Monday, November 30, 2009

The Meaning of Life

“I want you to write down three goals you have for this year,” said my year three primary school teacher, handing out black sheets of paper.

As an unusually serious and highly inquisitive eight year old, with very spiritual parents, I already had a very clear goal in mind: To find out the meaning of life.

I just knew that all I had to do was find the answer to this one simple question, and then everything would makes total sense. Then, I could happily go about living the rest of my life.

So while other kids wrote that they wanted to learn their times-tables, I wrote (in complete sincerity) “To find out the meaning of life” and left the other two goals blank. Any other goal failed in comparison to this one.

Our goals were collected and nothing was ever mentioned of it. I’d expected as much. My teacher was way too unhappy to possibly be enlightened on the true meaning of her existence. My parents didn’t seem to know either. Although mum did try to explain it:

“You see,” she said, one hand holding a crystal and the other giving reiki to her left breast. “In your past lives, you may have needed to learn something…” - And then she lost me. Listening to her talk in new age speak, sounded vaguely like tearing up cotton-wool balls  and stirring them into a jar of honey. It just didn’t make sense to me.




I needed a real answer, damn it! I wanted hard evidence and proven facts.

Why were we here? What happens when we die? Why are some people born into terrible circumstances, and others spared?

Such questions have plagued me for as long as I can remember, and as a result, I never cared too much for small talk. If someone asked me about the weather, I’d draw a blank. “Tell me about love!” I’d have shouted back, if I wasn’t so shy.

Yearning only to learn about the deeper things in life, meant I found school rather boring.  Instead of listening to my teachers, I’d drift off into 'Ally world'… where I’d imagine the teacher jumping up on the desk and doing a disco dance! Then the whole room would join in! And I would be on a trapeze, swinging from the ceiling, and colored lights would be flashing!!!

It’s unfortunate I never learned to listen. It’s a skill that could have come in handy when conversing with people. It also would have made doing well in school a lot easier. (You can also see why I very much love the show Glee!)

As I aged, my search for meaning lost it’s vigor, and my goals started to resemble a sense of normality. Get a boyfriend, learn how to spell, exercise. Watching Oprah also helped, and on her recommendation - yes, I bought the book Eat Love Pray.





“Oh, I’m so tired of France!” a French girlfriend whined recently, in her beautiful French accent. “All they do is sit around and talk about the meaning of life, and love, and get depressed.” 
Heaven! 


I never did find out the meaning of life. And I never did make it through the India chapters in Eat Love Pray. But I did find some peace about two year’s ago, when it finally dawned on me that: Perhaps – no one* really knows the answers. Not even Oprah. What a relief! 


And from reading part of Eat, Love, Pray – it dawned on me that: Perhaps more than wanting to find answers / the truth, I much prefer to be wildly entertained!


(Glee!)

*Although my mum honestly believes she knows the meaning of life. Just this trip home, she happened to tell me that she knows “The truth about the universe – about everything - for sure.” My question to you mum is - then why are you so unhappy? Is the truth rather shitty? Because if the meaning of life is shitty, then maybe I don’t want to know.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What I’ve Learned On Fear:

As someone who has avoided fear most of my life, learning to embrace it has given me an “Ah ha” moment of late. Through doing stuff that stretches me out of my comfort zone I notice I go through the following stages:

  1. Nervous fear “Why am I doing this? How can I get out of it?”
  2. I hate this! Why am I doing this to myself!
And then, as long as I don’t quit, one of three things will happen:

A)   I will make a huge mistake, fuck up, feel humiliated, but learn something that I wouldn’t have ever learned if I hadn’t of failed, or;
B)   I will keep putting one foot in front of the other and get through it. Stronger for it, or;
C)   I will achieve something awesome. Something I never imagined I was capable of doing. A feeling likened to walking on water.

And the more I do it, the more I yearn for option C. It’s addictive! Like surfing!  [I imagine] Once you catch that perfect wave, it’s worth the wait, fear, sunburn, sharks etc. 

Also, there’s a point reached where a strange phenomenon can occur. Where I literally break through my fear. Is it surrendering? It feels like ‘letting go’. Whatever it is, it gives me fearlessness, freedom and an immediate sense of calm.  Like I’ve just entered the Matirx – and everything is easy. 
My "fear of choice", is doing improvised theatre. And while most scenes make my stomach churn, a good one will be when I crack the Matrix – and am living in my subconscious. If I try and recall what happened – it’s a total blur.  Every time I do this, I get a high that nothing else can touch on. Does anyone know what I’m talking about?

The thing I have to remember (which is so easy to forget!) - is I can’t ever reach that break through moment…. without feeling the fear before hand. So when ever I’m really scared – I have to realise, that unless I’m being chased by a cerial killer, then this fear is actually a very good thing. So without further ado, please always remind me, that in this life: Aim for the fear, instead of avoiding it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

On Fear


(Val Kilmer, My future husband, Shane Black)


"For most people, fear is daring to wish for something so bad that it matters to you, and then having that taken away.  Fear is, I'm not going to get the things I want, and I'm gonna lose the things I have already. That's what fear is, to me.  The idea of getting your hopes up? [When I was starting out] I would get my hopes up, and someone would say, What if they just smash you? And then you'll feel worse than ever! And I'd go: Oh, well, I know. I'd rather get my hopes up.”

"Here's what the fear does: it's something called 'The Jack Story.' Jack Story's about a guy who's driving and boom, his tire blows out in a rain storm.  By the side of the road, flat.  He sees a farmhouse in the distance with a light on, and he thinks, I don't have a jack, I can't change this tire - but maybe the farmer has one.  So he starts walking through the rain and the mud and after a couple of feet he thinks, Well, wait a minute, what if I get to the farmhouse and the guy doesn't have a jack?  Then I gotta walk all the way back and I'm getting rained on and it's murder.  And he goes, Calm down, it hasn't happened, see what happens, play it by ear, okay?.......”

To read the rest of the story, click here. It's from Billy Mernit's wonderful interview with Shane Black, screen writer of Lethal Weapon, The Long Kiss Goodnight and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
 
If anyone else has ever had imaginary conversations in their head with people about future events that haven’t happened, then that post may give them goose-bumps too. 


As a wise person (who I pay money to, to make me feel good,) once said:
"What Ifs - are just anxiety. They are not helpful." Banish them!
Easier said than done.

Monday, November 23, 2009

To Stay or To Go?

With less than 3 months left before my visa expires, I’m having mixed feelings about what’s next.

My Aunt-Ada would like me to stay: “YOU MUST FIND A MAN AND MARRY!! (*pause*) I’m serious!” she’ll yell. "But - HE MUST BE GOOD LOOKING!!!" Ahhh, a woman after my own heart. 


Most of me is very happy to be going back to Melbourne in Feb
I can’t wait to have:
- a proper bed
- a full length mirror
- an apartment I enjoy going back to
- old friends
- family
- trams

But part of me also thinks – how on earth will I survive without this:

(Where I practically live)
 And this:

(Sephora Make Up - where you can try, try, try and no one bugs you!)
And Central Park:


The view on the other side of the fence:

(How can I possibly jog anywhere else?) 

Thinking long term; it will be nice to know one can afford a better lifestyle in Melbs than one can here – without working your guts out, or moving so far out of Manhattan that it’s not worth it. But what about atmosphere?!?

Am I taking the easy, safe option by going back? (My old job is waiting.)


I don’t want to stay and become one of those semi-successful, yet unfulfilled single, ladies with a cat. But I also don’t want to be one of those board, stretched work-mums, who has no time to do her hair!

What do I do? Can I even stay in NY? Will I regret not trying?

Walking down the streets of NY fills me with inspiration, intense emotions and even loneliness (which is bliss for writing) but it’s also daunting. There seems to be a million people - a million times better at everything I want to do. Shouldn’t I base myself somewhere to build contacts and friends for the long term?  Careerwise - this makes sense! After all – it IS who you know. And it does excite me thinking of trying my luck in a smaller,  pond in Oz.

What’s more important family? Career opportunities? Close friends or inspiration? I do love the people here. But where is home for me?

All these conflicting thoughts are swirling through my brain, with no clear answers. I hope it shows its self to me. Perhaps I’ll do as Oprah does, and get real quiet… then have a listen to my gut instincts.

Even just saying the word ‘gut instinct’ makes me think of Melbourne. (And Itally / Paris for some reason.) Interesting.

Has anyone’s gut feeling ever led them astray?

Football


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Zzzzzzz

Having hardly slept… thanks to Oprah, which comes on at 1am here, today at my writer’s office – where it is so quiet - even coughing is not permitted (seriously they strap cough lollies to the door just incase) - I put my head down on my desk, and awoke over an hour later - making vibrating fart noises with my lips. Like a horse does!

The exact noise you need to make to take these pictures:

(taken last year, in a Melbourne restaurant with friends)

I don’t know how long I’d been doing it for, but all the people around me had mysteriously put their headphones in at some stage.

Why had they not woken me? Because they just assumed I was farting?

Red faced, and bleary eyed, I exited to use the bathroom. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nice Post on Office Culture

I just love this girl's writings:

http://www.elizaskinner.net/2008/11/07/if-this-is-love-ill-take-spaghetti/

Let the first line of this post entice you: 

"There is no better social barometer in an office than a lunch room."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Casualties of Fall






















Central Park, New York, 2009.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New York’s Welcome Back

New York has a way of welcoming you back.

There may not have been any phone messages or parties to attend. (Not like the warm Brisvegas welcome.)

But there was this, on my first subway trip:

(Break dancing on the sub-way! Note: The man yelling “Excuse me! Can you stop bumping into me!” is yelling at me. Only I didn’t realize until he totally lost it!)

Also, the homeless man outside my office noticed I’d been away, and enquired how I’d been.

It’s good to be missed!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Twi-Like. I'd tap that.

Ali beat me to this post. We both must have had Edward Cullen on the brain! (Media is saturated with him in NY.)

And even thought I haven't seen the movie or red the books, I totally get it...

Yup. I get it. 

nom nom nom.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

You're The Voice ...

… of hypocracy?

Ever said one thing, then turned around and done another?

At a recent family wedding in Oz (after a couple of Mojitos) I found myself linking arms in a large circle of extended family and strangers, while singing You’re the Voice by John Farnham.

My brother J-Rad watched on in amusement.

Afterwards he said to me: “Wow. You must experience a lot of cognitive dissonance* in your life.”

He’s not wrong.

I experience as much cognitive dissonance as Julian McMahon and Dannii Minogue would have after making this delightful video:

(They divorced shortly after its release.)

It is true. A few years ago I would have glassed myself before pretending to enjoy Johnny Farnham’s music for the kabillionth time in my life. (Sorry to all you loyal fans out there.)

Why? Because he represents everything I loaaaath about the Australian Culture:

(John Farnham. 'Farnzy')

  • His 80’s mullet that he refuses to part with,
  • His constant reoccurring airplay in every Aussie bar,
  • His rather moronic nick-name “Farnzy” which rhymes with “Barnzy,” who I actually like.

But there’s more to it than that! To me - he epitomizes the Aussie Cultural Cringe!!! I get the same expression listening to him, that one gets when listening to our politicians speak. Or that one used to get watching the crocodile hunter, before he died and we all realized how much we actually loved him.

(Steve Irwin. RIP Steve)

And that’s the thing about cultural cringing.  It’s rather hypocritical. Like faults that bug you about a friend or family member; at the end of the day - you can’t help having some kind of good sentiment for them, because they make up a part of a whole.

The fact that Farnzy is rather cringe worthy, makes our Australian culture very unique, and there’s something to be said about having a little pride in that.

Alcohol also helps.

If reaching a point in my life where I can openly sing Farnzy without wanting to hurt myself, makes me a hypocrite, then so be it. Just like my father and Kirsty Alley; opinionated people can and do change their minds.

After all, we’re only human.

(Kirsty Alley Makes a vow to shed extra pounds on Oprah)

Mark my words, J-Rad. One day you’ll be far away from the place you are today. Perhaps you’ve had a mojito too many, and Johnny Farnham will start playing. Then Somewhere, deep within the recesses of your pickled little brain, a sense of joy will find a crack and seep into your sole.

After all, we are only Australian.

*Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously.

 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Signs of a Food Addict

It’s gotten way out of hand when:

  1. The flirtatious Italian man, who owns the pizza place a block away, keeps offering you the keys to his boat.

“Take it out for the afternoon! I won’t come, you can have it all to yourself. Seriously!” he says.

Sure - you may dine there 4 times a week… but couldn’t he just make your pizza free?

  1. You are at a bar in Brooklyn with two people who attended Clown College – FOR REAL! These people lead highly unusual lives and interesting conversation is a given!! However there was a taco truck at the back of the bar. Everywhere you look, people are eating burritos.

Despite having eaten just over an hour ago:

Level of concentration and effort in conversation = 0.

Level of thoughts about burritos and and tacos = 23.


So... I’ve decided to go “cold turkey” off both pizza and cheese. And just like not walking down the potato chip isle of a supermarket, it’s actually easier than I thought.

10 days dry and not counting.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sally Clarke

Sally Clarke is hot and minxy, fantastic at her job, and prone to bogan outbursts - particularly when she’s driving: “get the fuck out of my way!” she’ll yell then burst out laughing. Try as she might she just cannot be mean.


Even if you’ve just swallowed your first born she won’t judge you. And for that reason people tell her all their secrets.

I had the pleasure of sitting opposite her for over 10 hours a day at my old work. We saw each other more than we saw anyone else in our lives.

Every couple of hours, (or every hour on a bad day) we’d catch each other’s eye and ask “Coffee?” which was code for chai lattes and a gossip in one of the kitchenettes. Sometimes we’d discuss which staff members we’d sleep with if we had to choose. Or which staff we’d sleep with if we were gay. Other times we’d cry on each other’s shoulders. (We both went through icky break ups with long term partners around the same time).

But before we really knew each other we were invited to the wrap party for an American Television series that came through our company, called “The Starter Wife,” at Strike Bowling Bar, Gold Coast.

And guess who was at the party? The lead actress - Deborah Messing!

We watched in awe, as our other companion – who knew the Director of Photography, was asked to join Deborah in the VIPs section of the bowling lanes. Suddenly we noticed Miss Messing make a move towards the ladies with her friend.

“Oh my god! I need to pee!” said Sal.

“Yes - me too!” I agreed and we linked arms casually stalking her to the toilets. There were only three stalls. Deborah was drunk and giggling in one and so Sal and I took the other two. There’s nothing like tipsy-peeing next to a Hollywood Celebrity! 

Our pee’s trickled in unison, forming a champagne choir!

Deborah was wasted! She could barely wash her hands. Sal and I did a good job of staying cool, as we washed up in the next basin.

 From that moment on we knew we’d be good friends. And we knew we’d be even better friends, when we realized our shared love for potato chips (crisps).

On my birthday this year, I received a large box in the mail from her. And when I opened it, it was stuffed full of potato chips! Possibly the best present ever.

She gave me her room and her car, on my recent stay in Brisbane, while she attended a wedding in Fiji! Lucky thing. So before she returned I filled her space in the pantry choca’s full of chips!

Even though it’s been almost two years since we’ve worked together, we still often sit on skype. Not always chatting, but just going about our own work, knowing each other are there.

Then every so often we’ll type “So what’s goss?”

And of course…

“What’s your favourite chip?”

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Valley Nights

Walking down the crowded drunk streets of Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, a short tanned girl in a bright red sari approached - in slow motion.

Her sari barely covered a tiny red bikini beneath. She was gorgeous. I knew instantly who she was. Ralph, my ex boyfriend’s new girlfriend. (Actually they’ve been together for a while now.) She looked up to see me, and registered vague recognition.

Uggh. It was a tad painful to see, but not completely unbearable.

Monday, November 2, 2009

In Transit

Travelling back to NY... with Kangaroo ball-sack bottle openers!!
(The perfect souvenir)



Had an awesome time. Stay tuned for post wedding round up... (the same day my dad asked me if I was a bisexual!!)