Choosing your future

I’m at the terrifying precipice in life where my high school graduation is weeks – weeks – away, and all of the university admission centres have open their unwelcoming doors.

Everybody seems to get to have their say on my future but me, and they have done the impossible.

After seventeen years of wishing to be a teacher (I’m not kidding, I skipped the ‘I wanna be a princess/astronaut/any number of admittedly unrealistic career paths and went straight to teaching)

It wasn’t so bad at first, people smiled and complimented my parents on having such a determined little girl. It seems that the second ‘cleverness’ or ‘academia’ rear their ugly heads in a child’s capacity, the concept of so lowly a career as teaching shocks them.

Why not a Doctor?

– I hate science and I don’t want to.

Why not a Politician?

– Oh, so I can slowly dilute my values to suit whatever party will give me a leg up. Yeah- no.


The list goes on.


And now I’m sitting here staring at these fucking courses wondering what I’m going to do.

Teachers console you, they say you’ll probably have up to seven careers in your entire life. That’s excellent, that’s all well and good, but isn’t it undeniable that what I do next determines my entire life?

I could meet my next lifelong friend in one of those lecture rooms, my husband or life partner as well.

I could make the worst decision of my life and find myself qualified in a career that I hate.

I could find myself five years into the well-paying job I got talked into, miserable and yearning to teach like I said I wanted to.

What happens if I do law and feel myself broken down by it? The immunity I had created for teaching entirely unsuitable for practicing law? What if psychology only makes me realise my own neurosis, or my own ineptitude for listening to peoples issues day in, day out?

What happens if I teach and they were all right?


I supposed I hoped that I would reach the end of this post and have a eureka moment. I’m expecting the light bulb to illuminate and the right decision to present itself.


But it won’t, life is apparently about making the mistakes and letting them lay your lifes path. Ultimately, you don’t have very much control. This decision will have a ripple effect on my life, and I can’t possibly know what I’m getting in for.


Oh, to be a realist.


“I fell in love…

“I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity, and her flaming self respect. And it’s these things I’d believe in, even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicions that she wasn’t all she should be. I love her and it is the beginning of everything.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

When I am a Mother

You always told me, and continue to do so, that when I’m a mother I’ll understand why you’ve done the things you did to me. You’ve contrived the thought that somehow, ‘when I am a mother’, I will forgive you for all the pain, empathize with the abuse and restart the cycle to my own child. Desperately, you want confirmation that you’re not a bad mother, that being a mother entails being bad.

When I am a mother, I hope I love that child so much that I will never call her a ‘seething, hateful little bitch.’ because she won’t return my calls.

When I am a mother, I believe I will be ecstatic with my child loving to learn, I won’t tell them that they’re ‘nerdy’ and they need to stop showing me their report cards.

When I am a mother, I will trust my child to find happiness in their talents and the world around them, I will not ever tell them ‘to get a boyfriend, maybe you’ll finally be happy.’

When I am a mother, I won’t tell my twelve year old that she can only go to the beach if she wears a bikini and doesn’t cover up at all, after all, how will she ever become confident?

When I am a mother, I won’t use my twelve year old’s bedroom for late night phone calls, leaving them to watch TV until one in the morning, when I’m ready for bed.

When I am a mother, my child will be welcome to lock the door when they have a shower, and I won’t call them a ‘prudish bitch’ when they ask me not to be in the bathroom as they shower.

When I am a mother, I won’t call my child a ‘smart ass slut’ when she challenges me, or a ‘fucking freak’ for wanting to watch Doctor Who with her little brother.

When I am a mother, I won’t ring my seventeen year old late at night, drunk, blaming our failed relationship on her being ‘abusive, disrespectful and insolent’ towards me.

When I am a mother, I won’t kick my thirteen year old out onto the street when her Dad is out of the state flate at night. I won’t leave her with her bags on the curb, desperately calling her friends to see if their parents can let her stay for two weeks.

When I am a mother, I won’t do it again in twelve months time, throwing furniture at her head as she runs out the door.


When I am a mother, I will not come to resemble you in any way shape or form.

Forgiveness will not come from me sharing the commonality of children, forgiveness will come when you ask for it, when you turn to me with a sincere apology for seventeen years of abuse; for the panic attacks I get from thinking about a phone call with you, for my desperate feeling of loneliness as I go through my formative years finding out about the world through the internet because my mother can’t carry a conversation with me without swearing at me or abusing me. Apologise for the fact that half of my family thinks I am a drug addict (a strange conclusion to draw from your straight A child), who ‘runs away from home’ whenever I stay with you. Apologise for the fact that you can’t bring yourself to like me as a person, and that frustrates you so much you want to mould me into you.


The weight of you on my shoulders is crippling; and when I am a mother I will never give that burden to a child, I will never be you.


Surviving Highschool

1. Treat every day like an episode of Game of Thrones 

First things first, the old idiom ‘Honesty is the best policy’ is a fucking lie. Your best friend of five years will undoubtedly bitch behind your back, your new confidante will tell someone who will tell them.

So, avert the shock of betrayal by embracing it.

Every sentence you utter will cause ripples, so avoid creating tidal waves by taking up this new an improved policy: Never say something about someone you wouldn’t say to their face.

But I’m shy? Stop that. Be honest, people flock to confidence, and they also mistake openness for honesty. So, while trying not to be a bitch or an asshole, be open about what you think. If your friend won’t quit teasing another friend, tell them it bothers you.

i.e. Miranda won’t stop making fat jokes about Kate. Tell that bitch, ‘Hey man, I don’t think Kate needs that right now. I really hate it when you do this stuff.

Maintain your cool. Monitor your words. Be friends with as many people as possible so that when a shitstorm inevitable brews you have a back up plan, and the trust of your friends when rumours fly.


2. Advice

The art of advice is simple: empathy.

No matter how stupid the situation, listen to it thoroughly, imagine both sides, and give a completely biased round of advice to the person asking. Always be open to listening, and they will come.

(Hint: this is how you learn gossip. But, be a secret keeper, not sharer)

i.e. Beth is devastated that Kieth (yes, the ‘i’ is the wrong way around, this is Kieth we’re talking about) has left her for Aimee. He had been fine for weeks before, before he sent over Facebook the break up message.

Tell Beth that Kieth obviously had been hiding the truth from her, and had been too afraid to admit to her the truth, so he pretended like everything was fine and dropped the bomb on her. Tell her she deserves happiness, and soon the heartache will go away. *Insert affection here, for example a hug or strategic placement of hand on shoulder*


3. Confidence

Listen to the music you like, wear what you like, watch what you like; everything looks better with confidence.

People are afraid to breach it -unless you’re over-confident, then people will rip you to sheds- so even if your friends think you’re a hippy freak, they won’t say it to your face. And when they say it behind your back, the friends you previously made from Treating Like Like Game of Thrones and Giving Good Advice, will defend you.


4. Embrace a social life

Here are the basics: partying is acceptable without being called an alcoholic typically from the END of Year Ten onwards, get drunk for the first time in private so that you can learn what kind of drunk that you are, if no-ones drinking, be the first.

7:00pm onwards is a good time to arrive (depending on the party), 2:00am is a good time to leave (parents can be convinced of this)

It will tend not to matter what ‘friendship group’ you’re from when parties are happening. If someone invites you to one without many friends of your own at it, by all means GO, just don’t hang around the Inviter like a bad smell.


5. Body image/Self-esteem

Girls, we are in a patriarchal society that loves to think of you as a big hunk of meat. So, due to this reason, you may be apprehensive about make up or effort, you great feminist.

Here’s the thing, make-up is great. The trick is not giving a shit about the male attention coming your way (and it’ll come, because you’re hot) and never apologise for not wearing make-up. You are gorgeous either way, just accentuated by makeup.

Also, don’t wear so much that you can’t recognise yourself without it.

Weight. Do not worry about stretch marks on your thighs, cellulite, a muffin top, a lack of a thigh gap, love handles, or anything related to ‘being obese’. Do you honestly think every attractive girl is scrawny? Half of the girls at your school that you admire as being ‘so hot’ have all of the above, in all likelihood. You might never be a Victoria’s Secret model, but don’t think that by being bigger than the people projected at you in the magazines, that you are fat.

Boys, don’t be a dick by being sucked into fads like the current ‘$50 t-shirts that look like they’re from the Thrift Shop’, don’t go for overly outlandish haircuts unless you will put the effort into styling it with care and love (good-bye masculine body image)

Don’t expect a stick thin girl, don’t talk about girls who are ‘all skin and bones’ being hideous for being too thin. Accept the flaws and creases in girls bodies and enjoy the fun that is sex, or at least a taste of it. No complaints.



Combine all five to create a bearable highschool existence with a pinch of individuality.





in transit


Because all women have walked to their car in the dark, keys clutched tight in hand, one poking out between two fingers.

Because when I go out to bars or clubs, I have to think about whether what I’m wearing is too suggestive, instead of putting on whatever I please.

Because I feel the need to apologize when I’m not wearing makeup or my hair hasn’t been washed, or when I’m generally looking anything other than flawless.

Because there was nothing I could do about the man who touched me inappropriately in the middle of Gillette Stadium as I waited for my then-boyfriend to come out of the bathroom. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STADIUM.

Because there was also nothing I could do when a man touched me inappropriately in the middle of a crowded street, his arm around his girlfriend. Because retaliating in the way I wanted to…

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The size of now

Impeccable, inspirational, perfect.

Muddy River Muse

The future is a very big place.

I know this to be true, because I have spent a lot of time there– typically getting lost in the big-ness of it.

It’s an easy place in which to get lost, in part because there are no reliable maps. Geographically speaking, the future is akin to those oceanic margins that cartographers of old so helpfully labelled “Here be Dragons.” Indeed, there may well be dragons. Or baby unicorns. Or giant radioactive sea slugs. A big problem with navigating the future is that, not only is it immeasurably big, it is also many. If I start from the point in time where I stand right now, I can see a multitude of possible futures, each one uncharted, each one spinning off into infinite combinations and permutations that shift and sway with each forward step.


Granted some of those possible futures are more…

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On coping with writer’s block (or the lies we tell ourselves along the way)

Black coffee and cigarettes

writing 2

I haven’t written for a very long time.

I joined a creative writing class a while ago to help me through my ‘writer’s block’ – can you call yourself a writer if you don’t write? – and I managed to produce a total of 500 words over the entire four-week course. A paltry amount by any standards, though the course itself was brilliant.

One of the suggestions from my fellow writers was to write about why I don’t write. I’ve been thinking a lot about the reasons I don’t write lately so this seemed as good a place to kick off my writing again as any. And also address why I call myself a writer in the first place – a hard sell in the writing void of the last few months.

In my professional life, I have been a public relations consultant, a journalist and now, an editor. Words…

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Lilac Wine

Lilac Wine

A beautiful ballad from Jeff Buckley,


Realising that someone else has felt that same mourning, longing and love as yourself reminds you that we’re all living in this great human experience. You feel the pain in this world in ways that someone living in Pompeii once did, that someone perhaps is feeling right now.