Wednesday, 28 December 2016

[ humans ]


A while back, I realised a dog in the neighbourhood was barking a little more often than usual. This must have been four months or so ago now.

While we were in the kitchen one night a few weeks back, Mum bought it to my attention again. She said the dog had been barking on and off for hours, and did this more than half the week. I was astounded. I hadn't heard it in a while. I heard our occasionally noisy neighbours, a little traffic, maybe a plane, and the feral kids in the front terrace, but that was about it.

Except it wasn't; I flipped through my exceptional mental file, cross-referencing nights I'd gone to sleep late, been home early, or otherwise spent significant time at home, and discovered she was right.

Long story short, this poor dog was barking itself hoarse. I did some detective work and found out where it was, wrote a letter (a polite one. Not my usual MO, but I'm trying my second instincts these days ok?), and found out from the owner the dog has dementia, which has been progressively worsening. We've been chatting, and hopefully he can come up with a solution. The little furball really is suffering, and this can't go on.

Anyway, getting to the point; I didn't really hear the dog until Mum, bought it to my attention again.

Except, as I said, I had heard it. I'd just filtered it out. Why? Because it wasn't a human noise. It was a predictable noise in my personal universe, so it got relegated to the back of my mind, where all the other subordinate worries live.

***

It wasn't a human noise...

I've been thinking about that a lot lately. About the things I gloss over, file into various compartments in my head, or generally only pay attention to when they are in direct proximity (planes, traffic, distressed dogs).

Recognising that I had been ignoring an animal in pain makes me feel like a shitty person. To be fair however; I honestly don't think I noted how much it was suffering until I applied myself to the observation, and when it became apparent, I did something about it. Small consolation, but at least I recognised it eventually. 

After that, I came to another revelation; humans are a primary focal point when I'm in my comfort zone. I don't mean the familiar ones, like family or close friends, people who are around me all the time.

I mean strangers; my nearest neighbours, people walking in the street, others driving cars. I treat them like threats, hazards to be assessed and addressed or avoided.

And it isn't even really about being afraid, or fear exactly. It seems to be purely about what my primary objective and focus is at any given time. And, startlingly, I think my brain thinks humans fuck that up.

Humans saturate my daily routine, the things I do to get going. I get up, stumble downstairs and make coffee, usually without even really thinking about it, functioning on auto-pilot. But I'm listening the whole time; letting all the noises of the world filter into my consciousness, letting them start to colour in my day.

It's interesting to judge the differences between how a day pans out with gentle background sounds like showers and birds and light traffic, to how it sounds with people yelling over fences or heckling each other from cars.

One eases you into regularity like slipping into a warm bath, while the other shocks you like a slap. Both set the tone for the next 12 to 16 hours, and it's hard to escape the initial impression you get on gaining consciousness to the world each day...

***

A good friend recently moved from King Street, Newtown to the Blue Mountains. A bigger difference I can't quite imagine right now. 

After years and years on a main road, with everything from traffic and lights to drunken idiots, protest marches, and festivals, the bush really is a world away from the hippie little borough-like town I still call home. 

He tells us all that it is as amazing as we think; peaceful, idyllic, quiet. 

And that's the thing that I keep thinking about, keep asking about. The quiet. The absence of consistent human noise. The drumming, heart-beating, steady thudding of the human race. 

He assures me it really isn't there. Of course there are people, and of course there is noise. But it's background, like animals and nature and weather. You hear it, but it blends in, unassuming, unobtrusive, almost natural. 

I wonder what it would take for me to know that feeling. Would moving to somewhere quieter, more remote, do the job? Or would I still hear the humans, but without the distraction of all the extraneous elements that usually come with them?

***

A long while back I talked about procrastination. We use it to escape, to think, to avoid entirely. I won't revisit it entirely, but I will say this; humans are one of the best focus for procrastination ever. 

Humans, obviously, having their own personalities, their own ideas and agendas, are unknown quantities at the best of times. You can walk into any situation and never really know what the outcome will be. You can guess, sure, but nothing is ever that simple. 

This is why the opposite also seems true when assessing surroundings; humans can pull you into another universe completely and you don't even have to leave your loungeroom, let alone your town, to make that happen.

If you want to find a way to get out of your head, pick a human, any random human, and make contact. If nothing else surprises you in this life, they certainly will. 

For me, it's much the same. I may want quiet and stillness, but the fastest way to avoid doing anything is merely 164 characters away. Sometimes not even that. 

***

We were eventually going to get to my point, I promise. 

Sitting here, drinking more coffee, listening to what sounds like a fucking army of cicadas go completely operatic, and what I think may be some semi-decent, classical piano music four or five doors over, I hear every single movement I make like a thunderclap. 

The keyboard clicks sound like I'm assaulting my laptop, and I appear to be slurping my coffee like a bad sketch comedy. Even running my fingers through my hair vibrates vaguely like waves crashing. 

In a world full of bigger things, a universe teeming with life, noises so vast our senses cannot even comprehend them, I'm trying to figure something out about the species I occasionally call myself a member of...

Do I want to hear every single clamour we make, every utterance these bodies can produce, the sounds beating against me like buffeting winds? 

Or, being that we really could all just use 5 minutes that weren't about us for once; do I just want us all to shut the fuck up? 

Something to ponder today, wherever you are, whatever the decibel level is. Enjoy, whatever option you choose...

~*LTM*~

























Thursday, 22 December 2016

[ Trigger Warning ]


Yesterday, I started reading Neil Gaiman's collection of short stories of the same name as this piece. As yet, I haven't made it past the introduction, which is unusual for me, as I generally power through the beginning and settle as the story gets going. I keep re-reading it and finding something new.

I'm so very taken with the title and with Gaiman's explanation of it. I've known what a trigger warning is - as well as actual triggers - for a long time, but the eloquence of his prose has struck a chord. 

Somehow that chord was like a Tibetan singing bowl ringing inside me, and fully formed, but all in shadows, this piece came to me. It has tentacles and sits patiently waiting for me to acknowledge it. 

Here we go...

***

New Years' Resolutions aren't really for me. I have nothing against them as such, I just personally find anything I want to make a promise to, a commitment for the future, can be started any time. 

Deciding to start it at the end of the calendar year only lets me off the hook in the present, and gives me way too much time to be lazy and think my way out of it. I may still pick a new day or even week to start something, but waiting until a set date isn't overly conducive to making me compliant.

This year is a little different. This year I've spent a lot of time on something worth making the coming year about, something I've already set my whole heart on, something worth committing 365 days to.

Something worth committing a lifetime to.

***

Back to the Trigger Warning. Usually this refers to distressing content, and is a warning - a brace option, if you will - to prepare for something likely unpleasant, but certainly content that will take you out of your comfort zone. 

Like Gaiman, I agree that though upsetting, things that trigger you teach you things. Each new one, or even revisiting old ones, forms the borders of your comfort zone. It makes you think, it makes you change, it makes you grow.

He refers more to reading fiction than anything else, but I think that this can be applied to so very many things, and serves as a great lesson in this life.

I've spent a year preparing myself, unknowingly giving myself a personal trigger warning that what was to come would be distressing, it would be hard, and it may very well be unpleasant.

It was. It is. But it's not all awful and it leads to my biggest life lesson yet, and to great joy.

Now, more than ever, I'm ready for the details. I'm ready for the actual show to begin.

I'm ready for a little life, a mini faerie, to turn my world upside down.

***
 

For this reason, here's my New Years' Resolution; I'm changing the masks I wear. We can never really take them off, that's just our nature, the fundamental essence of our being. 

But my goal, my deepest hearts' desire, is so close now that I can taste it. I can feel it in the base of my spine. I can hear it beating like a drum - or a heartbeat. 

And I can't hide it anymore. I can't wear that particular mask anymore, the one where I pretend this isn't something I need like I need to breathe. 

So I'll still be here, still be me. But more me than you've ever seen before. And this me is the warrior I sometimes try to hide. I don't know why I hid her before, but it doesn't matter any longer, because she's here to stay now. 

And she means to fight for her destiny. Whatever it takes. 

***

The trigger warning didn't give me much in preparation for what was to come. But it gave me chances. Enough moments to think and change and grow. 

This then, is my trigger warning to the universe. You revealed this path and I took it. I'm committed. More than I think we all thought I would be. 

So. Let's dance...

~*LTM*~












































Thursday, 15 December 2016

[ the tinder experiment ]


We knew this was going to happen eventually. So without further ado, I present for your amusement; The Tinder Experiment...

***

Firstly, a little background. I'm a cautious person by nature, so I make sure I'm not cavalier with my safety. I don't give out my number straight off, I don't tell people where I live, and first meetings take place in PUBLIC PLACES, where at least 3 people KNOW WHERE I AM. 

That being said, of the half a dozen times I've ever tried Tinder, it's been from boredom. Seriously. I must have the attention span of a squirrel and the patience of a matchstick when it comes to meeting new people at times.

Oh, I'm not meeting anyone new, I groan (it's been 3 weeks, calm down). 

I keep seeing the same people all the time, I whine (bullshit; there are nearly 6 million people in Sydney alone. Shut. Up.).

How do I meet attractive people already?! (are you fucking kidding me? You stalked the last one around a bookstore until he asked for your phone number. It's not rocket science). 

So, basically, boredom. 

Which is interesting really, as I have a saturation point of two weeks, tops, when it comes to actually being on Tinder. It's almost like a few weeks of not getting stupid pick up lines, making dull small talk, and generally trying to be witty with random strangers can only be entertaining for so long. Who knew?

 ***

The difference this time is I really am here for the (comedy) social experiment. My last dating foray ended with gentle abruptness due to a rookie mistake on my part, which I'm totally fine with (read = it was clearly him, not me). So what I want to do is see if I can shake things up a little all over the shop, and see what falls out.

My profile now has a jaunty xmas slant, and invites potentials to argue if Die Hard is a xmas movie or not (that's rhetorical by the way). 

I know; epic disaster, right? It's going to be awesome!

***

Let's start with the analysis of Tinder talent. I'm not dumping all the blame on the lads here, but the ladies definitely try harder. I'd like to be able to say definitively why, but it's really unclear. Are we just better at putting ourselves out there, or do guys really not know what they look like in selfies? Anyway...

My first question is this; which one is you buddy? If every photo has you and four mates - and I think your mate is hotter than you - we're in trouble already. Without fail, every second man's photos are 90% him and his crew. Sooo...can you introduce me to the hot ginger with the washboard abs and aviators? No? Really? 

Initially, I thought everyone who told me this was in one some conspiracy to mess with my head, but no, there's hundreds of them... So my question is this; where the actual fuck do you find all these tigers? Seriously, is there a theme park called Tinder Island specifically for idiots to take photos with them? Do the tigers sign a waiver saying they are ok being online with some tool trying to pick up? I'm just curious ok. If we find that they are, in fact, not endangered, just hiding, I for one won't be surprised.

On a promising note, there are nowhere near as many dick picks and boob shots as expected - thank gods really. But seriously, do those of you just putting up torso shots really think people are only interested in the equipment? You know you actually have to talk to people first, right? However briefly? This isn't an escort agency, and even they have a meet and greet protocol. 

Ok, so we can't all be Annie Leibovitz, but I am deeply concerned by the total lack of ability some of you show in this department. We've had smart phones for what, nearly 20 years?, and half of you can't seem to take one decent headshot.

They are alternately fuzzed out, you're making appalling faces (are you in pain? confused by the flash? constipated? ), the lighting obscures you entirely, or it's just a really rubbish picture (no, no, please - show me another photo of you at an awkward moment, that mouth-hanging-open-like-a-zombie is sooo sexy)...

And on that note, what's with all the party shots? Or the live-action shots? In an unbelievable turn of events, you getting hammered at a dance party with 500 of your nearest and dearest gives me absolutely no clue as to what you look like front on. Only when off chops. So. Hawt. Obvi.

And the endless photos of you at the snow? Sure, because what's sexier than trying to see someone's face through six layers, reflective surfaces, and goggles? I totally want to hook up with someone who looks like they are in HAZMAT gear or are the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

For the last time; no, I don't like rock climbing. I am deeply ambivalent about long hikes in the bush (two words; insects and serialkillers). And no, I can't surf, and have zero desire to learn (haven't you seen Jaws?!).

Dear gods no, I do not want to go to the gym with you. I'd rather shove tabasco-laced razorblades under my fingernails. If I want a training session, I have a PT brother and a galpal with washboard abs to torture me at their well-trained leisure, and your efforts will be nothing in comparison.

Besides, I do not need gym equipment to assist me in making a fool of myself; I'm quite capable of that in everyday environments.

Moving on.

***

In an effort to get a decent sized focus group, I'm chatting to pretty much every one I 'match' with.

One of the girls at work (tall, leggy, 26 - just for context) is on there as well and doing the opposite. She says no one is talking to her and I tried pointing out that the issue may be lack of communication on her part, but she's having none of it.

Here's the thing; I'm treating Tinder like a game, and I plan to win. Like any game, you figure out what the goal is and go about getting that in the most direct route possible.

For those smartasses about to tell me that everyone knows the ultimate goal of Tinder, y'all can pipe down. That's the easy goal. I'm after the real prize.

Remember how I said my profile had a jaunty xmas twist? Now we get to the fun part. In true Bridget Jones tradition, I want people to dress in dodgy festive wear. I want pictures of puppies, I want to eat ham, and I want to sing xmas carols.

And I want to convince other people they want to do the same. Brilliant, isn't it? Ingenious, right?

And yes, just a wee bit creepy. Told this was going to be an epic disaster...


Bring it on


~*LTM*~








































Sunday, 4 December 2016

[ geek girl looking for nerdy supernatural ]


Dating has changed rather a lot since I was younger. There were rules and etiquette, things you had to do and things you absolutely did not do, as well as a long list of things to tick off as you went along.

Refreshingly, it's somewhat more build-your-own-adventure these days, and I'm quite taken with the idea that you can make things up as you go along.

However, dating is still weird, and I spend a reasonable amount of time being confused or rolling my eyes. So I've decided to put it out in the universe what I'm looking for and see how that pans out.

Obviously, hilarity will ensue. Let's not kid ourselves, I'm just Bridget Jones with better clothes, better hair, and more sarcasm. What could possibly go wrong?

***

Straight up, potential suitors, you should know the benefits of dating me. Because there are so very many. Of course. 

All meals can be shared. I eat seven times a day and portion sizes are out of control. I appreciate the idea of a burger as big as my head as much as the next person, but my ability to finish it is severely compromised by my size. 

So you will get to eat pretty much twice as much as usual, and never have to decide between dishes on a menu. Win-win right? 

Just so we are clear, however, please feed me first when it comes to dessert. Much like a small child, I will want to taste everything, even if I tell you I don't want to. Especially if I tell you I don't want to.

***

For such a complicated woman, I'm generally easily pleased.We all like high culture and being tossers over wine and opera and who knows the most about method acting (Me. Trust me, it's me).  

But, you know what's really nice? Sunny days, bad movies, too much ice cream, long drives and singing along to CD's. Super chilli hot laksas, texting each other stupid pictures or videos we found on the internet, debating conspiracy theories, trying to figure out where the water actually needs to go in my car (seriously though, can anyone help me with that...?).

Basically, I do need to be entertained, but I'm not high maintenance. Spend 75% of the time dangling shiny things in front of me, and the other 25% with tricky puzzles that will keep me occupied while you get some real work done. It's not rocket science.

Yup, you've got it; treat me like overly smart kitten and you're sorted.

***

I have a bunch of special skills and a bunch of trivial skills, both of which you will find alternately useful, frustrating and amusing.

My memory is exceptional. And I don't mean the usual fair-to-decent, I mean the razor-sharp-with-fangs kind. Admittedly, I can't always recall what I had for breakfast yesterday (there was coffee ok? Everything else is ancillary), but I can remember in vivid specifics the clothes you wore last month to your work conference.

I know where you left you car keys, reading book, glasses and passport. I know your brothers' birthday, your mothers' favourite colour, and that restaurant you went to one time 5 years ago and had the best dumplings ever.

Undoubtedly, you will discover my total recall borders on creepy and more than a little OCD (which I actually have), but the pros far outweigh the cons. It's not 100% failproof (how boring would that be?!), and when it comes to trying to remember what time we were meant to be at your sisters' baby shower and what we were meant to bring (Something with ducks. Don't ask.), you'll thank me. Over and over again.

***

I'm not a big fan of surprises (note; not spoilers, as this is a different thing entirely), so you won't constantly need to think of new and extravagant ways to impress me. Don't mistake me here, I love surprise chocolates (but a pint of Haagen Dazs will do as well, just quietly), flowers or random CD's of music, but big things kind of freak me out.

A weekend away to Queensland? Why? So I can get sunburnt, drink too much, die of boredom and see munchkins get off chops? No.

A Harbour Bridge Climb for us and your mates on a Sunday afternoon? Sure, because I totally love the idea of being in a confined space, harnessed to other people, with no ability to escape or get drunk. No. Hell, no.

Dinner on the beach at sunset with bocce and a bottle of Verve? Maybe some mutually agreed upon mischief after dark?

Why yes, that's my kind of surprise.

And in a total contradictory turn of events, I adore organising surprises, so don't feel like you would miss out. Another win, right?

***

The Notebook is not my favourite movie. It was lovely and romantic and all that, but my idea of romance is a little different. I may watch stuff like that if it's on, but I promise not to make you watch it or expect you to like it.

My favourite movie is Deadpool. Followed closely by Hot Fuzz. I do still occasionally like having my heart ripped out by classics like City of Angels, but I don't really do weepy girlie flicks where I'll cry into your shoulder and get snot on your favourite shirt.

Except Winters Tale. But I can only watch that once every few years. Book a work trip when that time comes around. 

***

I'm not obsessed with shopping. I do enjoy buying fun things, but it's not a special pastime. And to be honest, I'd rather you didn't come with me. I like bargains, so when I'm out I'm pretty focused. 

I don't want to spend 40 minutes debating if the colour mustard looks good on me (it doesn't), or if those towels would look good in your bathroom (who cares?). Unless you're my mother, the bride whom I'm bridesmaid to, or we have won lotto, you can breathe a sigh of relief and cross this firmly and happily off your companion-y duties. 

***

Barring Carrie-like dousings in public places, I don't do embarrassment or squeamishness. I barely do mildly awkward. 

Your messy bedroom will not worry me, your ripped pants will not offend. As long as you have made a genuine effort, I'm happy. I like horror movies, so forgotten moldy fruit in your kitchen is not going to make me squeal in disgust. 

It's generally preferred you don't get so off your face that I have to hold your hair back as you chuck your guts up, but a) it's not the worst thing you could do, and b) I don't drink that much any more, so you'll be delighted someone was there to do the holding of said hair. 

***

Being in my thirties means I have my own money, my own things, my own life.  

I like attention, but I don't need to know where you are every hour of everyday. Because of the uber memory, I already know you're at basketball training, so I really don't need you to check in like I'm some clingy, needy girlfriend. 

And while it's super lovely of you to offer to pay for things when we go out, I have my own money, so we can to go Dutch pretty much all the time. That being said, if you earn twice what I do, feel free to splurge on whatever you like. I will enjoy you enjoying it, and therefore we both get a kick out of it.

Please spend extra funds on cake. Just putting it out there. 

***

I am funny as hell. And so are you - we won't be dating otherwise. Nothing is sexier than someone who can make me laugh, and I like to think I have that quality too. Unfortunately, some of things things I do border the line between amusing and silly, but you'll get used to it and even start to enjoy it. 

If it's funny, I'll laugh and you totally can too. I'm not one of those girls who takes everything seriously, and gets worked up over what someone said to me at a party 5 months ago about her best friend's cousins wedding dress and how we should all be offended (kill me).

Honestly. Life is hard. Let's get cheeky and have a chuckle. 

***

Last but not least, I'm dynamic, flexible, and have a fluid learning curve. And yes, you can take that both literally and figuratively. 

I spent my teens and twenties being highly strung, sussing out who I really was, and largely getting comfortable in my own skin. There are still interesting things I find out about myself, but on the whole I'm confident in who and what I am. 

Which means I'll try anything once. Twice if I'm not sure if I liked it the first time. Trapeze classes in Mudgee? You're on. Blindfolded ice skating? Sounds dangerous; let's do it! Japanese cooking classes - in Japanese? Let's give it a whirl. 

Except for bungee jumping and eating cockroaches, you'll be hard pressed to suggest something I haven't at least considered. And if you like either of those, move it right along. 

***

The above is by no means exhaustive and should be considered guidelines only (you know, like the Pirate Code).

I'm total girlfriend material and come with lots of added extras, so this will hopefully be a snap, right?

If Madam or Monsieur Charming were wondering where I was, it was here; in Sydney, drinking too much coffee and trying not to walk into things.

Come find me. And bring something shiny ;)

~*LTM*~

























































Thursday, 1 December 2016

[ xmas party etiquette ]


Tomorrow is my work xmas party. It's a lunch affair; I picked the venue, the menu, wrote the trivia, and the boss even put my name all over the 'fun police' email that he has to send out every year (sneaky bugger).

I'm really quite excited by the whole thing because I've had such a major role in organising it, and the boss is totally psyched as well. I've already got heaps of kudos for doing so, and it's nice to think everyone is looking forward to a good time somewhere lovely.

I plan on getting a little loose but mainly keeping it together to make sure everyone else has fun - then quietly slinking out half an hour before cut off. It's what has been coined my 'Houdini act' at social events for quite a few years now, and has saved my cheeky ass more times than I can count.

On that note...this is where we all need to be reminding ourselves of the golden rules around work functions. You know the ones; things we should honestly know by now, but somehow fly out the window when faced with an open bar and bright lights.

Let's review, shall we...

***

Do not get drunk
This is a given and top of the list for a reason. Please tell me we all know this? No one wants to see you stumbling around into furniture like a newborn foal. This is not Club Med and you can't hold your liquor like it is anymore. Also, showing your tits to the person who does your annual review is not appropriate. It's just not.
Have two drinks, then switch to juice and soda (sans spirits); you'll still look like you're having a good time and you'll be able to keep a leash on your bad behaviour.

Dress appropriately
The work xmas party is not the time to crack out the mini that you (read = your rack) can barely stay in, or those skinny pants the guy at the menswear store said make your ass look fabulous (they might, but they're also cutting off your circulation and your ability to breed has dropped by 50%).
Wear something bright and festive (no, not tinsel-as-clothes), like a good party dress, decent jeans, a fun shirt. Make it look like you put more effort in than normal. People like that.

Pig Out
Xmas party directly translates to free food, as well as booze. As you'll need some way to overindulge while restricting your alcohol intake, go for the buffet like a Biggest Loser contestant the day before filming starts. You've earned this and will be working it off over January anyway. And yes, hit the pudding tray. Hit it hard. Just save some of those teeny double chocolate pudding truffles for me. They are so fucking good.

Choose your plus one wisely
Unless your mother is the ultimate wing-woman like mine, do not make family or loved ones suffer through this with you. They don't know anyone, they also have to behave themselves, and they couldn't care less about your office in-jokes (which aren't funny to anyone else ever).
Fancy food and an open bar isn't high enough payment for putting up with Jeff from Accounts' hour-long spiel on how investment rates for the coming year are progressing.


Schmooze with the spouses
Here's a little secret to work functions; you don't need to brown-nose your boss, you need to get cosy with their significant other. Sucking up to the big guns is so transparent and everyone will see it straight off. The boss already knows your strengths and weaknesses, but if their other half can't shut up about how sweet, intelligent, charming and funny you are all the way home, you're going to go up in their estimation. And you only had to work it for a few hours over free food. You're welcome.

Talk shop or talk shit
Unquestionably, there is a fine line here. Spending half your time crunching budget numbers with aforementioned Jeff is going to do nothing for your ability to limit your alcohol intake, and also makes you boring as hell. After that, no else will want to talk to you either.
Conversely, now is definitively not the time to reel off that hilarious story about the time you and your best mate got off chops and broke into the neighbours' pool, naked, and vomited all over their lawn. Results will be the same.

Yours truly has a tried-and-true method; in my head are two lists. One green and one red (I know, festive right?!). The former is full of cool stuff I can discuss at social events with people I have next to nothing in common with, and am only spending time by obligation, be it enjoyably. Books, movies, holiday destinations, weird food I've tried. Fun, safe stuff.
The latter, on the other hand, is full of things that should only crop up with those of shared history, mutual bad behaviour, and no chance of having to look them in the eye over a boardroom table. Above stories, sexual exploits, what you actually think of Jeff from Accounts, what you actually think of your boss (from loathing to crushing - Don't. Fucking. Mention. It.), politics, religion.

Should one find oneself coming to the bottom of the green list - and veering dangerously close to anything on the red list - abort immediately. A headache, a heel snapped, a family commitment, anything. Unless you want to suffer through the indignity of no-one being able to meet your eye for 3 months (you told the nipple-shaped mole story, didn't you?!), run like you've been told you're getting the bar tab.

Social media
We've talked about this before and we'll talk about it again; in social situations, social media is not your friend. Double that for work functions.
This isn't like getting drunk in a bar and stalking your ex on Facebook. This is the one where you all take photos of each other and some bright spark uploads it without asking anyone's permission.
Do not be the tool in a disciplinary hearing explaining why the photo of Betty from IT dancing on a tabletop has somehow made it onto SBS Comedy's 'best and worst of xmas' page.

Leave before merry turns messy
Know when to call it. Be this because you're at risk of making a fool of yourself or someone else is, figure out when is a good time to call it quits and go.
If you can see that the new IT guy has taken your friendly banter as more like flirting, it's time to go. If the conversation between you and your boss has dwindled and you've resorted to work topics, it's time to go.
If you can't instantly locate your coat, bag, shoes, or remember the name of the venue, it's time to go. Now.

Last but not least, have fun! This is still supposed to be a time to let your hair down, so don't be as up-tight as you are at work.

Enjoy ;)

~*LTM*~





































Sunday, 27 November 2016

[ tell me what you want to hear ]


This article actually started as something else, in another piece, with another name. Then I did what I usually do - make magical mischief - and there it was, seeding buds in my head already.

***

When I meet someone new, there's always a little part of me that whispers please be as curious as me, please be as weird as me, please be a seeker like me...

I think we all have effects we hope for when we connect with people, and some are flexible and some are not, even if we don't realise it at first. 

A long time ago, after I concluded I knew a lot more than I gave myself credit for, I coined the phrase I have a lot of secrets, but nothing to hide.

I guess what I meant by that, and still mean, is people tell me things, lots and lots of things. And I do things; random things, important things, mundane things. I see things, make things, chase things. And sometimes, more often than imagined, these are things that we don't usually see or talk about. They just are. It's not a boast or being dramatic, it just is what it is. 

Personally, even when the circumstances are less than pleasant, I still consider myself deeply blessed to be where I am. To be considered worthy enough to see people at their best and worst, at their most vulnerable and their most capable; these are truly the treasures that make up my memories.
 
Obviously, this is a double-edged sword; these are not always my stories to tell, even when I'm in them. On the other hand, it's not as if I don't have enough secrets of my own to keep me busy. 

Here's where it gets interesting. A sweet and handsome visitor from my past recently invited me to discuss anything I wanted, any way I wanted, and let the dialogue entirely follow my whim. I don't know if I took that as directly as I could have, or understood it as well as it was meant. I was a little lulled by how comfortable I felt, how much friendly affection I was given without question, and how easy the flow was.

So, to be fair, I don't think it's unreasonable to suspect how I might have opened my mouth with the wrong person and the right words. Or the right person with the wrong words. The universe lets me choose my path as freely as I wish, but it can only put up so many signposts...

***

At a xmas party recently at one of my favourite places in the world - a bookstore - I met someone. Being me, I stalked him around the store in a socially-acceptable fashion, flirting and trying to make myself appealing. Lo and behold, it appeared to have worked! 

Long story short; we hit it off and starting talking endlessly over text and hanging out a little. All the normal(ish) stuff.
 
The first time we were alone together, I told him one of my secrets. I'm not really sure what possessed me to do so, but out it came and there we were. The response was lovely. This particular piece of information a few people know and to a person, everyone has been wonderful. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised; I don't spend a lot of time with people my heart doesn't have faith in, and he certainly didn't give me the impression I couldn't otherwise hope for.
 
My level of trust in people is built around our mutual ability to cope with anything. So I think when I tell you something, I try to make sure it's not more than you can take, or asking more than you are willing to give.
 
The second time we were alone together, I did it again, with something a little bigger, a little older, a little more private.
 
I wondered why on earth I felt the desire to pull out such a revelation; intimate validation? A craving to bear my soul just that little bit more? I knew the rush of connection was there, but not the shared history that usually loosens my tongue. At the time of writing, I still can't quite put my finger on it, but I know the message is coming...

Is a secret still a secret if more than a few people know about it? Does it still hold power if you don't talk about it, or if you do?

This is a little secret buried in a lot of time. There are quite a few (what's quite a few really...?) that know about it, but only a handful who ever speak of it. Intriguing, isn't it; the tease of something that can't be spoken?

The reaction wasn't what I imagined (I can't even fancy what reaction I expected...), which is always the 50/50 chance when you open your chest, as it were.

But I've discovered something I honestly didn't know; it doesn't really matter what the reaction is with something like this is.

To be fair, initially it does. But, in the end, it's more about why you've said it, than what you've said. Savvy?

***

Let's rip the blinders off, shall we; the other people who know this secret are varied. Some believe it to be true, and others a figment of my exceptionally overactive imagination. 

Some pay no mind to it at all, and some reference it in everyday life, as naturally as the colour of my hair or the way I take my coffee.

All of these people treat me exactly the same; the same love, the same respect, the deep and abiding surety of knowing we have each others' backs. And a little secret changes not the fundamental nature of my being. 

***

It's strange to tell someone new an old secret. You forget the impact it has, the way their opinion of it floods your mind and makes you relive it all over again. For anyone who has ever got a tattoo, even a small one, you know exactly the feeling I'm trying to describe; nothing prepares you for the needle against your skin, the starbursts of sensation that rush you. 

And the very nature of the material - a secret - recalls to you a certain sense of privacy, a hidden factor not exposed outside of a limited circle. 

It's terrifying and it's intoxicating and it's really, really hard to replicate. Even if you wanted to. Maybe that's why we tell our secrets to others; holding it in is like caging something wild. All it wants to do is get out.

***

So here I am, with an old secret retold to a new character and my soul a little exposed. And you know what? It feels amazing.

Did I tell the wrong person? The man from my past got confused with the man from my present, and my energy felt something similar, so my mouth opened? Who knows...

I don't think Mr Intellect believes me. He is a man of science and his head rules his being; there must be a reason for everything. You cannot convince a tiger of being a spaceship, because there is no point of reference they would understand. Which is both conflictingly wonderful and frustrating.

Yet, it doesn't matter. The words were spoken, and cannot be unheard. And in that moment, I knew a freedom I didn't know I craved; to be seen again. To be seen and known and to feel special. 

Stranger still, I did. In the disbelief, or more fairly, the tolerance of an unusual secret spoken aloud, I felt like myself. I felt special.

Wherever it came from, I found that sometimes the truth really will set you free. And in order to keep feeling this way, keep feeling special, it's almost like I want people to just tell me what they want to hear...

Because I'm almost willing to start giving some of my secrets away. Almost.


~*LTM*~








































Monday, 21 November 2016

[ some things never change ]


Waking up and treating every day like a new adventure is all good and well. Seeking new experience, looking for love, making friends; these are all wondrous and amazing things.

But fuck me, they are tiring some days.

Some days, you just want to wake up and have the world be exactly as you left it. Not a cup out of place, not a car moved, not a president on his way out.

In a slightly unusual turn of events, here is a different list of things. Here is a list of things that stay exactly the same. They never really change, they just roll on, like the sands of time, slightly unnerving, deeply comforting.

Because some days, you just want a quiet fucking coffee and five hours of boredom in peace.

***

1. Neil Diamond and Chuck Norris
The former will forever have his songs played at Christmas, and the latter is basically holding the fabric of the universe together with his bare hands. Let us give thanks and hope that we die before they do (which is entirely possible).


2. Lemsip: sore throat, cold and flu relief
For something that is supposed to make you feel better, the taste leaves a lot to be desired. Somewhere between crushed up panadol and snot mixed with hot water, you wonder how something so utterly vile is meant to make you well. Maybe the virus is terrified into submission? Either way, much like calamine lotion when you were a kid, the horrifying liquid antiseptic smell is somehow quite reassuring. 

And in a truly soothing turn of events, there's now Lemsip Blackcurrant; which does not, in fact taste like those yummy fizzy blackcurrant lollies, but like warm, medicinal Ribena. Gak. 

3. Family practical jokes
When I was a kid, my brother told me that there was a giant tissue box in the city that you could jump off a building into, like the ad on tv at the time. Being a somewhat trusting child, I bought this malarkey, much to my mothers' long sufferance, and took rather a lot of convincing otherwise. 
My other brother, on more birthdays than seems fair, has filled my bed with the following; birthday confetti, stones with novelty faces on them (cute actually), streamers, and other random objects. 

20 years later and less than a month ago, I came home to find a spider in my bed. It looked distressingly like a Huntsman and though I was reasonably sure it wasn't real, I tapped it with the edge of my phone, before cursing like a sailor when I saw it was plastic. 

Don't worry bro, you'll get yours.

4. The way mum makes a cup of tea
The indescribable pleasure of someone else making you a cup of tea is only surpassed by the discovery that they have made it exactly the way you like it. 

It's been 34 years. Every. Single. Cup. Is amazing. I kid you not. Bless you woman, for one cannot underestimate the power behind a good cuppa.

5. John Farnham Comeback Tours
Oh Farnsey, you don't need to come back! We know you never left. Ever. Not even after that duet with Olivia Newton John (especially after that).

6.  Mini Babybel cheese
It's been 34 years. The wrapping is the same, the wax is the same, they taste exactly the same. 

So good you could cry. 


7. The Lynx effect
The little beatniks at Unilever probably gave themselves the week off when they came up with this one. For some bizarre reason, there is actually a Lynx effect. It basically revolves around anyone (men *and* women) catching a whiff of what is basically deodorant and feeling mildly thrilled by it. 
It's unclear whether they've been messing with pheromones in the lab or subliminal messages in advertising, but the scent of a good antiperspirant still has the ability to titillate.   

Weird. Slightly creepy. Deeply satisfying.

8. Bacon and egg rolls
The classic. The old-fashioned. The one and only. 

Even in a time when kale is the height of sophistication, and we now have such abominations as the cronut (just a fucking donut thanks), the duffin (dammit), and the cruffin (kill me now), there is no way to mess with old faithful. 

Maple crusted ham with egg? Just a posh b & e. Soft poached egg with honey-glazed, American bacon on a brioche roll? Still just bacon and egg on a roll, but with a stupidly long name that comes with a distressing high price tag. 

It's protein with protein and some sauce. There's no real way to mess with perfection. 

9. ' 90's music
Soulful boy bands, hip-hop badass, girl bands, unfortunate fashion choices, lyrics that meant something (including the dodgy ones - which was most of them). The '90's produced a lot of complete crap, but music wasn't one of them.

Between utter hilarity that was (is) Vanilla Ice, who was a white boy rapper well before Eminem, endless fun with the Spice Girls (you know you allocated yourself one, don't try to hide it), and knowing every single word to every single Michael Jackson song (even though at least half were released before 1990), the '90's are a deep and meaningful comfort in a time where trying to interpret a Kanye song gives you a headache, and just the thought of a Miley Cyrus video clip makes you want to shower with industrial grade disinfectant. 

Load up the CD player (because you still have one) with Backstreet Boys, Jamiroquai, Goo Goo Dolls, and rock out until you forget what day it is, let alone what year.


10. Sydney public transport
It's unreliable, shoddy, insufficient and barely gets us where we need to go. Trains and buses are intermittently claustrophobic with heat, fuel fumes and other passengers, or arctic-like freezing, deserted and creepy, and set the scene for every serial killer movie you've ever seen. 

You've never gotten into work on time anyway, but in an age where the possibility of walking into the office means finding out half your job may have been replaced with a robot, knowing one of the main functions of our society wouldn't pass an international safety test on its best day, is somehow profoundly soothing.


~*LTM*~


















[ a shot of neon in the windowpane, a shot of whisky and we're young again* ]


When you spend as much time as I do knowing who you are, having the lines already defined around you and the stage already set, surprise news tends to rip the ground from beneath you harder than expected.

This isn't surprise news like having to change jobs or move house; these can kind of be expected and the surprise isn't so much surprise, as rolling with the punches that you knew already had the possibility of coming.

Surprises like the one I got punch a hole in your gut the way the death of someone you love does. You know the ones; the world changes colour and your ability to focus or comprehend fuzzes around the edges a little.

It does something else too though, something bittersweet. It makes you remember who you are; the not-so-great stuff, the broken bits, the scars you bear from all the things you've ever been and are. Which doesn't sound particularly swell on the surface, and it sure as hell doesn't make you feel good at the time.

You start to reconsider all the choices you ever made, all the dumb decisions that seemed like a good idea at the time, and everyone you ever trusted who let you down.

But, always, always the but; if you can get past the fact that these recollections aren't that pleasant, you can remember something else too. You can remember that these fucked up things are what made you. They are the stuff of your substance, and all the good things didn't just make you into you - the really hard things, the ones with the razor edges, carved you into yourself.

It can take a while. Sometimes a day, sometimes a week, a month. Sometimes, sadly, a year. But it will happen if you let it, if you want it enough.

Right now, I don't want it enough. It's hard to admit that because I'm a natural born fighter, and giving up isn't in my nature. But there it is.

I learned another thing again recently; if you let yourself realise how shitty you feel, it gets easier. It really does. It doesn't make it go away, but it does make the time pass.

Trying to recapture your youth, and maybe relive the better moments, doesn't mean you can change anything, it just makes you delusional and a little sad. But only living in the now, making out that nothing else matters, is the same. And it makes you desperate.

We can't change everything in the universe. We can change how we react to it.

So, while I am somewhere between delusional and desperate right now, I'm also changing my reactions.

Heavens help me, I know too much not to.

~*LTM*~























Thursday, 3 November 2016

[ 10 everyday things that deserve a high five ]


The whole 'celebrating the wins' thing came up again recently, and I was thinking about this in terms of your professional as well as personal life.

In my old office, we had to actually force ourselves to think of things, then spend an excruciating 15 minutes going round the table, awkwardly describing why we should all give ourselves a pat on the back that week. Which says more about the state of that office than anything else really...

Topics ranged from completing a report you'd been agonising over (er, yay? you should be happy you are doing your job?), to receiving an email from a supplier you had been waiting on (ahhh, yay again? you can be happy someone else is also doing their job?). 

Kill me. Kill me now.

My current office is pretty excellent; praise is bestowed where praise is due, promptly and with enthusiasm. And that made me think of all the things we do every day (at work or otherwise), that probably don't get enough attention, but definitely deserve a big high five, even if you only do it mentally. Enjoy!

***
 
1.  You beat the boss into work. He gets usually gets in at what seems like the crack of dawn, and you still beat him in. Sit smugly at your desk and read the paper for 10 minutes. Well done! 



2. Tempted to drink coffee from a bucket and eat a pastry of comparable size? 
Didn't; got a veggie juice and a fruit salad. Make boo-ya! face and fist pump the air like a champ. 
(The pie and chips at lunch doesn't count)


3. Did not call creepy Kurt from IT a dickhead under your breath when he asked you if you'd tried rebooting your PC. For the 5th time. 
In fact, you smiled pleasantly and thanked him for his help. He seemed surprised and replied warmly. Extra points if you didn't make gagging noises after he walked away. 
 
 

4. You refrained from texting your ex. Even though you got your periods that morning, and that song he sang you seems to be playing bloody everywhere.  
Double high-five if you also refrained from social media stalking. 
 
 
5. The catering company you chose for todays' meeting outdid your expectations, turned up early, the boss had decided you have magic powers and keeps eating the mini pastries. Smile humbly, nod gently, mental self-five.  


6. You wore matching and tasteful clothes outside of the house today. You haven't spilled anything, dripped liquid paper, or otherwise soiled them - and it's after midday. High-five yourself to an early lunch, you legend. 
 
7. James, your super-dodgy mate, asks you to drinks in the city. Knowing this will be an utter disaster, you feign a prior commitment, therefore saving yourself $200, an epic hangover, and some deep and meaningful regret. Smashing it like the grown-up you are, boom!


8. Find out Netflix has updated the shows list *and* your favourite movie is on TV tonight. Order a pizza, pour a yourself a drink, cheers yourself from the lounge. 


9. Go to bed at a decent hour. Therefore giving yourself a good rest after a long week, rather than getting ratassed on a Friday and getting home at 3am, like usual. Adulting like a boss. 
 

10. Wake up Saturday morning well before 9am, sans hangover, fresh faced and full of beans. Go for a run, do all your washing, clean the house. Discover it's not even lunchtime and you can make brunch with the crew. You are on fire, my friend, treat yourself to waffles and repeat tomorrow.
 
 
~*LTM*~














 
































Tuesday, 25 October 2016

[ omnia mutantur ]


Psychology has always been fascinating to me. The way the mind works, how it creates and molds different events or ideas, the way memory works. Especially the way memory works.

Unfortunately - or maybe fortunately for y'all, depending on how you look at it - I don't think I ever had the discipline to study it seriously. I did take a few classes, and during my many, many years of performance, certainly learned various techniques that based themselves around psychology, behavior, and other elements.

With that in mind, let's call this an educated theory then, and come with me on that basis.

***

It's always been interesting to see how people move past particular experiences, whether they be good, bad or indifferent. Because even when something is really good, it's still a little painful when it's over, and you have to turn to the next concern, whatever that may be.

I have a theory, built over numerous years, that's simple in summary and grows in complexity once it gains momentum and time. 

It goes thus; when faced with an experience we would best rather move past, we need new experiences to cover the old. 

Further, the longer the old event has gone on - for example, a relationship - the more experiences we need to get past it. Or, as I like to call it, we need new memories. We need enough of them to superimpose over the old, so that they seem faded, the heat gone out of them, the feelings soft and gentle, unable to scrape us raw as they used to. 

We need these memories to contain certain elements to cover the past; they need not be exactly the same, but the new must be strong enough that our corporeal involvement with them imprints on our psyche over the old.

***

Between the longest relationships of my life so far, there was very little time before one was over and the next began. They are both long gone now, but I still recall how it felt trying to move forward, feelings for someone no longer there still present while someone new held my hand.

My theory solidified in that time. That space in between. I learned that while my heart wanted, my head could not forget, and some things need more than just their edges blunted.

When the second one was over, all I thought I felt was relief. The days and weeks afterwards were strange in their lack of sharpness; almost peaceful.

When we parted I told him I was going to pretend he had died. Though he felt it was, I hadn't meant it as cruel; it just was what it was to me. He had been gone for so long and I didn't know who this person was. He was nothing like the person I had known.

I realised as time went on that the new memories to cover the old had begun long before we broke up. The man I loved was gone, replaced by a shell that couldn't replace him, but somehow, inscrutably, had helped me through the last of our days.

New memories had started to form - long before I knew I would need them.

***

Nearly two years after I had the major operation that changed my life, I find it hard to remember what it was like to be physically weak so often. I can't recall the level of pain I used to go through, I barely remember crying as much as I did. 

My body, more so than my mind even, has created new memories (muscle memory, bone memory, strength, endurance, and flexibility memory), memories that have all but obliterated the old. 

It seems such a wonder that my mind and body have worked this minor miracle to create a new being. But a being who still looks like me, talks like me, walks like me, even acts like me. 

It might just even be me. Who can tell? 

***


They say time heals all wounds. It's not entirely true, but it's not utter bullshit either. Like most things, it's more complicated than that. But everyone loves a good mantra, something to put on a motivational poster, and some days you just need some well-phrased, pleasant words to do the job.

I like making new memories. Not just to cover the old, but to learn new things, see new sights, to evolve my little self as far as she will go.

More than that; I love the magic of memories. You can never be sure exactly what will happen or how things will turn out, but you can always trust that whatever memories you have will keep you, as long as you need them to.

And then, when you don't, they will be replaced by ones you do...


~*LTM*~




 















































Saturday, 22 October 2016

[ the princess and the sceptic ]


Once upon a time, what seems like long ago, I had a very boring lover. He seemed genuinely interesting at first; he built soldiers and waged battles, he told funny stories, and he made me laugh. But this sort of thing never lasts, and sometimes it can be just one thing that starts to show you the forest through the trees.

Strangely enough, or perhaps not, it was a simple thing, a little thing really. I plucked an eyelash from his cheek one day, and held it delicately up to his lips saying, make a wish. He looked at me oddly and said,

I don't believe in that.

I blinked slowly at him and frowned. Doesn't matter, make a wish anyway, I said. Again, he refused. Again, he told me he didn't believe in that sort of thing, so he wasn't doing it. 

He was the first person that I can remember (in a rather long and consistently growing line), who shocked me with their pragmatism about such a simple thing.

That moment, right there, very quietly and calmly, with no fanfare whatsoever, I decided that no one was taking my magic, everyday or otherwise, away from me. Not then. Not ever.

***

There are lots of people in my life who don't believe in a higher power. They have no sense of a greater purpose in this life, no reason for us being here. They do not look for messages in hidden places, they seek no greater truth. 

I love these people very dearly, especially because they know what I believe, and we never discuss it. They know what I have faith in and what they have faith in may be very different things, but our hearts speak the same language, and that is enough. 

I believe in everything. 

Really. Everything. 

And I believe all of it with a healthy dose of scepticism. 

Confusing? Maybe a little bit, but let me explain. Most people spend their lives wanting to believe in things, but needing proof of their existence before they commit. Which, to be fair, seems pretty reasonable. This life is full of dark and dangerous things, disappointments and uncertainty. It's not like you want to get your hopes up on the thin possibility of something wondrous, when the corporeal is so solid, right? 

And so they choose to be chiefly rationalistic, going through every day on the things they can see and feel, the tangible world making up the majority of their lives. Which is no bad thing, let me assure you.

Except that, for me, I can't. Not at all. I've seen and felt things that make me believe, and met people who've seen and felt other things, their stories so compelling, that not believing seems beyond far-fetched.

But moreover, and more importantly, I want to believe. I need to believe, because that's the way I'm wired. I can be no other way, and much like you can sense the essential wrongness of being upside down, so it is with me and the belief of things.


***

What is it exactly that I believe, and what makes it different to anyone else? 

Well, foremostly; there are certainly others like me. I've not met many more than a handful, but we are not entirely uncommon. That being said, I'm usually the quirk in the fabric of the room, as it were.

I believe in vampires and werewolves and faeries. I believe in aliens and deep sea monsters, ghosts and spirits, and the ability to read possible futures with different tools. 

I believe we can know what another person wants in any conversation, as long as we pay enough attention. I believe we all know more than we let on, and we forget extraordinary pieces of knowledge more than we care to admit. I believe in my ability to make anything at all happen, as long as I want it enough (that being the kicker). 

And all of it - each and every element, each story and each action - I experience with a thread of caution, a grain of salt.

To make things clearer, let's take that metaphor a little further. When people say they take something with a grain of salt, it means that they don't take it literally or too seriously.

But they do. Most people come out of unimaginable situations only tasting the edge of what they have faced, and shutting down what they do not comprehend with bags and bags of salt. Because this is the way of things, the way the world has always worked, and anything that disturbs that is dangerous, and forces us to rethink our whole reality.

Again, this is a fair and reasonable way to be. If we all went around believing in ghosts, no one would ever leave the house. If we all spent our time searching for aliens, we might never focus on furthering our own evolution in other areas (besides space navigation, obviously). 




And so choosing to be a sceptic with the willingness to believe is an incomparable thing. Equally so my choice to cultivate the fundamental feeling, deep and not-so-deep inside, that certain things are real - and I'm assuredly willing to be proven wrong.

***

Neither of us is right and neither of us is wrong, and using such black and white ways of looking at things shuts down the the imagination faster than you can blink. I'm certainly not asking anyone to believe what I believe in, and I'm definitely not telling you what to think. 

What I am saying is this; we each have our own view of the world. That, I'm sure we can all agree on. And it harm none, do as you will; which basically means, as long as you don't harm others - as well as actively trying to be a good person - you are welcome to seek your own path. 

This is something I cannot be moved on. I can have my mind changed and my heart swayed, but nothing will move me from being someone who believes. Just. Believes. 

So, don't feel you have to listen to my babblings about faeries and pirates, and stop me if you like when I ask what your star sign is. But hold off on telling me that this or that doesn't exist. I won't hear you anyway.

Lastly, one more thing we can all agree on; the future is unwritten. If we treat every day like anything can happen - whatever your idea of anything might be - maybe, just maybe, anything can.


~*LTM*~