It’s ironic sometimes when a topic comes into your head, and then five minutes later you’re having to take your own advice. Mine is to NOT always KEEP CALM & CARRY ON

I’m not sure who came up with the logo, KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON?  I get it sounds all warm and fuzzy but it also slightly annoys me in its vagueness.

I read amongst the sad details of the unexpected death of Peaches Geldof this week that she’d said previously of her mother Paula Yates death from heroin in 2000, ‘… I just blocked it out. I went to school the next day because my father’s mentality was ‘keep calm and carry on’.’

And there it was again.  Those five little words that appear to be so comforting and universal and although the essence of this suggestion is offered with love when heartbreaking things happen, it seems to be more about the fact we don’t know the first thing about dealing with grief.

I certainly don’t mean to point out that Sir Bob Geldof was lax in his parenting during this awful time where he’d have been dealing with his own grief but having to be the patriarch of a family that now had four young girls all mourning the loss of their mother.  I cannot begin to imagine how he would manage much else than a practical to do list and as he may have suggested, to keep everyone calm so they could carry on.

But I do think we are completely clueless by and large when it comes to supporting ourselves and each other in regards to grief, and what an enormous literal stress that puts on our hearts as we continue our lives thinking we’ve moved through the worst of it?

I even noticed it recently watching the news and seeing how the Chinese families of the victims of the Malaysian Airlines crash were reacting to the lack of information and the shocking circus that was under way.  They were utterly hysterical and really loud, clearly in the full throes of the grief process, albeit with the extra angst of not knowing really what happened, my point being is that they weren’t holding back on letting their grief go… and show.

We see TV footage of non-western communities and families grieving the loss of their loved ones where they literally throw themselves on the ground screaming from the depths of their lungs and you can’t help but feel a pang of shock that has, if we’re honest, a lot to do with the fact that we westerners are programmed to think we have to have this dignified grief.  It shocks the system seeing someone so emotionally hysterical outwardly.

One of the most famous mourning images in our western history is that of Jackie Kennedy mourning President Kennedy. We admire her and the family for their composure. But is this really the healthiest way to mourn, or is this the healthiest way to mourn so others feel more calm? So we can supposedly quickly carry on?

Lorraine Webb, the Director at the Adelaide Healing Energy centre believes “With grief we must allow our bodies to do what they’ve got to do. Our body knows what it needs to do. You’ve got to surrender and allow all the processes to move through you.”

Lorraine says it’s important to feel ok to be able to say what you really feel in that moment, if that happens to be ‘It’s not ok with me, this isn’t fair’, then we should say what honours our grief process instead of this western response of ‘it’s ok, I’m getting there.’

We talk about the so-called grief process but how many of us actually allow the natural process of time to take us through all stages of grief such as denial, anger, resentment, guilt, remorse, without limiting it through personal or societal pressure?

Depression is suppression. It signals we chose a stop sign in our grief process with something big that happened in our lives.   It’s no wonder we have such high rates of heart disease in our culture when we think it’s best to keep calm and carry on which puts an horrific strain on our hearts.

GWYNNIE

Mackenzie Dawson, you and your open letter to Gwyneth Paltrow need to LEAVE GWYNNIE ALONE….now go dry your hair!

 

I’m sorry did I miss the news story about Gwyneth Paltrow murdering someone?  What’s with the latest craze of tearing macro-biotic strips of poor Gwynnie?

LEAVE GWYNNIE ALONE…

 Last week Mackenzie Dawson, gets worldwide attention for penning an open letter to the star, after a recent Gwyneth’s interview where she said, ‘It’s much harder for me, I feel like I set it up in a way that makes it difficult because … for me, like if I miss a school run, they are like, ‘Where were you?’

Ok, there’s two examples here where she says ‘for me…’ the first as it stands may seem to suggest she’s saying it’s harder for her than for other mothers.  However there was no full stop or end to her comments, which are then followed by her next ‘for me’, which reads pretty clearly… to me, that she’s saying she is taking ownership that she has created a life, her choices that have resulted in a lack of routine with her kids.

This says to me that she as many other working mothers, grapples with the fact that she might be letting her kids down by them not seeing mummy at the school gates where other kids do.  Why would we presume that she doesn’t suffer from genuine career mum guilt which is not assigned purely for those that work in films?

She also says “I think it’s different when you have an office job, because it’s routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening.  When you’re shooting a movie, they’re like, ‘We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,’ and then you work 14 hours a day and that part of it is very difficult. I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set.”

I don’t read this like it’s a competition; I read that she’s pointing out the facts that a 9 to 5 job allows for you to be there for the kids in the morning and at night.  Nowhere do I read that she’s implying ‘office working mum’s have it easy and I do not.’

So why is it that this needs to be taken as a personal attack against all working mothers that have normal working hours?

Mackenzie, I’m open lettering you right now, are you saying that it is wrong that mothers should follow their passions in regards to career, or is it just an issue if they happen to make a bucket load of cash doing what they are clearly very good at doing?  Cash that goes towards providing for their family?

 How is it that you can be so self-righteous yet point the finger at another accusing her of being the same? 

 And fancy having such a bitchy public crack at any woman, at a time when she is in the throes of splitting from the man she loved, and caring for two kids who now are losing their parents as they once were?

 Or is it that children of celebrities don’t hurt when their parents split? 

And Mackenzie while we’re creating this cynical little circus together, how about you spare a thought for every person who’s had a miscarriage, lost a child or can’t have children? 

How about popping your poison pen down to celebrities for a jiffy while others might like to shout “Mackenzie what we would trade to have the struggles of having wet hair in the morning whilst trying to attend to a beautiful child but we never will.”

Gwyneth’s copped ridicule for saying she and her husband are ‘consciously uncoupling.’  How a statement that shows thought and wisdom is, suddenly become such a joke?  Or would it make her more relatable if she said ‘I hate his guts and I’m currently shredding his childhood photos’?

I’d truly love to see Mackenzie women consciously uncouple themselves from making motherhood a constant wet hair competition.

 

Marianne Williamson is running for congress. It would be a good day for the world if she gets in…research her PLEASE.x

http://youtu.be/L0fH7LTpY38

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Instagram-mosaic

The reason why the fashion front rowers are now staring at their crotches instead of the clothes…

 

I don’t pretend to not be a fairly avid user of social media.  I am, and I do get amongst it. I’ve been friends with Face Book for many years now and although I am still very fond of it, it probably needs to know I’ve found another. 

Its name is Instagram and just like I did with Face Book years ago, I turned my nose up at it every time I heard someone mention it.  In fact, I’m sure I’ve actually got frown lines purely from my pre-Face Book days, and more recently, pre-Instagram.

I fought the Instagram phenomenon for a long while, thinking it was going to be full of attractive twenty year olds, all uploading minute by minute selfies. The whole “hey look at me being invited to this event!”

Sure there was a time when I probably did some of that thing but not now.  It kind of makes me cringe.  So why do I need to be jumping on the Instagram wagon when I have enough RSI in my life?

I now know it’s because it’s mainly about creativity and a lot of the time about building a brand.  Especially if that brand is you!

So speaking of building the brand that is you, and anyone can do this by the way, you don’t need to have a newspaper column or have spent any time on radio or TV, you just simply need have love yourself to bits or pretend that you do.

Then package that little essence into as many social media comments, pictures and videos that is physically possible for you to do.  Just like Face Book, Instagram, Twitter are all major cultural phenomenons, so too is the cultural tsunami of completely normal people, who are consciously and ferociously turning themselves into the next big thing.  Albeit a lot of the time that may just apply to their friends, or even simply their direct siblings and their cat.  But there are tens of thousands, of girls and guys around the world that are very cleverly branding themselves Team Beckham style.

Thanks to all these different social media hubs, loads of people, who as I said, have possibly not kicked any major career goals but are gorgeous and have an eye for fashion and photography, are starting to gather a following and as such are gathering actual physical brands who want to throw them lots of free stuff, or will sponsor them financially in exchange for a plug.

I went to a fashion parade the other week which was literally bursting at the seams full of the sort of people who I just described.  They were young, seriously beautiful and decked out in all the latest cool gear.  As the parade kicked off, and I watched a few outfits coming out, I suddenly realised that most of the first row, was looking down at their crotches.  Model after model sashayed past and many of these hot front rowers did not look up once.

Was this because they’d suddenly got all coy and embarrassed about being up front?  Or were they putrid that they hadn’t been picked for the show?  What they were doing is feeling compelled to update their ‘social media fans’, about the fabulous moment they were at.

As the final line of models came down and the show was over, up came their cameras from their laps, as they were now videoing themselves with the models whisking past them.  Kind of like they were part of the show…

Whether you hate this Kim and Kanye generation or not, the selfie and the hashtags are not going away.  There is actual money to be made out of building a brand out of yourself and working your guts out to be the Pied Piper of social media.

It may seem all very shallow and vacuous I know, but these little buggers are potentially having the last laugh all the way to the bank. Which will be posted as a selfie very shortly no doubt.

 

 

 

 

money-fear

L’Wren Scott apparently drowned in her financial fear, there’s lots of us struggling right now, so we need to support others, not fake it like so many others

 

Such tragic news to hear that the very beautiful and talented girlfriend of Mick Jagger reportedly took her own life in New York on Sunday.   If the Rolling Stones were not due to embark on their Australian tour then many of us might have heard the news of L’Wren’s passing, felt terribly sad for Mick Jagger and then moved on.   But the cloud of this story is hanging over us longer as thousands of fans had March 22nd in their diaries as the night they’d spend with their favourite band.

I think there’s more to this gloomy story that we should take note of.  L’Wren Scott was said to have got herself and her business into huge financial debt, unable to pay creditors and staff as she presumably tried to keep up the façade that all was well with her business and mental state.  A similar story to one recently linked to the passing of Charlotte Dawson although slightly more buried as the focus became largely about her battle with social media bullies.

With both of these public stories, lies a thread to a theme that’s not simply an issue facing celebrities or those involved in fashion.  This is about people not surviving the very difficult financial times we’re now living in.

Our Australian economy feels like it is diving depressingly downwards or at least standing painfully still.  It’s not a rumour but a fact that this is more than just a rocky patch, this is past that, as if we’re  sailing smoothly now in the wrong direction with no end in sight.

So I truly believe that there urgently needs to be more open and public discussion in this country right now about how are we going to make sure we don’t see more of us in our own relative financial mess, manage the situation so we don’t get to a point where we can’t see any hope anymore.

I understand some people reading this column right now will know they are financially out of control, but won’t share their truth with anyone because of pride.  But what is pride if it’s no longer about honesty? How can one stay proud but know they’re faking it?  If sitting in a secret rather than searching for a solution by admitting you need help is being proud, then maybe your idea of pride needs urgent updating?

Another reason some people financially fake it is that there’s just so many of the types of people in life that just love having others envy all that they’ve got.  You know him, the guy at the pub banging on about how great business is and the new motorbike he’s just bought.

You probably know her too, the mum at your local school who could never bear to admit her family won’t be going on that fabulous holiday again this year because they can’t pay their bills?  Or that every time she now looks at her expensive handbag she’s forced to realise how much she could do with that money back?

I don’t have tolerance for people talking themselves up.  Let’s just cut the crap and be ok with admitting times are tough, and let’s agree to make each other feel ok about putting up our hands for help?

So I’ll go first, here’s 5 TIPS I’VE LEARNT SINCE MY BANK BALANCE LOST WEIGHT;

  1. 1.      It’s not my business what you think about me 2. A decline in budget can be a gift that pushes you to create more thoughtful habits, worth sticking to when the money comes back in 3. Make an effort to remember the things that bring you joy that don’t cost a single cent 4. Barter up baby! What can you offer someone in return for something they want from you?  5. If everything you once knew feels like it’s dying, maybe the universe is telling you to plant seeds elsewhere that I bet will grow!

IF YOU HAVE ANY POSITIVE BELIEFS OR TIPS ON MONEY, WOULD LOVE YOU TO SHARE?   And of course if anyone is feeling overwhelmed by their financial situation, you can always vent here or share with someone you trust before things get too dark x

HEART

Magda Szubanski is courageous and cool with or without her mate Jenny Craig.

 

I think it’s just fabulous and inspiring to see Magda Szubanski back out there publicly sharing that she’s giving her weight loss another go.  To say that it can’t have been an easy decision to go public with this is an understatement because this is not a celebrity that wants to be a flapping herself around in the media for pointless reasons. 

Nor is she a celebrity that would be doing this second stint with Jenny Craig because she’s desperate for cash.  This is a woman that needs neither but does need to address an issue that very humanly, is still a work in progress.

And that right there is what makes her someone that is a proper role model because she’s real. The real world is not made up of people like Michelle Bridges or the Commando star jumping on every corner.  It’s made up of Magda’s and the rest of us that battle our stuff

Trying to heal an addiction and unhealthy life choices isn’t something that can be fixed by just saying it out loud.  For Magda, you can bet there have been hours and hours, months and months of her being very alone with her thoughts and fears about where her weight is going and where it’s at.  No Jenny Craig or anyone else waving pom poms and doing leg kicks to encourage her in the dark moments.

And I’m sorry, but no disrespect to these regimented health freaks and fitness junkies you see at the gym or on TV, but I do not think “Oh wow, aren’t you just sensational? Why can’t I be more like you?”  I don’t because I don’t relate to them for a second.  They’re not from my world.   I relate to people that struggle.  The people that have the guts to get back up and acknowledge it’s time for another go at giving themselves a better quality of life. No matter how much they feel everyone’s rolling their eyes.

The thing is, a confident person hardly needs a medal or acclaim for being able to bounce around spruiking how to live a balanced life, eat yoghurt and get to Pilates 4 times a week.  Just like I don’t need any high-fives from anyone for my ability to know how to talk.  I’m not sitting around waiting for someone to congratulate me for coming out my shell because I’ve never been in one. 

So when a person like Magda, who has been so ridiculously successful in her career, is greatly loved by people all over Australia, and all sorts of other things many of us could only dream of, has had to live with a weight issue that so far she hasn’t worked out, is enough to cancel any sort of confidence acquired by the other great bits of her life. 

Getting motivation to do something extremely hard for you personally is extraordinarily difficult when you’re not feeling good about yourself.  You’re tired before you even start.

What Magda is doing right now by admitting again that her first weight loss attempt didn’t stick, after living her day to day life being recognised everywhere she goes, quite probably being conscious of people looking at her thinking what she already knows, is courageous and extremely cool.  When I light up a cigarette on a Friday night and pour myself a glass of wine, no one knows or cares that I promised myself to give up the fags this year but haven’t quite managed to quit full stop.

The second and subsequent attempts to quit something, is understandably going to be even tougher than the first time you tried.  That sense of excitement and hope previously there is the adrenaline that helps get you moving but might not show up the next time.

Magda is a champion and a fighter and it’s exactly this sort of spirit that I feel, gives the rest of us the reason to have another go at whatever we’re battling to quit.  I wish her well for the next round of learning she gets about what her stuff is.

 

 

photo-148

I DON’T LIE ABOUT MY AGE, BUT I DO LIE ABOUT MY DOG’S AGE…

 

I DON’T lie about my age. Even though if you listen to some of these twits on commercial radio lately you’d think they’d never met a person over the age of 40.

But that’s not to say that I don’t lie about age as such. I do about my dog’s age.

It’s been years now since I’ve been trying to tell people my Maltese Shitzu, Marley, was about three or four.

But lately it’s been getting harder to make eye contact as I do this. I can’t rely on the fact that those who know me may not have failed veggie maths like I did.

But I do this for what I believe to be mental survival.

I do it because I think if I personally stop the words cascading from my lips, then it will simply stop his ageing process, like a bit of Botox in the head. I need him more than me to stay forever young.

I even wonder if those guys I once deemed weird, who fall in love with life-size blow-up dolls, aren’t just like me who never wants to lose something they love?

People replace their kids’ goldfish to prevent pain, so why not just get something plastic, knowing you’ll outlive it unless you leave it in the sun?

Yet, realising that my age vagueness was possibly getting a bit silly, I’ve been pushing myself to get real by admitting, “’You know what (pause, deep breath), I have an awful feeling he might be five this year.”

Problem is, I might still be lying. I don’t know. My lies have been going on for so long they feel like they’re true.

Until along comes the new vet guy, who with such brute force he might as well have been an Australian cameraman in Bali, says: “So little Marley’s six and he’ll be turning seven this year?”

Excuse me? We might need to make another appointment, mate, because I think I’m going to use the rest of this one to stare at you like Ivan Milat.

How dare he? I wasn’t ready for that. I was just there to be a good mum by getting him his shots. I didn’t go there to get one in my own heart.

In one second this overzealous paper trail freak just robbed me of my right to denial.

This is my first dog, and I will not prepare myself for the time when he’s gone. I’ve got no back-up in the form of a gambling addiction or a tub of ice cream the size of the Malls Balls to fall back on.

I cringe when I hear about people losing their pets, especially their dogs or cats.

Although I totally get the loss of a terrapin can come with its own pain, it’s just I doubt they’ll also miss spooning the little guy in bed.

And I think for those who suffer this kind of loss, if their employer, friends and the whole flipping world doesn’t cut them a lot of grief slack, given they have just lost one of the great loves of their lives, then nothing short of an arrest will suffice.

OK, maybe that’s a bit much … however, I am still reeling from my moment of vet truth this week.

And annoyingly, all of a sudden my basic maths talent, that I never had back at school, seems to be now screaming at me the answer to how many years my little mate and I might have left.

And quite frankly … it is not enough. It’ll never be enough.

While I’ve always thought the whole taxidermy concept to be a bit of a gag-fest, there’s the deeply deranged part inside me that wonders if in my grief hysteria, on that fateful day my little guy goes to doggie heaven, I might be the type to have my angel stuffed, with a pig’s ear hanging from his mouth?

And maybe, I’ll be that bad that when my time comes I’ll get myself stuffed next to him…

Johnny_Rotten

Let’s all pray the poor Qantas staff who face the chop don’t get as feral as we did when we were made redundant

 

Without getting into the political and public debate on who should have been bailed out, who didn’t support who enough, and who could have done a better job at managing each company crisis, redundancy hurts the individual employees in so many ways.

The obvious ones of course are you lose your financial security regardless of how big a pay out you get because most of us, if you can’t see in writing, or on the vague horizon what will replace that job you just lost, the panic sets in.

That annoying voice that whispers to you at night, “what if you never get hired again?  What if you’re too old and no one cares about you?”

Let’s face it; we’re not exactly a culture that reveres our citizens past the age of 40, unless you’ve served in a war.  There’s so much attitude that if you don’t have a poster of an Apple Mac on your wall, there’s something wrong with you.

But what also happens when you’re let off is you lose your connection to a tribe.  A collective of people that make you feel like you belong to something.  When you lose that, it feels like everyone in a once crowded room you stood in, just all walked away.

And a huge part of the grief process when you have a job you love doing and it’s taken from you, is it feels like a death.  It’s the death of a little part of your soul.

I’ve been in the redundancy seat, many years ago when the music industry, pre-downloading, started dying like the car industry has today.  And everyone that worked within it, despite having natural gripes here and there, lived and breathed their jobs.

One day, we were introduced to this new boss, dubbed the Smiling Assassin who it was rumoured was there to claim scalps.

They were horrible days, waking with fear and never really being able to have your heart in the job, because you don’t want to love something too hard if you’re scared it’s about to go.

Then D Day came for me and countless others, as word spread around the building that the firing squad was shooting this day.

And this is where it got ugly, only a week or so prior, the two bosses, the Smiling Assassin and the Robot Finance Guy had called us all into a meeting and ensured us that we, the remaining few were going to be ok.  They even insinuated as a way of getting us on side, and dumbing us down, was that those that had already gone, possibly needed to go so the company could lift its game.

And here’s the thing, like others going through this might feel or have felt, we didn’t necessarily blame our bosses for the fact the music industry was globally falling apart, it was how they went about treating us that turned into a red rag to a bull.

What they did was call up each person, say “we’re sorry but we’re making you redundant today, all you need to know about is in here,” and then they’d hand you a large envelope with your name on it.

What was equally astounding as how brief his speech was, was that the pile of other envelopes sitting right under our noses, with the name of the next person about to get fired.

So we got feral. Off we stomped, like a pack of medieval peasants off to kill the King, we marched into the bottle shop, slapped down our company credit card and we ordered up big Johnny Rotten style.

We threw ourselves a rock’n’roll style wake right there in the office.  It was our salute to the two men who forgot what it feels like to be a person, not just a number.

 

SECRETS

My column from The Advertiser last week….didn’t know whether to post in light of us losing Charlotte Dawson. This book below is an essential read for anyone doing it tough

 

There’s something disturbing and fascinating that happens to some people when they sense someone else is feeling good about themselves.  They want to drag them back to a level that makes them feel ok. A place that doesn’t highlight to them their own inadequacies.

Delta Goodrem is just the latest celebrity to admit she copped a barrage of hateful abuse via social media in the second series of The Voice. *And I’ve tragically add to add this mention post this column being printed in The Advertiser, Feb 20th, that now of course we’ve lost the really lovely Charlotte Dawson.

Back to Delta, I remember catching up with her in Sydney for a Sunday High Tea session during the first series of The Voice and it was clear that she was in a really good place.  She looked amazing, and had her usual bouncy confidence that is just all part of what makes her a blinding ray of light.

None of this being cut down by haters ever only applies to people in the spotlight, as everyone surely knows by now.  Beautiful kids at school and young people engaging in social media are victims of those that are ready and waiting on their ‘happiness watch’ and when they spot it, they’re going to shoot it right down.

There was a time in my own life where I went into some intense mental de-cluttering which had kept me in a constant state of insecurity and darkness, and after a period of time I started to feel like a much happier version of myself.  But there were even people who I loved who could sense something had changed and it made them feel really squirmy.

They started to kind of pick fights and act up which I believe was sub consciously about seeing if they could dim a little bit of my light so we were still on the same frequency.  Thankfully through the work I’d done I’d been warned how others around me might start to respond, so I made sure I made it clear that I was not interested in playing their games.

It took a bit of re-setting here and there until they knew there was nothing to fear and that they weren’t going to be tossed aside just because I had changed.

But what happens with anyone on social media is that when they appear in photos looking like they’re having their moment to shine, it flags them up to all those people that are sitting there in their dark energy doing nothing to make themselves feel good except go looking for somewhere to funnel their anger.

Every smile from a person like Delta, or just the nice kid at a local school is like kicking the hornet’s nest of those who have enormous self-hatred.

From extreme light there is nearly always extreme dark and social media is the greatest daily highlighter of this.  What I do wish was understood more is that if someone has a crack at you via your Face book, your twitter or whatever else you’ve put yourself on, then you block them.  Block them and report them.

You don’t try to reason with them, because they are not looking for reason. This isn’t a situation of miscommunication between two people, this is a case of someone you may or may not know, seeing something in you that they hate.  Because these people hate themselves. They’re trying to offload hate in the laziest of ways.

US talk show host Jimmy Fallon has been doing the most fabulous segment of late called MEAN TWEETS in which he gets celebrities like Cate Blanchett, George Clooney and half of Hollywood to read out the crap that gets tweeted about them.

Cate Blanchett reads out hers, @ventivodkacran Can people stop saying Cate Blanchett is beautiful?  Cate Blanchett is $%#$ing gross dude.

She then looks up at the camera, deadpan and responds… “Is that the best you can do?”  It’s a refreshing angle on a subject that has dominated our headlines so much lately.  The point is, no matter whether you’re the gorgeous teenager at the local school, or someone as famous as Cate Blanchett, these anonymous bastards are only as powerful as the power and airtime you give them.