Empathy

I should be studying but instead I’m thinking about this…

Empathy is a wonderful thing. It proves you’re not a sociopath and in my books, that’s always a good thing. But it also hurts. Deep down inside, even when you know you shouldn’t care you can’t help but feel that pang, that little sting that you can’t explain. I know I’m not alone, even though sometimes I feel like I’m the only person who cares about this and that – I know I’m not!

But when real pain comes knocking at your door – friends, family and people you care about, empathy becomes a whole other beast. And I don’t mean to trivialise pain, yours is no better than mine. That’s not the conversation I want to have. Because as a sick over empathiser, your pain IS always my pain is an esoteric way. I mean when something really serious happens to your nearest and dearest, and what a loaded term that is; nearest and dearest. Used too frequently in mainstream media, that it now means nothing. I’m talking about the people who the mean absolute most to me and it doesn’t matter whether they’re bonded to me my blood, circumstance or damn good fortune they are the most important people in my life.

When that time comes, the bogeyman comes knocking, and the scariest thoughts become truths what does an uncontrollable empathist do? I faced this horrific reality in the last 12 months and the first thing I’ve learnt, and probably the most important is to always put my pain second. I am not the one suffering through the reality of it all, I am not the person living the nightmare, I’m just the weird one at the sideline weeping to myself about the devastation of the situation. This devastation is not mine, it cannot and it will not ever be mine, but my job is to try and alleviate some of that pain, I take it on. I try to ‘own’ it in a way and not in any way that leads the spotlight to me but in a way that tries to deflect the hurt in another direction. Like how you hear kids say they’ll attack their parent who is abusing the other to try and stop the violence, or in a more realistic, personal example, taking the attention off someone who has just embarrassed themselves in some minor way at a party by doing something stupid. It’s always been my way and I think it will always be my way.

I also don’t want for one minute to make myself sound more noble than I am. Empathy is a selfish game, deep down, it’s always about how you’re feeling, how you’re dealing with it and that is never helpful, and more importantly never desirable in a crisis situation. Which is why I feel like I should point out that, in fact, I’m actually VERY good in a crisis. I’m analytical, I’m cold and I’m considered. I don’t get caught up in the emotions of the moment and I’ve always thought of myself as someone who is very good on the scene of a serious dilemma. But I’m also someone who cries at the news and tissue commercials so no one ever believes me when I say that!

So unlike sociopaths, empathy is something that I struggle and fight with every day because I’m always checking myself and making sure that whatever action I take in an ‘empathetic moment’ is for the right, and not the selfish reasons. Today I had this struggle. I wanted to share something with someone who I care very deeply about – and that actually doesn’t even begin to describe the relationship I have with this person – and I realised that at some point in their journey this might be the right thing to share with them, but at this point in time it would only be harmful. And it got me thinking. It got me thinking about my own actions and my own reasons for wanting to share something like this, that is also incredibly personal to me, with my, let’s called them ‘beloved’ for now for anonymity’s sake, and I realised that it was for me. It was because I felt so much for them that I wanted to do anything that I thought might help.

I felt like I needed to share my story, I felt like i needed them to know that because of what I’d been through I could somehow make the hollow promise that everything was going to be ok.

I know that my promises might not always be true, but I can only make them based on experience and in this case I know that eventually, everything WILL be ok. But it won’t come easy and it will take work. And it will also hurt my heart in the process. But I’m also not so conceited that I don’t know that it will hurt someone else’s heart much, much more than mine in that process. And I guess in a weird way that only comes from experience. So maybe empathy is some sort of experience manifested.

Empathy might not always evoke the most appropriate response, but empathy always invokes a genuine heartfelt response and I know that my nearest and dearest know that, even when I let it get the better of me.

Peace x

Producing Culture Essay

Dear Friends,

 

To all those wonderful people I’m lucky enough to call my friends and family I wanted to show you why I’ve been utterly absent physically and emotionally for a while…this Producing Culture essay.  I’ve still got three more pieces of assessment to hand in so I’m not in the clear yet…basically…see you at my 30th for a catch beer!

WARNING: This essay may make you ask ‘what is the point of going to uni’ please don’t ask me that question…you don’t really care what my answer is, you’ll still think uni is pointless and this will essay most likely WILL give you a head ache 🙂

Peace

C x

 

An examination of the way identity and otherness theory and the idea of the conscious/unconscious mind operates in Hard Boiled Wonderland/The End of the World specifically the story of the Shadow and Narrator character.

 

Haruki Murakami’s 1985 novel Hard Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World weaves a tale told through dual narratives of identity, otherness and an examination of the loss of self.  While both narratives examine these themes and ideas I will focus solely on the End of the World story involving the narrator and his shadow character.

 

The End of the World is the story of a man and his shadow who have entered a mysterious town, surrounded by a large formidable wall that is controlled by the Gatekeeper.  The town is populated with a disparate array of characters such as the retired Colonel and the librarian.  The town is also populated by unicorns, or beasts, whose sole function is to “siphon off the minds of inhabitants shorn of their shadows” (Vasile p.126).  To enter the Town the inhabitants must relinquish their shadows which removes the “grounding of the self” (Murakami, F p.132) and begins the process of the individual losing their mind.  This process will leave the individual “immortal but emotionally sterile” (Vasile p.126).

 

There are a number of meanings and ideas being expressed in The End of the World with the loss of personal identity at the forefront. One way I understand this meaning is through the slow death of the shadow character.  The loss of the man’s mind is directly related to the near death and eventual escape of the shadow and this loss is a requirement if you want to live in the Town.  The loss of the mind is more than just intellectual but also emotional in its ramifications.  Once someone has lost their mind they also lose the ability to think, love and feel as well as losing all memories collected throughout their life (Murakami, H 1985 p.123).

 

It is only after this self sacrifice of the necessities to maintain your sense of identity; your shadow, acceptance of a life without love or memories, independent critical thinking, essentially your conscious mind, can you be truly free.  Once you have thrown off life’s “sharpest and most resistant questions” (Warner p.360) asking what it means to be me and what is this inside of me and your shadow dies can you truly accept yourself to Murakami’s postmodern version of utopia (Murakami, F p.132) and finally be free.  An acceptance of the emptiness of life without a sense of self or mind is a peaceful and pleasant experience.

 

The idea of loss of personal identity is also created throughout the book by the representation of ‘slave culture’ in the context of the mind. I understand these meanings in a number of ways. The characters that appear zombie like are a direct representation of the ‘slave’ whether it’s physically or of the mind.  This idea of the ‘slave’ is directly related to a total loss of personal selfhood and identity (Warner 359).  In The End of the World the representation of the slave is apparent in both of these instances.  The characters are forced to remove their shadows if they wish to live in the Town.  The act of discarding their shadow leaves them  “…a body which has been hollowed out, emptied of selfhood” (Warner p.357).

 

The theme of zombies is very strong in the The End of the World when you understand clearly what a zombie is and where the original idea came from.  I use the term zombie in a more traditional sense, rather than the current personification of zombies as the cannibalistic risen dead which we now know.  As Marina Warner said in 2006 “the word ‘zombie’ has dramatically and significantly fallen from grace.” (p.359)

 

The zombie was once a key figure of slave culture, a tool for those condemned to a life of bondage to represent the loss of freedom they experience/d. The original definition of a zombie was someone whose soul or essence had been stolen by someone with powers, often magical, who uses it for their own benefit (Warner 2006 p.367).   Once this meaning has been understood it is much clearer how deeply rooted in slave culture the idea of a ‘zombie’ is and how this translates to a modern context of theoretical slavery. Being a slave to technology, your work, money etc.

 

Slave culture formed the concept, out of Africa and in the Caribbean, to describe the way in which slavery strips someone of personhood. The invention has since grown to describe individuals in a world of wealth and power that, to say the least, offers each of us a very different horizon of possibilities, yet for all its insistence on choice and access and enablement strategies and empowerment, manages to communicate to many of its members a feeling of numbing and volitionless vacancy. (Warner p.357)

 

I understand the ‘zombie’ identity theory in a number of ways throughout The End of the World.  The shadow is an entity that has been considered throughout history to be deeply significant to the individual and their identity as J. C. Lavatar said in Victor Stoichita’s Short History of the Shadow “the shadow of the face, not the face itself, that was the soul’s true reflection.” (p.1) Throughout history the Greeks have “symbolically linked shadow, soul and a person’s double.” (Stoichita 1997 p.18)

 

The removal of your shadow is akin to removing all individual thoughts and feelings that make us humans, the ability to love, feel, analyse and think, leaving behind an empty shell thus removing our identity (Warner, p.359). I understand the separation of the shadow and the man also as a tool for personifying the theory of otherness, of being different and not fitting in.  The man struggles with feelings of loneliness, confusion and isolation during their separation in the lead up to the shadow’s escape.

 

There are a number of representations of the other in The End of the World but I will focus specifically on the Man and his Shadow.  Their representation of ‘the other’ can be understood in many different forms throughout the novel. They are the other to themselves, their physical, psychological and emotional environment and to those around them.  In The End of the World the Shadow is a representation of the man’s otherness within this strange town he finds himself.  Research has lead me to believe that the shadow is itself a key self-representation of otherness (Stoichita 1997 p. 1). As Kevin Robins points out in New Keywords the theory of otherness is “the shadow theme in contemporary discourses on identity” (p.249). With this in mind the meanings created through the use of the shadow character is deeply representative of the self and what it means to be human.  “The question of the other is, integrally related to that of identity” (Robins p.249) and without his other can the man truly exist?  The End of the World offers a complicated response to this question. The man can exist but it is only a half life, he will never be whole again.  He, along with all the others who have relinquished their shadow, the other half of their soul, it could be argued are halfway to death (Stoichita 1997 p.16).

 

The man is considered the other because he still has the ability to think and feel, the shadow can be considered the other because of his refusal to accept his inevitable death and they can both be considered others by the townspeople because of their continuation to communicate with each other and work together.  I also believe the man is a representation of the other for the townspeople because he symbolises what they once had or were.  Even if they can’t specifically remember what that even was. The man is representative of the other for those who have had their shadows removed so young they have never known what it is to have a mind. The man is the other to the shadow just as he is to the man.  The man’s choice to remove his shadow directly affects the shadow’s identity as he knows they cannot exist without each other. All these different and conflicting relationships of otherness can exist within the same set of relationships.

 

I understand the wall to be a significant representation of the other in The End of the World as an omnipresent powerful object that affects every character in the novel.  The other is created  by the idea of insiders and outsiders in the town, those we share a common identity with and those we do not (Murakami, F p.129).  The beasts, shadows and woodsfolk are the ultimate outsiders, a symbol of life outside of the wall. Their presence when inside the wall of the town as a representation of the other “may be a source of menace and disquiet, there is also the dimension in which the other is a source – and a necessary source – of possibility” (Robins p.250). The woodsfolk are those who are left within the town who had incomplete separations from their shadows and they still have part of it attached or they haven’t died. These people are the most pitiful of all and they are representations of the other that we are glad not to be.  The woodsfolk don’t have their minds nor are they completely free of it either, leaving them not only without feelings of love, memories or free thought but they are then rejected by the town and forced to live in seclusion in the woods. Interestingly though, while they are absolute outsiders, the town allows them to stay, even if hidden, and supplies rations for their survival.

 

This conflicting sense of disquiet and possibility highlights the duality of identity and otherness theory and is reminiscent of the Sassure’s semiotic theory, that nothing can exist without an opposing meaning or representation (Berger, p.7). There are a number of representations of Sassure’s theory throughout The End of the World including the importance placed on light and dark and the correlation of this with the conscious and unconscious mind  The shadow character directly references this theory as the story is nearing its end when he explains why the man cannot possibly stay in the town. He points out that while the town doesn’t suffer negatives such as “fighting, hatred or desire” it “also means the opposites do not exist either” (Murakami, H p.245) he notes “without the despair of loss, there is no hope” (Murakami, H p.245). The shadow also makes a direct reference to the woodsfolk being akin to zombies calling them “those with undead shadows” (Murakami, H p.245). It is also necessary to keep Sassure’s theory in mind when considering slave identity theory because I believe for the zombie to exist it must have some realisation of what is missing – its freedom.  For this reason the Librarian character is not in fact a zombie, even though she appears for sense and purposes as a classic zombie, because she has never experienced her own mind and the freedom this brings. I don’t know how to classify the Librarian and perhaps she presents an opportunity for a new area of thought in zombie/identity theory?
The town and specifically the wall offer a number of interesting representations not only of death and the afterlife but also of the mind.  Reading the novel I am left with many conflicting conclusions about what this place might be.  Is it representative of some sort of purgatory?  Are the characters all dead and the man just hasn’t come to that realisation yet that he is in fact dead?  Or is this place a physical manifestation of the mind and its workings and we are sorting through this individual’s identity and how he fits into the world?

 

This need to know more about the mind, represented by the town, is brokered by the urgent request from the man’s shadow to create a map of the town, initially to plan an escape but this becomes an opportunity for the man to explore his creation, perhaps his own mind, much more deeply.  The creation of the map is driven by the human need to know who we are, what makes us us and why we act the way we do (Warner p.360). The map is a representation of the need to cover the full terrain of one’s own mind, no matter how dark and menacing it may be.

 

Murakami leaves no doubt that the town is the creation of the man but what that actual creation might be is never made clear. He accepts that he has created this place and feels a certain responsibility not only to stay but to better understand the town and why it was created. Even when he is given the opportunity to escape he chooses to stay. “‘This is my world. The Wall is here to hold me in, the River flows through me, the smoke is me burning. I must know why’” (Murakami, H p.399). Allowing his shadow to escape and facing a life as one of the woodsfolk, as one of those with an undead shadow, is not even enough to persuade the man to leave his own creation.

 

Consciousness is another theme that is covered throughout The End of the World and what it is or means to individuals.  Each character in the novel has a different relationship with their own consciousness or ‘mind’ as it’s known in the book.  Some have lingering memories of another existence, others are steadfast in their denial of its need, others are happily resigned to their situation and there are those who have never known a life with a conscious mind.  Consciousness is difficult to define but there are recurring ideas in its explanation.  It involves an experience of awareness and an ability to think.  Ted Honderich said in the Oxford Companion to Philosophy in 2005  “all thinking is conscious; conscious thought is the essence of mind; humans have privileged and incorrigible access to their own conscious states; and the mind is a non-physical substance”. (p.181)

 

There are many representations of the conscious mind throughout The End of the World. The representation of light and dark is also a recurring theme throughout the book.  This theme is represented in a number of ways including the Gatekeeper damaging the man’s eyesight to fulfill his role within the town, resigning him to a period of darkness, the dark and sinister unknown reaches of the woods and an overwhelming sense of emptiness are central to this theme. The Shadow is also an obvious representation of the light/dark theme because shadows (darkness) are created by light.

 

There are many correlations that can be made between the theme of darkness and the unconscious mind.  Adelina Vasile noted in Subjectivity and Space in Haruki Murakami’s Fictional World “the unconscious mind is as much defined by its darkness as darkness is required by the unconscious” (2012 p.127). The is also a Taoist proclamation that “the truest yang is the yang that is in the yin” (Vasile p.125).  The yin being the dark or passive and the yang is the light or active side of a person.  With this affirmation in mind the darkness in The End of the World could be a representation that the darker the yin then the brighter the nugget of light within with the yang might be (Vasile p.125). There is an element of hope even in the bleakest landscape of the town.

 

The Gatekeeper damaging the man’s eyes is also a significant act and it is because of this that he is able to read dreams.  He’s assured that the procedure won’t hurt and his sight will return once his stint as the Dreamreader is complete. The man being resigned to occupying darkened spaces and avoiding natural light for the sake of his eyes could be described as a meditation on the unknowable and dark subjects relating to the unconscious. The darkness that is a direct result of the loss of the man’s sight can be directly linked to the unconscious as Adelina Vasile noted “darkness is a defining feature of the unconscious” (p.127). This forced seclusion allows the man to examine and discover an emptiness at the centre of his soul, which can be linked to the loss of his shadow, realising that he is little more than an empty vessel of his original self, whomever that may be (Vasile p.117).

 

The End of the World makes many representations throughout it to identity, otherness and the conscious and unconscious mind.  These themes are amplified when read in conjunction with the dual narrative but it is not necessary to read both narratives to make meaning from these representations.  Upon finishing The End of the World I have a renewed respect for my shadow, my other half, the other side of my soul, for without it I would only have access to half of my conscious mind and if The End of the World has taught me anything, it is the importance of a complete and healthy conscious and unconscious mind.

 

REFERENCES

Berger, Arthur Asa (2005): “Semiotic Analysis” in Media Analysis Techniques. Thousand Oaks, London & New Delhi: Sage Publications, pp.2-36

Flanagan, Owen “Consciousness” from Honderich, Ted (ed) Oxford Companion to Philosophy.Oxford GBR: Oxford University Press pp.160-1

Murakami, Fuminobu (2002): “Murakami Hauki’s Postmodern World”, Japan Forum, vol. 14, no. 1, pp.127-41

Murakami, Haruki (1985): Hard-boiled Wonderland and The End of the World. Tokyo: Shinchosha

Robins, Kevin (2005): “Other” from Tony Bennett, Lawrence Grossberg & Meaghan Morris (eds) New Keywords: A Revised Vocabulary of Culture and Society. Maiden, MA & Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. pp.249-51

Stoichita, Victor I (1997): Short History of the Shadow. London, GBR: Reaktion Books

Vasile, Adelina (2012): “Subjectivity and Space in Haruki Murakami’s Fictional World”, Euromentor Journal, vol. 3, no.1, pp.112-30

Warner, Marina (2006): “Our Zombies, Our Selves” from Phantasmagoria. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 357-68″

Melbourne Craft Beer Tour…

It is hard being a Queenslander going for a holiday in Melbourne in winter…everyone thinks you’re a bit mad!   Most people question your mental health, your ability to comprehend what season you’re currently in and just generally questioning your common sense with questions like “what’s wrong with you?” “you do know it’s winter right?” and “are you the full quid?” Come on people it’s not that cold…granted I was wearing about 5 layers of clothing every day but still!

What’s not difficult about being on holiday in Melbourne is finding somewhere to get a beer….and a good one at that!

We always knew it was going to be a bit of a beer appreciation trip but we didn’t think our untapped accounts were going to get that big a workout.

From craft beer bars to microbreweries to epic bottle shops we were in our element!

First venue on the agenda, Cookie, for a “Brew Am I” special release from Young Henry’s to honour the Aussie music legends You Am I – it was nearly as amazing as they are!

Next up ‘Beer Deluxe’ and I’m already asking myself ‘does it get any better than this?’ With an exhaustive beer menu, 8 taps and 2 hand pumps, we were in heaven.  The hardest decision we had to make was what beer to have.  As a Coastie who is a bit deprived, it was a round of black beers and after a couple of 10%-ers we needed a walk….a walk to the next beer that is!

Over the course of 5 days we visited – some multiple times! – in no particular order, Cookie, Beer Deluxe, Mrs Parmas, The Gertrude Hotel, The Royston, The Local Taphouse, Little Creatures Dining Hall, Mountain Goat Brewery, Blackheart & Sparrows, Slow Beer and a very special visit to the Holgate Brewhouse.

The Mountain Goat Brewhouse is a sight to see and I’ll need to return again soon as I’d managed to annihilate myself by eating almost all of my Mrs Parma’s original parma…just a little too much chicken for this small bird!  Didn’t have a lot of room for beer after a late lunch but I still managed to enjoy the beer carton décor, fairy lights and some delicious beers, just hold the wood fire pizza (sob…for anyone who knows me will know that I must have been seriously full).

The next day we hopped a bus out to Woodend to visit the Holgate Brewhouse housed in the historic Keating’s Hotel which was originally built in the early 1900’s as the Cobb & Co. main stopover on the trip from Melbourne to the Bendigo goldfields.

Paul and Natasha Holgate started Holgate Brewhouse in 1999 running the operation out of a shed on their own property until 2006!

Paul and Natasha then took over the hotel in 2002 and after 4 long years of renos – and we’re sure many near hair transplants and beers – the accommodation rooms were opened in 2005 and the brewery was moved in in 2006.

I had a chat to Natasha about their labour of love and Natasha commented that she often tells people “we have 4 children! Our daughter Emily was born in 1998, we started the brewery in 1999, our son James was born in 2000 & we took over the hotel in 2002.”

I really don’t have a bad word to say about my visit to Holgate.  The beer is delicious, the food was amazing, the rooms comfy and warm, the bar staff friendly and the brewers…well they treated us like family!

The weary travellers return home with two full green bags of beers to share with their mates (if they’re lucky!) and a new found addiction to Shanghai dumplings.

With so many more bars and microbreweries still left to visit, Dejavu Bar and The Terminus being two bars we tried – and failed – to get to, I think there’s definitely another Melbourne sojourn on the cards soon.  Maybe we can test how the beer tastes in the Summer this time?

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Burleigh Brewing Melbourne Beer Story 12

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Burleigh Brewing Melbourne Beer Story 20

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And so it begins…

Last day of holidays and to be honest…I’m shitting myself.  
Everything is going to be happening soon and it feels quite scary to be going into such an unknown.  Not only is tomorrow my first day back at work but it’s also my first day back at uni in about 7 years…..7 YEARS!!!!!!!!!! That’s really tripping me out.
It’s fantastic that we’ve got so much going on but at the same time I’m just feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all and the imagined pressure I know I’ll be putting on myself in no time.  Work will be ramping up soon coming out of winter, starting uni again and doing the Rabbit Radio show and I’m hoping through work, uni and No Wack MC’s I’ll be inspired to do a lot more writing!  On the work blog, my blog and the radio blog.  It sounds so silly and most people will just be like “WTF are you talking about” but I really want to write more about hip hop and the language of it…there’s part of me that feels that hip hop is like the new Shakespeare for our (and many other) generations.  Giving people a voice of their own, to express their lives, dreams, hopes and fears in a way they never had before.  There’s obviously some massive differences but even in delivery and writing style – is the language of hip hop the iambic pentameter?  Yes seriously these are the things I think up when I have a bit of time on my hands or a few beers under my belt…I’m strange I know.
Anyway it all feels a bit out of hand to be honest!  But I know it’ll be amazing and I do really flourish and do some of my best work when I’m under pressure and busy.  So I guess I need to just accept that is going to be intense but a lot of fun very soon.
I’m looking forward to it though.  So if I’m out of touch and a bit lost – looking dazed and confused on the streets, at the beach or the bar – now you know why.
Is it weird I’m sending myself ‘chookas’?

Peace x 

Rummage Sale!

So in my epic clean out I managed to cull a massive amount of clothes from my wardrobe. I’m now trying to figure out the best way to sell them…
I’ve been thinking of organising a ‘rummage sale’ and hopefully hold it at the brewery. 
Now getting to my actual point – would you, as a regular good looking human being, participate? 

Sell clothes? Buy clothes? Attend? 

I’m just trying to work out if it’s something people would want to come to and be a part of?

If you scroll past this and think ‘I do have an opinion about that but we don’t really know each/haven’t spoken in a while/think you’re weird/seems random if I comment’ PLEASE share your opinion! I’s dying to hear from as many people as possible!

 Peace x

Raw Comedy!

Watch “Claire Oldfield RAW Comedy Heat March 10” on YouTube

So last night I did my second ever RAW Comedy contest heat last not. And I actually filmed it!

It was such an exciting, nerve wracking, stomach churning, FUN experience. Im so glad I did it and it really solidified for me my goal to do as much comedy and performance this year as possible.

Need to stop talking and start doing. And this is the first step.

Share with whoever you like 🙂

Peace x

2012: A year in review

2012 was a year for firsts and returning to old faithfuls for me.  In fact, 2012 was the best year I’ve had in a while.  It’s no secret (well maybe it is because I’m a secretive b.i.) but the last few years haven’t been awesome.  Peppered with anxiety, stomach problems, adult acne (thank fuck THAT’S over!) a little depression and a lot of stress. 2012 was so different it was refreshing.  So many new experiences, new friends, old friends, new job, new challenges, good habits and returning to some of my (better) old ways.  Let’s have a look!

RYLA: I started the year by attending a camp that could be confused with a cult that resulted in me truly changing my life for the better.  I may not have gained as much as some people from it but you get what you need from it and I’ve definitely gained a lot.  It also gave me an opportunity to let a lot of things go as well.  It reminded me that I’ve got one life, live it with kindness, love and humility. Thanks for the wfzs and helping my change my life. Ignite your light.

RAW COMEDY: I got home from RYLA with many goals but there was one at the very front of my mind – entering the RAW comedy competition.  I had no idea when it began and how long I had to prepare but I just knew I had to get online and enter.  After a gut wrenching couple of minutes filling in the  forms and thinking “will I? Won’t I? Will I? Won’t I?” I entered – and then discovered I had 7 weeks to write, practice and perform my 5 minutes of stand up comedy gold.  It was a real struggle at first trying to think of things to talk about but then I got onto one of my favourite subjects – my magnetic  power with weirdos – and went from there.  It was funny and people laughed and I thought I did a pretty good job.  I didn’t get through but I wasn’t in the least upset about that.  I didn’t really think I was going to go to Edinburgh the first year I entered! (but you’ve always gotta hope right?)  I was just glad to get a couple of big laughs and be able to say to people “I entered RAW comedy” rather than what I used to always say “I really want to enter RAW comedy”.  I started thinking that maybe everything would be easy after this because that was so scary, I wasn’t half wrong. Mission accomplished.   

NEW JOB: My second burning ambition from RYLA was to find a new job.  I was unhappy, unfulfilled and stressed to hell in my old job.  I was giving more than I was getting and it just got too tiring in the end.  I loved my job, a lot, but circumstances beyond my control meant that some things change and you can’t go back to where you came from.  I had to bounce.  But I wasn’t just going to leave for any old job.  To be honest I’d been looking for quite a while but fairly half heartedly and only applying for things that I thought I’d actually leave my current job for.  Then one day, sitting on Burleigh Hill having a beer I read a job ad for a local (so so close!) craft brewery.  Looking for an all-rounder type person who just gets in and gets things done – doesn’t have any one area of expertise but is a jack of all trades and a little bit different.  I couldn’t have found a more perfect description of me – and did I mention it’s at a brewery?  I worked my behind off writing the best job application I’ve ever done.  I threw the rule book out the window and just let them see the real me – the nut, the beer lover, the local, the committed, passionate person who thrives in small business and is all about the finer details.  I felt good.  I spent Easter weekend fretting over my application and 4 days later – a phone call. That afternoon, an interview.  The next day a “second interview” – a beer and a tour of the Brewery on a Friday night.  The next day, our beautiful friend’s wedding and just as the ceremony finished and I was walking to bar for a drink, an email….with a job offer! Stoked beyond belief.  It’s been amazing so far and I’ve got so much to look forward to at work for 2013 – new projects, learning new skills and meeting new people.  Can. Not. Wait.

CYCLING: I knew I wanted to ride to my new job – it’s only 10 mins by bike and it’s so liberating to not be trapped by a car.  Ed said in June when he bought me the Duke for my birthday “I give you one month before you’re on a road bike in lyrca” I advised him that he may have lost his mind.  Mid July I was the proud owner of Csilla – my second hand, Giant Defy road bike.  I love her.  As soon as I got her I knew I had to set myself a goal or I might not get right into it so I thought it would be an awesome idea to enter the Brissie to Gold Coast bike ride – 100km.  As soon as I told everyone, put it on facebook and made it official I realised I was actually going to have to work really hard to get to a position to ride 100 km.  Oh did I mention that I only had 3 months to get ready? Everyone thought I was a little crazy but I like a challenge.  Ed was my coach (still is really!) and had it all sussed out about how to prepare me for the ride.  Lots and lots of riding.  Couple of times a week before work and every weekend, each ride getting longer each time.  Starting at 40km and ending on 85km – he promised that last 15km wouldn’t be a problem on the day! – culminating in a 100km ride, completed in 3 hours and 10 minutes with an average speed of 31km/h.  Not bad for a rookie! And most importantly I’ve kept riding! Ok maybe I haven’t done any massive weekend rides but I’ve kept up 3 rides a week since the 100km with the exception of the Christmas break – I’ve been a little lazy this last week or two!  I know I’m coming back to Csilla.  Now I just need another challenge….

NEW FRIENDS, OLD FRIENDS, GOOD FRIENDS: 2012 a year for welcoming back and then farewelling best mates, reconnecting with old friends and making a buttload of awesome new friends.  A year spent chilling in people’s backyards, having BBQ’s, sitting on Burleigh Hill, Friday morning coffee dates and some good friends doing amazing things to see me.  At least I always have been in the fridge now! (who am I kidding I always had beer in the fridge…but now it’s much better beer!) I’m lucky to have friends who are far better than me! I love my friends like family and they know that – they unfortunately also know I’m lazy so I’m really really thankful for not having lazy friends who put up with me.  2013 – the year of the Clairesy driven catch up?  So many awesome times – beautiful weddings, family catch ups (thankfully no funerals), tearful farewells and reunions, some seriously fun filled, laughter soaked weekends and quite a few wild nights to boot.  Thanks for loving me and putting up with me.

ED: Another wonderful year with a wonderful man.  What can I say about Ed that I don’t already tell him every day? Nothing.  We celebrated 4 years of wedded bliss in November – here’s to another billion together. Thanks to you, I’m who I am – happy, healthy and I have everything I’ll ever really need – you. Thank YOU for putting up with me too x

I know that’s not really it all in the least – there’s always more that you forget.  Maybe there’ll be a part two somewhere along the line?  Or maybe I’ll make it an ongoing thing (as I always plan to) and get the 2013 retrospective beginning right now so I don’t have to write one like this at the start of next year!

2012 was pretty damn awesome, let’s make 2013 amazeballs.

Here is to big things in 2013 – let’s have it all!

Peace x

Misplaced Anger

I’ve come to realise the more that I think about it, I have some seriously misplaced anger.  I project anger onto people who I think have done exactly what they wanted to do in life and truly achieved their dreams.  Because I didn’t end up doing the things I always thought I would do makes in me some way a failure.  That those people who have have had some sort of unfair advantage.  Better schooling, opportunities not afforded to me or a chance to be totally dedicated and I could about their craft, whatever that may be, with the diversion and distraction of real life.
I think because I didn’t become an actor, or a model, or a diplomat that I have in some way fucked up so badly that I may as well just keep on doing what I’m doing because there’s no way I can change the path I’m on.  That if only, if only, in only!  Then I could have been something.  I could have been famous, I could have been on TV, I could have fan,s, I could be a comedian and I could be performing every night.
 But I’m beginning to see that maybe that’s all just a pile of horseshit.  That I am doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing in life, or at least heading in the right direction but I just never quite saw it happening this way in my head.  I never saw the future as the reality that is a full time job, a mortgage and responsibilities as a human being for other human beings.
When I think more and more about my everyday reality I realise it’s actually pretty awesome.  I’m writing this right now sitting on the hill at Burleigh Point, in a bikini, listening to the ocean behind me because I have an awesome job where I don’t start work until 11am on Fridays.  Not bloody.  And I don’t have to start work on Monday until 10.30am!  Oh and did I mention I work for a brewery?  And not any old brewery, not some big machine that is totally disconnected from reality and awesomeness but a craft brewery, where quality is everything. 
I have an awesome house, that we bought pretty cheap, that is 2/3 paid off and that I share with my bestest friend in the whole wide world.
Life is looking pretty sweet right now when you realise that there is not one life or reality for everyone – but every single person has a different version of happiness and how to achieve it.
I guess I’ve realised that if I want to feel creatively stimulated I have to seek that out myself.  I have to be writing, even just for myself, regularly – more than once a fortnight or month.  If I want to make music I can’t wait for someone to be driving beside me and think ‘shit she’s awesome I want her!’ I just have to make it myself.  If I want to write a fashion blog, then I just have to get started.  Want to learn to sew, get started, 
I think you might be noticing the theme here.  I guess I’ve always known these things, but have never wanted to face it that I’m one of the masses that isn’t going to be plucked from obscurity by someone or going to just fall into something amazing by good luck.  Like pretty much everyone else on this planet, I’m actually going to have to work for it.  I think I’d been holding out…just hoping that my lucky time might come.  Nearing 30 I realise I can’t keep waiting and I’ve got to start taking. 
Start taking notice of how awesome and wonderful life is.  Start taking notice of what’s happening around me and how I can be a part of it.  Start taking notice of the fact that I can’t keep blaming other people for their hard work and good fortune.  Start taking notice of today and planning for tomorrow.
The only way to pick up good habits is to make room by shedding bad ones.
Here’s to today and tomorrow….
Peace x