Spotlight: Where Happiness Goes To Die

I would like to tell you that this is a happy story but it is not. At the beginning of this experience I was a happy go lucky young lady. Well a lot has happened since this morning and I write to you as a broken and fragile woman. This is not a tale of heroism; it is merely a tale of survival. There was no triumph over adversity in my adventures today however a simple and gracious, acceptance of my own mortality did occur.

This morning I awoke with only one simple goal – to purchase a pack of millinery brooch pins from Spotlight. A ten minute drive to industrial suburbia should do the trick and then I would be free to explore the surrounding stores within the 62,000 square meter compound of home making ‘bliss’. Right. I set out with all the determination of a true crafter (I woke up and watched outright abused my Netflix subscription for two hours in my pyjamas on the couch). By eleven thirty I was on the road, passing by a number of precarious establishments claiming to be ‘motels’  but better known as the safe house of many an affair.

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The unassuming location of my near emotional and physical breakdown.

It wasn’t long before I was navigating my trusty (often breaks down with no rhyme, reason or explanation) Ford Fiesta into the car park of an establishment that is likely responsible for more marriage breakdowns than Ikea and reality TV combined; The Gepps Cross Home Maker Centre.
If aliens visited earth and landed here, without a doubt they would get right back in and go back where they came from. A monstrosity of concrete and Mecca of capitalism taken most advantage of in the form of twelve month lay-buys and interest free plans by residents of surrounding working class suburbs; visiting this place is a risky voyage for the most mentally of sound individuals – unfortunately it attracts those who are not.
I undertook the voyage alone, not sure enough in the strength of my long term relationship to take that level of risk. I could have taken a friend however I value my friendships far too much to gamble what we’ve built on such a volatile yet petty expedition.

I entered Spotlight with all the trepidation that such an undertaking deserved. I was keen to get in and get out quickly so that I could soon reward myself with an overpriced warm drink in a nearby cafe. My goal was to engage as few people in conversation as possible – I would have no such luck. I made my way to the area that I expected to find the pins and in the process achieved my entire required daily step count, yet what I was looking for was not to be found.
Next step: engage a staff member – a task that turned out to be far more difficult than finding a genuine connection on Tinder. A few more laps of the store layout, a conversation with two staff members who looked at me as if I had three heads (to their credit I’d forgone makeup application for the day) and finally I found reached my goal, however satisfied isn’t a word I would use to describe myself. Looking at the selection of millinery brooches I was forlorn. Six for $3.50. In the past I’ve purchased 50 for around $10 in the same store however I wasn’t ready for my trip to be wasted. I grabbed two packs and headed for the checkout.

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Stealthy shot that I took of the line up. I hardcore resent the smiling woman.

 

This, dear friends, is the moment where I truly began to see my grip on reality fading away. Two very young and determined yet hopeless staff members had around thirty middle aged women, a few broken husbands and a handful of bratty children lined up and expecting to be served. A saner person would have dropped their potential purchase there and then and headed to the nearest fast food restaurant to eat their sorrows into oblivion however by this point I was determined – I had my overpriced pins  and I was going to buy them – even if it killed me.
By the fifteenth minute waiting I started looking at the woman in front of me, wondering, if I got the rest of the ever expanding line to team up with me, could we take her down and survive off eating her body until we were rescued?
The situation began to get dire when a woman marched through the line to get the drinks fridge near the front – she swiftly took water back to her shopping buddy who was clearly becoming dehydrated – in the mid-winter chill.
Never before have had I experienced a group of people share such a strong, negative emotion as they did when a woman marched through the shop door and immediately approach the front of the line exclaiming “I’ve just got a quick question!”  – she was swiftly shut down and sent to the back of the line, where she is probably still waiting, five hours later.
I was almost at the front of the line and I heard a woman paying $950 for the collection of curtain rods and throw cushions in her trolley. I couldn’t relate – I use milk crates for all manner of furniture in my home.

Finally I was served, paying resentfully for my overpriced pins, attempting to feign a mixed look of sympathy and disappointment towards the assistant as I left.
I took a deep breath of what felt like my first taste of fresh air (which is reality was steeped in outer city fumes) as I walked out into the overcast day and appreciated my life in a way that I never had before. Whence previously I had looked forward to an afternoon alone strolling the 62,000 meters looking at Italian designed, Chinese made furniture that I could never justify buying, I was now just searching for the quickest escape.

As I got into my car and drove off, I experienced a feeling of freedom the likes of which I had never felt before. While my feeling was temporarily dulled by a red light causing me to stop and reflect on the hour that had felt like eternity, I had a new appreciation for online shopping and drive thru fast food.

Now as I sit here, now full of food that I took myself out to eat, to console my broken soul I Google “millinery brooch pins” and look what I find. Fuck bricks and mortar stores, it’s eBay for me here on out.

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Free postage as well. *Sigh*
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Hey Australia, I’m Not Okay.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve had to write a post like this. I hope and pray that it is the last but I’m not that naive.
I’m the one who’s always making a joke, always up for a bit of fun and general silliness but I can’t make jokes about this because it’s tearing my heart in two. Every ounce of my being aches as I write these words, as I think about the state of the world that we’re living in today.
As I write this, we’re in the midst of a controversy in which media personality Sonia Kruger, after stating that she had “a lot of good friends who are Muslim” went on to state that, in regards to the immigration of Muslim people in Australia that “I would like to see it stop”.

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Image via: https://newmatilda.com/2016/07/18/today-show-host-invokes-dead-child-to-call-for-muslim-immigration-ban/

I know that I’m not the only one who is commenting on this and of course Sonia isn’t the first person in a position of power to voice this view.
In the fall out to all of this, I’ve seen countless people on my Facebook feed share updates supporting the comments made by Kruger and to those people I say, delete me if you must, and ignore my views if you will. Should you choose to agree with the opinion of someone so clearly ignorant then I don’t want or need you in my life.
It’s tough enough making it through the day without being reminded that there are selfish, cold hearted individuals living along side me. This is one of the very few things that I wish I could be ignorant to.
The crazy thing is though, I was originally motivated to write this a few days ago, by a completely different situation, but thought that I’d sit on it and let myself calm down before I got behind the key board. Guess what? I stayed away and somehow I ended up even angrier. It all started on Saturday. I’ve been having a bit of a tough time, feeling a bit blue and everything was starting to feel a little overwhelming – basically the realities of modern society. I decided to take some ‘me time’, to get a massage to try and unwind. It was a solid ¾ of the way through the treatment and I was finally starting to feel somewhat relaxed when I heard a woman chatting in the room next door. In the typical manner that middle aged white women seem to address anyone from a background not the same as theirs, she was patronising the massage therapist – but in the sweetest way possible (the kind of way that you just pass her attitude off as result of her generation) however things turned nasty -she said something that enraged me beyond belief. She began talking about the Bastille Day terror attack in Nice. She explained that “in the Quran it says that good Muslims must kill all non believers, which is why we really shouldn’t be so welcoming of their kind”.
WHAT? Now I am of course supportive of free speech (but certainly not in the way that “we cry FREEDOM OF SPEECH” kinda people are) however I just wanted to scream SHUT UP SHUT UP. IT’S IGNORANT, UNEDUCATED PEOPLE LIKE YOU THAT MAKE THIS WORLD DIFFICULT TO LIVE IN SO JUST SHUT IT ON UP.

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Here’s a heap of my friends in Turkey, I’m one of the blonde ones – yes there were questionable hair styles…

 

I am SICK to death of the ignorance and prejudice that is running rife in this country. A year ago, I was verbally and physically attacked for wearing a scarf on my head to cover my hair from the rain, so I can’t imagine how my friends, from all manner of backgrounds face the day in a nation where things like this are just brushed off as ‘freedom of speech’.  When someone can preface a hateful comment by saying ‘It’s okay, I’ve got *insert target minority de jour* friends” and think that it’s okay to behave in such abhorrent ways, then something is inherently wrong in the world that we’re living in.
I’ve been closely following social media accounts of my friends (yes, friends, people who I know personally and share incredibly special memories with) living in Turkey. Living in true uncertainty. These are my friends and I would never, ever dream of grouping them with extremists based on their religion. Because they are my friends, I know that in many ways they are just like me. They want the best life they can have for themselves, they have hopes and dreams. Since I first met them, they have become artists, musicians, nurses and police officers. We went out dancing together at night, discussed upbringings and beliefs and shared many meals. That is what you do with a friend Sonia, you don’t assume things about them and you certainly do not use them as a scapegoat for your ignorant opinions. You learn from them and you become a better person for opening your mind to a world beyond that in which you reside.

 

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Out, drinking, dancing, having fun in a secular nation that happens to have a 98% Muslim population. Though it was a different, safer time than it is now, I never felt endangered just because of the religion of the people I was with. Anyone who thinks you should needs a serious wake-up call.

A friend of me has a child who is being raised by herself and her former partner. Her former partner follows the religion of Islam and therefore their child is being brought up with both Islamic beliefs and those held by my friend – which are probably as “dinky-die Aussie” as you can imagine. To some, it probably sounds like an interesting mix but it works and I can’t sing the praises of this kid enough – she’s an absolute champion. But I can’t imagine having to explain to her that she lives in a country where she might have to learn to defend her very identity. That would hurt.

Sonia Kruger said that “I want to feel safe and see freedom of speech”, Sonia, I want my friends to feel safe, I want my mates beautiful little kid to not have to learn defensive mechanisms to get through life and I want those escaping horrors that you will never ever be able to truly comprehend to come here, to a safe place.

It’s never going to be an easy ride but if we throw hate out the window it sure as hell is going to be a lot less bumpy. Why not start by chatting to someone whose life is inherently different from your own – and talk to them like the equal that they are, shit, you might actually learn something.

This is How You Adult (Apparently)

Tomorrow I turn twenty six. Today I went to work wearing a purple tutu, unicorn jumper and a flower wreath in my hair. Instead of the customary birthday office cake (usually from Costco or made by a loving wife) I took honey crackles. Partially because I don’t have a Costco membership or a loving wife but also because I am a big ‘old, silly ‘old kid at heart.
As I sit here writing this, I’m wearing my unicorn pyjama pants (which I also wore to the supermarket yesterday…) and keeping warm with my purple hippo heat bag. Am I doing this adult thing right? Because when I was 16 (that’s TEN years ago) this isn’t how I imagined it.

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Oh yeah, mermaid leggings too.

I had this idea in my mind of what I would be like as an ‘adult’ and, though I’m not sure why, this certainly wasn’t it. I pictured power suits, late nights at the office and a house full of furniture from Freedom (because it was pretty, heaps pretty). I don’t know where my idea of adulthood came from but I remember thinking, aged 18, that I only had a few good years to keep wearing my classic Converse Chuck Taylors before it became silly – real adults wear real adult shoes. Seriously WHO RAISED ME?
Flash forward eight years and I’m dating a man (yes, MAN) who is thirty years old and those are basically the only shoes he owns, like twenty eight pairs of them or something. For some reason I pictured a corporate high flyer with who woke up early to go to the gym and enjoyed visiting farmers markets on Sundays – just for kicks.
Now somebody please slap past me because I’m pretty sure she had absolutely no idea who she actually was – the things that she enjoyed or wanted from life. I don’t like waking up early and while farmers markets are alright, I’d rather my food be prepared by someone else before it hits the table (I’m also fairly partial to the kind of specials that fast food outlets spin from time to time, yes I’m looking at you Maccas and your magnificent 24 nuggets for $9.95 deal) so why in hell would I want to date someone who was into those things? Sure, his bod would probably be a little more in check than my fellas (gosh, sorry babe) but the fact of the matter is that he’d probably be a self absorbed asshole and we’d have nothing in common. Plus, I could never date anyone more in shape than myself, I’ve got enough insecurities without having my physical superior lying next to me in bed every night.

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If I dated a health nut, all this beauty would be off the table. Like in the bin. How sad.

Thing is, not much has turned out the exact way I imagined it ten or so years ago and for that, I am so bloody thankful. I can’t imagine being stuck in a high flying corporate job where I go through as many pairs of stockings as there are jerks on Tinder (lots) or have to put my fakey professional attitude on all day long. I’m lucky to have a job where I get to have a nice fancy big computer screen that brings out envy in all the other staff, where I get to be myself for the most part and in some ways express myself creatively.
I am an adult, a ‘real adult’. Most of the time I pay my bills and I’ve even got a couple of ‘signature’ dishes up my sleeve (because Mexican food is easy to make and Banoffee pie seems fancy but really is truly simple). I’ve gotten pretty good at looking after my mental health, I can force myself to exercise and I eat spinach without it having to be hidden in my food.
I might not own a ‘power suit’ and while I do have some rather nice office wear, I’m most comfortable in a scuffed up pair of boots, the ones that are held together with a bit of tape. I’m happy. Way happier than I would be if I lived up to what I had thought I was ‘supposed to be’ all those years back. I’m glad I didn’t waste long trying to be someone who would have never made me happy – and the time that I did spend doing that was an interesting learning experience to say the least (if not some good comedy fodder…)
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve just started learning to hula hoop and I’m getting rather good so I’ll be practicing that until I fall asleep.