My Friend Bindi

She tells tall tales but more often than not they are true.

She lives an intensely passionate life in tandem with her perfect match.

A truth speaker. Thrill seeker. Dance like no one is watching kind of gal.

Open hearted and fiercely protective of those in an inner circle than spans the country, the globe.

A women who will dares to dream big and then with utmost conviction walks the extra mile to make her inner most desires a reality.

It’s hard not to be impressed. It’s hard not to smile. It’s hard not to laugh.

Most of all it’s hard not to love.

A women who lives her truth – inking it onto her body:

If you want to make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself and make a change

Michael Jackson ‘ Man in the Mirror’

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My Youth is Yours

Recently I started listening to the music of Troye Sivan. He is all of 23 years of age.

I lived out my teenage years in the 1990’s – in a decade free of the perils of social media and the connectivity that mobile phones and tech platforms afford the masses.

It does not feel that long ago, yet as I cast my mind back to a time when grunge fashion; flannelette shirts, doc martens and band t-shirts ruled supreme, it is worlds removed from the brightness that greets me each morning as I peruse my wardrobe.

Troye on the other hand grew up online, a Youtube sensation, his self-made videos amassing millions of followers, documenting his teens, those tumultuous, tender, trying, hypersensitive years. He took fans along for the ride, they journeyed together with the hope, desire and drive to emerge out the other side, basking in the glory days awarded one in their early 20’s. Looking out with fresh eyes and a newfound self belief that the world was theirs for the taking, brimming with endless possibilities and promise.

As I approach a milestone birthday, I pause to reflect on the journey so far.

And I find myself drawn to the music of Mr Sivan.

Am I having a mid-life crisis?

I listen to his 2015 award-winning song ‘ Youth’ I am painfully aware that my ‘ Youth’ has long since passed.

My youth, my youth, my youth

My youth is Yours

Troye Sivan, ‘ Youth’ 2015

My youth belongs to my many treasured friends, childhood besties and high school buddies who shone a torch-light, illuminating a pathway through the murkiness of adolescence into early adulthood.

My youth belongs to my parents, who loved me wholeheartedly and unreservedly, even though I proclaimed to not need parenting and proceeded to challenge them on anything and everything.

My youth belongs to my brother, who I failed to acknowledge as a human being during this period, yet with the passing of time and with age, I come to see as one of my greatest allies.

I will herald in the next decade of life surrounded by people who have shaped and guided my childhood, my youth, my twenties, my thirties.

Mr Sivan’s music prompts reflection, it is indeed bittersweet to say with certainty that my ‘ Youth’ has long since passed.

Yet the characters who appeared in tales of my youth, are ever-present. Together we shape the next chapter, and it is beautiful, bold and promises to be the best yet.

Dinner Date

I did not take a photo of a truly momentous catch up that took place on the weekend.

A meal with four women, a tight-knit circle of lifelong friends that have wrapped me in unending love, support, wisdom and wise counsel for some 30 years and counting.

To the onlooker, our waitress, fellow dining patrons, it would have appeared unremarkable. A table of five, sharing a meal, a few drinks and dessert over conversation. A Saturday night text-book restaurant experience.

To the onlooker that is. But the significance of the occasion was not lost on me.

In the hustle and bustle that is daily life, days, sometimes weeks can pass without contact with these precious gem stones. The occasional text, phone call, often scheduled and made whilst driving, hands free, the only time busy Mums and business women seem to be able to chat without interruption.

And the day-to-day grind can be a hard slog, project managing families, children, complex careers whilst prioritising the complexity of the emotional, physical and mental wellbeing of loved ones, themselves if they are lucky.

Sitting around the table on Saturday night was a group of women giving a collective sigh that we had pulled of this catch up. One of 2018’s greatest achievements? Most certainly in my books!

And I feel a shift, a deeper understanding and appreciation of just how special our time together is. In the craziness that is the everyday, our ability to connect , despite all obstacles, is undeniable. It is a precious, precious thing, fluid and flexible, accommodating and inclusive. It demands we are the best version of ourselves, and supports and nurtures us as we stride confidently towards our uniquely personal goals and dreams.

Saturday night dinner date – unremarkable to the onlooker.  Yet those women who  shared my table are nothing short of amazing to me.

Palm Springs – Forever Love

Palm Springs, California – Desert country.

Forever love blooms & blossoms.

Palm Springs, California - Desert Country

Palm Springs, California – Desert Country

I’ve proof, having just attended the wedding of a best friend, an Aussie Wonder Woman who tied the knot with her UK lover boy.

They met in Canada, united Down Under, and got hitched in the USA.

A modern-day fairy tale, a love fiesta with all the trimmings.

I’ve been a friend of the Bride since High School, a beautiful soul who puts friends & family first – always. Bar the time she started dating her now husband.

On that occasion, their relationship was priority number one. She introduced this strapping hulk of a man to countless curious friends on her terms, in her time. I could not have been more proud.

It was the start of my friends journey to putting her needs first, prioritising her happiness.

And in doing so, she became even more selfless. By filling her cup first , the overflow of love, laughter and mischief multiplied, and was gifted to her global posse.

To witness the marriage of two kindred spirits, half way across the globe, was indeed special. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Passport at the ready, when true love takes hold, basking in its beauty is one of life’s greatest gifts.

Palm Springs, California – Desert country.

Scott & Kate’s forever love blooms and blossoms.

 

All my friends are Hipsters……

Two years ago I wrote this post. To this day I firmly believe all my friends are hipters xx

 

When did all my friends become Hipsters?

So Hip it hurts the eye!!

So Hip it hurts the eye!!

Or have I just become so liberal with the use of this word that I brand those nearest and dearest to me as forever ‘hip’!?

I like to think the second question is my stance on this global trend….My….friends…..are …..SERIOUSLY….cool.

Off the richter scale awesome, exuding a confidence and self-belief that money cannot buy. They are as precious to me as gem stones…..one of a kind, beautiful and unique. They shine.

Don’t get me wrong, my friends are human, they suffer from self-doubt, setbacks and life challenges a plenty….

But my mates are troupers…the kind of variety that when life serves them lemons….they make lemonade.

My friends are hipsters….and I love them dearly. xxx

Hollywood Walk of Fame ( Shame)

As Catch up with a Mate month 2017 come to an end – a nostalgic post.

Picture this: a 23-year-old Austinmer girl catches a plane from her temporary home in London, bound for the US, to reunite with a best friend, studying at San Diego University.

After much socialising and sight-seeing, best friend encourages solo travel to L.A, and proposes a nights stay at the Venice Beach Cotel ( Hostel). Girl from Austinmer, via London takes advice to heart and catches a grey hound bus L.A bound.

Girl from Austinmer is lost for words, over come by the sights, sounds, smells and size of the concrete monstrosity that is L.A. Venice Beach is her refuge, along with countless vodka and oranges downed at the hostel bar. Venturing out into the night with new-found friends, she is refused entry at a Santa Monica Bar. Aussie charm open’s doors, but no sooner had she entered the club, that the urge to be sick is overwhelming.

Sitting the gutter, feeling somewhat better, being comforted by ….someone….she is escorted back to the hostel.

‘ Girl do you want a tatoo?’ is the last thing she remembers being asked, before vomiting, into her hostel room bath tub.

Girl from Austinmer, sits feeling so sorry for herself the next morning on a bus tour of Hollywood. Jumbo sized lemonade from 7- Eleven in hand, as the tour weaves and winds its way across the city. She is sick countless times.

At midday, the bus tour sees her alight at the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is underwhelming, it is dirty, it smells. The glitz and glamour of the movie industry is nowhere to be seen.

She walks up and down the boulevard, glancing over names in pavement,  Michael Jackson, Shirley Temple, but the heat of the day forces her to take shelter under the cover of a shop awning.

Then a voice: smooth, velvety, deep, croons in her direction:

‘ Girrll, you qualified!!’

The effects of her hangover takes hold, muddled head, slow comprehension – did he mean her?

The voice comes at her again ‘ Oooo Girrrlllll, yes, you, You qualified!!’

The girl from Austinmner realises the man’s comments are intended for her. He points at her lower back, smiling broadly, revealing a sea of white teeth.

She swivels at pace, turning her back towards the reflective glass of the shop front, pulls up her t-shirt.

Bunnies, two humping bunnies, making sweet sweet love have been drawn in thick black texture at the base of her spine.

Face red, she pulls down her t-shirt, hikes up her pants, holds head high, composes self and heads to towards tour bus.

Bestie greets girls from Austinmer at San Diego Grey Hound Bus terminal. The ‘ tatoo’ and the story surrounding its origins are retold.  Camera lights flash – paparazzi. Laughter, plenty of laughter.

Yet all I could hear was that  deep velvety voice ‘ Girl, you qualified’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

32 hour Party People

Having returned home for the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend, over a red wine at Headlands Hotel, Austinmner with the parentals, the subject for another nostalgic post took hold.

The discussion was around music, and my extensive collection of ticket stubs from late 90’s, early 2000’s concerts. I think I made the comment that ‘It wasn’t always fun and games back then’….

It was December 98. Main characters assembled : Kate S, Jess, C- Ron and movie extra Chris Hopkins. We were attending UK electronic music act ‘The Prodigy” at Selina’s, Coogee Bay Hotel. We were overly excited, ill-equipped, naive, from Wollongong.

The gig was EPIC. Like nothing we had ever experienced. The gig was a mosh pit from start to finish and I feared for my life on many occasions. The big beat music exhausted everyone, sweat dripped from the roof, body heat reached fever pitched. It was a life affirming.

The next morning we awoke from our temporary resting place at the YHA Sydney city , and rallied the strength to do it all again. Our next musical adventure was to be Homebake, an all Australian outdoor music concert in Hyde Park.

We were overly excited, ill-equipped, naive, from Wollongong. Having underestimated the energy zapping nature of the gig the night before, we had little in reserves for an all day outdoor festival.

And it rained. Homebake became Mudbake. I recall very little of the festival other than Jess had a plastic water bottle, filled with vodka, that she had offered to C- R0n who was thirsty? He took a large gulp, eyes widening as he did – and not one to waste, the alcohol was swallowed – followed by anger, silent treatment and Jess’s laughter.

We packed it in early – the rain, the mud, our depleted energy levels, the Prodigy drum and bass from the night before outclassing the more conservative Aussie music scene that day.

We boarded a city rail train at Central and accepted our fate – the long train ride South.

Some 20 minutes into the journey, in our carriage full of festival misfits, coming down from chemical highs, the train came to a sudden halt.

Jolted out of my slumber, I recall thinking the train had run over a bike, collided with a metal object on the tracks.

Time passes and we de not move. We look out the window of our carriage to see men in forensic uniforms walking up and down the train tracks.

I am not longer sure who forms part of this movie of memories – Kate S, Jess are surely with me, C- Ron and Chris Hopkins, are they in the other carriage?I remember seeing the men in what appeared to be white space suits thinking – is this really happening, has our train really collided with a human being on Saturday night at Allawah Train station?

It was 1am before us Gong girls and boys get home.

The next morning, or was it a few days later, I read in the paper that our train had indeed hit a person, and that he remained unidentified, the John Doe of Allawah train station.

Fast forward to last night and it is some 19 years after Kate S, Jess, C-Ron and Chris Hopkins had been 32 hour party people. I did on online search to see if the John Doe Allawah case had ever solved.

The search revealed nothing.

Sometime when I think of all the adventures I had in my youth I almost have to pinch myself and ask ‘Did that really happen’?’

When an internet search does not verify my version of the truth I am left wondering….

But I will always have the music….

 

 

 

 

 

Catch up with a Mate Month 2017

Out for dinner last night, a home cooked meal at a friend’s place,the conversation turning to my blog writing and the concept that each June I would embark on a month-long campaign of solid catch ups.

My friend asked ‘ How is Catch up with a Mate month going?’

‘ This is it in action!’ was my response ‘ You are part of it!’

Shared laughter – she had no idea!

I admit that in the seven years I have been writing this blog, some years with a steel gaze on June, an unwavering focus on catch ups with anyone and everyone, and some years, only noticing in August that I failed to celebrate friendship at all!

Truth be told – Catch up with a Mate month and the concept that shapes my writing, has cross pollinated, manifested into all aspects of the life I live. I no longer spend one month focused on friendship, it has become part of my everyday. My friends, family, loved one, pets are my world.

To honour all that is great about catching ups, to give you an idea of the person I am, the person I am becoming, the person I aspire to be….I came across this passage by Dr Brene Brown, an US based Research Professor in Social Work.

” I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:

I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go.

Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever.

Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.”~ Brené Brown

Ms Rainbow

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There is no one in the month of May that has made me smile more than Ms Leah Kate.

So joy filled is this little person, she exudes happiness and everyone she comes in contact with is immediately affected.

I love spending time with her, no more so than on her day of days – her birthday.

Painfully aware that her request from Santa had recently gone answered, remote control fairies were out of stock the entire Christmas period, I commissioned a very talented lady to make a crochet fairy doll. Though not remote control operated, I thought it to be the next best thing.

As I handed over my gift to my pint size mini best friend, I was unaware that I was to receive the most wonderful of presents that day. Leah Kate was to share her career aspirations, hopes and dreams. At just four years of age she had set herself a very clear path.

Her Mother prompted Leah Kate to share what she had announced to her pre-school teacher earlier that week.

‘When the teacher asked you what you wanted to be when you grow up, what did you say Leah? ‘

‘That I want to be a rainbow’

I am speechless.

I beam in the direction of my pint size mini best friend. I am caught up in the magic of this career aspiration. It is priceless.

Leah Kate is laughing. Everyone in the lounge room that afternoon is too.

I do not have the heart to break it to my pint size mini best friend that to those who love and adore her, she is already that rainbow. And as she grows, she will be that rainbow to countless others.

Red and yellow and pink and green

Purple and orange and blue

I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow

Sing a rainbow too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Optimism

This week my lack of this quality has been centre stage. It it makes me smile. Laugh out loud even, because I don’t actually agree.

I consider myself a pessimistic optimist, otherwise known as a realist. I’ve been dealt my fair share of hardships, so much so that when dealt yet another blow earlier in the year, I accepted it.

This was a somewhat new phenomena, the acceptance thing.

My track record with acceptance was dire….having always opted to ignore heartache and trauma. I’d shield myself from pain with layer upon layer of denial, ignoring my human capacity to self-heal.

I’ve come a long way, have begun to accept things on a daily basis, for what they are and not shy away from complex feelings that may surface.

But to be told that I’m not an optimist – it’s just not true.

I’m a pessimistic optimist, other wise known as a realist.

When my best friend called me this week, before she was to board a flight, bound for the  UK, Italy and Iceland. I answer the phone and utter down the phone ‘ I hate my life’.

I’m part way through the delivering an orientation program to group of international students….but I can’t say these four words with enough seriousness and we both start laughing.

‘You are too funny’ smirks my bestie.

‘Just do little things each day that remind you of holidays’ states the beauty who is about to be spa side in Iceland. I swallow hard on that advice and truly mean what I say next ‘ Have the best holiday’

The following day my personal trainer asked post orientation ‘ How are your student group’?

My response ‘ I hate them all’

We both laugh – that is also not true, in fact, this is the first group that I feel totally at ease with. After doing this role for close to 2 years, I finally feel like I have got my role as internship coordinator down to a fine art.

Reflecting on the week that was with my Mum, her advice was to take a bit of optimism from those in my inner circle. Perhaps what she was really saying was to choose my words wisely. Comments such as ‘ I hate my life’, especially to those who don’t know me would be truly confronting. They would not have points of reference for such jaring remarks, that would enable them to appreciate my black humour.

So I’ll take from this self-reflective practice that one must know their audience. And upon careful consideration I am a pessimistic optimistic realist. And a very happy one at that!!

 

 

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