On being human and reaching out…

“That we can only be human, no matter what we do, is a hard thing to face; many of us have held very dear the notion that if we tried hard enough, we could be, or could at least appear, superhuman. Perfect. Unassailably good. Without blemish or flaw. This standard to which we have held ourselves has had a very curious, rather contorted effect: we have simultaneously lost all respect for ourselves, judged ourselves lacking, and felt like the most regrettable specimens of humanity around; and, afraid of feeling yet worse, we have also resisted looking very hard – or at all – at ways in which we have, in fact, screwed up.

But our time in self-examination has allowed us, finally, to take that long hard look. Now comes the next step: we speak.

At this point, many of us are tempted to ask why. Why on earth should we open those old wounds? we ask, as if we do not scratch them open ourselves all the time. Why should we tell someone else about all these things only we need to know? Whose business is it, really, but our own?

What we mean is, What will they think of me? Will they respect me? Will they forgive me? Am I allowed to have failed? Or does that cost me my place in the human race?

…We are not seeking forgiveness by some external force; we are seeking truth and clarity in how we move ahead in our lives. That truth provides us with the guidance we require as we look over the things we’ve done and the people we’ve been. It provides us with the map for how we can take action from now on.”

Waiting: A Nonbeliever’s Higher Power, Marya Hornbacher, 2011 (pp. 64-65)

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Ladies, Torch Your Spanx

Keen as always to blend my passions for feminism, pop culture and better body image, I wrote this article as a wry and informative rallying cry: “Ladies, torch your Spanx!”

I’m super proud to have it published by Birdee Magazine, an online hub that encourages young women to be clever and witty and strong – to stand up for what they believe in and feel good about themselves for doing so.

Here’s a little taste of my article:

I have a confession to make: I bought Spanx. Not one pair but two, of the ‘super-duper butt and thigh trimming’ ilk.

I know, I know – feminist cringe. The horror, the hypocrisy, the materialism, the vanity…

The humanity.

I’ve had some lovely feedback about the piece so far including one awesome woman’s vow to turn her Spanx “into decorative snowflakes with a pair of scissors right now”. Right on, sister!

So, happy reading. I hope you find the article thought-provoking, giggle-worthy and maybe a wee bit inspiring…

Closed for Business

I’ve always enjoyed journalling and creative writing. Unfortunately, when I’m especially down I lose motivation to do anything much at all – including the things that usually bring me the most joy. Just one of many reasons why depression is heinous.

I decided to reflect on how depression made me feel using my own metaphor; one that’s a little fresher than ‘the black dog’. So I whipped out my journal, got scrawling and ended up with this baby: Closed for Business.

Depression, for me, is like a vacancy. An absence of thought and emotion, of concern, ambition and desire.

There’s a ‘Closed’ sign dangling in front of my eyes and no saying how long I’ll be gone.

I feel hollow, like a shopfront in disrepair. There’s grime all over the stoop and nothing but dust on the shelves. No reason for anyone to stop by.

It feels like the place will never be bustling again; that the ‘Closed’ sign will hang in the window forever.

The artwork that accompanied my article.

The artwork that accompanied my article.

The article fell more in the ‘mental health’ rather than ‘feminist’ space, so I conducted a good long Google search for media outlets that would find my musings a good fit. I landed on Psychology Tomorrow Magazine, which focuses on the intersection between art and psychology.

Psychology Tomorrow banner

I was stoked to hear that my piece would be included in the PTM blog. In terms of freelancing, it seemed I was very much open for business!

Eschewing the Skeleton Crew

In late 2014, working hard at uni and in therapy, I decided to combine my scholarly feminist research with a good deal of self-scrutiny. What came out of it was this: a feature article (and personal manifesto) entitled Eschewing the Skeleton Crew.

Yep, this is me with my birthday cake, age 7. Background art by Maria Tort.

Yep, this is me with my birthday cake, age 7. Background art by Maria Tort.

It’s pretty confronting but hey, that’s the ugly truth of eating disorders. For example:

As a 22-year-old who has spent irrecoverable hours slumped over splattered, rancid toilet bowls, I would do anything I could to prevent others from experiencing such virulent self-loathing. That’s what this is about. An eating disorder is a severe, disabling, sometimes fatal mental illness. It’s also a choice. I want to explain what it is that you, your daughter, your best friend, your mentor stands to lose by nibbling the occasional lettuce leaf, downing the bottle of ipecac.

Among other valuables, your self.

I wanted to share my experiences and insights so that others struggling with anorexia and bulimia might not feel so alone, and so that people who don’t know much about eating disorders could become aware of their complex, devastating realities. I also wanted to offer hope.

In searching for feminist media outlets that might publish the article, I came across Bluestockings Magazine. A student-run publication based at Brown University (USA), Bluestockings affirms marginalised voices and examines contemporary women’s issues within larger historical and socio-political frameworks. In other words, it’s incredible.

Bluestockings Magazine banner

The editorial team picked up my feature and the rest is history.

Raccoon Dog Film Reviews

RDTV screenshot

From 2012 to 2014 I was an online contributor to Raccoon Dog TV, an awesome non-profit Australian online media syndicate that promotes the work of innovative and emerging artists in music, film, fashion, photography and more.

As RDTV’s resident film reviewer, I shared my thoughts on everything from Lauren Greenfield’s exposé of material excess in The Queen of Versailles to the sublime sweetness of Her and the consciousness-raising horror/triumph of 12 Years a Slave.

I checked out plenty of less acclaimed movies too, such as the controversial ‘good Disney starlets gone bad’ Spring Breakers and the redundant but fun Total Recall reboot.

You can find all my Raccoon Dog reviews here. Enjoy!

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