Saturday, 14 July 2018

WE CAN ONLY GET BETTER: WHY I (ALSO) WANT TO TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH

I came across these beautiful articles about the journey of creating a company mental health policy by the team at For The People. I was so moved and inspired, I decided I had to write some form of response in support and to join in on the efforts of continuing this conversation. I’ve done a bit of writing since but haven’t been pleased with most of what’s come together; I know the topic is so dear to me, however none of it yet truly reflected my sentiments when I talk about it with people face-to-face. So I tried again, this time asking myself the simplest question: why do I want to write about mental health?

First and foremost, because I care, and believe wholeheartedly that the more we talk about such publicly “uncomfortable” matters, the more comfortable it’s only gonna get.


 Image taken by me; Austin TX / June 2016

I’m inspired by the likes of Hannah Gadsby and Cameron Esposito who are sending powerful messages – that more people need to share their “too personal” stories; more people need to realise the issues behind the detrimental emotions and psychological costs these individuals endure; more people need to “get in the way” of people turning a blind eye and letting these issues get swept under the carpet.

I’m inspired by my beautiful friend L., who I love dearly and have such a strong bond with, while understanding the reality that I would never be able to truly know what it’s like to deal with her mental disorder. I want people to stop being afraid of the mere mention of “mental disorder” or “mental illness”, as I have the honour and blessing to be such close friends with someone that manages one. I’m proud to share that she’s one of the kindest, funniest, most determined, generous, hardworking, stylish and emotionally intelligent people I know. I want individuals like herself to live in a world where the focus lies on all the wonderful things she is and can do; where instead of feeling any need to hide her mental health experiences, she knows that everyone is rooting for her progress – the way we root for people that want to manage their physical illnesses and disorders.

I don’t live with a disorder, nor have I lived through any hardship or trauma. However I want to be part of this conversation because my heart breaks for the ones that do; the ones that have to contain these experiences within themselves and their homes as they worry people will distance themselves, or reduce them to this one aspect of their life if things come to light. I want for us to open up our hearts, remember our own pains, and ask ourselves what we wished for when we felt it: I’m sure we hoped for it to go away, and perhaps for someone to show up, embrace and assure us that it’s okay. I want us to remember the moments we felt lonely – when no one checked in, no one understood, no one bothered to ask. I want us to realise that just because we got over it, it doesn’t mean that it didn’t fucking hurt at the time. Please embrace others; bother to ask.


Sunday, 14 August 2016

THE CASE OF CRUMBLING RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN US AND WORK


After leaving my previous work to take some time off for travelling and working out what I want to do next, I’m facing a fear I’ve never experienced before: the fear of joining the wrong workplace. Searching for a new role, I’ve realised the particular responsibilities isn’t necessarily where my main focus lies anymore. Sure, I’d still want to be interested in the tasks and feel that I have the capacity to fulfil them, however whatever they are I know that I’d be giving 100% to get them done as thoroughly as I can. My main concern has shifted to whom I will be working for: I want to work for someone that truly believes in what they do, knows why they do it and inspires their team to commit to this journey with them. I want to be part of a team that takes their work seriously, looks out for one another, feels safe to challenge the circumstances and does this with their best intentions. Unlike knowing the type of responsibilities I’m signing myself up for when applying for a job, how can I be sure of what kind of work environment I’ll be in for?

Saturday, 22 March 2014

HOBART, YOU LITTLE STUNNER. A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO TASSIE'S CAPITAL

I know our trip was a few weeks back now, but it's not like I've been able to stop thinking about it.

Here's what we saw, ate and did. I say "beginner's guide" meaning a guide of a beginner to Hobart, but I expect to become an expert at some stage - already thinking about when to go back next...


The city of Hobart is very, very charming: colonial architecture, big boulevards laced with smaller, cosy streets and alleyways, hilly scenery, and a gorgeous harbour. Food is fresh and in abundance and so tasty; it's definitely a bit of food heaven down there (as you should know we base our destination decisions on how good the food reputation is). Art is everywhere too, it's definitely not just MONA. People are cheeky, creative and superbly chill. They just seem to have a really, really good life there.




Saturday, 26 October 2013

THE CHRISTMAS GIFT BUYING GUIDE

1- I know what you're thinking - "It's only October dude! Fuckin' chill the fuck out." But what's the most hated thing about Christmas? Running around like a maniac doing last-minute Christmas shopping (and for the receivers, getting shit gifts as a result). So first tip: Start early. I think we're already behind now that it's end of October, because two years ago by mid November I had all my presents wrapped and it felt pretty damn good.

2- ... Because this way you can put some proper thoughts into your gifts. Write down all the people you'd like to get a present for, next to which you can also record their interests, as well as your ideas and finds. Starting early gives you more time for brainstorming and browsing for the best gifts. Also, keeping track of who's already got a present and who still needs one gives you an idea of how much time you've got to cover the list.

3- Be selective about who gets a gift. It's all about the thought anyway! If there's people in your circle you won't be able to wow with a great gift (because of budget reasons or you don't love them as much anymore or whatever), don't give them a mediocre one that'll clutter their home. Write a nice card or give them some home-baked goodies - way better than some stupid business card holder...

4- Let the internet be at your service. Seriously, if there's free or cheap shipping offered to send your gift to a friend at the other end of the world, just do it - opening a parcel is just as exciting as ripping off wrapping paper (just send a separate greeting card if you find it too impersonal... whatevs). By the time it makes it to your home, you wrap it and send it off again, it mightn't even make it to their house this season because it took you too much effort.
If you have no clue what to get (especially for those people that already have everything), let pages like Svpply.com give you a hand with cool shit that's trending around the world; it's also an amazing source for unique stores. On the other hand, if you know what you want to get but it's sold out where you saw it (mainly clothing and accessories), hit up Polyvore.com, which will spit out all sorts of stockists and price points for you to pick and choose. Of course Ebay is a trusted old friend that can assist with all sorts of occasions (and bargains), as does Etsy with vintage-y, hand-madey things.

5- Don't underestimate the wrapping paper... because if you leave that to the last-minute too, you might end up with some tacky supermarket stuff (and cardboard boxes only work if shipped via air mail). If you wanna go all out, do your rounds at the likes of Pulp, Kikki K and Paper2; if you're a hipster cheapskate like myself, a roll of brown paper from the news agency and some twine should still land you some oohs and aahs.

I'm not claiming to be the best Christmas gift giver, however I know I'm much better at it if I get into it early and prepared (as opposed to my boyfriend for example... just kidding. He's actually getting pretty damn good at it - maybe just for me though because I set the bars so high). If you do need a little help with ideas, check out my gift guide below (many of which I'd like to receive myself... HINT HINT NUDGE NUDGE).


From left to right, top to bottom:
2- Cuisinart: Ice cream maker
8- Copernicus Toys: Crystal growing: Saguaro cactus
9- Kareena Zerefos: "Beyond the Menagerie" print
10- Less & More: Cosmetic make-up organiser
11- Eliza Spell: "Lithium" brass bracelet
12- Henry Langdon: Cocoa and chai spice
13- Natalie Marie Jewellery: Tiny pyrite ring
14- Laguiole: Cheese knife set
15- Fjällräven: "Kanken" Classic backpack


Don't shop too hard. x



Thursday, 19 September 2013

MY THEORY OF HAPPINESS

1. Are you happy today?
If your answer is "yes I'm quite happy because my boyfriend and I didn't fight today", it unfortunately doesn't count, because it seems like if you had asked yourself the same question yesterday and the day before and the day before that, the answer would've most likely been no. "I'm alright" or "not too bad" don't count either. It's either an "absolutely yes, everything is going the way I want"; everything else will go into the "no/not quite/things could be better" category.


2. Are you not completely happy today because you're working on achieving something?
If your work isn't the most amazing but you're doing it because you know you will gain skills, knowledge and experience that will help you break into the field of your desire, that's alright. If you're away from your loved ones on a work assignment and miss them dearly, but it's something you've always wanted to do, it's alright too, because you're doing something that makes you happy today, and know the day you're returning to more happiness. If you're doing something that's not ultra fun, but with a great goal in mind, you're on the right track - there needs to be an "expiry date" to "struggle time", leading to something you want. However, if it's a chain of average/boring/not-worth-thinking-about days with no end in sight, something needs to change.


3. Define what truly makes you happy, and go for it
Whether you feel good today or not, it's always worth sitting down to think about what makes you happy in life - things you're passionate about, your favourite people and activities, your goals, even the little details in your life and the things happening around you. Alternatively, you can start with your current concerns, and ask yourself how you would like things to be differently. You'll be surprised how this can help you draw your very own roadmap, taking you to exactly where you want to be.

Now there's two things you need to commit to: Firstly, you have to be absolutely honest with yourself. Nobody's listening, nobody's judging, so you have to listen to your very own voice, and shut everyone else's out. Forget about commitments and responsibilities for a moment - this is about what you, your heart, truly wants.
Secondly, you have to be specific defining the things that make you happy. Ask all the W questions: what, who, where, when, why, and most importantly, how? If you sit there and say "I'd be really happy if I had loads of money coming into the bank without having to go to work", you can keep sitting there and say to me "as if that's gonna happen just by writing it down", or you can ask yourself why you think that easy money will make you happy, and how you can get it. Create your game plan to achieve all those different goals, and be prepared to find yourself in point 2 for a while - however, you know where you're going and you will be happy doing it.

It might take some time for you to pull together your game plan; it's not easy to be completely honest with yourself sometimes, because we grow up with different influences of what is expected of us and where our place is supposed to be in this world. You gotta be brave and make yourself understand that in this precious life you were given, you gotta be happy and wouldn't want to look back at anything regretfully. No one can look after your own happiness but you, and no one can give your happiness more meaning than you.

I know that someone's gonna say, "I know I'm happiest when I'm in a relationship, now I can't force XYZ to be my boyfriend, because he's the only one I want!" Of course you can't. But knowing what kind of person you would like to be in a relationship with will have you patiently wait for the one that ticks all the boxes - you wouldn't want to be with anyone just for the sake of being in a relationship, and then have crappy ones, do you? Same with looking at famous people and wanting to be like them - what would you like to be famous for? And how famous would you like to be? What needs to be done to get to that fame?

Once you work out the whys and hows, it's time to take action. Normally you should be happy to work hard to get where you want to be - if the road seems too rocky for you to commit to, it might not be your true happiness after all. Even if you're lazy and don't want to lift your finger, you gotta know what to do and who to know to make things happen for you. Basically, if you want to wake up every day and think "life is really, really good and things are going the way I want", you gotta follow the formula: Happiness = hard work and patience + knowing why you're doing it.

By the way, there's the old family commitment hurdle that I'd like to mention, something I know too well from my own culture. Often times you are made to feel guilty for thinking about yourself only, and get the "selfish" label tacked onto you, "after all those years we cared for you". I'm not saying this out of disrespect - I have utmost respect and love for my parents who have supported me all this time (despite all the clashes during my teenage years). But if there's something you want for your life that could refresh your selfish sticker once again, you just have to know what you're talking about. You gotta know why you want to pursue whatever you chose and have to be fully committed to it. They might get hurt, they might not let you, but be patient, and be reasonable - it will get you nowhere if you just stubbornly scream back at them. However, don't give in: you will resent them for not letting you follow your happiness, and it could kill your relationship. Make it clear to them that you could care for them no matter what you do or where you are, or you could listen to what they say but couldn't care less about them. There are many tricky situations and it could take you a lot of time and energy to figure out what's best to do, however with every compromise you make you need to find that silver lining for yourself.


It takes some experience, but a lot more thought to understand what you want in life (= happiness), and knowing that you have no choice but to take that road to get there; after all, nothing will ever measure up to what you've set your heart on. It won't be easy, but you will feel on top of the world, because you get what you want, or you're on your way there. Not to say that your definition of happiness will never change in your life; however, knowing that you're doing things to fulfil yourself always makes the journey worthwhile. Today, I'm happy, as I was yesterday and the day before: being with my boyfriend, who is a genuine, generous, hardworking and loving man; living in the most amazing apartment, spacious, full of natural light, with the coolest landlords I could've never imagined; in my new job (fairly new now) that is the first stepping stone into the direction I want to go, working for a really great boss that cares, and doing different things every day which has pretty much made me forget the word "bored"; being surrounded by caring and inspiring friends, being in touch with others across the world, having a stronger connection with my family more than ever (even though we don't talk that much), and having taken solid first steps into a healthier lifestyle. It took a lot of time, energy and even tears to establish this is what I want, and it took even longer to get to where I am now, but the journey is so much more bearable, knowing where I'm heading. I'm not saying I'm leading a better life than anyone in any sense, and I'm not saying I've got more experience than anyone else... but I know I'm happy and I'm proud of it, every day.


And I wish you to be happy too.


[Image sourced from Tumblr]

Saturday, 24 August 2013

[I DIG] YOGA WITH ADRIENE

I'm pretty notorious for not enjoying sports at all. I like pretty trainers, but I wouldn't use them for anything faster than walking, or maybe riding my bike. So yeah, I'm that person that would watch your bags when you go swimming. (However, ironically, I do like the beach.)

I always knew that my attitude towards sports doesn't really help my health, but any athletic activities just never felt natural to me, so I was never like, "yeah! Let's do this again in half an hour!"... until I tried yoga. The idea of it being a more holistic practice for your body and mind, and that you can take your time to adjust and rest - it's not about faster, stronger, sweatier - appealed to me. I got myself a trial pass for a local yoga studio and loved it, as I left every class feeling warm, energised and clear minded.

However yoga classes are sooooo expensive, and I stopped for quite a while, longing for the day I earned more money to buy monthly passes. Nevertheless I was also concerned with whether I was  doing the poses in class correctly; since classes usually do full flows and welcome students with different levels of experience, there was never a huge focus on explaining the positions in detail. One day I thought, I should've come up with this earlier - why don't I look for yoga videos online? Everyone exercises by watching videos these days! After some intense searching for the right beginner videos, I found Yoga With Adriene and it was love at first sight.

Many people say when it comes to yoga, you have to like and feel comfortable with your teacher, which I really do when it comes to Adriene (as much as I can like someone that I only see on YouTube anyway). She's got a nice pace for rookies like me to keep up with, explains everything in a lot of detail (especially why you do certain things), is pretty damn funny, and her videos are pretty too! She's got a series of foundation poses which were very helpful for me, and a collection of flows (including some belly fat burning ones yeehaa) so there's something for everyone. See you on the yoga mat?






Monday, 29 July 2013

[THOUGHTS ON] SEARCHING FOR THE "REAL THING" WHEN TRAVELLING

Came across this Sydney Morning Herald article on "Searching for the real thing"when travelling. It gave me the chuckles - not because I didn't agree with the writer, I fully do; it's more about whoever doesn't seem to find the "real thing" and complains about it.

I believe that travelling is what you make it: some travel to finally see with their own eyes all the iconic sites and scenery that they've learned about; some travel to simply get away and be in a completely foreign environment, in order to get back refreshed and energised; some do to enjoy new cuisines, fashion, languages etc; it could be a combination of many and of course there are millions of other reasons why one takes themselves to a new place. All will be experiences that are very real to the traveller as they are going somewhere to satisfy a want - they can be good or bad, however definitely, well, real.

People that want the "real thing" on their holiday, I gotta say are either lazy or ignorant. What is supposed to be real - non-touristy? What the locals do? Something mind-blowing that hardly anyone knows of? Whatever you want it to be, anywhere in the world there would be plenty of it. You need to look, ask, do research, embrace. But most importantly, you need to be very open-minded and accept the fact that "real" does not always mean "the most exciting time of your life". I guess it can be, but if you're that kind of person that will make your travels the time of your life, you wouldn't sit around waiting for the "real thing" to happen.

Put it this way: what would be the real thing you'd want someone to experience when they come to your own town? Now if the question was "what would you recommend them to experience" it would be a different thing, but since you find things on your own trips quite unreal, we'll be just as picky with your answers. So you live in Sydney: Opera House, Harbour Bridge - isn't that super touristy? Having breakfast at your favourite cafe - can't I do that back home? Go to a rugby game - I've been to crazier things, like the World Cup (hypothetically). Throw some kangaroo on the barbie - but I thought locals don't really eat much kangaroo? Go to the pub - isn't the pub English anyway?

So you see, real is very subjective - only you can decide what the real thing is. And as it was mentioned in the article, it's less of a thing, but rather a whole authentic experience. Whether you decide you want to do what the locals do, see things that don't exist anywhere else in the world, or eat yourself through your destinations, so be it. However, the richer you want your experience to be, the more you have to talk to different people, the more you have to read, and above all the more you have to be prepared that not every single thing will be crazy cool and super fun. Just because someone says it's their absolute favourite it doesn't have to be yours too; moreover, in your "real" daily life, not everything is perfect either, is it? However, it'll be very real, very authentic; it'll be things you happen to experience, learn and understand about the destination rather than something choreographed by someone that believes this is what you should see. Actually, that may very much be something that other travellers would want to see - you just have to be smart enough to know what you want.


What does travelling mean to you? What kind of expectations do you have when you go on a trip and how do you prepare for it? Do you think it's a bit of a "first world problem" to complain about not seeing the real thing on holidays while we should consider ourselves really lucky to have the opportunity to see different parts of this rich beautiful world? Would love to hear from you guys - you can actually log in via Facebook to leave a comment, it's that easy :)

x


My T, with night time Pretty Beach behind him