I thought I was stressed in grade 12. I thought that all those assignments, exams and what I was going to wear to formal was going to be the pinnacle of my stress throughout my entire life. And then I moved out, got a sales job, started uni and realised that there are a few more things that can make your life a whole lot more stressful.
So now I’ve realised that this is what adult life is like: washing eight loads of laundry, cooking three meals a day that don’t just come out of the microwave and try and convince people to buy things they don’t need. I’ve decided to seek a way to lower my levels of stress so that I don’t spontaneously combust and die.
Due to my evergrowing stress I find it very difficult to sleep. Sometimes I’m awake for so long I make it look like insomnia is a profession I have a PhD in. But I realised that I only stress when I have time to. You see the thing about my stress is that it derives from things that most of the time aren’t even tangible. I overthink so much that I create problems for me to stress about. I can turn a problem that could easily be fixed in minutes into one that last months because I let the issue sit in my brain like a tea bag left to brew for too long.
So I tried yoga as a way to combat stress. Now I’ve never been particularly fond of the idea of yoga and meditation. Both my parents and younger sister swear by it and practice it almost daily but the times I’ve tried it all I could think of was how much the room smelt like feet. But I was ready to try anything to rid my body of the little ball of stress that had set up camp and decided to live in the pit of my stomach.
So on a Tuesday morning I walked from the impossibly hot heat of Brisbane, into a yoga studio in the city that was, somehow, even hotter. As I pulled the class timetable from my pocket that was now soggy from a mixture of humidity and probably my own sweat I kicked myself. For someone who loves reading I’d missed out a pretty large component of the yoga class I booked myself into, ‘HOT BIKRAM YOGA’. As I turned around to make a swift exit out of this heated room from hell the instructor spotted me.
“First time?” He asked me.
The fact I was wearing a long sleeved t-shirt and the tortured expression on my face probably confirmed this.
“You’ll be fine, just give it a go. My favourite thing about yoga is that you can just be free, there’s no commitment, I’m not big on commitment.”
This made me feel slightly more inclined to stay, however ‘Matt’ the yogi instructor did have a huge neck tattoo in Chinese writing so I’m not sure his levels of commitment were anything to go off.
Thirteen minutes into the class and I was already planning on whether it was more realistic to fake a broken arm or a broken leg. I get that you’re supposed to sweat a lot in hot yoga in order to rid yourself of toxins and what not. But it was so hot in there that I sweated out half my organs and think I was dehydrated for the next week. It was very difficult to be calm and stress free when I was drowning in my own perspiration.
So yoga is off the list, I said goodbye to no-commitment-neck-tat Matt and I've decided to try and find other ways to reduce my stress.
Maggie Rogers rode her way to fame on the backbone of a viral facebook video which consisted of popular musical Pharrell Williams crying after hearing her debut track Alaska. That track now features on her debut EP Now That the Light is Fading. And if Williams cried to her first song, it is almost certain he would’ve cried throughout her Splendour set. Each of the songs in her set was comprised of funky beats and folk like melodies, yet the real star of every track she played is Rogers’ voice. She opened her set with ‘Colour Song’ and mutlitracked her vocals, making it sound like she is singing into a huge well, the echo’s reverberating creating a chorus of only her. The song has a haunting hymn like feel and she often lingers on evocative lyrics letting her voice and the meaning of the words sit with the listener for a few seconds longer. In her song “On & Off” she picked up the pace and matches the choppy beat to her eerie vocals at times allowing her voice to completely overpower and swallow her bands backup. She slides easily between her ranges, which were incredible in “Dog Days” a song about true heartbreak. Her voice is longing, distant and shows so much soul it’s as if she is baring all of it. Rogers’ EP may talk of lights that are fading but as a singer, a lyricist and a performer her light is certainly one that is not.
Vera Blue was 100% my favourite outfit of the festival. The 23 year old Australian artist looked like Game of Thrones Sansa Stark had put on a seaweed costume but in the very best way possible. Her high cut turquoise jumpsuit contrasted her vibrant red hair and stood out with its endless ruffles and flowing fabric. The wearable piece of art was created by Australian fashion designer EWOL designs from their Cellularity collection.
I’ll admit, the happy Kanye was cool and the Tepee forest is always setup well. But when the night blanketed the sky the real stars were the cloakroom, fires and the heaters. I checked in my big turquoise fur coat at the beginning of the days and as soon as it hit 5:00 I checked it straight back out and made sure it didn’t leave my body for the rest of the night. In addition to that the fire pits and heaters at some tents were a nice touch. I don’t think anyone was prepared for the significant temperature drop from last year but clearly the Splendour officials had asked Siri what the temperature was a few months in advance. Huddled around the fire pits and the heaters I think the universal feeling was at least you hadn’t opted for a chain bra and fishnets.
Photo 1: @rodgerbrian
Photo 2: @nmemagazine
Photo 3: @jessicastaats
I know some people thrive from routine but I am not one of them. Waking up every morning and doing the same thing makes me feel as though my bones are plated with monotony. Boredom begins to creep in between getting up, showering and putting on make-up. Tediousness leaks through me as I grocery shop, unpack it, cook food and do the whole thing again when the fridge becomes empty. I spot marks on floor and think, ‘God did I not mop just last week?’ Then remember I have to clean everything once a week. The floors, the benches, the bathroom, strip your bed of the sheets, wash them, then fit the sheets on again. I realise that this is life and it is both exhausting and boring at the same time.
Semantic satiation is the technical term for when you say a word over and over and over it loses its meaning after a while. And I can’t help but think the same goes for the days we live. You wake up and wake up and wake up and pretty soon you don’t remember why. The most exciting thing that happened to me last week was my shower door falling off and the tempered glass almost hitting the back of my head cracking my skull. Some people have near death experiences like driving their car off a bridge or being struck by lightening. All I needed was to face the prospect that I could have died naked and cold in my bathroom by a badly manufactured door to sort me out. And I mean isn’t that the most first world problem of all? Having to stare in the face of potential tragedy in order to feel alive again? So I took my D grade near death experience, tied my hair up with it and decided to get out of my rut. I wrote this. I wrote a blog post when I hadn’t written one in over 3 months. And then I kept it on my desktop for about three weeks wondering if I should post it, wondering if anyone still cares what I have to say. Then deciding I don’t think anyone did in the first place. I spent way too much time thinking about what other people wanted to see me write and that then became part of my rut which put me further in my rut and further away from getting out of my rut. So this is me, trying to say rut over and over till it looses it’s meaning and until I’m no longer in one. I’ve decided to semantic satiation myself out of my rut. I guess if I post again next week it means I succeeded.
Image by @kellymaker
For whatever reason, it seems to be an increasing trend to not give a fuck about giving a fuck. Not care about the future, not care about work, the environment, politics or ongoing insurgency and war in countries that are not our own. It’s almost as if having an opinion about social issues deems you ‘hard work’, ‘overreacting’ or ‘a downer’. And while mentioning the rising sea levels or the ongoing battles in Syria isn’t a popular dinner party topic it’s also something we shouldn’t be avoiding. Because we can dance around the topic of Aleppo while passing the salt and refilling our wines but the people of Aleppo do not have the luxury to wait for us to finish washing the dishes of our dinner party. Often I am pegged as a stupid ‘feminist’ girl with a blog, so much so that sometimes I am deterred from writing about things like this, however, as I am about to explain this is a topic I do not think can wait.
I came across an article the other day about making one of your New Year resolutions ‘giving a fuck in 2017 about the less fortunate’. It was about donating more, educating ourselves more, bringing about change and aid to the scattered families and divided city in Syria. And while I think this is all instrumental in bringing an end to the constant aggression in the Middle East, I do not think we need to wait till 2017.
The civilians of Aleppo do not have time to wait for us to get over our New Years hangover, to open our brand new 2017 planner and slot, ‘save the children of Aleppo’ next to our brand new gym schedule. Addressing this humanitarian crisis is not a New Year resolution. This conflict is brutal, it’s painful, it’s bloody and people are dying, so many people are dying. While we are counting down the days till the New Year the people living this warfare are wondering if they’ll even make it to 2017. There are 12 days until January the 1st, 12 days until the article I read suggested we should start doing something about Aleppo. But the city has been falling since 2012, civilians do not have time for us to wait for the New Year to address them, help is urgent and needed now. Let’s not be silent, let’s not shrug our shoulders because it’s ‘cool’ or convenient to do so.
There are multiple things we can do to help, you can donateat White Helmets, the Syrian Crisis Appeal and at the Syrian-American Medical Society or sign the change.com petition (all linked below). Or you can talk.
You can pread the message and awareness to the point where people can’t slip this issue under their napkins nor wash it away with an extra scoop of washing detergent. UNSW student Sam Koslowski said yesterday, “If I could get a message to Aleppo, it would be this: I am with you. Young people are with you. Jews, Muslims, Christians, Atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, and everyone else are with you. Australia is with you. Humanity is going to prevail.”
We recently took off for a few days to ‘The Sandon’. Located three hours south of the Gold Coast, Sandon is a barrier estuary gem embedded in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales.
After the initial drive the final step in getting to the island requires you to literally canoe with all your belongings across the river. Which also pretty much requires at least one persons bag to completely plunge into the water, thankfully most items were retrieved.
However, once at the house it was extremely serene and the typical secluded beach house scene. Unless you’re like us and have a twelve and a half year old sister in tow who insists on making musicaly’s with her ipad mini constantly, not so serene.
Here are the photos we captured there, a share of blue gradients between the sky and the sea, humble sunsets on the jetty before the day turns to night and moments of solace in between rocking canoes.
If tanning is skin cells in trauma then my follicles are going to be in the waiting line at the therapists office for the next 10 years. And if every time you’re sunburnt you increase your risk of developing skin cancer, then I think this burn is sending me straight to the dermatologist.
INGREDIENTS: 1 human
1. Preheat the sun to 38 degrees.
2. Do not prepare your human for the inevitable sun damage they are about to endure, walk them straight out into the day. Do not coat in sunscreen do not dress your human in a hat or sunglasses.
3. Leave human to cook for approximately four hours.
4. After your human is completely burnt wait three to four days until the skin has changed from a bright red to a dull brown and begins to peel off.
5. Enjoy! You now have one sunburnt human.
This is the longest break I’ve ever taken from blogging since I started. And I’m well aware that the excuse, ‘I was sunburnt’ is weak, but man, I was sunburnt.
I was in the sun for four hours, with no sunscreen, no hat on I transformed myself into a human shaped tomato.
I then spent the next days taking cold showers (baths don’t work because my body temperature just made the water hot), rubbing aloe vera and wincing every time I had to move. I barely left the house and when I did a lady shook her head at me and whispered ‘tourists’ to her husband. I was too embarrassed to inform her that I had in fact lived here most of my life.
But if I thought the sunburn was bad what came after was worse. Never have I ever peeled before but I knew pretty much instantly that the amount of skin that was shedding from my body was not normal. Sheets and sheets of skin were simply peeling away, and once I completely shed it all it would start again with the new layer. I had to wear tight clothes to work so the dead skin didn’t fall out onto the floor. If that’s not the grossest thing you’ve ever heard you’re lying.
So my advice? Wear sunscreen, slip slop slap and do every other S thing that prevents you from ending up like me, 3 weeks since being sunburnt and still looking like a snake shedding it’s skin for the winter.
Yesterday the US presidential campaign came to a much awaited end. The polls were wrong. The countless celebrities that stood ‘with her’ weren’t enough, and Hilary did not make office. Trump did. It was not what a vast majority of people expected, but something I found even more surprising were the amount of people that had something to say about it. On Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram - every social media platform was engrossed with distaste for Trump.
And while it is great that people are standing up for what they believe in, I can’t help that notice people only rise in the company and safety of millions. People wrote paragraphs upon paragraphs of anger and injustice. People cast their concerns for immigrants and the now imminent wall. There was distress towards the women of America now facing potential criminal liability for abortion. There was the video shared in anger of Trump referring to climate change as a “Chinese Myth”, the consistent argument that he hates gay and trans people. This is what the individuals on my Facebook were angered about, and the majority of these people I must add are Australian.
This blog post is not about Trump.
This blog post is not about America.
This blog post is about every Australian who wrote in fury of Trumps election based on his policies.
Where has your social justice voice been when this has been happening right outside your doorstep?
Canadian author Naomi Klein brought attention to the fact that while Donald Trump’s wall build is ‘insane and racist,’ what the Australian government is doing on Manus and Nauru Island is just as bad. “You’re doing it. He’s just talking about it,’ she said.
In addition to this QLD still does not enable women to have abortions, and gay marriage is still not legalised throughout the whole of Australia. We continue to create carbon bombs, continue to build colossal mines and pipelines, continue to move further and further away from renewable energy. There are various members of our government that stand alongside IPA. This company distributes huge amounts of climate change denial, doing nothing but hindering environmental aid.
People are afraid of Trump because he is an easy target. You do not have to search the internet very hard to find his offensive statements. But I think his openness and frankness about his beliefs, however shocking, is far less petrifying than what is being hidden beneath our own southern cross. You want to talk politics Australia? Cool, let’s start with our own.
Starting grade 12 is like standing at the starting line for your cross country race and seeing the 6km or four school terms ahead of you. It’s knowing you’ve run cross country 11 times before just like you’ve completed a school year 11 times before but this time, will be different. It’s knowing there are going to be times where you want to give up. When you’re too out of breath, assessment load too heavy, there are too many kilometres to cover, too many all nighters to pull. The finish line is there and it’s not moving any further away but it does feel like you will never reach it.
But the thing that’s different about grade 12 and running is you are allowed to take breaks. While running the whole way in cross country will get you to the finish line faster this will not work in your final year of schooling. Trust me, I tried.
In my final year of grade 12 I spent the first two terms taking seven subjects trying to maintain A’s in all of them, working two jobs, being in the school musical, on debate team, a captain of the SOS committee and having a social a social life.
No one is going to applaud you for running your race of grade 12 in record timing. No one wants you to vomit and collapse at the end of the finish line. Physical, mental and emotional exhaustion for an entire year are not signs you are doing the best you could, they’re signs you’re ruining yourself.
At the end of term two was after my hair was falling out from stress, I was always covered in bruises, I was always sick, always tired. My life became a nightmare routine of waking up, exercising, studying, going to school, going to club or committee meetings in my lunch hour, coming home, exercising, studying and then going to sleep.
In term three I could see what I was doing to myself. I remembered previous graduating year saying that grade 12 was ‘the best schooling year of their lives’ and I was wondering why this felt like it might be the last year of mine.
So I dropped to 6 subjects, I quit one of my jobs, the school musical had finished and going into term three I was relieved. Grade 12 isn’t just about getting good marks to reach the finish line ahead of everyone else in your grade. Grade 12 is about running along side everyone else, that’s puffing and heaving just as much as you but kinda still having fun. Don’t let the Queensland schooling system fill your heads with things about being on top of the ladder, don’t let them trick you into making this about beating everyone else. These people are your classmates not your competition. Help and encourage people when you can because at the end of grade 12 no one makes ‘the cross country team’. Everyone just gets sent out into the real world and that, class of 2017, is the most exciting thing yet.
In my first week of university I sat in my law lecture and took off my jumper. And my shirt.
It wasn’t till I had actually completely pulled both pieces of clothing off my body that I realised what I had done. And by then it was far too late to reverse the damage.
It was as I stood in front of my law professor and 400 fellow law classmates in my bra that I realised this, was not how I imagined my first day of university would turn out.
Starting university feels like you’re starting real life, like you’ve moved up a level on a video game. I moved out of home at 17 with 3 people I didn't know and a mere 9 months later they ended up becoming some of my best friends. It would have been a lot easier to stay at home but although the safest place for a ship to stay is in the dock they’re not built for that. So I had to adapt to a new city. In the midst of my poetry seminars and law lectures I was wondering why walking outside in Brisbane summer feels like walking into an indoor pool. I also learnt that when people asked if you were going out to ‘Fridays’ they were talking about a club, not the day and that the best way to drive in the city is with my hazard lights on to let everyone know I have no idea where I’m going or what I’m doing. While I was figuring out how to law reference and use Blackboard, I was also figuring out whether stripy clothes go in the black or white load of washing and if 2 minute noodles mixed with kale counted as a balanced meal.
Starting university is like having the cushion of comfort worn down till you are kneeling on hard wood floor, it’s like having reality break your tail bone in the nicest way possible. Because the thing about university is that no one gives a shit and while this sounds harsh, it’s not. It means that no one remembered after 2 lectures that I was the girl with the white lace bra. No one batted an eyelid when a boy in my scriptwrtiting class was literally drinking out of a 3 litre milk bottle with a straw. You walk into the library at any given time and there’s at least four people sleeping and no one cares. It’s not awkward or uncomfortable to turn around and ask any random person in your class for help, they’re either more than happy to point you in the right direction or also have no fucking clue what's going on either which is just as comforting.
So to all the grade 12’s graduating and anxious about beginning university, don’t be. As long as you hold your shirt down while taking off your jumper you’ll be more than fine.
PHOTO CREDIT: Elly-Grace from dancinginviolentfeilds
Let’s face it, your art major is never going to get you anywhere. Studying acting? Photography? Visual Art? Dance? Fashion? Animation? A plethora of other creative industry related diploma and degrees?
You know you’re not an actual student.
A lady named Susan told me this the other day when I was at the grocery store. And I thought, you know what Susan, you’re right. It’s not like she was still bitter over the fact her parents lacked so much creativity they looked at their new born daughter and thought, “Let’s call her Susan.”
No, Susan offered a very valid and true opinion. My major in creative professional writing was completely useless! I should just stick to the law section of my degree!
Susan actually shares the view of our Minister of Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, who has recently cut government funding to 57 creative art courses under the Turnbull governments ongoing reforms of the tertiary sector.
Good riddance am I right? Susan and all other art major haters out there, who needs these degrees?
Birmingham stated that ‘VET Student Loans will only support legitimate students to undertake worthwhile and value-for-money courses at quality training providers,’ and that these courses are nothing more than, ‘lifestyle choices.’
Ignoring the fact that all careers are lifestyle choices including politics and Susan’s job, accounting, I, and all other art students are thrilled with these reforms!
Imagine a world where we can no longer study these things; we’ll no longer have to relocate to Mars, the world would be a euphoric utopia.
Let’s look at the world in 30 years time, finally free of art students through the eyes of Barry.
Barry comes home from his job as a financial adviser and walks into his beige apartment and takes off his beige suit. He places it with his other suits that have all the colour variation of black or beige or no, that’s it. Remember, we took away the funding for fashion styling and design! But it’s fine because Barry has no time to think about his suit colour; tonight is a big night for Barry. He is planning on proposing to his girlfriend Barbra. So he makes his way to Barbra’s beige apartment with a bunch of flowers to ensure a good impression. Oh, no, wait, we cut funding for floristry design. But that’s okay! It’s fine, Barry has a brilliant plan for tonight. They’re going to watch the ballet. Actually, no not the ballet, funding for that was cut. Actually not any kind of dance, funding was cut for that too. They decide to go to the theatre instead but, musical theatre funding was cut also and even if it wasn’t they cut the funding for the live production design so there would be no set to perform on anyway and even if we overlooked that they cut the funding for screenwriting so they would have nothing to say and while we’re on the topic of screenwriting the other type of screens (movies) are gone too because the funding for acting was also cut. And I’m sure at this point Barry is thinking that’s fine, no actors? No worries! We’ll just go see a kids movie, a cartoon one. But sorry Barry, try again, because animation was cut too. At this point Barry is running out of time so he decides that the evening can’t get any less unromantic, why not just propose right here and now? So he kneels down infront of Barbra and pulls out a ring. Actually, no, not a ring because, you guessed it, jewellery and object design funding was cut too. Bad luck Barry.
I guess maybe we shouldn’t have pre-determined what ‘real students’ were. And how cutting government funding for ‘lifestyle choice’ careers might impact our lifestyle choices no matter how non-creative we think we are.
Art students make incredible sacrifices. Acting students spend colossal amounts of time memorising lines and sometimes entire plays. Some take on ‘method acting’ and spend weeks living as an entirely different person just to perfect their character. Fashion students sew for hours on end forever pushing and creating innovative ideas so that we can wear them. So when we open our wardrobes they are filled with more than just black and beige suits. Creative writing, professional writing and scriptwriting students spend hours cultivating stories and scripts that are tens of thousands of words long and different to what we have read before. Extracting ideas from the creases and folds of our brains. Musical theatre, circus actors and stage production students are led to create careers in productions like ones you see on cruise ships. There’s a lot of talk of homesickness from FIFO miners but not a word of complaint from performers who spend up to nine months on cruise ships constantly entertaining.
So do the people studying it and the courses teaching it. Simon Birmingham, being the minster of education does not entitle you to decide what kinds of education are important.
They all are.
For the list of the full cuts to creative courses see click here.
Inspiration taken from poet Cy Ferguson's "Art major v Derrick" to see his poem click here.