If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to see it, do you hear the sound it makes?

I know I would still be writing. And I would still be reading out loud. I think that if you are any kind of an artist, then validation is just sort of… it can be a result, but you’re going to do the work anyway. Because you’re just wired that way. It’s so engrained, it’s such a part of your personality that you don’t just stop doing it. Eventually I’ll retire on some level, eventually no one will want to buy my books or a ticket to see me read, it’s inevitable that’s going to happen. Uhuhuhuh fake cries But it won’t stop me from writing. I’ll just write about how sad I am all the time.

– David Sedaris on whether he’d persevere as a writer without validation.

If a tree falls in the woods, do you hear the sound it makes?  If you write and write and write but don’t get the feedback or recognition you need to push on, does it matter?

Yes and no.  I’d write anyway, just because it’s the only way I can organise my thoughts and when it’s quiet, I enjoy writing just for myself. I enjoy the tap-tap-tapping on a keyboard, I enjoy writing on a thick pad of paper and I enjoy the solitude writing gives me.

On the flipside, I don’t enjoy the solitude when all I hear are the voices in my head. If I write for myself, sometimes it feels selfish if I’m the only one getting anything out of it.  I would prefer if my writing was doing something for someone.  Probably because it’s been drilled into us in school and uni and whatever that if you love something, you should find a way to share it with the world.

I see how that works, but also … does it take the fun out of what you love, if you put a monetary value on it?

I love to write, but sometimes it doesn’t come easy. Right now I’m on fire, but I’m emoting and I feel like because this is just me on a rant, it doesn’t matter what I write.  I had a previous role where the writing tasks were draining, so much so that one Easter long weekend break I went home alone (while my husband and friends went out for a post-work drink), polished off a bottle of wine by myself, ate a wheel of blue cheese by myself and fell asleep in front of the TV watching old episodes of 30 Rock.  My husband came home and found me passed out on the couch like a chick flick cliche.

It was one of the worst nights of my life, and it was the beginning of the end for me with that role.

Ironically, though, I wrote about that experience in a long and frustrated entry in my journal the next day.

I decided I would write because I love it, and to stop focussing on the money and the recognition.  There is so much around making what you love the thing that you do for a living. It is hard work … but it has to be worth the hard work.  If you come home at the end of the day and the hard work just doesn’t seem rewarding anymore, then … what’s the point?

But writing is different. It’s kind of like a habit now. I’ve come so far from being someone who denied herself the right to finally embrace my love of writing, that I can’t abandon it now.  I wrote for myself before, but now I feel like I can share that with others.

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to see it, does it make a sound?  Yeh of course it does. The reality is, a tree dropped from an upright position and crashed to the ground, and yeh, that makes a loud sound.  Whether anyone was around to witness it or not is irrelevant.

I want to make a sound with my writing though. I want people to hear the crash as a piece or post or article hits the ground.  I want people to come running into the forest to check out the noise, “What was that? Who did that?”.  They don’t need to be rich people. Or beautiful people. Or important people. Because I’m not one of those people.

So I’ve dropped something, which has taken me years to put together as it’s been germinating in my head for a long time.  I’ve finally knocked that tree down.

http://mylocalworld.com.au/

From my welcome note on my homepage:

Welcome to MY LOCAL WORLD, which I hope will soon become part of YOUR local world 🙂 Get outside the world you live in, and discover multicultural experiences right here in your own home.

This is about bringing the world to you, and in the process, discovering that it is, in fact, a small world, after all.

I’d be delighted if you could check out the tiny noise I’ve made. Maybe as more people join you in the forest, the sound, in hindsight, will just grow louder …

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The one where the long weekend becomes like this thing where I start from scratch & stuff

Image by By Lou Levit from Unsplash website

Image by By Lou Levit from Unsplash

It happens every year. A long weekend rolls around and I have to look at it as the first – and last! – time I reset, re-evaluate and basically get my shit together.  This year was no different.  In fact, this year was worse, coz I feel like at the age of *mumblemumblemumble* I should have my shit together.  So I made the following promises to myself on Thursday morning:

  1. To clean the kitchen table, A.K.A the dumping ground for all unread mail, brochures, receipts that I wanted to keep and random magazines I have been meaning to read (I don’t know why, but I have been holding on to TWO issues of Peninsula Living.  I’m not even from the Northern Beaches originally).
  2. To do aaaaall my laundry and get rid of all the clothes I no longer wear and head on down with all my good-but-unloved clothing to the local Lifeline.
  3. To catch up and clear my to-do list for my Maysays stuff.  All unwritten articles so I’m ahead.  All unread emails so I’m aware.  Lists, plans and ideas to action.
  4. To get really stuck into building up on my new site My Local World so it doesn’t feel like I’m living in a fantasy land and this will only be of benefit for me.

Did I do any of these things over the long weekend? Yes and no.  I did a lot of no. 3, which was good and really helped get me into actual working week mode for the short week ahead.  I partially did no. 2 because I needed clean undies and I was also wondering where a certain white shirt had gone and I found it somewhere in the depths of my laundry pile so I cleaned all those things out of necessity more than anything.  I’m about to do no. 4. I did a bit of no. 1 as the hubs and I were catching up on Empire (I was channelling Cookie whilst doing that task).

But I don’t feel like I changed the course of my life in four days, the way I think I will every year after the Easter break.  This break means more to me in this way than the start of a new year.  Maybe because there’s so much more at stake at the start of the year, and by the time Easter rolls around you’ve already got 3 months under your belt to assess how this year will go if you continue to travel the way you do.

I feel OK. I feel like at least it was like years ago when I really didn’t know what to do with myself.  At least now I have goals. Even if they are just based predominantly on domestic chores.

What TV taught me and why I’m like this now

Just read this article from Huffington Post called 10 Movies This Child of the 80s Wants Her Kids to Learn From  and I LOVED IT! I’m not looking down the barrel of 40 like the author of the article, but I am definitely a child of the 80s. I am also the only child of two very over-protective parents, so if I wasn’t running around outside with a ragtag group of neighbourhood kids for safety, the parental unit preferred that I be indoors situated firmly in front of the box, watching whatever TV show or movie was appropriate for me at the time.

I loved that the article mentioned The Goonies, The Princess Bride and The Breakfast Club, three of my favourite movies of all time, because I took so much away from each of them. When you’re not allowed out a lot, you live in the make-believe world on the screen, and THANK GOD there was usually something great to watch. Television and movies now are still great, but TV now is a little bit harrowing for me. It takes a lot of emotion to sit through Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. Do we need debriefing sessions every time we finish an episode?

Breakfast Club School

Outside the building they used to film The Breakfast Club at.

Anyway, I digress. I am a child of the 80s (and 90s), and like Allison Tate, I have very strong emotional connections to TV and film from that time. I’m so connected to them, that I think they’ve actually shaped my world view of how life was supposed to be and I am constantly being reminded that nope, life doesn’t always work like that. I don’t have kids of my own, but I’ve learned a lot from 80s pop culture! For example:

THE GOONIES

Everyone loves The Goonies because they were all different, they were such great friends, had that mad adventure together – without adult supervision – and did something great for Astoria (hahaha). The Goonies taught me that having an adventurous spirit was a cool thing coz cool stuff came out of it, and you got to have fun with your closest buddies. It also taught me that you need to have close buddies, otherwise you don’t get to do cool things. Real life equivalent was every time I went overseas looking for adventure.

FRIENDS

By far and away my favourite all-time TV show, although set in the 90s, I was still a kid when it debuted here so I’m counting it. Like The Goonies, Friends taught me that your friends are your family, so be tight with them. It also made me appreciate – and someday try to replicate – the mismatched dining chairs look. Friends also made me see that having mates from all walks of life was a good thing, coz there’s so much comedy gold to be found in differences of opinion, like in the episode when Ross was getting really annoyed at everyone for humouring Phoebe’s belief that a missing cat was the reincarnation of her mother. Real life equivalent is that none of my longtime friends work in the same industry as me, so when we all get together to bitch about work, we all sympathise with the generic “tough day, huh?”, but don’t know the exact ins and outs of each other’s jobs. That was a bad example. But now one of my friends actually lives in New York, so maybe she’s the real live equivalent to a Friends character now?

THE BREAKFAST CLUB

High school was sooooooooooooo not fun for me, but even the guys from The Breakfast Club made detention look like it was worth it. I never had any life-affirming moments like they did in this movie when I was in high school, or maybe I did but I was too far up my own ass in self-pity and teen angst to recognise it. The Breakfast Club made me see that someone recognises cliques, and how being in one makes you a supreme a-hole, and how sometimes, for a brief time, you don’t have to be the label people put on you and you can just be friends with whoever you want to be friends with. I don’t have a real live equivalent for this movie, but I still love it because it was well written and is one of my favourite movies. Oh, wait, I do have a real life equivalent, because today I am a basket case.

You know sometimes you wish life were like the movies or like the lives of people on TV? I kind of half believed it would be! And now here I am staring down the barrel of not 40 but maaaaaaan, what a rude awakening I’m getting! 😛

 

Going to the chapel and I’m going to go broke …

Have possibly booked date for wedding reception.

I guess that’s the beginning, really, of all the wedding bru-ha-ha that follows?  Ironic, coz I got engaged MID LAST YEAR but my bretrothed and I have been sitting on our merry little asses trying to deny the impending financial nightmare that comes with celebrating a commitment to have and to hold as long as we both shall live.

I do NOT want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on this wedding. But it can’t be helped, it seems, because every time I make an enquiry about booking something or other, and I stick the word “wedding”, in the sentence, the price goes up by A THOUSAND PERCENT.

Here’s what I’m finding whilst organising the supposed happiest day of my life:

  • Pictures of wedding dresses on wedding dress models online or in those wedding magazines are HORRIFIC. All shiny and weird, like a car. Pictures of brides on their wedding day, regardless of style (or price) of dress? Beautiful. Can’t they make catalogues of actual women on their wedding day wearing their dresses?
  • The wedding dresses I have liked are very expensive. Unless this dress also transforms into an automobile post party, I don’t like these prices at all 😦
  • I’ve seen fake cakes people can buy for just their wedding photos. Fake cakes?!?!?!
  • Some venues charge extra for little things like, ohhh I dunno, a knife to cut the wedding cake with. And AV systems. Waaaaaaah!

The happiest day will be when it’s all paid for. Paid FOR, not paid off.

Whilst I am loving being engaged and looking forward to being married, I am not loving this planning the wedding part. In fact, I am going on record as saying I am not going to Bridezilla my wedding. I’m going to Bridepoohpooh it!

The pot calling the kettle fat

Fat like a wombat

My previous post was balls-out about empowerment and not caving to society’s pressures to be a certain ideal.

Today, I realise I am not taking care of myself, and while I don’t want to look like a Hollywood doll churned out by the Plastic Surgery Machine, I also don’t want to look like I can’t be fucked doing anything about my health and wellbeing.

See that?  Even that phrase, “I don’t want to look like”.  Now I’ve outed myself, because the kicker is that the reason I want to get my health back on track is not solely because I want to live well and feel well and appreciate my health and my life and the world, it’s because I’m starting to look gross.

Urrrgh.

So I’m just as superficial as everyone else. Bleccccccccccccccch.  I sent a msg to the boy about how I look like a wombat.  A round ball of no discernable shape. Cute as they are, they are just … round. I don’t want to be a wombat.

I’ve also tried, tried and tried and tried again, to get up early to get my writing done and about 90% of the time so far I have failed, failed failed.

I keep telling myself, “If you want to stop starting from scratch, then stop giving up“.

So I’ve failed. Well, fuck it. I’m gonna keep failing untill I don’t fail anymore. Which I WILL DO. I will get there. I have to be less of a “it’s all over” type of person.

And so … this leads me to lunch. Healthy salad it is, then …

Can’t STOOOOOP!!!

First day back at work after the long luxurious silly season (although I did work from home) but maaaaaaaaaaaaaan listening to TED talks whilst working has been GREAT.

So gonna hate when it’s a full office again on Monday, or tomorrow. Two awesome soundbites I took from my talks this arvo include:

When you achieve your dreams, it’s not so much what you get, but who you have become in achieving them …
– Henry David Theroux

When you can’t relate to someone, you don’t envy them
– Alain De Botton (why we’re not envious of the queen even though she’s rich and lives in a big house)

Seriously.

That’s a bit dramatic. Still, that’s how I feel.

Clap along if you know what happiness is to you!

happy

The start of the new year and although I’ve got a lot of goals to hit this year, I am happy – yes, there’s that word again – that I am beginning the year not a slovenly, drunken mess who got out of bed at 3pm after an all-night bender.  I feel fresh and in the zone.

So happy to be happy. So happy to be content.

Also, I took the Facebook app off my phone. Met up briefly with a buddy earlier and she said she did the same thing, prompting me to do it too. She said she already feels like she’s not wasting time on the phone checking her newsfeed. Brilliant, it’s amazing how just the simplest action can achieve so much. On the other hand, it’s scary how monumental this action is for me. Ha – Crackbook addict that I am.

Had the best day with friends at the beach a few weeks ago. My fiancee reminded me that our friends are our family, and that we’re blessed to have wonderful people in our lives. It was just a nice day out, a nice way to reaffirm the theory I believe will lead me towards a more meaningful life.  That I have to be happy to allow happiness into my life.  That gratitude is the key to being happy regardless of your circumstances. That you have to revel in the positive in your life to let more happiness in. That happiness doesn’t have to be elusive to you just because you’re not “successful” (in whatever defines success to you).

So I’m starting to feel a little better these days, knowing that I can allow myself to be happy even if there are still goals I want to hit.  I’m also finding (LOL “finding”, as if I’ve had all this time to digest this information and put it into practice, but in actual fact it’s just been the last two weeks. Although, what a great fortnight it’s been since I planted this into my brain) that allowing your default temperament to be set at “happy” doesn’t mean you’re deliriously ecstatic all the time.

But then I thought about why I wasn’t allowing myself to be “happy” lately and it was mostly because of career stuff.  I was associating my worth and my happiness so heavily against my career trajectory that I forgot that I can be happy AND still have career ambition.

I recently revisited an article on the Tiny Buddha site called 4 Myths about Doing What You Love for Work.  I think I read this at the time when I was questioning my career. I feel like I’ve already solved that mystery now, but now I’m grappling withhow to grow in my career without making work all-consuming.

The first point in the article talks about that old adage, “Do what you love and the money will follow”. I interpreted that as saying that because we associate so much of our career success on how much money it will generate for us, perhaps we need to redefine our idea of success, and make it more about  doing what we love, career-wise.  Instead, if you want a career in something you love doing, but it’s not financially lucrative, then success can be about how fulfilling the role is. I mean you might have to make up the finances in other areas or cut down on some things that don’t fit the budget (which we can all do), but you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you are doing something worthwhile with your life.

So this is how I’m going to view my career. How personally fulfilling it is for me and how much of my talents I am using to make myself useful.

I tried for so many years to stick to New Years resolutions but I don’t think I’m going to make a list this year. This time, it’s not so much a New Years resolution – it’s a life-changer. I’m going to do things that are good for me, things that benefit me. If it won’t benefit me in the long run or won’t be useful to me or anyone around me, then I’m not going to bother with it.

Living life happy! 🙂

have less

Impostor Syndrome

Sometimes I feel like I suffer from Impostor Syndromeand I feel all, “I don’t know how I got here and it must be some sort of stars in weird alignment phenomenon”.

And then sometimes I take on the advice of pop psychologists and just tell myself to fake it till I make it. I repeat it to myself like a mantra. Dream, believe, achieve, succeed.

And these two are such opposing theories that it makes me want to lie down, take a nap, get up, eat some Cookies and Cream ice cream (has to be the Connoisseur brand), watch 4 hours of Friends, and then go back to bed again.

In my heart of hearts, though, I believe you are who you say you are. I don’t want to think of myself as an impostor.

I just don’t want to live life like this:

Inspiration never gets old …

Reviewed a play on Thursday night called The Westlands at the Riverside Theatres in Parramatta and aside from it being incredibly moving (for me, anyway), it was also really inspiring to be in the vicinity of people (the cast and crew) who have such a love for artistic endeavours and are creating and promoting and producing these pieces for us all to enjoy and be moved by.

Whenever I feel disheartened by the mundane and ordinary aspects of my life, I remind myself that there are people out in the world who are creative, motivational, entrepreneurial, “glass half full” and big picture types who don’t let the little things in their lives get in the way of something bigger than themselves.  They live as creators rather than consumers and I love that there are people like that to aspire to.

There's always something more you can do.

There’s always something more you can do.