Monday, June 22, 2009

Wisdom From One Who Has Suffered

Ahh I love Twitter. It gives me soooooooooo much inspiration to WRITE!

Tonight I want to talk about depression. Actually I just want to give some straight up dot points about lessons I have learnt in my journey with the whole depression crap.

Just a bit of background. I have suffered depression my whole life. I always will suffer depression for the rest of my life. It is both chemical and situational. However I have had fantastic help and worked very hard for a lot of years to get it to a manageable place, where it no longer rules my life. I still have times where it is a struggle, but I now recognise the black dog when he comes to visit, and can adjust my thinking and behaviour enough to be able to get him back down to a teacup size that I can shove in a metaphorical box and get back to my life!

Anyway, here are some wisdoms I have learnt, that I want to share with you all.
  • You don't have to be normal. There is no such thing as normal. Each of us is just doing the best we can with what we've got. And that's perfectly ok.
  • Stop making excuses. Stop saying you'll do things "when". Don't wait to lose weight, get a boyfriend, get a job, have money, have a baby, whatever. You'll only regret it when you look back at all the time you wasted.
  • Get help. Go to a GP. If they don't help you, go to another GP. It took me 20 years to find a GP who would help me. When I found her, she literally saved my life. Ask people who their GP's are. ASK the GP's if they will bulk bill you after the first visit. Mine did, she said "I want you to come back here and I know you won't if you can't afford it, so I will bulk bill you." She still does, 5 years later.
  • Accept help when it is offered, even if it is not all the answers you wanted. Say thank you, and people will help you even more.
  • Find gratitude. I know it sounds all Oprah-ish, but just being grateful for breathing got me through some days where nothing else did. Being grateful for someone who says "I care." Being grateful for a cold drink, or a tv show, or warm slippers, or the bus driver that was nice. Gratitude not only gives you something positive to focus on, but a tiny bit of gratitude for the people who do show kindness will only have them showing MORE kindness.
  • Accept that sometimes there is no answer just yet. That you need to just solve something else, like where your next meal is coming from, or getting dressed, or getting through a day of work. The answers will come.
  • Take responsibility for your life and that of your children. Nobody else's life is your responsibility. But your life (and those of your children) are the responsibility of no other.
  • Breathe.
  • Get dressed. My God, that was the BEST lesson I learned. Get up at a normal hour (I used to set before 10am), shower, and dress. You would be surprised at what that achieves.
  • Get out of the house. Go to the library. Go to the park. On payday, go to a coffee shop. If you can, be around friends and family that are "inflaters" (they inflate you, rather than those people who deflate you). Sit in your bloody back yard if you have to, just get out.
  • Stop thinking that your situation is worse than everyone elses. Believe me, some people have dealt with shit that you could NEVER imagine, in your worst nightmares, and survived.
  • BELIEVE that there is more to life than depression. If for no other reason, than the fact that I am telling you now. Believe me. I promise you I am not lying to you.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Another Challenge Post

I think it's time for another challenge post. This one comes from the ever charming Lee from Quit Your Day Job, a talented artist and all-round nice bloke.

His suggestion is if you had to describe yourself via a film, which one would it be, and why?

That's actually a REALLY tough question. I've actually been thinking about it for a couple of weeks trying to pin down a film that actually describes me in any way, and I'll have to admit, I am absolutely stumped.

However, I can think of a couple films that have actually shaped who I am as a person, so perhaps those will suffice (Lee? I hope so!)

The first one is a movie that I have loved for many, many years. The Colour Purple.


I actually can't remember the first time I saw it, I think I was in my early to mid teens. The reason it speaks to me so much is because Celie maintains her dignity despite the horrific way she is treated her whole life. I was inspired by her strength and the beauty that shines from within Whoopi Goldberg in this role too. I guess the outwardly funny-looking woman who has suffered at the hands of many people in her life just spoke to me.

Another that really resonated with me was Amazing Grace starring Ioan Gruffudd and Albert Finney.


I saw this one a couple of years ago at the cinema and was so deeply moved by the story of abolitionist William Wilberforce that I needed some quiet time afterwards to digest all the lightbulb moments that I had throughout the film. The one big thing I got from this movie was that greatness isn't about grandiosity. Strong, steady convictions are worth just as much as huge grandiose gestures... if not more. It also spoke to me a lot about my spirituality and belief systems.

So there you go, a couple of films that made me think about who I am and what is important to me.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Movie Review - The Hangover

Today I saw one of the funniest movies I have ever seen.  It is called "The Hangover".  I'll kick you off with the trailer for it:

Now I know, some of you may be thinking "Oh another bromance road trip movie, full of puerile sexist jokes, no thanks."  Thinking along the lines of all those other tacky sexist movies aimed at the fellas.  But you would be very, very wrong.

Yes, this is a movie about four blokes who got completely fucked up at a bachelor party in Las Vegas.  Yes, there is some puerile humour in there.  But that's where the stereotype ends.  I have to tell you, while the trailer is good, it is only the absolute tip of the iceberg with the humour in this movie.  As it is rated MA15+ in Australia, there is a lot of it they can't show in the trailer.  Not that it's offensive or crude or violent - it's just adult humour.  Particularly as there are scenes that Zach Galifianakis is without pants.  And there's lots of drinking references of course.

I saw it today with my friend Elizabeth, and seriously, it is a long time since I laughed so hard at a movie.  It's well cast with three very, very funny guys Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper.  It has a good, solid storyline.  It has a heart.  The mystery of what they got up to the night before is one that keeps you hooked into the story.  And I will tell you, the cameo by Mike Tyson is bloody brilliant.  Don't get me wrong, Mike Tyson is a nutcase animal, he just is one that has been a good sport for this film, and his cameo just works perfectly.

Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms really stand out for me too.  Ed Helms carries the frantically panicking, henpecked, geeky dentist so well, his absolute freak-outs throughout the film are just brilliant.  Zach Galifianakis looks like he'd play a total foul-mouthed, unlikeable animal, but his character Alan is strangely endearing in is oddness, what with his polite manner (he never swears once in the whole movie) and his affinity with the baby, a dog, the hooker (Heather Graham) etc is adorable, but not the rude chubby kid with the mobile phone!

And Bradley Cooper isn't a chore to look at either.

Honestly, this movie had me laughing so hard I was struggling to breathe, my face hurt, my throat is sore tonight and I am going to buy the DVD.  Because I truly think that it's going to be one of those movies that everyone quotes at each other, and tells each other that they just HAVE to see.  

Go see it.  I doubt you will regret it.  And that means you too girls!

Monday, June 08, 2009

A Colossal Failure

Isn't a long weekend a delicious thing?

I've been able to spend mine catching up on all the bits and pieces online that I haven't had time to look at/read/watch over the past few weeks, because I've been so busy.  Mostly because my DVD player decided to die on Saturday, which meant that I couldn't spend hours watching Firefly on DVD like I planned to, so it gave me this opportunity.

I favourite a lot of things in my browser and in Twitter to look at later.  Mostly it's videos and articles.  Sometimes when I'm really busy, I find myself with pages and pages of articles and stuff to work back through.  I always go back to the very oldest stuff and work my way through methodically, so that nothing gets missed.

Today, I got to this little gem that I'll post for you below.  It's a video from Maker Faire in San Francisco a week or two ago, of a talk Adam Savage gave about failure.

You all know by now what a huge Mythbusters fan I am, and yes, Adam is very cool and has probably the most awesome job in the world (who else but the Mythbusters get to make stuff and then destroy it in spectacular ways?)

But there is another reason I really dig Adam.  I think as well as being lots of fun, super-creative and a joy to watch with all his enthusiasm, I think he has a really cool outlook on life, which does manifest in some incredible wisdoms sometimes.  So before I go on, here's the video.  It is an hour long, but well worth watching:

While this talk is still a rough one and I'm sure Adam will refine it over the coming months (as he did with his previous amazing talk on obsession), even at this point I find it inspirational and thought provoking.

I am learning that it is ok to fail.  It's not ok to do something half-arsed or without thought, but if I give it my best shot, and learn from any mistakes I make, then it's fine.  Because as Adam says, it's the failures in life that gear you up and lead you to the successes.  It is the failures than help you refine your work to be consistently better and better each time.  And as he says, there is no shame in owning those failures either.  Sure it feels bad, sometimes downright painful, and takes some getting over, but I believe so long as you own it, and learn from it, you will be better off in the long run.

So what's the most colossal failure you have ever made?  Did you learn from it and move on, or are you still cringing?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Did I Say That?

I think it's time to take up another blog challenge.

This one comes from the Library Nerd herself, Naomi.  She suggested that I blog about times I've made inappropriate comments (she is aware of my severe case of blurtitis) or that I've had them made to me, or heard them.  I think that's a great idea, because I've heard some CRACKERS over the years.

I think the worst one anyone has ever said to me, was a woman I was having a conversation with about cosmetic surgery.  She said "Well you don't have to worry, fat people don't get wrinkles."


She was actually being complimentary at the time.  The guy who was standing with us during the conversation literally choked on his coffee.

There are always the ones out of the mouths of babes too.  Kids have a real knack of just blurting out truths that are inappropriate for the time and place.  Like the four year old who raised his hand in class when I asked "Who at home has someone who smokes?"  I called on him with "Yes Daniel, who smokes at your house?" to which Daniel replied "Uncle Marty, sometimes through a billy!" (note: billy is a local slang for a bong)

Also the little girl who when I complimented her on her pretty dress, replied "Thanks, my Mummy stole it for me." and her big brother nudged her and went "Shhhhh!"

I'm just trying to think of the worst clanger I've ever dropped.  I'm so used to doing it now, because I have almost no filter between my brain and my mouth (it's a sign of honesty, I believe, got to have some positive benefit to it!) that I think I get over it when I make some kind of horrible faux pas much quicker than I used to.

I do remember announcing to a room full of my father's golf buddies when I was a kid, the reason he had got so good at his golf game was "Cos he got the sack and plays golf all the time and hasn't got any money for beer."  Yeah, well done Kath!  He kicked my arse for that one!

So, now it's your turn.  What's the worst clanger you've ever let slip, or heard someone else say?  Trot out your best inappropriate comments now!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Still a Nice Girl...

An interesting observation.  Every time I share my opinion on Twitter, I lose "followers".  It doesn't bother me, but I have noticed it happening every time.

It's an interesting phenomenon.  I notice that other assertive women who feel comfortable in sharing their opinion have the same result.

However, when a man shares his opinion, he gains more followers.  Folks pipe up "Hear! Hear!"

Even though it's the year 2009, women are not allowed to voice their opinions.  If they debate a topic, they're "harping" or "bitching".  Or worse, if they do debate it with another woman, sometimes that woman just turns to bitchy personal comments that have no bearing on the discussion.

During a debate, women are told to "get over it" or "can't you just let go."  However the guys are encourage to push the point and keep debating.  For men, it's called banter, for women, it's called narking.

I used to bite my tongue and not say anything, even when I believed deeply in something.  I used to be a "nice girl" who minded her manners, kept her thoughts to herself and towed the line.  But I learnt that all I was doing was making myself miserable.

Now that I  have more confidence in myself, my self esteem is stronger, I will speak up.  Especially if it something around people's attitudes that makes others feel inferior.  It's something I'm passionate about, the fact that some people believe themselves above others, or they put others down to make themselves feel superior.

When I believe something in my gut, I will speak up for it.  Like my earlier blog on rape (which I copped a lot of criticism for), or a debate over someone's superior attitude, or fat discrimination, disrespect to faith, all subjects that mean something to me.

That's not to mean I won't listen to intelligent, respectful discussion on it, in fact there is nothing I love better than to have someone challenge my thinking and them allow me to challenge theirs.  Some of the most stimulating discussions I've ever have were heated debates between myself and someone who had a very different opinion/belief.

When I went to visit my beloved friend Ian in Canada after  not seeing him for about 13  years, one thing I was looking forward to the most was an "argument" with him.  We got into one of our famous debates (which was over something quite silly) and someone said something to us to settle down, and I remember turning and grinning and saying "No way, I've waited 13 years for this!" and he replied "I love you Kath!"

I love being able to argue with someone and know that it's not a reflection on their feelings towards me, it's just a good solid debate.  To know that they're going to treat me with the same respect in the debate that I treat them with.

I no longer care if people don't like me for speaking up, for being assertive and sharing my opinion.  Because those that matter accept me for who I am, and appreciate my honesty and willingness to back my own beliefs.  It took a long time before I was able to do that, but boy is it liberating when you reach that point!

I'm still a nice girl.  I'm a nice girl with a good gut feeling and belief in respect and speaking up!