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.

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  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.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…or maims you horrifically for life

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I like that saying: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”(WDKYMYS). It sounds good, it’s inspirational. It makes you think “Heck, things were tough/awful/soul destroying – but I’m still here!!”

People have appropriated that saying into songs (looking at you Kelly Clarkson), put it on T-shirts, tattooed it on their bodies, put it over pictures of sunsets and posted it on each others walls when their friends have been dumped by jerk’s named Derrick (fuck you Derrick you meanie!)

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I like the expression, but I don’t know if I always agree with it.

Because sometimes things kill you a little bit inside and they make you feel weaker, they throw off your game.

Was Leo’s character stronger at the end of the Revenant after he got fucked up by a bear, watched his son get murdered, was left for dead and then had to crawl through the snow and shit of 1800’s Canada to Murder my future ex-husband/baby-daddy Tom Hardy’s character? (Oh yeah, spoiler alert… but seriously if you haven’t seen that movie yet get your shit together – it was nominated for and lost best picture like 5 months ago).

I mean…I guess he was stronger – like how calluses get stronger on the tops of your feet. But he was also weaker because he had lost his humanity, and he was a murderer murderer and he was gross (like a callus – see how I tied all that together? Yay Creative Writing Masters degree)

I wonder if people use WDKYMYS as a way to excuse awful situations they don’t know how to extricate themselves from?

I’d consider myself a strong person who has faced some challenges. Would I exchange them for an easy life where some of the shitty things didn’t happen to me? Yes of course! I’m not insane. Faced with two choices: an easy road and a hard, bush-basher of a path, I think most of us would choose the easy option.

But life doesn’t work like that, and there are plenty of things that will try to throw you off the plans you’ve made, a death in the family, a financial set-back, a painful divorce, an unexpected illness.

So I propose a re-word. “What doesn’t kill you makes you different” – because not all things make you stronger, and thats okay too.

You are not a failure if you come out of a near-death-esque experience and think: “well that fucking sucked” and you’re not stronger.

End of Thought.

 

1800-I-don’t-think-so

 

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Since March I have lived right smack bang in the middle of the Toronto Downtown core. There are a number of advantages associated with my new location. For one, there are like 4 hospitals around the corner, so if I ever injure myself during alcohol-related activities, I am super close to medical attention. Another advantage is that I can walk almost anywhere that I want to go in 20 minutes or less. This is great because I am so incredibly stingy when it comes to cabbing places, um… hello…I have a metro pass and two perfectly capable legs.

Toronto feels very safe to me, especially in comparison to the neighbourhood I used to live in during my time at University in Sydney (sandwiched between crackie-town and sketchville-city) and I walk around at all times of the day and night with nary a wary look over my shoulder. The streets are well lit, and lets be honest, Canadians are nice.

But lately I’ve noticed the rise of something women all around the world deal with: Cat Calling.

What is the brain-thoughts behind cat-calling a woman on the street? What is it that a car full of dudes is trying to achieve by yelling things out of a moving vehicle? Is the pickup line meant to be so great, that I will immediately drop what I’m doing, hop into a car and zoom off into my future? Somehow develop bionic man like abilities and keep pace with the car, running alongside it until we stop at an appropriate place so I can fall to my knees and beg you to let me worship your maleness?

So how did you guys meet?

Well… I was on my way to dinner and he screamed “NICE ASS!!!” on the corner of Yonge and Dundas. And that was it for me. I just… knew.

I don’t think so.

What part of a woman walking down the street makes someone think that it is appropriate to yell things? I’ve heard it all.

From HIIII!!! (nice one) to “Girl, you tired, cos you been running through my mind all day!” (Actually I laughed and gave the guys a thumbs up for that one – which probably means they’ll just try it again and I am now part of the problem) and “Whats a guy gotta do to get your number?” to which I replied “Just call 1800-I don’t think so” (I know… I’m great under pressure and just felt like bragging about it on my blog.)

I’m just so confused. Is it funny? Is it for real? Does that guy really want to know where I’m from, gurrrl? Why isn’t he pulling over – it is a very long and boring story.

I have literally NEVER yelled something out of a car window (at someone I didn’t know – friends…well that’s just fair game) where is this coming from? And what would I say if the roles were reversed?

You’re HOT! I’d really like to take lots of selfless with you for my Facebook wall so everyone I never see in real life is crazy jealous!

HEY! You look like you have a great job and my mother would approve of you!

Lets sleep together and then lets make it super weird in the morning and never speak again!

(God I’m smooth)

It is also terrifying if you are a woman and alone on a street at night. Please don’t scream things at me, I’m on the lookout for muggers and rapists, please don’t make loud sounds. I am also trying to make sure my tiny dress covers enough of my legs so that I don’t look slutty but also so you can see how mega my tan is this summer. You’re just adding an extra layer of things I have to contend with man.

Stop making it weird.

 

I’m really glad I didn’t successfully murder you during our childhood

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I’m not one to get all mushy (pffft yes I am) and write about how schweet my life is (all the time… that’s literally all I write about)  or how great my family is (they fucking CRaYcraY) but I just have to take a step back today and tell you about my awesome brother.

I left home like most expat brats I know, at 18, to attend University in a far off City. I had not been living with my siblings for a couple of years before that due to THE DIVORCE (duhn duhn duuuuuuhn) and because my parents loved my siblings more than me and sent them to an awesome boarding school in Thailand (kidding, they fully love me most). After graduating with an Undergraduate in black-out-binge-drinking and a Masters in enjoy-struggling-to-find-gainful-employment-sucker, I went home to Mother for a few months before promptly fucking off to an even further away city at the top of the globe that made my whole family go “huuuuhhhh?”.

I didn’t even like my brothers when I was a kid. Good GOD I thought they were annoying. They followed my friends around, my Mum was always making me include them, and they were SOOOOOO embarrassing because I was SOOOOOO cool (I was definitely, definitely not cool – I know – I have the diaries). I would have chosen staying in my room alone brooding over Hanson and Avril Lavinge songs, rather than be seen anywhere in public with my two closest blood-relations, EVEN if there was free food and dessert (oh how things change…).

HOLY HELL! Look at the size of that new born! Seeyalater pelvic floor

HOLY HELL! Look at the size of that new born! Seeyalater pelvic floor

So it was a great win for me to convince by younger brother to move to the same city as me. Almost a decade of living 5-9 hours plane ride apart, we now reside in the same hockey-loving, negative degree weather 6 months of the year, maple syrup guzzling, Parlez-vous garbled french, city of Toronto. And honestly I love having that younger, taller, genetically pretty similar version of myself around.

I dare us to be cuter

I dare us to be cuter

Aside from the fact that I now have a very conveniently located meat bag of organs to steal from were I to suffer an horrific accident, I also have someone I can easily manipulate to try weirder and weirder brunch places with me every weekend. Having my brother around means busting out my awful Cantonese when I go to Chinatown and order everything off the menu (and eat until I think I might die) and not have someone stare at me like I’m some kind of freak. Having my brother around means feeling like not a crazy person because we have both led big, wide, international lives and it isn’t weird that we had to get new passports before our old ones ran out. Having my brother here means I don’t have to go do shit by myself that I don’t want to do alone. Having my brother here means I can bitch to someone that’s not 12-16 hours in the future…MY PAIN IS REAL AND PRESENT!

I’m really proud of that dread-locked giant and what he has achieved since he moved to Canada. I was getting worried that small town Australia was going to suck him in and never let him go. Australia is a great country – but there is a lot to see out there and a lot more to care about than Australian X-factor.

Our same-city dwelling will probably be short lived as he plans to venture out West later this year, and I’ve started getting that itchy brain thing where I might pack up shop at any moment and shoot off somewhere new, but for now, I’m just grateful we had the opportunity to reconnect as adults. I can’t think of many people I still know (and like) 23 years later.

Do yourself a favor and call your sibling.

If for no other reason so that you know how far that Kidney is going to have to travel to get to you.

Nawwww

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50 something things you should not buy for your 50 something Father on his Birthday

302909_10200878956672825_989795444_nOh hey everyone! It’s my Dad’s birthday! Happy Birthday Austraalien Papa. I don’t know how you feel about me revealing your age on the interwebs, so lets just leave it at the vague 5o something mark.

Here are 50 something things you shouldn’t get your Father on his 50 Something Birthday:

1. A 40 oz Bottle of Hard Liquor
Pops, you’re old now. You should be in bed by 8.30pm LATEST. What do you think you are?! Forty something?! Enjoy your 50’s with some chamomile tea and MAYBE a glass of Bailey’s and Milk…if it’s Christmas… and you’re feeling wild and frisky.

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2. A Pet Rock
Dad, I just don’t know how many more years you’re going to be around, and a Pet rock is a lot of responsibility. I wouldn’t want to get you a pet rock only for me to have to adopt it back. So. Probs just stick to pets that die more frequently. Like Goldfish. Good ol’ predictably death-hungry fishes. Yay!

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3. A “cool” Sweater
I don’t want you to get mugged by hipsters who want to steal your style, you trendy old man you (I already see them eyeing up your 80’s jeans…isn’t it great they came back in fashion!)

4. A Map
Look Dad, all of the places you wanted to visit but you never will!

5. Book, “100 Places to see before you die”
Ditto.

6. Best of Nickleback CD
No one should own this, and despite the old man jokes, I actually love you.

7. A life-time membership anywhere
Well. You’re not going to use it much are you? Probs should have bought it for you when you were born. Get the most use out of it.

8. A Pound of Mar-i-ju-ana
You’re already moving slow enough and laughing at lame things. Lets just leave that one alone.

9. A Vehicle
PAHAHA like i’ll ever be able to afford a vehicle. Also should you be driving? Think of society.

10. Google Glasses

11. Salsa classes

12. A potato

13. Underwear

14. A blow up sex doll

15. Concert Tickets
Who knows if you’ll be around… we can’t plan that far ahead!

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16. A mirror

17. Ties
How many working days do you really have left in you?

18. A retirement plan
Can’t afford…on your own old man

19. Adult diapers
I don’t want to deal with your shit…literally…

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20. Tight leather pants

21. Ski’s

22. Unicycle

23. Condoms

24. An escort

25. A guide dog

26. A hearing aid

27. A disabled parking permit

28. Extra slippery shower soap

29. Expired milk

30. Heroin

31. Skydiving Lessons

32. Netty-pot

33. A pound of Butter

34. Swim with Sharks experience

35. A turtle
I don’t want you to feel bad when it out lives you

36. Protein Powder
Do you even Lift?

37. Back Wax

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38. Crack Wax

39. Sack Wax

40. G-string

41. Samurai Sword

42. Light Saber

43. Electric Knife

44. Blender

45. Wooden Spoon
Wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself.

46. Map to buried Treasure

47. Cursed Amulet

48. 10,000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle
I don’t want you to never know what it creates!

49. Poison Toad

50. List of 50 something things people shouldn’t buy you and take every opportunity to poke fun at how old you are…..ohhhhh shitttt

Just kidding Daddy! I love you so much, and I hope one day I’ll be as cool as you were in your mid to late twenties.

And as skinny.Thanks for the Genes!

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Saying Goodbye to “Home”

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When people ask me where I’m from, I can’t help it. I take a deep breath in, and I roll my eyes slightly.

Where am I from?

What a pointless question.

I think people ask it because I have a hard-to-place accent. I think people ask it, because they are trying to put you in a box in their mind. I think people are trying to categorize you. Do the places we are “from” define who we are? I suppose in some ways they do. Where you hail from is a cultural touchstone, a window into the type of person you might be.

Canadians and Americans are similar but different. If you are from Toronto, you are different from someone who is from Montreal or Vancouver. If you are an Australian, people generally assume you are friendly and outgoing. If you are Irish, you like the drink and you can get a bit crazy. Am I stereotyping? Stop me if you disagree. Are people asking you where you are from to hint at who you are? What your roots or heritage might reveal?

There are endless ways we divide ourselves, label ourselves, identify ourselves. In Toronto, I’ve heard people tell they are “from” a specific suburb. Like the area within the city, within the provence, within the country, might help signify more about them.

So where am I from?

I tell people, short answer form, that I am from Australia. I have the (slight) accent, I have the passport, I have the birth certificate. When people ask me where in Australia I am from, I tell them Sydney, because it is the place in Australia I lived most recently (for University) and spent the most years.

In reality, I was born in Perth, on the West Coast, where my father now lives, and where my cousins, Aunts, Uncles and Grandmother have always lived. I think I have spent a total of 6 months in that part of the world in over 25 years.

My mother is a New Zealand citizen. Am I from New Zealand? No. I have never been there and she left when she was 7.

Where am I from?

I spent the greater part of my life in Asia. If I told you I was from Hong Kong, you would laugh in my face (it has happened, people have done a double take and then asked me seriously… “Are you Chinese?”). I am a blonde haired, green eyed, Caucasian woman. My brother is a 6″1 hairy, caucasian giant. He was born in Hong Kong. Where is he from?

My other brother 6″3 currently blonde (or pink) haired (I think) was born in Kuala Lumper. Is he from Malaysia?

I remember a childhood of sweaty hot, monsoony nights. Street food and night markets, grinning faces that looked very different from mine, and conversations all around me in languages that I couldn’t understand.

My Mother has packed up her apartment in Hong Kong, and plans to move to Thailand this month. I am excited for her, for her new adventure. After a decade and a half in the hustling, bustling Fragrant Harbour, I know she is going to enjoy the peace and tranquility of Thailand. I know that she is chasing her dreams, and entering the next chapter of her life. With three fully grown children and another forty years in her, she has definitely got the right idea, jumping into the next adventure.

But a part of me mourns.

For someone who is a self-proclaimed Expat Brat, who moved to Canada without a backwards glance, Hong Kong was in many ways my “Home.” As culturally confused as my family and friends are, Hong Kong is a backdrop where we can all fit in.

Sorry to sound like I’m excluding, but you wouldn’t get it unless you’d grown up there, or lived in another major Expat City, (Kuala Lumper, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Seoul…)

And Hong Kong will always be there. My Mothers departure does not mark the end of the existence of that city. It is simply the last, torn out root of that chapter of my life. I can always still go there, I will always have friends there. I just won’t go “Home” to Hong Kong when I visit my parents.

My parents will be in their chosen cities, and I will be in mine.

Hong Kong is our central location, geographically a middle ground, or halfway house, for my family which is spread out across the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. And while Thailand is close by, it does not hold any of the memories for my family. It will not feel like “Home” for me. Perhaps it will for my brothers who spent a year at Boarding School there. I don’t know. Even between the siblings, with only five years between the youngest and oldest, there is a vast ocean of experiences and childhood memories.

Where am I from?

Home is a word. It embodies a feeling. It cannot be one place because if you asked someone in Cairo where home was, and asked someone in Chicago the same question, both people would point to different spots on the map. It is not a charted destination. It is not physical. Maybe that is why I have always found the concept so confusing. Maybe that is why I think about it more deeply than those who ask:

Where are you from?

 

 

Things that I am actually really thankful for that might not seem obvious all the time

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Well…it’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada (America is doing its own thing in november I think) and because I like to embrace things I feel I missed out on as an Australian child in Asia, I’ve decided to embrace this tradition whole heartedly.

I think it’s fantastic to have a national holiday related to the giving of thanks and I’m cool with the idea of stuffing your face, whatever the reason (even though our Thanksgiving this year is going to feature more Veggie friendly options due to my roommates non-meat-eating-ways… “no no you’re right, this tofurkey IS delicious” *cries*)

There are just so many things to be thankful for in life, and the obvious ones like my parents, my friends, blah blah, those are boring. Here is a list of things I am actually really thankful for that might not seem obvious all the time to you, but that we should take a moment to be thankful for once in a while.

Thanks Mr Garbage Man

Thanks Mr Garbage Man

I am really thankful that other people work shitty jobs, so that I don’t have to:
I used to work in retail, and it sucked, hard. But one thing I learnt from that (shitty) experience, was that I needed to be mindful of people doing kindof crappy jobs so that I don’t have to, and to make sure I give them my thanks. Like people who work in Cafe’s doling out life-giving coffee at 7.45am. Do you know what time those people had to get up so that they could be open and ready for you as you start your morning commute? Like, 3am. That’s fucking early man. Or garbage dudes who take my smelly refuse away from the place that I sleep and eat most days. Ew.

What did they do in the good-ol days before government controlled waste disposal? I don’t know, and I don’t care to briefly google it to find out. So thankyou Garbo’s, and people who work in human waste-getting-rid-of-…ness. I am glad I don’t have to deal with my own shit figuritively and literally. And people who work on farms/turning animals into the food I eat. I don’t want to kill things and feel bad… so… thanks to you guys also for making my life less shitty. And such.

I am really thankful that I do not have an STD:
Last year a rumour was spread amongst a group of people I knew that I had herpes, which infuriated me at the time (obviously) but now just makes for a great story and something to laugh about with my friends (because I actually sortof accidently kindof  started a rumour the year before that a friend of mine had an STD…Karma is a swift and unforgiving biiiitch). But really, I don’t spend enough time being thankful about the fact that there are no viruses in and around my Vajajay. I definitely do not have the money to be spending precious drinking dollars on fancy anti-herp or wart creams, and, lets be honest, I don’t have the commitment to apply that shit on the reg, so. Yeah. I’m thankful that my parents always stressed that CONDOMS were whats-up with getting-down. Thanks Mum and Dad, you guys are the greatest.

I am really thankful for Sand:
It’s tiny smashed up rocks and shells. Isn’t that amazing!? Yes you guys, yes it is.

I am really thankful that I am a blonde, white woman with big boobs:
I know, I know. You’re sick of me mentioning my breasts at every available opportunity (sooooorrrrry, they’re literally in front of my face all day every day) and now you’re kindof worried that I’m about to say something semi-racist. But no. Ish. I’m just saying that I’m grateful to be me, because if I was me, but a dude, I might get punched in the face a lot more than I do.

I pull a lot of shit and get away with it because I can play the ditsy-blonde-girl card, the foreigner card (like the time the cop wanted to charge me for jaywalking… hellooooo we don’t have roads in Australia…how was I supposed to know), and the outraged-indignant-feminist card (are you saying that because I am a WOMAN?!)

So thank you Genes, and circumstance and evoltion, for allowing me to be a bitch and still get free drinks on a semi-freuquent occassion.

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I am really thankful that Sharks do not have legs:
I fucking hate Sharks. Have you ever seen ‘Deep Blue Sea’? That is the scariest fucking movie of all time (apart from ‘The Candyman’ which I watched at an innapropriately young age, about a man with hooks for hands that can come at you through a mirror if you say “candyman” three times in a row) about Sharks that get smart and sink a Shark Research centre in the middle of the ocean and try to kill all of the people working there. Why Sharks, WHY?!

Sharks are dicks.

So I guess I don’t spend enough time being thankful that Sharks are safely in the ocean, and I am safely on the land. Really, in my day to day urban life, I have no natural predators (except for rapists and gun-men) and for that I am truly thankful. And I’m glad to live in Canada now because all the things that were very real dangers in Australia (deadly spiders, snakes and sharks) would all freeze to death over here in the winter. Yay -20 degrees. Kill all the things.

I am really thankful that when we cry, we cry tears, and not glass shards:
The human body is an amazing thing that makes me go “wow” on a regular basis. Like, WOW you grew a human person from your orgasim and a tiny egg-thing we can’t even see. And your partner carried it inside them somewhere between their guts and where they pee? Humans right!? Astonishing.

So it’s good that our humanly functions (apart from childbirth) aren’t too painful. Like crying. Tears are soft water droplets that you can’t even really feel, but imagine if they were tiny sharp shards of glass so that when you cried, you probably would cry more because of the pain. And then your cheeks would just be all scraped and torn up.

Children would be a lot quieter, there would be less sad movies, and people in general would mostly be hardasses. So thankyou evolution for making me not bleed from my eyes when I’m having a bad day/meltdown/PMS.

I am really glad that weekends exist:
Imagine if we lived in a world where there were no such things as days off or weekends. It would be like Brave New World or 1984.

Bill: Hey Gary, what you up to today.
Gary: Work. And you?
Bill: Same! And then the next 7 years of our lives?
Gary&Bill: Woooorrrkk!

If weekends didn’t exist, I would have no good stories to tell at parties because I wouldn’t have the opportunity to shame myself and regret my poor life choices. No good story ever started with “and then on a worknight this one time…”

There are so many other things to be thankful for, like how Kim Jong Il is not your dad, George Lucas isn’t directing the next Star Wars, and Sloths are a creature that really are real in real life (for a long time I thought they were an internet hoax – seriously…)

I hope you’ll take a minute to appreciate the things that you might not normally be thankful for, but that you probably should.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

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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.