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

Toddlers-and-Tiaras-minicap-053112-large

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.

 

5 things I thought would be different when I left home

37942414

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.

    Screenshot_2016-06-13-09-50-18-1

  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

o66wj

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!)

e4e8540f47953d59a76b773dee5ca3da

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.

 

My Lighthouse

images

Are you a human adult?

Do you find yourself unable to sleep some nights (even when you are utterly exhausted) because the great whirring globule inside your skull has chosen this exact moment to throw all of the personal challenges you have ever considered or thought about- into your face?

Maybe you trip down the rabbit hole of “what the fuck am I doing with my life?”

You wouldn’t be alone with that – almost everybody I know, childless or childful (is that a word…?) Teenagers, Twenties, Thirties, Forties, Fifties, Sixties… everybody is trying to figure out what they’re doing, why they did what they did, and what they are going to do next. All the while maintaing an immaculately maintained and crafted image of themselves on Social Media.

You think its just you?

I will be the first to admit that the last ten years have been a colliding merry-go-round of lucky breaks, happenstance and the ability to fall upwards.
From the University I attended, to the country I now live in, to the jobs that I have had – it’s all been one big “OKAY SURE!?” + tears.

I’ve had my goals and dreams, but while they remain a lighthouse on the coast, I’ve happily gone down into employment mermaid lairs and boarded pirate ships that have been more than diverting. (Are you staying comfortable with all the Metaphors?)

 

It is really hard to sail directly for the lighthouse when there is an unpredictable ocean (life) you are riding on. I am far from easy-going, but to avoid sinking, I’ve tried to take the waves as they come – and yet I see the lighthouse on the shore and it gives me pangs to see that some days it feels like I am further away from it than I was yesterday. That drives me crazy – especially when you feel like you’ve rowed as hard as you possibly could and it doesn’t make a difference – the lighthouse feels like an impossible target.

Still following?

For a long time now I’ve struggled to be honest about what it is I’m even sailing towards – because for a long time, floating at all seemed like the greatest achievement (hey look at me I’m on a boat and I haven’t crashed into the rocks!)

At 2am, for whatever reason, my brain finally decided to admit to itself what it is we’re aiming for and here it is:

I want to be a writer.

I’ve spent the last month funemployed and in that time (amongst the watching of numerous fail and cat videos) I buckled down and wrote a screenplay that has haunted me for four years. A story that I started and abandoned with no real deadline.

On Friday last week, I finished the first complete draft, 83 pages. And while my bank account reminds me that I need to get a real job again ASAP, I’m prouder of myself for those garbage 83 pages than I have been in anything for a long time.

And all the noise and splashing and the disquieted seas feel calmer now than they have in years because I don’t feel like an idiot for saying I want to be something – I AM something. I used to feel ashamed to admit that I wanted to be a writer because outside of this blog and the witty Facebook statuses I craft – I hadn’t written anything. I felt like a fraud with my Masters Degree in Creative Writing. I’d never in a million years have answered “What do you do?” with “I am a writer” because what a fucking fraud!

Now that I can admit what my goal is, all of the jobs and the career I’ve been carving – make sense. Because silly me – you don’t sail towards a lighthouse, that isn’t what a lighthouse is for. A lighthouse is a navigational tool. It helps guide you through the rocky sea and warns you of danger.

 

Thats what my brain was thinking about at 2am – that maybe you don’t ever reach your lighthouse – but knowing what it is and how it affects your decisions, is enough to see the path. Isn’t that we’re always looking for? Patterns and paths that make us feel like our lives aren’t haphazardly thrown together?

Find your lighthouse and then sit back and enjoy the boat ride.

“Client”: The new buzzword for Late Gen Y’rs and Millenials

kurf3

Listen. I get it. In todays competitive employment market, with many of the jobs of our parents disappearing, it’s not enough to be just one thing. Diversification is the name of the game if you didn’t do a degree with the name of a job in it (heyyyyooooo – right here). Multiple skills, multiple ways to market yourself. Very few creative people I know are ONLY Graphic Designers or ONLY Musicians. They are also Servers, or photographers. People have side businesses and projects, multiple streams of income to survive in an increasingly expensive world.

kurgc

However, with the rise of entrepreneurs and people working for themselves, freelancing and working outside of the “norm”, I have noticed an increasingly hilarious trend in the language people use to describe themselves and what they do. And the most overused word is “Client”.

Me: So, how are you?
Guy I made up: Great great. Just had a really productive meeting with a client.
Me: Do you mean Brian? Your friend Brian? That guy with the man-bun and the vegan hair shampoo blog? I saw you guys through the window before I came in. Remember I met him three weeks ago at that weird art show where a girl peed in a bucket and called it the oppression of meninism? (just kidding you guys – I don’t look at art… or buckets…or weird chicks with weird explanations for stupid shit they do – they are around, I just close my eyes and don’t look like LALALALALA)
Guy I made up: Oh yeah Brian…well we’re collaborating on a project so…

Thats another word. Collaborate.

*shudder*

Don’t get me wrong. I use the word “Client” and I use the word “Collaborate” – they are great words and sometimes they are appropriate. Tomorrow I’m off to collaborate on a shoot for a pilot (read: work for free on a project I hope to one day use as a vehicle to convince people that I’m great and to pay me a fuck tonne of money). And I have had clients recently, or as I like to call them, random-non-full-time-companies-or-people-who-help-me-pay-my-rent-sometimes.

Let’s get serious… I’m not a small business… not a real one. I’m a loud-mouthed creative-type with the self confidence to sell myself as a product. That’s it. People say “oh hey can you do this one thing for money?” and I go, “yeah”.

You can dress it any way you want. You can throw words around that sound interesting, all the other twenty-something’s will be reaaaaal impressed and mentally catalogue that expression themselves for next time.

Buuuuuuhuuut, it seems to me that while having multiple “clients”, “collaborations” and “projects” on the go and talking about them on the reg may make you seem like you’re moving up in the world and creating your own success story to those around you, the downside of these buzzwords is that your parents think you’re actually doing alright, and finally cut you off financially for good (god forbid).

Toe the line my fellow creatives, remember we’re mostly all a month or two of unemployment away (heyooooo right here) from eating two meals a day and doing our laundry in the sink.

Encounters with morons

download

There are  few people who’s advice I truly value. My parents (because they have known me since before I was just a tiny puke-inducing parasite in my mothers stomach and they honestly want what’s best for me), a handful of friends who I go to for more day to day advice (why hasn’t he teeeeeexxxxxttttttedddd meeeeeee?!) and those I perceive to have career trajectory’s I admire – the men and women older who are more successful than me in the industry I love.

And outside of that, I really don’t give a fuck.

Now that may sound harsh, but lets be honest, it has been pointed out to me on more than one occasion in the recent past that I have a bitchy streak (something I never actually recognized in myself until I took a few steps back). I am blunt, and I am opinionated and I am (starting to be) okay with that (or at least trying to tone it down enough to not make that part of my identifier… “oh you know Paris! The Big Boobed, Blonde, Angry Australian one?”.

I have lived an interesting life (Yay Passports!)

Yes, random new Canadian stranger I have just met, it IS kind of funny that my name is Paris and that I am from Sydney. Let us jovially exchange pleasantries as you make a joke about my name that I have heard MANY times before. I will do you the courtesy of smiling – because I don’t go from 0 – 100 anger quiet as quickly as a psychopathy might. Which is lucky for you because otherwise *PUNCHYPUNCHY* straight to the faceyfacey. I’ll wait for you to make the classic:

Why did you come to Canada?“Why would you leave Sydney for this?!” *Chortle Chortle* remark.
I came to work at a Children’s summer camp, loved it, worked for the camp office, went back to camp and then decided to stay and break into film and television which is what I was doing when I left Australia. I left Australia because I was over it, and I have the passport so I can go back whenever. Travel while you’re young, be adventurous, move away from the ordinary.

Good to know that you think I am crazy to have moved to Canada over Australia and that you think the Film & Television industries are very hard to break into. That is a top-notch tid bit. Let me jot that down in my dream journal for further evaluation.

You know zero things about my life, or how I was raised, or what my true ambitions are. If the conversation goes further (which pray god it doesn’t – but people are nosy curious) you might discover that I spent the majority of my childhood living in Asia, that my brothers were born in Hong Kong and Malaysia, and that my Mother now lives in Thailand and that actually over the last year, that tough to crack industry has paid all of my bills and kept me alive on the planet.

Shall I tell you my blood type and bra size?

People have opinions, I get it (see first paragraph, I am infected by opinion-itis) and generally, we believe what we think is the right thing – otherwise we would not think that thing.

But people live differently and if you think it’s weird that I move around a lot, tell me in the same breath that I’m crazy for leaving Australia, but also crazier for wanting to leave Toronto, then get the hell off my lawn. I think its crazy that anyone would want to live in the same place for an extended period of time. There is so much to see, so much to learn. 3 years later in Toronto and I’m still seeing new bits every day – still learning and exploring.

And as for my career choice, that’s freaking FANTASTIC that you gave up on your dreams to live “in the real world” and get a “real job”. I would blow my brains out if I felt I had to do something I didn’t love because it was the mature and right thing to do. Maybe I am neither mature or responsible, but my credit rating says I am, so go fuck yourself.

You think it’s insane I would want to move to LA, New York or London to pursue those ambitions? It’s too expensive/hard/competitive? That may be. I might try and I might fail, but at least I learned and went for it. Thank you for giving up before you even attempted it, the bodies of the apathetic were the easiest to climb over as I made my way to the top.

I don’t know why this enraged me so much today – maybe it’s the repetitiveness of these types of conversations – but holy fuck the relief of talking to other expatriates/third culture kids.

I’ve often written about feeling disembodied from a sense of “home” and a belonging to a specific group of people. But the older I get the more this becomes apparent – my home is a floating web of hummingbirds (be they the internationals, or the creatives), who rest gently in a place, gather experience and then shoot off again. Those are my people – the people who can’t sit still. You think we’re weird? But we think you’re fucking weirder.

No matter how long I live in a place I will never truly belong there because my collective experiences will always mark me as foreign. Perhaps there are pockets, in expatriate communities in Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore… but there again the expatriate communities cling like barnacles to the hull of a country.

It’s cool, my anger at your moronic assertion of your opinions evaporates. We walk away and you become another faceless idiot.

I write a blog about you and the world turns. I send up a silent thank you to the universe (and the people who shaped my life and world) that I am educated, wealthy, safe and supported, and we all go about our days.

The end.

Paris

 

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

index_09

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.