their potential reactions.

I am truly saddened by the deaths of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists. But Charlie Hebdo itself is still alive and isn’t afraid. So we know what the possibilities are, we’ve been told the consequences of the free and unpredictable world and we’re making choices. We’re all going to offend someone at some point, and we’re all going to die someday. So be who you are, use your talent wisely knowing the weapon it can be, and commit to the way you use it so when it’s all over, you’ll know it couldn’t have gone any other way.

REVIEW: Spiegelicious at the Spiegel-Zelt Sorrento

Stars Shine in Sorrento Spiegel Spectacular

Yes, the alliteration was completely necessary! If ‘Spiegelicious’-the brainchild of Three Palms’ James McPherson and Aussie dance-deity Jason Coleman-engenders anything in its audiences, unabashed revelry and shameless self-indulgence is it. A night of Montmarte-era raucousness, modern-style musical passion and the classic cabaret delight that is Wayne Scott Kermond await you at the Sorrento Speigel-Zelt, a nice jaunt from the summery claustramania of Melbourne.

There’s something so extravagant about the almost 100-year old European Spiegel-Zelt perched alongside the beach shack style of Three Palms restaurant, a meeting of ancient charm and Australian cheek. Stepping through the adyton into that world sparks the first energy as we are treated to the cutting-edge vocal musing of Jude Perl, whose ethereal tones were made to be resonated in that space from an obscured part of the stage. Her reimagining of all things ‘-icious suffix’ blends much more familiarly into the Cabaret introduction of showbiz-shaman Wayne Scott Kermond.

IMG_5626

Coleman has curated here a true gem- although some moments tread the line of being expected or predictable, they are given just enough time to warm the cockles of your heart before Seann Miley Moore comes out to beat the burlesque shit out of them and take the audience to new planes (the styling of ‘Putting on the Ritz’ had us all checking iTunes). Moore’s is a reign we do not question as an audience, sporting the diva-command with utmost authority-which is no small feat considering the intimacy and reputed conservativeness of the audience- even through the most stunning rendition of ‘Beautiful’ I have ever heard, and mashed-up with ‘Nature Boy’ to boot.

IMG_5625

Now a word on Wayne Scott Kermond. Never mind this man is a stage-legend, and without wanting to spoil his ode to song-and-dance-men (real tears were going on here people), the comedy and energy Wayne brings to Spiegelicious gives the audience a truly personal experience with the performer. Being in his presence is something I’m sure many took for granted, but was truly special to witness. There are stacks of reasons to make the journey down the Victorian coast for this extravaganza, but seeing this performance-piece-du-resistance up close ranks pretty damn high. He’s magic in the role of Emcee, even more so as himself.

Before I get to the former Cirque du Soleil acrobats and the chameleonic vocals of Catherine Hancock, word must go Ministry of Dance’s fantastic ensemble. For all that Spiegel Zelt is an intimate cabaret space, and its stage having barely enough room for Wayne’s stage presence, let alone his person, Tim Barnes, Hara Papoulias, Anna Magrath and Romy Vuksan make it look like Broadway in there. Bringing the commercial flavour we’ve come to know and love Coleman for, these guys bring back the freshness with boundless energy from curtain up to down. Kudos.

IMG_5624

The Spiegel-Zelt is the smallest Spiegeltent on the circuit (for those of you who are familiar), but somehow Rachel Kmetko and Dan Power bring the same level of awe you’d see in a full circus. And all the better for us to see the actual technique of true cirque up close!

IMG_5627

Ok so if I haven’t managed to convince you of the absolute ball you’re going to have at Spiegelicious with stage legends, contemporary circus elite, and the nightclub dancehall divas, then let’s talk Catherine Hancock. This woman takes you right back to the Hollywood glamour we’ve missed since Monroe, hankered for since Hayworth, bereft of since Bacall. But our prayers for a modern-day Ekberg have been answered. Providing vocal grace and power to a plethora of characters, Hancock is all-class and all-the-more-talent. Needs close watching for her absolute character-prowess, combined with singing chops and a darling spirit.

For this Prahran-residing Adelaide expat, the actual trip to Sorrento added to the mystery and intrigue of the evening. The highlight was absolutely the Jurassic-Park-stomping Can Can, performed flawlessly by dancer and audience alike! Rustle up four friends and get down there while it lasts in such close quarters because this show has legs as long as Anna (got to be seen to be believed).

Spiegelicious is showing from Dec 27th-Jan 25th from 9.30pm at 154 Ocean Beach Road, Sorrento 3943, about 1.5hrs drive from Melbourne. Contact Three Palms for dinner and show bookings. Book at Ticketmaster.

IMG_5623

credit to Belinda Stodder for images.

10 Things that ’10 Things I Hate About You’ taught me about Growing Up

NB: There are a stack of wicked and funny 10 Things Life Lessons posts. Check them out. There are no crossovers, and this one’s a little deeper. You’re welcome.

Knowing how to be self-aware is a lesson some people take until their forties and beyond to learn. Spending the formative part of our lives making every effort to suit to perceived expectations of those around us puts many in a hard place leaving teenage years behind (though not necessarily adolescence). In the interest of improving our growth as humans in the coming year, maybe consider how you’ve gone through the following and how are you making peace with it now? Time for changes?

So here’s a quick guide, delivered in a language any 1999 teenager can understand. Definitely a movie worth checking out:

1. Romance really trumps profit.

romance

Sometimes one of the most confusing things about being a teenager is how every “know better” figure in our lives is quite emphatic about the fact that we should be focusing on our futures, on prematurely delineating an entire career and professional goal pathway for ourselves. The benefits of this prioritising are evident in mid-life crises, quickie marriages and quickie divorces and lengthy divorce settlements, abrupt career changes, stockbroker suicides and Japanese men who leave for work but sit in park all day ‘cos they’d rather do that than admit being made redundant. To boot, entering teen years guarantees a complete download of sexual drivers and the shocking awareness of the sex we’re attracted to. And at the end of the day, we come across an individual who we let vomit all over our shoes, not because we’re getting money out of it, but because it’s freaken’ endearing!

2. Hurting someone once is more than enough. Second chances are for masochists.

hurt

Now I completely endorse separating behaviour from person in the arena of child-rearing (calling your daughter a “bitch” because she broke something is not going to aid her developing self-worth, nor her decorum). However, when it comes to adults, who have all decision-making faculties at either their disposal or acquisition through education, I don’t believe hurtful behaviour should be allowed to continue if it cannot be understood or physically empathised with. Now sure she got back with the lying guy who was so-not-who-she-thought-he-was when he bought her a really extravagant gift (not sure what message THAT sends!), but I was happy that she maintained right to the very end that she wouldn’t be walked over or mistreated. It is the opinion of this blog that it is far better to be single and true to yourself, than married and destroyed. Don’t let it happen. Don’t let your friends do it. Tell your parents if you think it’s happening. Don’t do it to others. Just don’t.

3. Anger NEVER works alone.

anger

What I always loved about this film is how the vitriolic sidekick was actually a sweetheart and it was the combined angst that brought out the worst in these two friends. I mean it doesn’t take much to see how much more dangerous the gang is made by sheer numbers, we know when we cross the street to avoid the group of four or more youths, we know when we hush our voices talking about that particular high school clique. But remember that within the individual is always an angry voice taking over control from the past or the potential tense. If faced with anger, it’s usually unlikely it has anything whatsoever to do with you, and all to do with that inner voice of fear, retribution, confusion in the assailant. There’s a reason why in the face of trauma, the victims show far more compassion than the armchair activists. Because they’ve seen the real cause in the villain’s eyes. There’s no excuse for violence, but there’s none for withholding forgiveness either.

4. Parties are great if you don’t have an agenda.

parties

I shudder to think what would happen if there was a support group for people who’ve experience Blue Light Disco Crises. The teenage party is always the setting for serious drama to unfold, most people even anticipating that by waiting until a party to have a tender conversation or amping up to something drastic where the excuses of underage alcohol consumption or peer pressure serve to back us up. So go to the party, ask your parents permission so they can pick you up when ish goes down, wear the dress, but avoid expectations. Expectation breeds regret, Enjoyment breeds Memories.

5. People lie. Like sometimes even a lot.

hurtonce

There’s not really much to elaborate on here. The beauty of high school is that within such an enclosed, developing community there is as much hegemony, civil conflict, corruption of authority and isolation from the outside world as we see in the more macroscopic developing communities worldwide. Except, you know, there’s no aid organisations to improve your corner of the education nation. You just get to suffer and hope your domestic life isn’t riddled with manipulation and omission of information, restrictions on your liberties, infighting, micromanagement and entirely conditional support of ventures. Oh wait…

6. It’s not innocence they’re being overprotective about, it’s the transformation of innocence to naivete.

chastity

So this picture perfectly explains how I feel about being abandoned by my virginity. As per point 4, the most cruel dichotomy of being a teenager is the slut-prude binary system.

For men, this manifests as the pressure to know what you’re doing by having sex as prematurely as possible (made all the easier by mobile-phone-access to pornography), but not being a wanker so you will have no idea what your body is doing the first time you orgasm-here’s a tip, it’s getting someone pregnant or afraid of sitting down. Thankfully, almost all men ignore the peer pressure and masturbate quite freely and frequently, so all they have to fear is the illegitimate and pervading size-based ridicule.

For women, this binary hits them harder because preservation of virginity is pressed on them more harshly than men so they’re afraid to express their burgeoning sexuality with their increasingly-frustrated contemporaries (ladies and gentlemen, I give you, the cougar’s opportunity). For those of you long enough into adulthood to have forgotten, there are NO cues in high school society to inform a young woman if the decision she makes when propositioned for sex, or if she’s gutsy enough to approach an appealing male, whether she will fall on the side of the slut-prude divide that won’t denigrate her. A tragic some-of-the-time she’ll just say yes so she won’t have said no and risk being labelled a prude, or being raped. She’s probably caught on that even if she does say no, her accomplice will say she did it anyway for their own posterity.

For transsexual teenagers, homo- or multi-sexual teenagers, older than average students or exchange students from European cultures? You don’t actually get to choose, you’ll be viewed through the lens of your sexual activity and labelled a slut from the get-go. But it’s probably for the best, you’ll need to get used to it because adult society hasn’t worked this one out yet either.

7. Teachers are people. Students are people. These people treat one another like crap a lot. That should stop, and stuff.

teachers

Like is there any way to secure secondary schools against being the most mentally unsafe places to be? How do we discourage students from ostracising, victimising, assaulting and vandalising each other when it’s so apparent that teachers are a huge part of the process. I went to a school were teachers physically abused students, and each other. Upper management at the school emotionally and mentally abused teachers in front of students and students themselves. Students certainly aren’t unlikely to have started it. I was socially abused by a teacher in primary school because I deprecated a joke he told in class. Now sure, adults should know better not to use adult tactics or nuances to hurt children. But just in general, all of these people in a school setting need to be continually, systemically educated in garden-variety kindness, value of community and given practical skills in mental health aid. Including the parents, oh god when parents put their hand in the pie, everything goes to crap. This is why your kids don’t want you to drop them off, not because they’re embarrassed by you, but because they’re genuinely concerned for what damage you can do to the citizens and culture of the school culture, being an ignorant, unwitting tourist who “means well”.

8. Literacy is sexy. Also, someone’s intellectual appeal will always win out over their looks, good or bad.

literature3

I’ve always understood “cool” to mean “adj. acting in disregard or disinterest of other individual’s thoughts, real or perceived”. People get ugly, but there’s nothing uglier than fearing ugliness. You can never keep up with trends, and those who do find it very exhausting and distressing. If teenagers who go onto being successful early-adults seem to demonstrate anything, it’s usually that they’ve managed to detach their egos well enough to be themselves. It’s a far less taxing process to curate our actual self when operating in the big wide world, than spending our twenties making all the unproductive mistakes just so we can establish enough evidence for a regression into our authentic characters to look like a “I love being thirty, you can just forget all the bullshit” stage of growth. You can forget all the bullshit before you’re 21 if you have the grace, gall, guts, and some god-forsaken self-awareness. Here’s to no more midlife crises, just be your damn self! Unless you’ve coded up an entirely new person by the time you graduate, in which case, here’s to therapists become the fastest-growing profession worldwide.

9. Eroticism shouldn’t be suppressed. Responsibility and Health come from honest, even frank, education.

eroticism

I wonder if 50 Shades of Grey would have sold so well if we’d actually bothered to tell kids and teenagers what sex even was. Legit, what kind of farce is sexual education. I don’t have enough space to express my diatribe, nor to refer to other bang-on diatribes out there, nor services working their liberal butts off to fix the cause of these diatribes. So I’ll make it quick: TELL KIDS WHAT SEX IS SO THEY DO IT WITHOUT HURTING EACH OTHER.

Segregating boys from girls for sex education is not only counterproductive, counter-intuitive and counteractive, it’s godawful stupid, especially when we give them access to pornography on a daily basis (yes I think music videos and NSFW buzzfeed articles count). Also, there is a lot more to sex than reproductivity; teaching us what our reproductive systems look like and what they do in the event of a heterosexual emergency is super-valid but completely useless information in lieu of any context. Putting condoms on bananas has no transferable skills for students to learn how to help each other with female condoms. By the time they sent a timid, tight-collared educator to tell my student class what lubricant was, half of us already knew and used through trial and error! Oh and making us do a project on a particular STI didn’t serve as deterrent either, but seemed to increase the instances of anal sex-yet another thing no-one was prepared to engage in (see earlier point on use of lubricant). Anyway, my high horse needs some water. Taking a break.

10. The sacrifice of your pride is the first step to EVERYTHING.

No need to elaborate. See the movie. Work it out.

pride

Oh and also. If I can throw an eleventh in at the last minute? It’s never Nigel with the brie. Ever.

tumblr_m8e2uw5s361qc1f1mo1_500

A wise Filipino woman once told me…

She called me darling in that exotic way and said ‘You know, when you catch (throwing out her hand and grasping) a butterfly and hold it in your hand, it will take one year in your clasped hand for it to stay when you open it. However, when they open their fingers, darling, you aren’t so magic anymore and what do they do?’ and she blew onto her hand. ‘So when he treats you badly, you remind him that you are not his butterfly, you are not his little girl, and you tell him to go back to his mama until he learns it right. We are adventurers, my darling, like wild dogs roaming waiting for our masters to arrive’.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about this as she discussed her infidelities between a man of means, and one of youth and passion. The former have her a ring worth approximately $3000 and she pawned it the next week to pay for groceries and a nice weekend together. When he asked her where the ring was, he went and bought it off the pawnbroker and told her if she pawned it again he would leave here. She told me ‘Daaarling, I told him to go find another woman, and that I would sell it again if I wanted to, because $3000, $5000, $10,000 it doesn’t matter because I love you, I care for you, I make you happy, I am worth every cent you possess. When you love someone, darling, you must hold them by the love, two loves holding together. So I say, if I am, if my love is holding his love by the heart while he holds my love in his pocket, then it is nothing, and it belongs to nobody.

She told me ‘I use my own name for a reason, because it is a code for who I am! So whenever they call me ‘pussycat’ or ‘baby’ or any of that other bullshit, I tell them go back to your girlfriend whatever idiot she is because you must be blind you can’t see who you’re talking to. Darling, it is very sweet, but they are trying to make you forget who you are, so that you really do become a baby, or a cat or whatever bullshit, darling. You be careful, you remind them the only thing they can call you is their Queen.’

Funny how a woman I was sure to be a nut, was also a pearl…

The Great Dim Sim Experiment or What I Learned on a Game Show

ep32jeoprady10502495_10152484813430778_7207062143696929283_n

Well that was the most bizarre thing that’s ever happened to me. Like seriously.

I have just finished watching myself compete on a general knowledge game show against two other deserving, wonderful individuals for the ultimate goal of $1M and making my Nonna tear up. I didn’t make it to the ultimate as some very kindly enthused to me, but I certainly did not embarrass myself as I think some people secretly wondered.

My brainwave to try my hand at being on a game show came the same way I’m sure it comes to most: I was watching Million Dollar Minute and decided that my at-home play was sufficient to warrant serious thought into contending. Usually I cast this impulse aside because I’ve lived in Adelaide where not much of anything is filmed. But this time, they even screened an email to contact. So I did. And I got an audition. I told almost no-one, so afraid of how mocked I would be if I was so bold as to big-note myself.

I arrived at the audition to see approximately 120 people milling around, gathering for a chance at the Million Dollar Minute. Fresh-faced, virile young men in suits, deadly-endearing older ladies, mums, couples with matching mullets, entrepreneur-looking millenials with clipboards on conference calls while we waited. One guy without any shoes on, one young woman reciting facts to herself alongside an apparent boyfriend with poor body language and facial expression playing with his phone (I suspected a Trivia app. Or Tinder). All of them had clipboards, and seemed infinitely more qualified and deserving than me. I considered going home. I phoned a friend and asked whether I should.

We were eventually filed in, and that’s when I noticed it. I noticed what was making me feel really unbalanced. As we started sitting down, countless people started calling out greetings to each other, ‘oh my god, Terry?! Haven’t seen you since Temptation in 2010!’, ‘Saw you on the Feud! Goes to show you can’t pick ’em hey?!’, ‘Dave, hard luck on Hot Seat mate, I never asked you, how sweaty was Eddie at your filming?! God he was reeking at mine…’

They all knew each other, this phenomenal community of game-show-gurus. I was entranced by this concept, even though I have a competition-crazy cousin (shout out). I sat down next to a lovely woman named Betty (not even kidding) who was up to her fourth attempt on the show, and had already been on Hot Seat, Temptation AND Contest which she found to be a lucrative way to supplement her retirement- “it’s great, you know you get to go out for the day, get your hair and makeup done, meet some new people and sometimes walk away with a stack of money. Beats sitting at home making jack!”. I couldn’t fault her, although if she hadn’t got in, I mightn’t have Buckleys. I’m embargoed from talking about the ways we get in, but somehow I made it through (Betty sadly did not). We were warned time and time again that we may not be called, we may need to try again, and it was at solely the producer’s discretion if we were M$M material. As it turned out, it would be only a matter of weeks before I was deemed so. FIRST LESSON: personality is not always trumped by genius.

Betty’s advice was that I make statements about myself that would look hilarious on television. Oddly enough they decided not to go with my moniker of “Hip-Hop Dancer for Jesus. Reformed.” nonetheless I arrived with my fancy blue shirts (OK they were mostly purple) and waited to be called up to play. We we warned again that depending on how things went we may not play all day, we may have taken time off work for naught. Which was OK by me, this was my first rodeo and I was giggling and getting involved like a modern-day Muriel Heslop “I’m going to be on a game show, and I’m going to be a success!”. And then I got called up first. To boot, they decided they liked the outfit I turned up in, scarf and all (“This looks more you, am I right?”-very astute dressing-room-maybe-producer-person). SECOND LESSON: be yourself. You’ll be more recognisable that way.

We had some preamble and dorky promo bits to do…..

10424276_10154965405845372_4622468684944774220_n

Then they sat us down to get to business. Three trivia rounds, cash prizes along the way. Now here’s the important bit of this whole journey.

There is no clarity like casting off your competitive instinct when in the midst of a competition.

I repeat, there is no clarity like casting off your competitive instinct when in the midst of a competition. Just before the first question was asked on film, I realised that I liked the champion I was against, and the young woman between us, likely had her own reasons for being in the room. I realised that the purpose of the show was not for me to win, but for me to enjoy myself, be real and honest, learn a few things and above all things, choose humility over personal gain. As it turned out, I believe this led to the episode being called “really good television” by the carryover champ, host, producers and friends who watched. I have no regrets about the outcome of the show because for the first time in my anything-but-athletic-twig-legged-life I was credited with “good sportsmanship”. And that was the real win for me.

Some will choose to take advantage of my small success, some others will choose to look at my experience as nothing more than win, lose, or could’ve done better. I made a conscious decision at the beginning of the show to just make peace and have fun with the two people on the journey. At the final round I decided to put myself first, and go for my own interest alone. And it was at this point that I lost. For whatever reason: maybe I wasn’t smart enough, maybe I panicked, perhaps they asked questions I was bound not to know, or the universe conspired for me to only win that much. Either way, I believe the outcome directly relates to the choices I made. And I’ve seen other people make the choice for glory over namaste and the character value of humility come to rub them on the back.

Check out this amazing kid, Jacob Williamson a spelling bee rain-man. He was born to win it, but he made a choice. And learned. And took it really well. And was made a better person, a better competitor, a better study, a stronger contender in all fields for it.

I love this other story from a more high-profile individual about what an early loss in her career has meant for her strength, her risk-taking, her ability to inspire, and her thirst for success. Not to mention the pseudo-feminist-anthem it has engendered thanks to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and her TED-du-force.

When I first considered going on a game show, I aspired no higher than Fran Fine. This episode of jewel-of-my-childhood sitcom The Nanny, was about when she went on Jeopardy and although it pokes fun at her intellect, really you never know what can happen in that environment, and it was her own knowledge and simple desire to have a chance that got it for her in the end. Give the episode a watch. For old times’ sake. Franny and the Professor [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfUQARsegw8].

So there’s the action plan. Compete, compete, compete but let the outcome go because the success really is in how present you are as you campaign for whatever success comes your way. And keep close the tools for being humble, you’ll never know when you’ll need to be. Good luck!!

Fran-Drescher-finger-point l10384577_10152758739707107_1448724298998983868_n

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑