The Big Dream and The Get-me-out-of-here

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There is a pandemic sweeping the lives of the late-twenty-early-thirty-something year olds who don’t have children, might have fur-babies and wake up one day asking themselves WHAT THE FUCK.

If you are reading this and taking a big deep breath because you realize you are not alone, you are welcome. If this awakens a long dormant sleeping dragon of thought that you suspected existed but you couldn’t fully recognize, then I apologize – because shiiiiit I am about to justify every niggle you ever felt.

We, the unsettled settled are out there and we are hungry, we are stubborn, we are restless and we are bursting out of our skins. Indulge me in self indulgence all you traditionalists.

Over countless coffee’s and beers, I’ve had the same conversation over and over again. The “I am stuck in a rut and I don’t even know how to get out because I’m too damn tired” one, where educated, hardworking, passionate people, lament the thought bubble we are stuck in. We were told we could have it all. So where is it? Cookie please!

The new normal is that we want to have jobs we like, we want to travel the world, have a couple babies, maybe get married and be able to afford it all while the job market around us is like “JK bae, 10+ years experience, no benefits, $38k pa and you cool with working unpaid overtime and weekends? Holla at me!” and the dating scene is a revolving door of fuckboys and girls who can’t make eye contact with anything but their phones. The news is going: Don’t even THINK about getting on a train/plane or congregating anywhere in public in case of shootings/bombings/knife attacks and our parents are getting older and more dependent. That isn’t depressing. No siree.

Believe me, I’m aware of how lucky I am. I’m writing this to you from a first world country that I am allowed to live in because my parents were born in the right place and got me a “good” passport. If I sound articulate or intelligent by any stretch, it’s because I am also educated thanks to that same birth place, and the guidance of two excellent people who poured money into my brain (via the veins of formal instructional institutions). I’m white, which means I hopefully wont get shot for no reason in my car, and I’m female, which puts me at an advantage or a disadvantage depending on who you talk to, and so long as I’m not running for president.

And listen, I’m the first person to call people out on #firstworldproblems. Believe me. I’ve walked on the sidelines of poverty, I know that there are deeper issues at play in our world than the demented cries of a person who can’t afford the new iPhone.

But if there is one thing I have learned over the last few months of the ups and downs, it is that you can’t just push away things that you feel, and you can’t panic or beat yourself up because you feel them (thanks Mum) or because you are so preoccupied with keeping up the pretences that you have your shit together on social media. We know you don’t have your shit together…we’ve been to your apartment.

I feel it and I’m calling it out. The transition from hopefully graduate to slightly more jaded adult is not that fun at the moment. It’s not cute any more that we feel directionless. This isn’t Sex and the City where our lack of partners is because there is just too much dick to choose from. Our parents are sitting us down telling us they’d “like to see us get on the property ladder” and we’re agreeing with them whole heartedly as we open another letter about our student loans and wondering if we’ll get scurvy if we eat no-brand frosted flakes five nights a week for dinner.

We all started out with such big dreams! We went to school and we played along and we were encouraged to day-dream about what we “wanted to be” when we grew up. And then half of us fell off the wagon somewhere after high school and shrugged and realized that our job’s maybe don’t have to be our careers. Then we split up again when some of us realized that we’d give up that dream job for the security of that paycheck, or the option to travel with work. Those of us that have stayed the course  are more often than not slamming our faces into our laptops in the public library when we are on the hunt for the next job or big break AGAIN, thinking about escaping through English teaching in Asia or “how much DOES selling your *insert body part or fluid* really pay?”

I don’t have the solution to the twentythirtysomething malaise, and no matter how I google it (or Bing it… just kidding The Bing is dead, long live the Bing), no advice post or computer filtered answer can make my decisions for me (though I’d invest in the app that could).

All I know is that personally, I live happiest in the carnage and constant movement of work and sensory overload – when there are TOO many plates spinning in the air (because when that happens, how could I possibly have time to turn inwards). That lifestyle doesn’t really jive-turkey with the expiring “rising-of-the-ladder” career trajectory theory, and I’m tired of trying to be a square peg in a round hole.

Success is measured in many different ways, which is a topic for another day.

But for today – for those this resonates with, just know that you are not alone, and I’ve come to know, for myself anyway, that is the door doesn’t open, I’m just going to have to buy a sledge hammer. The coffee is on me when it comes to these conversations, because maybe if we stack our thoughts and idea’s one on top of each other, we’ll find a way to climb out of these ruts.

 

Sweetpea is Dead

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My name is Paris, and I am not your “Sweetie”, “Sweetpea” or your “Honey”. I am a twenty seven year old adult (as far as you know) that works near you.

There is only one man who is allowed to call me Sweetie, and he wears ugly crocks, speaks bad french and gave me half of my last name (love you Dad).

So why is it, that I find myself being pet-named on frequent occasions, by dudes (and its 99% of the time dudes) I barely know? It is beyond frustrating, rude and very very unprofessional. Haven’t these fuckers watched Mad Men? We don’t want to be cute-sied, we want us to be taken FUCKING seriously. EVERY time some rent-a-suit calls me “Sweetie” I feel my Spice-Girl raised Girl Power soul shrivel and cringe inside. I am woman hear me ROAR.

Why is this happening?

I look down at myself today. Black jeans, black top, side braid, wedges. Nope, as I suspected, not wearing something that could have me be mistaken for a small child on a swing with a broken ice cream cone.

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My attitude? Friendly, bubbly, outgoing. Not ditzy.

Okay. Maybe I’m being sensitive, maybe I should be careful not to fall town the Tumblrina rabbit hole of getting everyone to check their privilege (BOW TO THE POWER OF MY ALL ENCOMPASSING OVARIAN FEMALE MIGHT) but really, I mean really.

Do I look like a Sweetie? Does Madonna get called fucking Sweetpea before she opens a jar of jam with her brickhard thighs? Does Hilary Clinton get “Honey”?

Obama: Hi Honey, just letting you know I’m going to endorse you for president okay pumpkin?

How come I never hear blokes I’ve worked with getting pet names (unless you work in Australia and count ‘Cunt’ as an affectionate pet name)?

It boggles my mind that a man would think its totally fine to call me sweetie, but would NEVER EVER call someone of the same age, and position, different gender, a cute-sy name.

And I wish I could say, “oh its just the older generation, they don’t know any better” but no. No it isn’t. Guys very barely my senior do this. Have they forgotten my name? Is it like when you call someone “Buddy” because you can’t remember and it has been too long and you are afraid to ask?

Thankfully I am not alone in my frustrations. There are plenty of articles online claiming that these “terms of endearment” are actually subtle ways of belittling or condescending strong women in the work force, and urging professional ladies to put their foot down.

Suggestions for combating Sweetie-itis seem to run along the “just say politely do you mind not calling me that” lines, which seems way less dramatic than what I was thinking: morphing into a huge psychotic bitch that no one would dare condescend to and spritzing people with bear mace until they learn.

Sweetpea is dead people. Now, there is only Zuul… I mean Paris.

 

 

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.

 

4 Reasons my iPhone 4 and I need to break up

I was late to the world of smart phones.
Blame technology illiteracy, blame laziness, blame fear of the new. When I left Australia in 2011 I was rocking a a sweet Samsung Slide phone

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And when I arrived in Canada I went with another shitty phone: a Huweiwei or somethiiiiing.

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It was only after a year with this phone – (which while not a cool touch screen phone, did have the internet on it – so I could check facebook on the run – game changer) that I decided to join the realm of smart phones.

The iPhone 5 was about to drop so I figured I’d go for an iPhone 4, which 3 years ago was pretty cheap (by Canadian phone-plan ridiculous standards).

We’ve been together 3 years now, and with an upgrade up for grabs, I think it is time my iPhone 4 and I broke up.

Here are 4 reasons

1. You never listen to me

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Whenever I ask you to go to instagram or to answer a skype call, your response is to freeze and then do the opposite of what I asked. Are you listening to me iPhone?! Because… I feel like you are not. This is why, first love, I think we need to break up.

2. You’re mean to my friends
You are always getting between me and my friends. Whether it’s when they call or text me, or when they send me something funny via social media. Facebook? Forget it, I had to delete that shit months ago because of your interfering ways. You’re ruining my (social) life. How will I know how Ashlea’s day was?! iPhone 4… It’s not working out. I think I should see other phones and you should see the inside of a bin.

3. I don’t find you attractive anymore

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I’m sorry, but I find myself checking out Androids. You just aren’t that hot any more. No there’s nothing you can do. No I don’t think updating my iOS is going to help. Please stop iPhone 4… you’re embarrassing yourself.

4. I can do better
Listen iPhone 4. We had our good times. But I came into this knowing it wasn’t forever. To be honest… I never thought we’d make it three years. I thought I’d drop you (on the ground) long before we reached this point. Don’t cry because it’s over, laugh that you outlasted most of your friends. Even if I don’t decide to go and bat for another team for a while (lesbian joke), I can still upgrade that shit to… an iPhone 5 at least (lets get real – I’m not money bags o’er here). No there’s nothing you can do. No I don’t want one last app upgrade for “old times sake”.

7 Passive Aggressive things I will do if you piss me off, that you will never know about

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7. Mispronounce and misspell your name when speaking to people we both know, about you:
“How is um…what was her name…shit… Diandra? You know, the brunette from Sales? Oh Diana? With an iana on the end? Huh. You have literally not corrected me 30 times. Weird.”

6. Delete all of your text messages out of my phone:
Because even seeing your name in my inbox pisses me off.

5. Depending how much you have pissed me off… delete your phone number:
So when you next text me I have to be all “Sorry who is this? Just updated my IOS and lost all my contacts. Oh Diandra! How are you!!?”

4. Write a thinly veiled blog post about you
Ahem.

3. Give you a really awkward nickname that me and my friends will exclusively refer to you as, that likely has something to do with a physical trait of yours:
“Hey remember when I was telling you about that guy Boyband? You know, he’s friends with insanely-small-dick-and-balls?”

2. Consistently tag you in photos online where you look really fat/disgusting and play dumb every time you crack the shits.

1. Name a shit thing that happens after you and just continuously use your name in this manner:
*Paris eats the rest of her friends ice cream. Paris’s friend discovers this and loses her mind.
Paris: I’m sorry I pulled a Fat-Fuck-Sam, but I was just so incredibly hungry.

 

3 Years later and I’ve still never seen a Moose

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The 12th of June 2011 is the day I arrived on Canadian soil, which makes today mine and Canada’s 3 year “Canaversary”.

If Canada was a dude, we’d be getting pretty serious right about now. Maybe move in together, get a plant or a cat, start talking about the future. We’d probably be quietly wondering if we’d squandered the best years of our lives, while simultaneously freaking out about losing each other because who the HELL can be bothered to go through dating and finding someone else again. I’d have to hit the gym and watch what I eat and get regular vagina maintaining waxes. Thankfully Canada is a country and I don’t have to fuck that shit off. Commitment. *Shudder.*

I like anniversary’s, I’m that annoying friend that loves birthdays, celebrates monthly (it’s our 3 month anniversary baaaaaaaabe, whadya get me?!) and generally counts time like an OCD kid counts yellow cars. I don’t know. It’s my thing.

And I like this particular anniversary because for me, coming to Canada was a big deal and it was the start of an adventure I’d never imagined. In the last 3 years, I’ve met people I never thought I’d meet, I’ve been to places I never thought I’d travel to, and achieved personal goals that I always dreamed of, but had no concept of actualizing.

I’ve grown into the adult (*cough*) I am now (for better or for worse) thanks in part to the decision to stay in Toronto.

People who don’t travel and live in other countries are missing out. I wanted to write “fucked” there, but that seemed kind of mean. People tell me all the time that I am lucky to have lived all over the world and to have travelled as extensively as I have. And to a degree they are correct – it was very fortunate that I was born into a financially stable family, with parents who took jobs in interesting parts of the world and who imparted their love of travel and cultural exchange with me.

But the part that isn’t luck is the fact that now I make travel and living abroad a part of my life. There is no luck involved, at all. I work hard, and I make living out of Australia a priority. It’s been REALLY hard at times. I’ve balled my eyes out in many bathrooms, struggled when money was tight, battled loneliness. But above all, I’ve lived, I’ve fended for myself, I’ve learned a whole lot, and I’ve burrowed down into my core and tested the strength of my metal (stronger than it looks fyi).

Thanks for the passport land down under, I’ll come back when I’ve exhausted all my other visa possibilities and have seen as much of the world as possible.

If I’m being honest though, sometimes lately, Canada has been pissing me off. Sometimes I feel like we are drifting a part – it’s not Canada. It’s me. I’m changing, and I’m growing and Canada is staying the same. We’re not quite broken up. I’m not moving out just yet, but I’ve quietly thought about how we might divide our belongings, and have been looking at my other options. I can’t lie that other destinations have caught my eye, I’ve even flirted with a few.

We’ll see what happens.

3.5 years ago, if you told me I’d be living in Toronto, CANADA, I would have laughed in your face.

Life is like that. It’s unpredictable, and so am I. Here today, gone tomorrow.

But for now, I’m embracing all things Canada, and celebrating this life landmark. High Five Canada! We made it this far.

Paris

p.s If we breakup you can keep the plants, but I’m taking the Cat.

5 Things I am doing in the shower, that is not showering

At my apartment we have a shower bath Combo (which is pretty glorious and so fancy) so that when I feel lazy or sick (like ever since I got from France) I can lie down and just kindof splash around a bit and then BOOM, I’m clean. That’s how hygiene works, right you guys?

But lets be honest – there is something to be said for showers. Not only can you get in and out faster than a bath, showers are great places for activities. It’s a time all of your own where all of life’s irritations just slip away.

For a very long time I was convinced that I was ACTUALLY in the Truman show. I thought there were camera behind the mirrors (this has a large part to play in why I always used to hate being naked as an awkward teenager, even alone in the bathroom…

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that and the film Candy Man which scarred me for life – I thought a man with Hook hands who could control bees would jump out of the mirror and kill me if I said “Candy Man” three times looking into a reflective service…I wouldn’t used a public restroom by myself for 2 years… my parents were furious)

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Thank god there isn’t an audience tuned into me at all times (I’m an attention seeker, but I’m not that bad…). If you were to observe my habits in the shower… you would have me taken off to a nice quiet room somewhere. Somewhere nice with padded walls and a TV set to static.

Things I am doing in the shower, that is not showering

1. Winning imaginary arguments (that have likely ended long ago or never actually occurred)
This is by far the most cliche and popular of the not showering activities. I know I am not alone when I say that I come up with some of my best counter attacks in that damp, white walled solitude. Witty lines that are just the right amount of cutting as to leave my foe destroyed, barbarous parting remarks that I re-enact as I flip my soggy hair over my shoulder. If only there were a way to pause a fight mid-bitch, so that I might run home, jump in the shower, think of all the right things to say, dry off, return to the scene and deliver a long lasting comeuppance. Come on Science, hop to it.

2. Trying out awkward voices and faces
By no means am I a professional voice actor (This face was not made to be hid behind that of a cartoon, I mean c’mon) but I definitely fancy myself a bit of an amateur when it comes to silly voices. My favourite thing to do is speak-sing the words of a song in a really terrifyingly shrill voice. Like “A scrub is a guy who can’t get no love from me, hanging on the passenger side of his best friends ride, trying to holler at me” spoken like a much more high pitched yoda voice. Then imagine me trying to do a convincing velociraptor… all while naked. You’re aroused. I can tell. You’re thinking… HOW is this girl single. I know. I know.

3. Sucking in my Stomach really hard to see how it would be feel to be super skinny
If I sucked in my stomach really hard all the time, man I would be so sexy. I could totally do it right? Just like never breathe or laugh or talk? I’d be like 2 sizes smaller AT LEAST. Try it next time you’re in there and marvel at the body you could totally have if you just weren’t alive and stuff.

4. Trying to figure out how much less I would weigh if I just didn’t have boobs
Is there a way to weigh one specific body part? Like do they have a bra scale that you can just sling over your shoulder and be like: It’s all good guys, I actually only weigh 146 pounds, cos I’m carrying like 10 pounds a boob of breast weight! Or for those with big booties, couldn’t they just have the lip of a seat that you could hang your ass over? And then you could be like I’m not fat, I just have exactly 14lbs of junk in my trunk.

5. Doing Sweet dance moves (I could totally be Beyonce’s back up dancer)
Too bad professional dance studios don’t have shower settings, because the shower brings out the FIERCE in me. I like to shower with music (it makes me feel like I’m in a video clip okay?!) and I like to bust out my MOVES. Sometimes I like to combine my witty comebacks with dance moves like take THAT, biyatch. And then I bust a move in their face. Goddamn I’m hardcore. Hold me back bro.

Isn’t it nice to know that you aren’t alone in your weirdness?

You’re welcome.