5 things I thought would be different when I left home

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It has been almost 10 years since I left home and went out into the wild, scary, unknown world of adulthood living. I feel like I was truly and utterly underprepared for what was out there, and had I known, I’d have pulled a jew-dude (TM) and stayed at home until I was thirty.

But just like with black, there’s really no going back once you have fled the familial nest.

I just had so many misconceptions on what I thought living away from my parents would look like.

skeptical-baby

  1. “I can eat whatever I want!”
    Oh, oh…ohhh how I dream of the lovingly prepared home cooked meals of yesteryear. So angry and angsty was I, when a meal was NOT EXACTLY what I felt like eating, but instead an equal measure of vegetables, meat and grains. MEAT! Do you know how expensive that shit is?! What I would give, to have two middle aged people cooking for me three times a day…
  2. “I can stay up SO late”
    Want to know what I did Friday, Saturday and Sunday night this past weekend? Binge watched The Wire (because I’m about 15 years behind in my television programming at this point). I am a morning person, so around 10/10.30pm I start to fade fast. I used to think living away from my parents would be sooooooo wicked because I could just drink and party and watch movies all night long…Turns out my favourite thing these days is sleep. Yeah. I’m pretty cool actually.

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  3. “I do what I want!”
    So long as it doesn’t cost money. Seriously. Sometimes over the last few years I have had all of the freedom and none of the money (funemployed/between contracts) and other times I have had some of the money and none of the time (J.O.B). When can I have all of the money and all of the freedom? (right…right…when I rob a bank Oceans Eleven style…got it…have you guys SEEN that movie? It just came out recently in 2001)
  4. “I can date whoever I choose!”
    Remember when your parents hated that guy you were dating in High School and you were like IHATEYOUWEAREINLOVEyoudon’tunderstandmeGETOUTOFMYROOM! Yeah well. Turns out they were right. Man when I was single, I would have given my left ovary (she’s the gimpy one I suspect) for my parents to be hovering over my shoulder as I swiped like: “No. No. No. Yes Paris. No he will have a weird thing for feet. No. No. What about that nice boy from the coffee shop?” It turns out I just wanna date guys that my parents will like and not weirdo’s with spider-man face tattoo’s. Go figure.
  5. “I’m going to get a creative job and YOU CAN’T STOP ME!”
    In grade 12 when picking degree time came, my mother said to me: “Do a degree with the name of a job in it” and I laughed in her face as I applied for my Bachelor of Arts. I guess, if you were to squint your eyes, choke yourself a bit until no oxygen went to your brain and then smoked some meth – you could really consider my whole life one elaborate “Art”. “So what do you do Paris?” oh me? I’m Art. Yeah I studied it at University. In reality, life has been interesting in the working world (#noregrets) but I definitely find myself veering more towards the corporate world as I see all my fellow creatives struggling and think fucccckthatshit. Oh you live in a basement apartment with your sibling, sister and co-business partners and you work in a deli 3 days a week but your new album just dropped on myspace? Cool dude, Imma go over here and work on my excel skills though….

So many people I know have babies now. Literally holding an infant a week ago and thinking: “this adorable squishy baby girl is going to slam a door in your face some day.”

I wish I could go back ten years and slap some sense into my 17 year old self. Eat my free meals, get my free laundry, and remind myself that unfortunately…your parents were right. Uh! Gross.

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3 Unexpectedly Influential People

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It’s a funny thing, how we affect the people we come into contact with. I like to think of people like blocks of clay, fresh and unmolded when you are born – straight out of the packet. And the people you come into contact with in your life are leaving fingerprints on you, maybe the more influential are molding you to a new shape, or adding bits onto you.

A book I was reading challenged me to think of 3 Influential people in my life. My mind instantly raced to my parents, both hugely supportive and massively inspiring in their own ways. With all the Film and Television dreams I’ve had (and have been slowly realizing in my real life) my parents have always stood by like cheerleaders, but neither of them are in anyway stage-parents. Neither of them have ever said “This is what you are doing. Do what we say.” I’m pretty sure my Dad wanted me to be a vet or to do commerce at Uni (I’m also pretty sure he told my Grandmother this pretty hardcore until I was actually ENROLLED to do a BA…sorry Faja), and I’m pretty sure my Mum’s only advice was “Do a degree with the name of a job in it” (oh how I wish I’d heeded that one!)

Outside that they’ve been pretty hands off.

So how do I find myself in the current life situation I am in? Physically, being in Canada I mean, I have my parents to thank for being Expat Traveler sorts who always made it seem so easy to move countries (which it is turns out) and then my friend Alex is really responsible for me coming in the first place when she was all like “hey wanna go work at a summer camp in Canada?”

And escape the reality of getting a job after my two degrees? Duh Alex, DUH.

But when I look back at my life and what drove me to keep pushing myself to get into this industry, how I got that first taste, and all the opportunities that feel like they were “right place right time” scenario’s, three Influential people stick out, and here we go.

3 people who made a Difference in the career direction of my life

The Primary School Bully.
We moved countries quite a few times during my childhood (I think my youngest brother went to between 7-9 schools during his education) and hey guess what?! When you move countries frequently you have to move schools. And moving schools means you’ve got to be the new kid. And being the new kid sucks (ever wondered why I make it my mission to include the fringe dweller/new kid in any and all situations – because I know that feel bro.) As an adult, I’ve learned valuable life lessons from those shitty shitty times. I can walk into a room where I don’t know ANYONE, and walk out with 10 new friends.

But lets go back to a time when I wasn’t quite as awesome. Primary school (which is Australian speak for Grades K-6). I moved schools 3 times during this period and suffered my fair share of bullying (let’s be honest, we all did, and if you didn’t…well guess who was the bully). Bullying sucks, whether it is physical, emotional or verbal. And I suffered from the Emotional/Verbal kind. There was a girl who made me feel like absolute shit. She excluded me, taunted me, tried to bring me down every opportunity she had (in later years she grew into a perfectly nice human being, but there was a time when I loathed her.)

Why do I bring her up in this blog post? Because she is linked to the earliest memory I have of wanting to be in Film and TV.

I had had an awful day at school. I was still relatively new and just. hated. everything. I was crying in the bath (remember when we had baths?!) and I must have been 9 or 10 years old and I remember so clearly thinking:

“You know what I’m going to do?! I’m going to become a famous Movie star and that will show *Bully*. That’ll show them all! Then when I’m famous, she’ll try to be friends with me, and I’ll pretend I don’t even know her!”

Kids are dicks.

But I am totally grateful for that (at the time) horrible bullying experience. Although the anger and hurt has long since vanished, the drive remains – not to “show them all” but maybe I still feel like I have something to prove?

The Production Manager
When I was doing my Masters, something must have clicked in my brain that the only real work experience I had, was as a part time receptionist and EA. And after mindlessly stapling things a few days a week, I realized if I had to do that for the rest of my life, I’d probably drink bleach. So I started applying to companies for any Internship (read: slave labor) type experience I could. And out of the 80 or so emails I sent, 3 people emailed me back. Two said: thanks but no thanks, and One said: Come on in for an interview.

The Production Manager I met had worked on some of my favorite TV shows (like Survivor) and she and I just clicked, straight away. She took me on, taught me things, treated me like a friend, and when an opportunity to work on a Reality TV show came up – she put me on it straight away. She told people I was great – and basically tooted my horn for me, she put me in touch with people she thought could help me, and basically became a mentor (unofficially). If she hadn’t taken me on, I’m not sure I would have fallen in love with the Production side of creating content the way I did, and I have no idea where I would have ended up. I don’t know why she went out of her way for me, but she did, and as a result I have spent the last few years loving the Film and Television industry from an angle I never thought I would.

The Producer (and Friend)
The third and final influential person is still very much a part of my life. Although I only met her a year ago, she is the reason I now have a demo reel to flash at people, and the reason I am back in front of the camera.

I started volunteering at a community Television station here in Toronto on a morning show. Pretty quickly (because I am excellent at making new friends) the Producer and I struck up a friendship and would be sometimes less than serious up in the control room (like the time she blasted Eye of the Tiger through the crew’s headsets, with me singing the bits I know and the audio volunteer getting more and more pissed-off). After a few weeks of volunteering to do the “Community Events” on camera for the show, she asked me if I’d like to go along to an audition for a Reporter Role.

And I said yes. And here I am, violating your homes through the magic of Television.

If she hadn’t thought to ask me or had forgotten, I never would have had the opportunity to do what I now desperately love and which has led to auditions at other channels.

The little things add up to big things, and people inspire you in amazing ways (even if you can’t see it at the time).

I have been very, very lucky.

5 Reasons I am failing at life as an adult, but winning at being 3

 

Sometimes I love living away from home. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my family and I miss them, but they are the kind of people who I can take in small doses too. We have always been a gypsy family that lives spread out, and although we miss each other greatly, we are the type of family respect each others need to travel, quest for adventure. I have friends here who, at almost 30, are still living at home, and good for them if it works, because sometimes I still severely wish I lived at home, in fact, need to live at home.

Here are the reasons why I am failing at life as an adult, but winning at being 3 years old.

 

1. Meals

Whenever I have been home for a few days, I get this weird feeling in my stomach. My skin is better, and I sleep really well. And then I realize it is because I am eating 3 meals a day, (I know! THREE WHOLE MEALS!) and they mostly contain food that has been cooked at home and not in an industrial restaurant style kitchen. There are usually these vegetable things involved, and the meals happen at pretty standard times.

What I am trying to tell you is that two days ago I was really hungry after working a promo job, and it was late, and I couldn’t think what I wanted, so I bought half a roast chicken from the Portuguese place on the corner, AND an Ice Cream sandwich (lemon cake flavour) at Bakerbots bakery, and because I was walking, ate the ice cream first and the chicken when I got home. Failing at being an adult, WINNING at fulfilling my childhood fantasy.

 

2. Being outdoors

When I was a child, my parents were always telling me to turn off the TV and get outside because it was a beautiful day. WELL HAHA! Parents, because now I’m 23 and I don’t have a TV but I have my very own laptop where I can spend HOURS watching Cat videos, not leaving my house or Pajama’s until its nearly dark outside! So suckit adulthood!

3. Bedtime

My lights out time age ten and under was 7.30pm, maybe 8 if I had a sports game after school. WELL! My young fantasy’s are now coming true! I stay up waaaay too late just like all the big kids and do important things like check my Facebook wall repeatedly, and stalk people i’ll probably never see again or would recognize if I did. In the meantime, as mentioned before due to irregular sleepy times, my reoccurring face pimples are worse than the height of my adolescence. But I do what I want. So BOOYAH life. Take that high five in the face.

4. Dressing how I want every day with no one to say NUTHIN!

Yeah, I am wearing mismatching socks. What of it? Yeah this shirt has a toothpaste stain! So!? No I don’t think my sparkly blue eye shadow is too much for a daytime pool party. I can do what I want, and its only weeks later when I have come down off the crazy train of whatever-the-hell hormones were kicking around inside my brain that I look back and think, if ONLY my mother had been there to nag me to change. I always look so well dressed and put together when I am home. But nu-uh, I do what I want!

5. Laundry

As a three-year old, I didn’t care so much about laundry, because DUH someone else did it for me! It was like a magic trick, I would get dirty and boom, the clothes would be back by the end of the week, neatly folded and all good. As an adult, it is one of the most tedious things I have to do, and so I go out and buy more and more underwear, so the frequency of laundry is decreased. True story.

 

 

 

 

 

The Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of my life’s existence

I adored the ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ book and film as a child and vowed that one day, when I was rich (and famous, in my mind those two things always went hand in hand) enough, I would make that infinite candy land a reality.

I think like most kids, the magic of the chocolate river and surrounding candy trees stemmed from the vastness of that land, the endless delicious potential and the way the children were encouraged to partake of the scrumptious surroundings (well…except when they went and took things they were told not too…like poor old Augustus Gloop – but that’s ruining the metaphor that I’m about to get to).

Even though I don’t have daffodil candy cups to drink out of and then devour, I’d say that life has pretty much become the candy field of my dreams. Every day presents a new delicious possibility. The world is that Candy field.

As I subway-ed with my roomie Jem this morning, we looked up at the Toronto train line and compared where we had been on the that multi-coloured bisected squiggely “U”. Jem went to Uni here for four years but is a PEI native, and I’ve been here 8 months (nearly 9! wow!) and between us we haven’t been to all that many stops on the Subway line.

As we train surfed and bumped into our fellow subwayer’s (actually quite a nice experience as everyone is padded up in the winter jackets) we talked about how we need to randomly jump on the train and get off at a new stop to see what there is to see.

It’s hard not to get bogged down in the routine of every day life. I’ve only really been living in Toronto six months (because the first two I was up in Haliburton at Camp) and yet I’m already pretty routined up. Work is a routine, you get up, wash your face, brush your hair, put on your clothes, eat some breakfast, grab your bag and head for the subway. You get to work, do your thing, then you go home, make dinner, have a shower, watch something on your laptop and then go to bed. All to be repeated the following day. Sure there are mid-week variations, you might see a movie or grab some dinner, but usually there are cinemas or restaurants you always go to. It seems varied but it isn’t.

Hence the Jem and Paris plan to shake things up a bit and randomly go somewhere in Toronto. Variety is the spice of life – it’s something my mum always says but it truly is true.

Another thing my Mum loves to say is:

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”

Ain’t that hard-edge-of-the-hammer-that-smashes-you-in-the-head truth?

Basically, if there is something crappy in your life, it isn’t going to change itself. If you always plant corn in the spring, you’re going to harvest corn in the fall (I am totally making shit up now…I know nothing about farming). But do you get what I’m saying?

I’m not sure if it is fear or laziness that keeps us trapped as prisoners in our own lives. For me it can be both of varying scales. On a smaller scale, eating at different restaurants is a laziness thing. I know what food I like and I know places to get it. I know the movie theatres that are nearby and so I go there.

The fear thing comes in more when people talk about big changes. A friend of mine that I met in an awful amdram play I am doing, tells me she wants to move to Australia. Yes there may or may not be a guy involved. My advice is DO IT! She tells me how she doesn’t love her job and she’s not always so happy. I told her the quote above and she sighs and tells me it’s not that easy.

No. It’s not easy to change things. Most people (including myself) fear change.

But it’s the struggles and the big leaps which often yield the most fabulous rewards.

Think:
-Getting Married
-Moving Countries
-Having a baby
-Changing Jobs
-Traveling
-Writing that novel
-Committing to that creative project.

If Charlie had never bought that chocolate bar, if he’d gone on as he had, then what would have happened? His two sets of grandparents would still be sharing that one double bed.

And he never would have got to try that floating lemonade.

What they Said v.s What they Meant

Oh hello there.

Yes, you, random blog follower/internet Connoisseur.

Welcome to Austraaliens fantastical Wednesday blog post featuring your host (me) blunt, vertically challenged, Australian, do-gooder, and the ridiculous and often troublesome existence of my being.

Shall we begin?

Excellent.

Now, take off your pants and lie down on this slab of marble. The werewolf mechanic will be here shortly.

Oh no wait!

That’s the opening line to the second chapter of what is sure to be my new Erotic BestSeller, ‘Werewolf mechanic, howls at your moon’…

I’ve completely digressed from where I was going.

Let me just re-fill this pipe and we’ll begin again.

Alright.

Now where was I.

Ah yes.

Passive Aggressive Torontonians.

Now, I’m a fairly mild-mannered person when it comes to most things. If I’m angry, you’ll know – because I will punch you. If I’m sad, you’ll see because my face will look like this:

My emotions are fairly close to the surface.

That, and I’m blunt. Maybe too blunt. But the great thing about bluntness is, it saves time and avoids confusion.

I find that Canadians in general, are not very blunt.

This has caused a fair amount of cultural-lost-in-translation moments since I first arrived here six months ago. (Oh you Canucks and your polite-ish ways. How do you stand your maple syrup selves?)

But the thing that most gets to me, is the way people get angry here. No one gets REALLY shouty angry. It’s more quiet, snarky, commenty angry. And quiet angry frightens me. Quiet angry is from childhood, the moment before your parents would EXPLODE with rage.

Side story: When I was a (spoilt) child and my brothers and I were all under the age of ten, my mother made and painted for us the most INCREDIBLE child-sized table and chairs. The four chairs, (if I remember correctly) were shaped and painted like Jasmine, Peter Rabbit, The little mermaid and Winnie the Pooh. The table was painted beautifully and had corresponding character friends in the corners of the table (Flipper was one I can remember…the others not so much). Despite being somewhat of an underrated artist, my mother was also working as a radio announcer on a breakfast show, raising us three scally wags, looking after the house, 2 dogs, cat, 2 birds and being married to my lovely father who was going through somewhat of a midlife crisis (pretty much every 3-5 years) (dyeing hair blonde, buying motorcycles). I now realize that my mother would have only been a few years older than I am now, having gotten the babies popped out nice and early.

ANYWAY

Side story continued: My Mum was/(is) a yeller. When she is ANGRY.YOU.FUCKING.KNOW.IT. She wasn’t really a smacker, but getting shouted at on the occasions we were naughty, was like a smack to the eardrums. Fine. So I can deal with shouting, and while those times were scary, they were hot air and tears and then kisses and forgiveness. It was the quiet, simmering anger, the kind that only came out rarely in my mother, that terrified the living shit out of me. When my Mum was REALLY angry, back in the day, and we’d be sitting at our awesome table, bickering and being little pricks, my Mum would calmly and quietly go to the kitchen drawer, take out the wooden spoon (a symbol of smack-time) and put it on the table in front of us.

No yelling. Just a quiet danger.

Our instant reaction would be to sit up amazingly straight, stop whatever nonsense or tom-foolery we had previously been about, and resume dainty, quiet table manners, like the ladies we would all become.

That is how I feel in Toronto sometimes. Not like a lady with impeccable table manners, but rather as a child at a Disney table who has been presented with a calm quiet fortune of wooden doom.

Today for example, taking the crowded subway downtown because it’s wet and cold, everyone is squished into the car. I flatten myself so people can get past me that want to get out and a women with a bad hair-cut says passive-aggressively “Good job not moving!” as she shoulder charges me out the door.

I never bother to reply, but today I stared at her pallid gross face and said with all the haughtiness I could muster “There’s no need to be rude.” Did I feel good? Not especially. I’ll never see that woman again. Okay maybe I felt a little good. Bitch, that’s right I got the last word in.

There really IS no need to be rude.
She could have said “excuse me” or “could you move please” or “If I could just get by..”
OR
She could have been angry, own that anger, go for it and say “MOVE FOR GOD’S SAKE” or “FUCKING MOVE” or “EXCUSE ME WALRUS YOU’RE IN THE WAY.” I mean I would have gotten it. It’s Wednesday, number one, it’s cold outside but SWELTERING in the subway, and in general if you’re a middle-aged woman with a terrible sense of style, well I mean…you’re just generally going to be mad.

But seriously….

Grow a pair and say what you mean. That, or don’t take the f-ing subway!

Now excuse me while I sip brandy beside my TV which is set on the log fire channel.

Good day.