No News is Good News (like seriously, none of the news is good)

I’m driving and I’m cursing. Oh man I’m cursing. I’ve made the mistake of tuning in to 774 on my way out West – breaking my self-imposed news ban. The ban began on Monday, and to be honest, I didn’t think I would make the week. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still been on Twitter and Facebook, the Twitter feed offering enough news headlines to keep me in touch with the world, but in a way that means I can quickly scroll through without become emotionally involved.

I usually have ABC News 24 running all day. Even after I’ve heard the same bloody story word for word for the eighteenth time, I still leave it on, just in the background as I play with baby Kylo, potter about the house, breastfeed, cook, clean – I basically exist with the hum of the news behind me. If it’s not the news, it’s Parliament Question Time or the Press Club Address. (Yeah, I know, thrilling.)

[So I’m in the car and Georgie Downer has just been asked a question – about the government’s inaction on workplaces short-changing workers and using visas to hold them to ransom. She answers by saying that those examples are another reason new citizens should be proficient in English. Urgh. She has no concept of her own privilege and no compassion, nor understanding that migrant workers are likely working in jobs IN ORDER to improve their English, or certainly to support their studies. Pure victim blaming. Grrrrrr SMH.]

Every piece of news has seemed horrific lately – I know I don’t need to tell you. You live in the same world as I do, where a former reality TV host who has admitted to sexual assault and regularly releases policies on Twitter is President of the United States, the leader of the Philippines sends death squads to murder civilians, capital punishment still exists and sometimes goes wrong, children are STILL being bombed in Syria, refugees are being targeted left right and centre and still being locked up in camps that we as a nation seem to have collectively forgotten etc etc so on and so forth.

When the floods hit northern New South Wales and claimed the lives of the mother and her children, I lost my shit. I couldn’t deal. I pictured her holding her children as the car sank. I can’t even deal writing these few short sentences about it. After that, Syrian refugees – buses of them, and dozens of children – were killed whist they were trying to flee. I found myself weeping as the story ran on the TV. Who the fuck bombs buses of fleeing refugees? What sort of a world is this?

Since understanding that I am probably am empath, I’ve realized how deeply I can become involved in things that I watch. Masterchef or My Kitchen Rules will routinely leave me with no fingernails remaining as with every nail biting moment of the show, I actually remove the tips of my nails. Not just cooking shows. Documentaries, movies, anything where there is suspense or really REAL drama that I can transport myself into and experience to the point where it disturbs me. It seems ridiculous, but I have had to learn to ‘turn off’ and watch without feeling and without getting emotionally involved in whatever is happening on the screen. Doesn’t always work though: we were recently watching my current favourite show, Grand Designs, and the house owners were having a wall-sized single window pane positioned on the side of their house using cranes; everything hinged on that moment and a centimetre out would screw up EVERYTHING. My partner looked across at me – “Is this stressing you out?” I glanced down at the perfect crescent of fingernail that I had bitten off and placed next to me on the table and lied, “No.”

Violence is something that stays in my mind’s eye very vividly. I actually have a fantastic visual memory. (I was raised without violent movies when I was young which could have something to do with how they affect me.) When my partner joined me on maternity leave we binged on Vikings. We watched every horrendously intense, but brilliant episode in existence to prepare us for the new series. That’s like, 50 episodes in a week. Being fans of Game of Thrones and House of Cards, A LOT of what we watch is quite violent. However, I’m a full on pacifist. I once joined a Karate club and gave up after one lesson when I realized I would have to hit someone.

So anyway, after all that binging, I became aware of disturbing thoughts and visions that were creeping in to my mind. I would pull the baby through the house in her bouncer, walking backwards, and picture someone stabbing me in my back. Serious. I would mentally remind myself to book a dentist appointment and then have a vision of a drill going through the top of my mouth. I would see murderers in the dark when I went to the toilet in the middle of the night. I would hear noises in the supermarket carpark nearby and imagine a car crashing through our bedroom wall. And so on and so forth. Until one day I said to my partner “I have a problem.” And so I (and we) stopped watching certain movies and series.

[This isn’t the first time this has happened. Whilst staying a week on the idyllic, quiet island of Korcula in Croatia, we watched every season and episode of the Sopranos. I had never watched it before. I found myself outside in the sunshine, doing some hand washing in my bikini, loving life as a traveller – but then began to have feelings that if I walked around the corner of the house someone would jump out and shoot me with an Uzi.]

And so, I banned myself from certain TV, and all the news for a week. It just seemed right, and to be honest, it really helped. It also forced me to do other things – and watch some good History series. (Oh yeah the Crusades – peachy. Ha!) I don’t agree with turning away from the world or putting your head in the sand, but when something is affecting you in a negatively way, maybe you need a break from it?

Surely some of my issues here comes from getting used to being a mum. I don’t like it when people start every sentence with “As a mother” and I wasn’t a fan of people who continuously said to me “You’ll understand when you have kids”, BUT – But…. Yeah my life is different. I can’t JUST think about me. Clementine Ford said that having a child was reckless as a part of your heart is walking around outside of your body. Yes! Maybe it is just my mortality that has hit me, now that I and my partner have not only been charged with the protection and responsibility that naturally comes with having a child, but also the legacy of family. There is something that extends further than our two lives now.

I made it through my no news week. I’m trying to relax. I’m trying to find the Zenness I’ve been really good at, at other times in my life up to this point. I want my daughter to be chilled out. I don’t want her to fear death, or anything in life for that matter. Unfortunately the world is not a great place right now – so it’s easy to find myself fearing stuff for her.

After Georgie Downer suggested that migrant workers should just get better at English to stop them from being exploited, some faith in humanity was restored for me when the last caller of the session rang through and told her how preposterous her answer was.

Maybe there will be good news next week. And if there’s not, perhaps I’ll just turn off again.


Lady on the Window Seat – An Unconventional Birth Story

Sitting down in my middle aeroplane seat, I was incredibly edgy. Not like cool and trendy – I was on edge. Stressed, anxious, worried, jumpy. A woman sat to my left at the window, staring out onto the tarmac. Sometimes she would close her eyes, still with her face to the outside world.

My partner sat on the aisle, and on my lap was our month old daughter. She had the little baby seatbelt hooked around her, but she was out to it all. What were we doing, taking our one month old interstate? Most reactions had been “Are you crazy?” but I appreciated the odd “Well done!” or “Very courageous of you!” So far so good – we had carried her through the airport in her baby carrier, enjoying some kind words from airport staff and strangers too. Hubby had left Little K and me alone briefly in a café and a man opposite was interested in the bundle strapped to my chest around which I was somehow sipping a latte with my head off to one side. “How are you doing?” he asked. “Great! We are all well.” “No, no – ” he said “How are you doing? Motherhood is hard – you’ve been through a lot.” He was so sweet.

16010311_10154190338840823_439780143_oOur baby wasn’t really a crier, but I was so worried about her crying and upsetting people. I know parents reading this will say “Oh who cares what people think?” or “You’re doing your best – don’t worry if they cry!” But I was worried about being a burden on the quiet aeroplane. What if she had a poo explosion? What if she was inconsolable? How would we cope? Would anyone be offended by me breast feeding? I know, I know, we have the right to breast feed anywhere – but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy or comfortable. I watched as a family sat in the seats across the isle. They smiled at me and my comatose baby. I hoped they wouldn’t see my boobs later and get uncomfortable.

The woman next to me continued to ignore our presence. I knew this meant nothing, but in my mind I took her disinterest as a slight – which heightened my worry that we might upset her somehow during the two hour flight. Maybe she was exhausted. Or hated babies. Or was staving off a panic attack. Or all of the above. She was so still, it was weirding me out a little.

You know when you eventually have to acknowledge the other seated passengers because the flight attendants come to hand out the snacks? Well that happened, and the lady on the window seat was forced to communicate with me as I passed over her muesli bar and coffee. She glanced down at Little K who had stretched her arms out behind her head and fallen asleep in that position. “So cute.” She mumbled, then added something else but all I caught was “…was born last night.”

I thought she had said “MINE was born last night” but my brain couldn’t compute – did she say her niece or nephew was born last night? I was immediately socially useless and didn’t clarify quick enough – so as I always seem to do in these situations… I smiled and pretended I had heard what she’d said.

The lady on the window seat pulled out her phone and showed me a picture of a tiny baby. “Beautiful” I say. She then proceeded to tell her story, barely stopping to take breath. She was on her way to be reunited with her partner who had had an emergency C section the night before, at 35 weeks.

“Oh my god!” I say, “I didn’t hear you properly before – when you said it was your baby who had been born last night!” For a few minutes all I could say was “wow” and unhelpful Captain Obvious declarations like “You must be so eager to get there.”

I felt two pangs of guilt – one that it had taken my brain so long to figure out that this women’s son had been born while she wasn’t there, and the other that fate had landed myself and my newborn next to her for the most agonising journey of her life. She had come from her work in Tasmania, changed flights at Melbourne, and at Brisbane would have to journey down to the Gold Coast where her partner had been transferred from their home in Byron Bay. She hadn’t slept, having spent the previous night in Tassie pacing around, stressing out. She was a wreck.

My heart broke for her – she was clearly, and fair enough, extremely concerned. She was very lost – not having been there for her partner at the time when you need someone the most. She told me all the info she had so far: it wasn’t much, but she knew that her partner had been taken to the Gold Coast hospital and that her baby boy (still unnamed) had been born. Apart from this there was not much. She knew little more about their health other than that they were recovering with presumably no major issues.

For the next hour we talked of many things – family and friends, names, gifts, difficult relations, parenting techniques, Little K’s labour and birth, what we had wanted – compared to how things turned out. And as with almost every connection or random meeting I make – I was sure we had been sat next to this woman for a reason. “Of all the seats,” she said, “I can’t believe I got the one next to a newborn…” “I know. I’m really sorry,” even though it wasn’t something I should have been sorry for. We stared silently at my cherubic little sleeping baby. My new travel companion said that whilst she had thought it would make things worse, having Little K and me next to her was helping her to relax a little, and she also believed it was a somewhat serendipitous arrangement.


While we travelled she received word on her phone (Virgin Wi-fi – amazing!) that all was well and her partner was breastfeeding. I answered all of her questions about feeding, sleeping, recovering, and practical aspects of her life that she was in no way prepared for. I mean, until the day before she had thought she still had a month to get her family’s life sorted before the baby arrived. I tried to employ all the positive language and encouragement I could muster without sounding patronising, and without making it worse that she had not experienced the birth. I think talking helped the time pass quicker, for all of us. (Meanwhile, Little K was silent and very amiable throughout the flight – why was I worried?)

When we touched down, I wanted to yell for the whole plane to remain seated so that we could let this poor woman grab her hand luggage, sprint down the aisle and get herself to the Gold Coast asap. I wanted to dramatically scream “LET THIS WOMAN THROUGH!!! SHE NEEDS TO GET TO HER SON!!!” But I knew we would probably just see her at the baggage claim in 10 minutes anyway.

Having long believed myself to be an empath, it didn’t surprise me that I felt like I had run a marathon after the whole conversation, as I felt that I had absorbed a lot of stress and energy. The lady on the window seat however, was looking great – and very cheery as we farewelled her for the final leg of her journey. She thanked me for chatting to her, passing the time, and reassuring her that all would be well. I think about her sometimes when I consider how lucky I was to have a kickars birth partner with me for the birth of Little K – so many women don’t have a positive, supportive person, not every non-birthing partner can be there, and so many women in times gone by have laboured without their husbands being allowed in the room (my Oma reminded me of this). I hope the lady in the window seat safely got to her partner and son. Our country is so huge – sometimes the quickest you can get somewhere will never be quick enough, like when you are on your way to meet your baby and throw your arms around the person you love.


If it don’t work, try again #day27

Look, to be honest, it hasn’t gone exactly as planned.

But hey! I am willing to amend the initial #30daystoabetterme into a more successful working unit.

So I think I am at Day 27 and have identified some issues with my current (and let’s be honest – trial run) #30days plan:

a) I keep forgetting what day I am on
b) Details of what I should/should not do have been slightly sketchy and so I have been managing (read, changing) ‘rules’ somewhat flippantly
c) I have had migraines for basically the last 15 or so days. This has been difficult.
d) Said migraines were probably due to the PT training I allowed some students to push me through, and consequently threw my neck out. Not their fault at all, I have always known: Exercise=Migraines.

a victim of my smoothies

Anyway, that said – I feel like there have been MASSIVE gains from this trial-run of a health and well-being kick:

  1. I have decreased my alcohol intake EASILY by about 75%. (not joking, I was basically an alcoholic. Still probably am, but have worked hard to lessen my dependency on drinking as reward.)
  2. I have been seriously eating healthier. (Granted, the smoothies and fruit filled days have fallen away throughout the month but I can blame the migraines for a lack of organisation and at least I can say that I have gone to the school canteen once – as opposed to once or twice a week for some fried snack to get me through Period 5&6.)
  3. I have been CONSCIOUSLY MINDFUL, MOST OF THE TIME, of being positive, brave, helpful and healthful. All you need to know is that my colleague noted “I haven’t heard you complain about Teary Tuesdays for ages!”
  4. I have FELT GOOD. (besides the migraines, obviously.)
  5. OOH! Two more things – once again, whilst this fell away towards the end, I have DRASTICALLY DECREASED my coffee and sugar intake. I used to have 2 coffees a day (with 2 heaps of coffee and 1 of sugar) and maybe a Tea with 1 spoon of sugar. I have had some coffee over the last week, but with 1 heap of coffee and LIKE THE END OF THE SPOON of sugar. When I have tea at home I have been having a slice of lemon in there, no sugar, and at work I have been having half of a Stevia packet.

healthy vegan pizza

I have become a little bit overexcited about the prospect of further #30daystoabetterme program. I REALLY like the idea of putting my energy into a certain aspect of my life for a full month. There are so many things to focus on!

My ideas so far are:

Having a CAR-FREE (as much as possible) month. Embracing public transport, and my bike.

Having a month focusing on things I love but never give time to, e.g. music, reading.

Working hard on my charity. This is something my life just does not allow me time for and is probably one of the biggest burdens on my soul because I want it to be so much more than it is. ( 🙂

Ok – the big one: A PLASTIC FREE MONTH. (oh no you didn’t!!??) Oh yes I did. A grand plan for some time. This needs actual planning, prep, and the hubby needs to be briefed and on board. But I’m keen!

I could go on forever – a month without Social Media, a month focussing on friends and family, a month of volunteering, a month of ACTUAL EXERCISE, a month of being creative, a month of studying, a month of learning a language, a month of writing my novella, a month of poetry…

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Give me your suggestions and/or JOIN ME! It’s gonna get good.

Cheers for the read. 🙂 ❤

sunshower and rainbows

Movement and Meditation? More like, Migraine Management!

Well! What a frikken last week it was. #30days and all that – I lost 6 days to migraines and woke up wondering what the hell had happened.

Somehow, it is #day18. I still feel good. I had a glass of red with my partner’s colleagues last night, and it was fantastic! But you know, I had one, and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t need any more than that.

[“Hi, can I have a glass of Red that is more than a few years old?”
… Bartender looks at me for a few seconds and starts reading bottle labels…
“I’m not elitist or a wine snob – I just get migraines!”]

Otherwise, I’ve fallen off the smoothie/juice wagon as I was indisposed with the tearing, crunching, smashing, stabbing that was going on in my head. Lucky the hubby was quick off the mark of an evening with toast, Nurofen, Paracetamol and water when I walked in the front door, put down my school bag and burst into tears.

[Year 10s – “Miss! WHY WEREN’T YOU HERE ON FRIDAY?!”
“I’m sorry, I had a really bad headache and stayed home.”
“Well then you know how bad it was.”

“Still no coffee Miss?”

This week was meant to be Movement and Meditation Week but that sort of got a bit lost, however, I HAVE been really trying to wind down in bed before I sleep – concentrating on my breathing and making sure my neck is nice and straight, and propped up well on a pillow.

The exercise might have to wait. When will it get warmer?

The Wonderful Land of Oz

Hi. Thanks for coming. Please, take a seat.

Now, I want you to close your eyes for a moment. And imagine that the world we live in does not exist. The politics, the problems, the media, the celebrities and the sport. Not even the history. There is nothing.

Australia is a blank slate.

Now, when you open your eyes you will be are here in Australia again, however it is the blank slate nation. And now, I will tell you some things about Australia. (Remember, everything that you have lived up until now does not exist.) I will fill in the slate of the nation for you.

Every week here in Australia, a woman is killed by her current or former partner. Also, a frightening military force is terrorising parts of the globe, with an army of somewhere between 30,000 and 200,000 fighters. Scientists world-wide have concurred that ocean water temperatures have risen due to human-caused emissions, and this could be catastrophic for weather patterns, ecosystems and species of flora and fauna worldwide. Australia is actually the highest emitter per capita of developed nations! Meanwhile, people in dire need of refuge are seeking asylum on our shores. We turn them away, resettle them in developing nations with questionable adherence to human rights, or lock them away in detention, invisible to the public’s eye. In some sections of our community, suicide rates are 8 times higher than the national average. (Yes EIGHT.) And finally, whilst sexual orientation is understood to be a character element you are born with, people whose love does not fit into the conventional heterosexual category are denied the right to marry.

So that is how things are looking here in Australia, just a few things to get you thinking. How do you feel about these things?

Not great. What is my nation doing about these things?

Well. Your government speaks about TERRORISM as the greatest issue. NATIONAL SECURITY they say. We MUST KEEP OUR CITIZENS SAFE, they say. We must put money into stopping radicalisation. We will spend 35 BILLION DOLLARS on “defence, national security and law enforcement”. This includes intelligence gathering, metadata watching and fighting the propaganda of terrorists cells. You will be happy to know that 750 MILLION DOLLARS will help “extend and expand Australia’s military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East.” Good, eh?

But wait – sorry – ummm what about the domestic violence issue? You know, the whole, one woman being murdered each week thing? Is that not something that all that money can be put into? I mean, aren’t the women CITIZENS as well? And also, that suicidal community – wtf? Is my government doing something about that?

Great question.

Well, as I heard a Minister say on the radio this week, National Security is THE most important thing for the government to deal with. I mean after all, all Australians should feel safe and protected. But (now how did he put it…? something like) the Government can certainly chew gum and walk at the same time, so ahh, other stuff like domestic violence etc are certainly major issues but they can be dealt with concurrently.

So billions of dollars are being put into those issues right? … Right? 

Um. Hmmm I will take that question on notice. How about I tell you about the environment? So, your Prime Minister is not a big fan (ha! pun intended) of Wind Turbines. So, they will spin no more! It is all COAL! COAL! COAAAAALLLLL!!!!

What? You said we are one of the worst polluters!? I don’t like broccoli, but sometimes we have to deal with things we don’t like for the greater good!

Nope, nope, nope. No wind turbines, your PM likes Coal. Good for humanity.

That’s crazy! What’s my environment minister doing about this? Surely they are doing something to promote renewable energy? I mean, Australia is a fragile ecosystem we can’t let the oceans rise 2 degrees even – we’ll all be screwed!

Yes, Greg um, Hunt. Yeah, hmmm. You know, funny thing is, I’ve never heard him say anything about the environment. And he IS approving that coal mine in the prime agricultural lands of the Liverpool Plains… But hey – we know for sure that there will be no Carbon Tax ever again!

Isn’t the point of a price on Carbon to help lower the amount of emissions of business as well as the general public? I mean shouldn’t he be arguing FOR the environment and leave finance to the Treasurer and Immigration to the Immigration minister?

You mean Border Protection.


Border Protection. It’s not so much Immigration any more as it is about protecting our borders.

From what? People wanting to live here?


You said they are being put in detention? Is the public okay with that? I mean what are these centres like? What happens there?

Well… we don’t really know… You see no one is allowed to report from the centres… But, hey! We trust the government! When they say it’s all fine, it’s all fine! If the Treasurer says tighten our belts, we say how many notches, Gov? Am I right? (Except when I helicopter instead of drive, but hey, we all have our indulgences, right?)

Wake me up I want to leave! Why is my country like this? What is this? 1930s Germany? Communist Russia? 

Hey! Clean slate remember? That stuff never happened!

Why did you do this to me? Why hypnotise me just to enrage me? Why did you do that? I was fine before, just living my life happily, not even caring about all these things! 


Oh Dorothy, you’ve always been able to return. But without the clean slate, you never would have realised what was happening in this country – and you never would have believed me if I had told you. Sometimes you need to back away from a situation so that you realise how crazy our world has become. Now my friend, with this rage, maybe you will feel that it is time for a change. And you will do something about it.

abbott wizard

Self-promotion, Migraines, and Fighting all the Cravings. Days 3 & 4.

*Just so you can picture me right now, I’m sitting up in bed with a Staffy across the doona. I am watching Naked Dating. And thus finding it really, really hard to write.

I think you realise that you are too comfortable with alcohol when you ritually look forward to your ‘reward’ glass of wine upon arriving home. I know that sounds pretty terrible… but i have surely realised that ‘reward’ drinking is too usual a thing in my life. What gives me comfort though, is that with each AFD I have (Alcohol Free Day), the stronger I feel mentally. When the little voice inside my head says “YO JACQUI!” (yes, that’s what the voice in my head sounds like) “YOU CAN HAVE A SMALL DRINK TONIGHT. BECAUSE YOU’RE DOING SO WELL!”

For a few seconds I think, hey, I could have a drink, just a little one. Because I AM doing so well.

And THEN – I realise that it has been but three days. How can I not go without alcohol for THREE DAYS?

And so, by defying the little voice in my head who is trying to make my want for alcohol sound reasonable, I actually reinforced to myself that I am stronger than the weaker-willed version of me who existed but 3 days ago! I realise that when there is strong enough incentive I can overthrow my laziness, my vices, and the ease with which I justify lifestyle choices in my mind.

Each day this week I have prepared smoothies and lunches for myself. I have also – and I know this sounds ridiculous – set out my clothes for the next day so that I am not running around in the morning trying to find something to wear. Being more organised, and more healthy, equates to a better, happier me.

Another interesting element of Day 3 was that I took the opportunity to promote myself, and show off the work I do in the classroom. This is not a common occurrence in teaching. Rarely do teachers watch each other work, and having someone observing you teach can be a hugely terrifying experience. This week I said yes to allowing a senior teacher video activities in my classroom, and interview my students as well as myself. Needless to say, it WAS hugely terrifying. I was nervous and stuttering away, but my students held the fort and were amazing. They talked about our work in Japanese, and the video will be edited up and shown to all my colleagues on curriculum day. To hear a colleague say “You must be a really good teacher Jacq!” made me so chuffed (as Mum would say), and made facing the fear of my face on a screen, the fear of peer review and the fear of being ‘found out’ as a shit teacher all worth it.

I am basically trying to live by Cinderella’s mantra. (Have courage, be kind.) Damn I loved that movie.

Wednesday was also PT day, where a bunch of Year 11 Sport students order a bunch of teachers around in circuit training. Felt good, but unfortunately was hit by a post-exercise migraine pretty quickly. All I want to know is, who invented Burpees?

I don’t want to bore you much further, but overall life is bloody great. I even had a cup of tea without sugar and didn’t feel utterly disappointed.Ministrone risoni! Thanks Hello Fresh!

DAY1 – No Coffee and No Wine


Coffee is part of my day. I know I am one of those teachers with coffee breath, whose strong coffee makes the first two rows of the class smell like a cafe. I DON’T CARE. Sometimes when I’m frazzled in class, Period 1, I tell my class to “hold on a minute”, reach over my desk, grab my Keep Cup, take a sip, and with an overly dramatic “THAT’S BETTER”, return to what I was saying.

Coffee marks the movement of the day, the passing of landmark moments. I revel in a slow cup of tea (in an actual cup) – enjoyed happily while I sit at my ridiculously messy desk, struggling to find a place to set it down so I just hug it to my chest.

Today there was no coffee and besides a few moments when I was driving the 40 minutes to school where I felt like a little caffeine would have been useful, I survived.

Juice this morning was Oat Milk, Banana and Frozen Berries.

Lunch was pre-made amazingly yummy Cous Cous without the Pumpkin Crescents, recipe from Hello Fresh.

Now I am watching QandA. My favourite show. My favourite show I watch WHILE DRINKING WINE. Tonight I had a green tea and a Borocca too. The craving is there for a glass of red. But I have nearly made it through. And also, my tweet got on TV. I’m not even joking.

Life is good.


I’m going to change myself by challenging myself. Are you with me?

I am a busy person. As most people are. But what am I busy with that I don’t have enough time to look after myself?

1. I am a teacher. My job is my life and my life is my job. I chose that path, and sometimes I love it, other times I hate it. I will not do it forever, just as it has not been my only job.

2. I put pressure on myself. I take on things that will take time. And a lot of my heart. I am generally, a yes woman. I have dreams and I hate the feeling of wasting time. I want to be a writer, but I have no time to write. I want to play music more, but I can’t seem to find the time to play. I run a charity and I place high expectations on myself to do this well, when I am hardly qualified to do so many things without finding others to help me.

3. Social media.

4. I am lucky to have family and friends who I try to see, but still don’t see enough. I am not good at making time to see people, because actually, I like being alone, just with my partner, in my garden, resting, taking it easy from the busy mid-week. I don’t enjoy being out in places where there are a lot of people. But that’s just me. But then the fact that I haven’t seen family or friends builds a sort of stress on my mind. (I tend to feel ‘busy’ with pressure. Do you?)

Anyway. It’s been a busy last year. I got engaged, moved house, planned a fantastically enjoyable and very DIY wedding in 6 months, and just had my honeymoon. My partner and I work hard, and our evenings are pretty much spent sitting on the couch doing work on our laptops. We are not overly active. We aren’t one of those couples who DO THINGS on the weekends. We have even got food delivered the last few months so we didn’t have to go shopping! We hit a bit of a food rut and so Hello Fresh provided us with recipes that were healthy (I am vego/pretty vegan and my partner is obligingly so, most nights) and the surprise of new and exciting meals each week spiced up our diet a bit.

(Sorry, I feel terribly selfish whinging about being busy – I don’t even have kids – HOW DO PEOPLE DO THAT? But you know, I think it’s a different busy when you don’t have to prioritise offspring.)

So – we decided we want to try to have children. Pretty much now. And there’s not really any better incentive, than wanting to make your womb a nice place, to get healthy.

But who knows what’s going on inside your body (or your partner’s)? We don’t know. Noone knows. And I have seen the pain on the faces of people I love when it did not work the way they planned. Sometimes it happens – sometimes it doesn’t. What a cruel fact of life.

SO, at 31 and having no idea what sort of state my reproductive organs are in – it is time to make some changes just to try to be sure. I want to be healthy, happy, calm and full of LIFE! Would you like to join me? I am taking the #30daystoabetterme challenge. OK, I just thought this up today, but the term is TOTALLY all over the internet. I have not coined this phrase it seems. (Not like ‘jawlking’ – I fully coined that – jogging/walking, in case you were wondering.)

It’s happening. And it’s happening tomorrow. Stay tuned.

*I AM kinda healthy now. And happy. But I drink. I don’t sleep a lot. I don’t exercise. I drink a lot of coffee, with sugar. I buy food from the school canteen when I have not planned lunch. I don’t drink enough water and don’t eat enough fruit. But I don’t eat meat, hardly any dairy. I eat a lot of veggies and right now, am in a good state of mind.


Would you like Children with that?

Children used to be considered a commodity – in a good way. In a sacred, protect-at-all-costs way. In the way of capital that you save and preserve for a rainy day, tucking away a stash of money knowing that one day it will be used for something wonderful. We feed them, clothe them and educate them because children are us. Children are not a separate species – they are PEOPLE, US, but just in the future. Young people are the future. Children used to be safe guarded from harm, sacrificed for, sent away to protect lineages and future generations. They were treasured. (Cue images of Children of Men, when the only baby in the world is carried untouched from the warzone.) They were not targets, not collateral damage. They were not victims. But sadly, now – they are. They have become a commodity in a disgusting way, and our desensitization towards the loss of, or harm to children is increasingly worrying.

Three Israeli teenagers were murdered last week. TEENAGERS. MURDERED. With every news report sprinkled with death, sometimes I think the words flow over us so easily that they don’t stick as we listen.

In suspected response to this, six Jewish people then slayed an Arab teenager. They burnt him to death.  He was abducted whilst waiting outside a mosque for dawn prayers. His body was found later in the morning with burns to 90 percent of it.

These teenagers had names. Naftali, Gilad, Eyal, Mohammed. They could be four of my favourite rascals of year 10 or year 12 who I teach.  They could be your sons, your brothers, your cousins or your nephews. They could be you.

Yesterday a video surfaced of Mohammed’s cousin Tariq, being bashed brutally by Israeli policemen. They pummel his face (which is out of the shot) for some time, then kick him as they carry his limp body away. He was visiting from the US – an American citizen, not that his citizenship matters. He is pictured with his mother below. tariq

As I searched for the names of the young men who have died, various websites appeared, telling me the estimated numbers of children killed during the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. tells me that since September 2000, 131 Israeli children have died in the conflict, and 1,526 Palestinians. These numbers are used to further divide, to further incite hatred between the two sides. “You’ve killed more of our children than we have of yours!” Who could have thought that children’s deaths could be used to win an argument? Commodities.

In a similar vein, currently, somewhere in the ocean, or somewhere in Sri Lanka (I don’t know, my government won’t tell me) there are children seeking asylum with their families, seeking Australian shores. Seeking protection. But we have sent them back to the country from which they were wanting protection. Certainly, these children may not be persecuted as their parents might be, may not be sexually tortured like their parents might be, but they will still suffer. Because children suffer when others around them do, and these families are displaced, abandoned, lost.

And if they had arrived in Australia, what would be their fate? According to the Australian Human Rights Commission (, in January this year there were 1,631 children in community detention, and 1,006 in immigration detention facilities.  (I know I have used dots before, but I like the gross simplification it produces.) This is around this many:


How can we allow this to happen? I don’t understand how this is happening in my country. My country – whose wonderful, multi-cultural society has been strengthened and enriched by so many refugees escaping war and conflict. But now, we watch their bodies float in the ocean, or we watch them arrive – cold, wet, some near death, chaperoned by government officials into their new ‘home’. We watch them waste away in detention. More needs to be done. More places, more options. The politicians are using ‘these people’ as pawns in their policy games, and noone in the two major parties seem to care for the children.

Children don’t deserve heartache – and they didn’t ask for it. They don’t come out of their mothers, waving Palestinian flags or as little Shiites or Sunnis. They don’t choose to be born in Syria or Sri Lanka, and they don’t choose to be born in Australia, where I sit, all cushy-like, writing this (ironically as Dr Phil allows adults to fight over the ownership of two children).

Picture drawn by a child in detention

Each dot is a child. Each dot a wasted opportunity. Each dot has a name, a personality, future hopes, a sense of humour, a life, a family, friends, favourite pastimes, hobbies and talents. The 1,000 children in detention in Australia are being robbed of their childhood. Likewise, and more frightening, is the one million children who are refugees as a result of the Syrian conflict. These children may live in refugee camps for the entirety of their childhood. The time when they should be playing, learning, travelling, laughing. Education is everything, and these ONE MILLION children may not have the chance to an education.

Here you can see more pictures drawn by children in detention:

What will happen to all these children though, when they are no longer children? What will happen to the world when all these children, who are growing up in detention centres, who are growing up in refugee camps, who are being abused in institutions, who are living in disadvantaged communities, who are being sold as young wives or into the sex trade, become adults? Will they feel safe and happy? Will they be good citizens? Will they perpetuate the wars or misery into which they were born?

And how, will we be able to look them in the eye when they ask why life didn’t offer them the chances that every child deserves?

Drugs, sex, rock ‘n’ roll (women’s rights will pay the toll)

INXS, Mad Men, Underbelly, Bikie Wars, The Wolf of Wall Street…

With each new show and movie very realistically taking us back in time we are left further and further immune to their nudity, their fixation on sex and violence, and their blatant objectification of women. Who wasn’t disturbed by the woman having her head shaved for the entertainment of the predominantly male floor of stock brokers in The Wolf of Wall Street, and for the ten thousand dollars she could spend on an operation to have her breasts improved to a D cup. The vision of her roughly shaven head with chunks of hair hanging randomly has scarred me forever.

These shows have a common theme of power and money equalling power over women, and these shows have been absolute hits with audiences around Australia. They are racy, sexy, unconventional, and best of all for many viewers, vintage. INXS took us back to a time when rock stars ruled – travelling around the world smashing hearts as well as hotel rooms, doing lines of Coke on the breasts of women, and partying with hoards of strippers who had been called in by an obliging manager to celebrate a benchmark of album copies sold.

I watch these shows and I know that that was the way things were. Life, thank you humanity, is not like that now. Now, women can attain high paying jobs, power and respect (not equally to men, but still, we are better off than we were). We are not expected to show our tits at parties, or be the entertainment for high profile bands, celebrities or figures in society. We don’t just serve drinks, and we can have opinions.

I have enjoyed the shows I have mentioned. But I am watching them as a window into the past. Now think – what if I wasn’t? What if I am a fifteen year old watching these shows without the maturity of someone who has lived through enough years of women having an equality far greater than that of the era depicted in these shows? What if the fact that these shows are set in the fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties means nothing to me because I was born in the nineties? What if I am watching as someone who is just beginning to understand women, and my relationships with them? What if I am a man with violent and possessive tendencies – to dominate relationships, to feel anger, to want power? What if I am impressionable, vulnerable, easily influenced, gullible?

The problem with highlighting the absurdity of the objectification of women is that you are perpetuating their objectification by highlighting it. These shows are created in a kind of “look at how ridiculous it was back then” fashion, but what if by portraying a time of rampant drug use, sex, sexual violence and discrimination, we are actually resurrecting all these elements in society?

Unfortunately, putting pop culture aside, the plight of equality for women is not helped by the fact that currently our government is not in any way representative of the ratio of women to men in Australian society (note: Census data tells us there are more women than men). So how are we improving our country when young people are bombarded with entertainment shows sending women’s rights backwards and simultaneously the political climate is offering up a 1950s view of the world?

Young people are not necessarily going to watch these shows and think, “wow, look how sweet things were back then”, but what if we are, incrementally, diminishing their respect for women? What if we are normalising the objectification of women, by depicting it at all – no matter how ‘over the top’ and old-fashioned-like it may be portrayed? We can’t assume any person will watch shows such as INXS or Mad Men or Underbelly with a maturity or state of mind that will allow them to see these shows as they are – a retrospective view of a time when women were unequal tools and abused objects of desire.