December 31, 2011

everyday is eve



This is not a stereotypical New Year's Eve post. I'm not the biggest fan of all the New Year's Eve hoorah, whether it be the partying or the resolutions or the expectation. But I do think it's a good time to reflect. To look at the year gone past - the disappointments, the joys, the good days and the bad days. What you wish did happen and what you wish didn't. To think if 2011 lived up to your expectations. And it's a lovely night to spend with friends.

What I don't like about New Year's Eve is that everyone expects the next day will be completely different, when in reality the 1st of January is just another day. My point is that making resolutions isn't going to change anything. January 1st can be different, but that will only happen if you choose it to be. Because New Year's Resolutions without action are merely empty promises. I feel that we have this culture that New Year's Eve is the night to make changes and do the things you've been meaning to do, the only night.

I think that we should treat every day as New Year's Eve. If you want something in your life to be different - change it. Change it now, whenever the hell "now" is. But if it takes December 31st to get you to start, well that's better than nothing. If the clock hitting midnight tonight gives you the kick up the bum to do what you've been wanting to do, or say what you've been meaning to say, then that is so much better than sitting there expecting life to change of it's accord.

I don't have resolutions, more dreams. And they're things I've had for a while. And they'll probably change over the course of the year and that is perfectly okay. As long I take action when I want things to be different or better, 2012 will be awesome for me. I hope it's awesome for you too.

December 19, 2011

best


A month ago I sat my first external exams. In Tasmania, scores are taken from your best five pre-tertiary subjects from grades eleven and twelve. I've just finished grade eleven and did three pre-T subjects. Earlier this week I got my results. And this is where the story starts.

I've always been a bit of a spock. I'm not good at sport or music or art, but academic schoolwork has often been my strength during my whole school career. I'm not that kid who is unnaturally good at everything or gets huffy when they don't come first every time; I just like learning and enjoy school.

I started college this year and really enjoyed it. The social aspect, the independence aspect, even the schoolwork and classes were good. That doesn't mean it's easy though. During the external exam period in November, I worked hard and wrote a study mantra above my desk that said, "All you can do is your best."

So that's what I did. I studied hard to my full capabilities. I sat my exams and I did my best. And for me that was enough, because that was all I could do. However, my results did not reflect that. Or that's how I felt. I passed and I did okay - not great - but competently. I have no problem whatsoever with not being the best, but I was disappointed because two of my subjects dropped significantly from the highest award to an average award. I was upset at the time, but now in hindsight I am not as bothered by it. I still have another year, and my chances for the universities I want to go to are not lost.

I felt incredibly conflicted when I first found out my results because I was disappointed in myself for not externally regaining the results I already had internally, but then at the same time I was still proud of the colossal effort I put in. It was like loving and hating myself all at the same time.

So I suppose my question is, what do you do when your best isn't good enough?

Now I've had a few days to process I feel fine about my results - sure I would have liked to do better, but it's not the end of the world. Now I'm proud because I did my best. And I only just missed higher awards, as I had the maximum Commendable Achievement score for each of my three subjects.  I don't expect to be excellent at everything I attempt in life, because I'm sure as hell not going to be. But what this has taught me is that even though you will work your butt off and ignore the other things in life to do your best in a particular area, sometimes it just won't pay off how you imagined it would. And there is no fault in you as a person if you did your best. Because to be honest, that's all we can do.

December 18, 2011

it's beginning to feel a lot like christmas



I'm a mad Christmas child. Absolutely love it. However this year I was struggling to get into the Christmas spirit, despite having our decorations up for a couple of weeks. I think part of it was owed to the fact that usually I finish school a week before Christmas - so as soon as holidays start the Christmas excitement does. However this year I've already been on holidays for a month. I started to worry, "What if I've grown up?!" But I can gladly confirm that I haven't and probably never will. Because it is now a week til Christmas and I am so excited!

On Friday I finished buying all my Christmas presents, which I love even if my bank balance doesn't. I love getting gifts, but I really enjoy buying them for other people too. Me and my friends had a Christmas party last night where we listened to carols, ate roast (amongst a lot of other things) and exchanged Secret Santa presents and had a lot of fun. This morning my church had their Christmas service and afterwards me and my friend went shopping and bought each other a Christmas present. And I've also found my favourite green santa hat, which I have to have for Christmas. 

I love Christmas carols and have been listening to Relient K's 2007 Christmas album. My favourite Christmas carol ever is probably Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas which Relient K cover wonderfully and their version of Sleigh Ride is lovely too. Actually all the songs are good. But the song that really got me is an original titled I Celebrate The DayMost people reading this would know that I'm a Christian (and if you didn't you do now). My beliefs are a huge part of me and I suppose I don't really overtly express them on my blog. But to explain what Christmas is to me I can't not. I respect that Christmas means something different to every single person and I think that's great. I am not saying what Christmas should be for you, I am saying what it is for me. Previously I've allowed it to become about materialism, and don't get me wrong, gifts and food are great, but this year I just feel like there are more important things. For me Christmas is about baby Jesus, but more importantly what followed that birth. These are the lyrics to I Celebrate The Day which convey what I'm trying to saying in a far more effective way: 

And with this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say to let You know how much You've touched my life
Because here is where You're finding me, in the exact same place as New Year's eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We're less than half as close as I want to be

And the first time
That You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever

And so this Christmas I'll compare the things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That You have come to meet me here

To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so I might [ really ]live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me

And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life

I suppose in some way or another I have matured this Christmas, because now this is the most important thing even in amongst my excitement for everything else. I even feel so grateful that I get to spend Christmas with my family even though it's just the four of us. I think Christmas is a time that shows everyone that there's a little good in everything, it's a time for fun and for family and most importantly, Christmas shows that there is something greater than us. I think I finally understand the true spirit of Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone!



December 7, 2011

the realest world


In high school we are told about the “real world”. School is spent working hard and kissing arse (or maybe not at all), to establish ourselves in such world once we graduate. It is an attitude that is presented to adolescents by teachers and parents and other adults that claim the “real world” is a whole lot different than the world of teenagers.

There are aspects of truth to this statement. Obviously teenagers and adults face different circumstances and challenges, so our worlds are different. But I dislike the phrase “the real world” because it promotes that what teenagers experience is not real. Which can then lead to the impression that it’s not okay to be struggling if it’s not even the “real world”. In my opinion, if you are on planet Earth, you are in the real world.

When teenagers hear the phrase it is frustrating and patronising. High school and college are hard, and for some, they are hell. When you’re a teenager there are countless things to keep you awake at night – schoolwork, dating, partying, peer pressure, parents, friends, bullying – whatever the circumstance. The teenage years, especially from aged fifteen onwards, are a period that one is trying to discover himself or herself, while at the same time keeping good grades, pleasing parents and being “cool”. There can be a lot going on.

So when someone mentions “the real world” - and the fact that we’re apparently not in it - it can throw a spanner in the works. Because for teenagers, life is bloody hard enough without condescending adults looking down their noses at our experiences.

On the other hand, I do see the perspective from which adults look at teenagers. They’ve been in our shoes and already experienced the years of teenage angst. I think that adults tend to use the phrase “the real world” because of a few reasons. Firstly because they’ve forgotten exactly what teenage years entailed, but most importantly because as adults, they now hold a more educated perspective. They’ve had ten or twenty or thirty years to look back on being a teenager, and in context of mortgages and families and full time jobs they see teenage years as relatively simplistic compared to their current lives.

It’s the same kind of thing as when last year I sat end of grade ten exams (which don’t count for much). I held relatively high importance on exams and did let a bit of stress get to me. Now this year when my grade ten friends had to sit the same exams I was all like, “Why are you stressed about that? They don’t mean anything!” I had that attitude because not only had I already experienced grade ten exams, but also because I had just finished the much harder and more important grade eleven exams. But for my grade ten friends, the exams were still important because that was the season of life they were in. When I was in grade ten, older friends told me the same thing too but it made absolutely no difference to how I felt or acted.

I understand this completely from both perspectives. But I think the term “the real world” should not be used. Whatever your world attains at the current time is okay. Teenager or adult, you are still living life. Whatever you’re feeling is okay. But that doesn’t mean you have to act on those feelings. Because life is also fun. Adults should remember that teenagers do not have it completely easy and us teenagers should give adults more credit than we do. And then we should all get back to living life. On the real world – the only world. 



November 30, 2011

granger and drew



I have numerous favourite books. But my two favourite book series of all time take precedence on a particular section of my bookshelf - Harry Potter and Nancy Drew. I read the first three Harry Potter books when I was 9 and then all of them again (many times) from age 14 onwards and my love for Nancy begun probably when I was 8 and has never ended. 

I came across a quote from J.K. Rowling the other day that says, "I've got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don't want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I'd rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny... Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons. Let them never be Stupid Girls.” 

I love this because the reason I love Nancy Drew is exactly that - she is not a Stupid Girl. She is smart and daring and kind. And so is Hermione Granger. I've been thinking about how much of a pathetic role model Bella Swan is with the release of the new Twilight movie Breaking Dawn recently. Let me clarify. I have not read Twilight and nor do I intend to, pretty much just based on moral principle. I have seen the first movie and have heard the first book being read by means of these (bloody hilarious) videos. I know that that is probably not enough information to form judgment, but I'm going to anyway. I hate Bella because she teaches girls to focus a boy as the most important thing. And when that fails - curl into a ball, cry and ignore the rest of the world. Sure Nancy and Hermione had boyfriends - but it didn't define who they are. There is nothing wrong with romance, what is wrong when your life involves nothing else besides it. 

Everyone knows that Hermione is an 'insufferable know it all' and similarly Nancy's curiosity always leads her to meddle in other's business. But boy you cannot deny their intelligence or their loyalty or the courage. Hermione inspires me that using your brain's full capacity can really only lead to benefit. That being a teenage girl of integrity is far more important that being popular or pretty. (Let's remember that the Hermione in the books is far more disheveled and buck toothed than Emma Watson). Hermione shows us that where you come from doesn't have to limit you - fancy the brightest witch of the age being a Muggle born! And when love seems lost, you just. keep. fighting. 

Nancy conveys that the loss of a loved one (her mother) does not mean you have to spend the rest of your life sad. That justice is worth putting up a struggle for. That sometimes it's okay to just have fun with your friends, and that if you're prepared to put in the effort - you can do anything. Nancy shows that not many things can beat the bond between best friends and that just because you're young, does not mean, in any way at all, that you are inferior.

For those cynics, yes these literary heroines are fictional characters. But whether deriving from real or not - role models inspire you, in the worst of times and the best of times. And that, is better than nothing. Nancy and Hermione, most importantly, show me that the power of the human brain, and the love of the human heart are the most important things we have. I'd rather be a Drew or a Granger over a Bella any day. 

October 20, 2011

those things called jocks


Let's discuss jocks. Stereotypically jocks are defined as "dumbass 'athletes' who get all the chicks in high school." To take it further, they like to wear rather metrosexual clothing, feel the need to grunt and yell quite loudly and they never walk - only swagger or jog to show off their impeccably large muscles. And they hang out with loud, flirty girls who tend to show their belly buttons at any given opportunity. Remember we're speaking stereotypically here.

Jocks are not to be confused with athletes. For athletes the sport is what matters, not all the other things surrounding it. True athletes are not jocks. Jocks are the people who are actually in fact are only minimally sporty - it's the image that they like. Common ways to recognise the species is a plethora of white canvas shoes, tight singlets and short fluro shorts, all of which are commonly defined as a fashion crime amongst the non-jock species. Another key factor is the shaving of legs, which has been around for quite some time, but apparently a new phenomenon has hit: they are now shaving their armpits too! I think what's occurring here is really quite obvious. They are becoming more and more female.

There is no such thing as a female jock. For a female athlete, or just a sporty one, is just that: a sporty athlete. The girls that are most often acquainted with jocks are not jocks. They are apparently 'popular', and as my friend Niall defines it, they are 75% "hot", 3% intelligent and the rest is filled up with bitchiness. Best description I've ever heard.

I understand that I am being exceedingly judgmental here. But realistically, you are not are jock, and if you were, you would probably be too consumed with yourself to realise that I am talking about you. The inspiration for this rant is not mere speculation, it is fact based on a particular group of people I see relatively often. I don’t know them personally of course and I’m sure they have lovely characteristics but the way they act… oh gosh.

There is zero consideration. The jock species cares about I’m sure about a lot of things, but my research has led me to think the top three are as follows: looking tough, drinking, and showing off in front of girls. Kindness to others does not seem a priority. A particular colony of the species I have in mind took three tables amongst themselves – one to sit under, and the other two to hold up the one they were going to sit under. How thoughtful to the other six groups of people who ended up eating their lunch on the ground.

Drinking. While the consumption of alcohol is obviously an activity not of jocks alone, they sure do love to talk about it. In raised voices. In the library.  All the time. While I like that people have enjoyable weekends, I do not care much that “next weekend at Brooke’s is going to be even better than Jake’s last Friday night.” I once heard a group of 3% girls (the aforementioned female acquaintances of jocks) talking about how they were going to have a party and only invite HOT people. They then proceeded to think of an invitee list. I can tell you their voices were not hushed. I hope none of their not-HOT friends were nearby.

The 3% girls are the reason jocks tend to kick the footy in a non-footy area amongst people who are trying to conduct conversation and, at times, homework. And let’s not descent into the mystery of their brains – it could be horrifying to discover such little activity. Jocks love to impress the 3% girls. This is where the “I refuse to walk, I instead prefer to swagger or jog” attitude comes from.  You will not see a jock simply putting one foot in front of the other. If you do, please photograph it and send it to the Discovery Channel.

October 18, 2011

weathergirl


My day has been a very weathery day today (not that that's even a word). It got to a lovely 20° for the first time in quite a while and while sitting on my deck in the sun I was reading a book set in a snowy American Christmas. It got me thinking that here is a common misconception that Tasmania has the crappiest weather ever. I beg to differ. Besides ten months in New Zealand, I have lived in Tas my whole life and am therefore appoint myself able to correctly comment on the weather patterns. I am sick of my fellow Tasmanian teenagers moaning and groaning about the weather. Sure, it may not necessarily be their preference to be living here, but just bloody well shut up about it. We do have crappy weather sometimes and sure, it gets pretty darn cold in winter. But it does not have the worst weather EVER. It does not snow except on the mountains, we reach 30° occasionally in the summer and humidity in Tasmania is higher than say Melbourne or Sydney.

My interstate and international relatives all assume Tassie to be absolutely freezing and are surprised when their visits are pleasantly warm in Spring and Autumn. I of course complain about the weather as the biggest annoyance is the inconsistence of it all. Four seasons in one day is quite the possibility. Personally I really like Tasmanian weather. I don't love the cold - it's fine if I have enough clothes on - but I hate the heat. Like really hot. I cannot cope with a temperature above about 25° or so. And seeing as the coldest it gets is the rare -1° in the middle of the  winter I don't see what we have to complain about it. There are plenty of other places in the world with worse weather. Minimal sunlight, freezing cold temperatures and then ridiculously humid heat that they cannot even function in the afternoon.

Weather seems to be a universal and always relevant - but a slightly boring topic. Ever in doubt of the direction of a conversation? Mention the weather. I think that weather can actually affect mood quite significantly. I got a bit of a case of the winter blues this winter after exams and taking Vitamin D pills certainly helped. We all need a bit of sunlight every now and then. So regardless of personal preference to temperature, rain and sunlight just stop complaining about the weather. If it's cold, put a jumper on. If it's hot, take it off. See? Simple! Weather patterns will not be the end of the world and there are probably better things to do with time than complain about them. After all we have no control over it. Best to enjoy it and be content than to be positively miserable. Then you never know, you may be surprised and get a day like today.

October 8, 2011

mac attack



I am regrettably going to be one of those people who feel the need to inform the world that I now have a MacBook Pro. It's been all a bit of a coincidence: this week I purchased a MacBook a mere twelve or so hours before Apple founder and former CEO, Steve Jobs, passed away due to pancreatic cancer. Twitter erupted with RIP messages and thank you tweets to the man who innovated the way we communicate. Apple fans went particularly nuts, while others could not see what the fuss was all about. For me, my new laptop is my first ever Apple product, but even before it arrived yesterday, I have been a fan of the brand and somewhat admired Steve Jobs and the rest of the Apple team for what they create.

My Dad has had a Mac for a couple of years, but the different operating system to the PC's that I was used to using just confounded and frustrated me. It wasn't until I made the school yearbook (with a team of other students) last year on an iMac that I truly began to appreciate Steve Jobs innovation. I admit I used to hate Mac's, but that was simply due to my own incompetence at using them. I'm not going to enter the Mac vs PC debate, as I simply could not care what computers people use, but I will say this: if you simply have a go at using a Mac and push at it, you'll never go back.

I think the technology world has lost a great individual this week. I'm not trying to glorify him, as people often are after death, but as one tweet said - a lot of us couldn't be updating RIP tweets if it weren't for him. Some people have made fun of the matter with jokes such as iDied going around and Westboro Baptist Church (who really need to learn that shoving opinions down others throats is not effective) are planning to picket his funeral. Mind you, when Westboro leader, Margie Phelps, tweeted that they would be picketing his funeral - she tweeted via iPhone. Silly silly woman. I obviously did not know Steve Jobs personally, he could've been a gentleman or an asshole for all I know, but not only did he acquire Pixar in the early days, but he designed my new computer. And I really like it.

September 27, 2011

the liker chain


As I have no life, I spend a reasonable amount of time finding new websites to quench my internet hungry appetite. I'm always on the hunt for new content, and ashamedly probably spend too much time on the flaky rather than the nitty-gritty. I think that the internet is such a great outlet for creativity and communication and is a great place to build community. This post is a continuation of an old YouTube trend known as the 'Liker Chain' where YouTuber’s share the other YouTuber’s they like. So these are the blogs, vlogs and Tumblrs that I adore.

BLOGS. I struggle to find blogs that make me want to keep coming back. Blogs can be tricky because so often they can become a bit selfish when they have one author - I worry I am like that too. Larger blogs are often better as they show more diverse content and opinions. My favourite ever is Mamamia, as I love how they are not afraid to talk about anything. Secondly, though I'm being incredibly biased, is Hello Noise, as I think its unique in it's demographic. Good changes will be happening there soon! While I think fashion/beauty blogs are a tad silly, A Pair and A Spare is great for DIY's, Gary Pepper Vintage has some great fashion and colour and PRIMPED is a tad addictive. I recently discovered Thought Catalog which I think is really great and Leaky News was launched last week which is a combination of many forms of geekery that I love.

VLOGGERS. My first experience with vloggers was the absolutely hilarious Alex Reads Twilight videos which I still love. Definitely check them out. They then led me to Charlie, my favourite YouTuber whom I did previously have a bit of a fan girl obsession with last year. His stuff has been a bit inconsistent of late - but overall quite good. The Vlog Brothers are great - incredibly intelligent and witty (and one of them is John Green, a favourite author of mine). Also Electric Faerie Dust, however lame the name, I love and resonate with. She's very funny. I think there is a very fine balance with vlogging, as there are so many out there that are just so bad.

TUMBLRS. Tumblr is a weird invention and I dislike it when people have a blog on Tumblr, but by golly, I find some funny stuff on there. Mcgonabamf is great for all Harry Potter/Doctor Who/general cool things that I so love wasting my time on. Just Little Things is the best Tumblr ever, such positivity and actually has made a difference in how I think. I Love Charts is so weird and while the name deterred me at first now it's simply just awesome. I am also partial towards Awesome People Reading. Enough said.

I use and like a lot of other websites, these are just the ones that I love to waste my time on. Have you got any?

P.S. If you're going to follow one person on Twitter, make it Voldemort. HILARIOUS.


September 22, 2011

miss world domination



Last week, while watching Miss Universe 2011, I was reminded why I like the movie Miss Congeniality so much. Because it laughs and makes fun of the ridiculousness of beauty pageants. I'm not even going to bother talking about child pageants - that's a whole other issue. (But must watch this parody by Tom Hanks and his daughter, it’s hilarious). I am not a feminist, but by golly I hate pageants. Why? Because they essentially choose a winner based on their looks. This would be fine with me if it was a modelling competition, but realistically it's more than that, with winners getting to represent their country and maybe even the world. Now, let’s not kid ourselves, I don't think that pageant winners have a whole lot of influence (or any even) but they are still a representation none the less. The point is that Miss Universe acts like it's more than looks.

I watched the midday repeat of this year’s Miss Universe for comedic purposes, as I find it equally ridiculous and humourous. It's so cringe-worthy. To be honest, I couldn't even tell the 89 nationalities apart. All I saw were 89 tanned, skinny girls with big curly hair. Obviously there were differences with each person, but to me, those differences were very slight. The whole sameness of it just drives me nuts. The 89 girls were cut down to the top sixteen at the beginning of the program, already have been judged on their national costume. After the swimsuit section, ten remained. Then once eveningwear was showcased and the top five announced, they answered one question. ONE. The top five did have more intellectual and moral answers than I expected - but I think it is utterly meaningless that they choose a winner based on one question. Even stupider is that only the top five get to answer. Before that it was purely based on looks.

I know that this is the norm for pageants and I’m not that outraged. What annoys me is that smart and creative and witty and talented girls don’t necessarily get the chance to showcase their talents – purely for being smart and creative and witty and talented. Not for looks. I’m not saying that Miss Universe contestants aren’t these things, as I have no place to judge them as I haven’t met them. As Sandra Bullock’s character in Miss Congeniality said, “Oh, if only I had a brain!” I just don’t like that pageants are all about the looks while disguising that they are not, due to one mediocre question. I have nothing against pageant girls, it’s the pageants themselves I don’t like. So I say screw pageants and their traditionalist and vain outlook on girls and hell to the yes to whatever a girl wants to be or do, beauty queen or not.

September 14, 2011

the future is near. or is it?

I've just spent a weekend away at a girls camp which focused on identity and purpose, and after reading this blog post, it's given me some food for thought. As the above picture suggests, young people are consistently drilled and drilled about career. The world has a warped perception that a person's purpose in life is merely limited to the confinement of a 9-5 weekday job. Throughout school we are asked and told about "when we grow up". I can remember in Prep or Kindergarten my teacher had us write and draw our desired occupation on a piece of A3 paper and stick it on the classroom wall. Thinking hairdressing was the way for me at the ripe old age of five my mostly purple picture was surrounded by vets, singers, policemen and firefighters.

The ability to have dreams is great, and I think kids are most successful at that. When Emma Watson was young, she even wanted to be a matress and my brother had a girl tell him she wanted to be a snow dog. However absurd, I think dreaming is great. In no way am I condeming or against having dreams for the future because I think that is a crucial part of life. What frustrates me is that adults seem to teach children that a dream has to form shape in an occupation. Which is a whole load of bollocks.

My dreams for the future have changed over time and have been developing since I started a Creative Writing class when I was 14. Continuing the subject until the end of high school and starting this blog formed the foundation of my passion and love for writing. I am confident that I want to pursue a career in journalism, but for me it's not because it's a career. I believe (and hope) that my purpose is to write and to allow others to percieve something in a different way, and then make their opinions on their own terms. That purpose may come to fruition within the journalism field or it might come evident through community work or through writing books or whatever the heck else. But as long as I'm writing, whichever way it shapes out, whether career or not, it's fine with me because I'll be doing what I'm loving.

I don't have it together. I have fears and insecurities about it all. Just today I was looking at required ATAR scores at different uni's, which I was doing while procrastinating from my English folio. Which is stupid because I need to try my best to do well with the folio to get good marks to get into uni. And then I just got annoyed and frustrated at myself. Today is one of those days when I dwell on the future too much, and then end up feeling crappy about how life is today. So I just have to mentally slap myself and choose (as I try to every day), once again,  to take life step by step.

Purpose is not something that neccessarily comes easily. I consider myself fortunate to be so certain, as I know that some people have no idea what they want. I know my purpose might change and that's okay. The most important thing is to not let pressure and stress take hold of you. All through high school the pressure of choosing a career by Grade 12 looms and looms. In college you're expected to know what you want to do, get the correct marks for your chosen field, work a casual job, engage in extra curricular activities, do the right thing and still be young, happy and carefree. And that, is bloody hard.

Young people can become easily consumed about the future. Or avoid it altogether and get drunk every weekend. So I think that we should look after ourselves now. I always forget, but focus on today! Today is always more important. Being young is difficult and great all at the same time, we are discovering who we are. So I think we should do what we love. And hopefully purpose will come from that. I feel my purpose is in writing - not neccessarily the journalism career. Purpose often has nothing to do with career. So don't worry about what your job's going to be. And don't rush into choosing and then regret it later.

September 8, 2011

kindness is key


Sometimes I forget to be kind. Quite often really. I have a bit of a reputation of being too honest (anyone who knows me can attest to that). My brain is incredibly pathetic at filtering my words before they escape from my mouth. So often I put my foot in it and embarrass myself and others. But more so the case, my brutal honesty can often hurt peoples feelings. I don't realise at first but when I do, I feel dreadful. Unkindness is a very bad trait indeed, for kindness is one of the most important things in the world.

Sometimes kindness is often scoffed at, or considered wussy or lame or pathetic. I think this odd logic must come from the idea that to succeed we have to strong and firm and not let anything get in our way. These are the people who forget to be kind or choose to be unkind as they try to achieve what it is that they want. While I think it's important to always dream big and attempt to succeed, there is a right and wrong way to do it. When you finally succeed, would you rather celebrate with people who love you and are proud of you, or celebrate alone because you were an unkind and selfish person?

One of my best friends is one of the kindest people I know. I don't think she even realises it half the time as it's just her nature - she is just genuinely kind. Her kind manner has reminded me lately what a difference kindness makes. It's bloody hard to explain, but her disposition towards people makes her not only incredibly likeable and a lovely person to be around, but the kind of friend who makes you want to be a better version of yourself. It reminds me that life is not all about brutal honesty and success and treating people as they treat you but to just simply ask them how their day was and show them some respect. I don't necessarily being nice - there's a difference. Kindness is more from the heart, more meaningful and genuine than the exteriority of niceness.

Call me lame, but my whole Hufflepuff debacle has just reaffirmed the idea that we need to be kind. I really think that bravery and success and wealth means absolutely nothing if we are not a good person. A person who is kind, and true and loyal and fair. So I'm asking for a call back to kindness. We don't have to like everyone. No way. I believe that everybody is different and that some people will never get along. But if we show kindness to the arrogant and the mean, it shows volumes about our character as an accepting person, compared to the other who isn't even prepared to be civil. So I'm going to try to be a kinder person. And not on the surface. Genuinely kind. We sure do need more of it in the world.

August 27, 2011

sorting hat identity crisis


I love the Harry Potter books and have so in entirety since I was thirteen. At Hogwarts your house is your home, your family - an essential part of life while you're at Hogwarts. I've always wanted to know what house the magical sorting hat would place me in because I have never completely indentified with just one. Am I more brave, clever, loyal or cunning? Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Slytherin? Well I know one thing, just like Harry Potter himself, definitely "not Slytherin". To those non Harry Potter fans, you're probably incredulously wondering why I even care about what fictional house I would be sorted into in a fictional school. But it is of great importance - it would be my Hogwarts identity! So come the announcement of Pottermore at the end of June, with the news we would be sorted - boy was I excited! I would be placed in one of the four Hogwarts houses at last.

Out of the four I definitely wanted to be either Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. Gryffindor's are known for being brave, bold and noble, Ravenclaw's for their intellect, wit and creativity. Whenever I asked anybody, they usually place me a cross between the two, (except Mum who placed Ravenclaw second behind Hufflepuff). So I suppose I have based my Hogwarts identity as being either a Gryffindor or a Ravenclaw, wearing red or blue, living in a tower. I despise Slytherin as they use any means to reach their goal and while I respect Hufflepuff's for their loyalty and fair play, I've always classified them as a bit weak and dumb.

I got my Pottermore welcome email yesterday morning and was so bloody excited that I postponed my hair drying and breakfast eating and nearly missed the bus. After buying my school supplies in Diagon Alley and travelling on the Hogwarts express; it was time to be sorted. To be honest, the sorting ceremony was the one thing that I was looking forward to about Pottermore. For so long I've wanted to know whether I would be Gryffindor or Ravenclaw and here was my moment! After answering questions about how I want to be remembered and what I'd do if a troll wanted to fight me and my friends, I was at last sorted. You can imagine my reaction when I saw this:


Yeah. Not very happy. I have nothing against Hufflepuffs, but I never wanted to BE one! I've always called them the "pussy house" because they seem to be the leftovers - those who don't fit into the rest of the houses. The 'friendly' ones. After the Pottermore sorting you receive a welcome letter and notes from J.K Rowling. While my welcome letter was quite lovely and called me "decent, good and tenacious", the J.K notes were about the Hufflepuff common room which reminded me THAT IT WAS NEVER IN THE BOOK. Did someone say reject? So I moped and was in denial about my Hufflepuff-ness and avoided Pottermore. On one Facebook status when I informed someone of my house they said, "Oh no! How are you coping with this?" In other words: you're now lame.

I signed up on the first day of the Pottermore Magical Quill Challenge and then again on the second day, before I realised you're only allowed one account. So my master plan was to wait for my second account to be welcomed and pick my second answers for the questions I was unsure about. I decided that whatever house I got the second time I would just accept it. I like my second username better (QuillFeather164) and this morning I received the email for my second account. After going through the sorting process again I was a... Hufflepuff. I'm having a Hogwarts identity crisis. Ultimately I think my first preference was Ravenclaw as I am most jealous of them. My best friend got into Gryffindor, most Pottermore users I know are Slytherin and I know no other Hufflepuffs. I really don't want to care, but I so do. It's a bit sad seeing this is about a fictional book series, but for once we all get to see what it'd be like if we were really at Hogwarts.

While being in Hufflepuff makes me feel like a loser I've decided to (regrettably) accept it. J.K Rowling formed the quiz herself, and if I've been put in Hufflepuff twice, that means I'm a Hufflepuff. To be completely honest, in real life I'd want to be a Hufflepuff, but at Hogwarts it's so lame. (Cedric Diggory and Gilderoy Lockhart prove my point. But Tonks was a Hufflepuff! On Pottermore, we're also losing the house cup). Despite believed to be a tad dim-witted, the traits of a Hufflepuff are loyal, patient, hard working and fair. I don't know about you, but I'm okay with the sound of those. I think that being a good person means far more than bravery, intelligence or cunning and while I would much rather be a Ravenclaw or a Gryffindor, I accept that I'm a Hufflepuff. Even though I don't want to.

I'll be talking more about the actual Pottermore experience itself on Hello Noise in the coming weeks. Fellow Pottermore users: are you happy with your sorting?

August 24, 2011

hi, i'm lauren


Feeling a bit self indulgent and found this "favourites post" of sorts and thought it'd be a bit of fun even if a bit boring for you to read. Now I introduce seemingly random details about myself...
Fashion
One thing in your wardrobe you can’t live without: Blue jeans.
Describe your personal style: Comfortable, unique, opshop, red
Favourite items: Converses, sweaters
What do you like about fashion: Being able to interpret yourself through clothes. If what I'm wearing doesn't reflect me and my ‘style’ I'll feel weird all day.
What do you dislike about fashion: How so many people just wear trends when they clearly don't suit their body or personality.

People
Style Icons: Alexa Chung (but add some colour).
Favourite authors: Roald Dahl, J.K Rowling
Muse: Nancy Drew
Best friend: Sarah Jesson. Every time we hang out I remember why.
Hero: Sophie Scholl
Favourite character: Tough choice but probably Ginny Weasley. In the books that is.

Places
Favourite place: I love my bedroom, but it's too hard to pick a favourite place!
Favourite restaurant: Burger Got Soul
Go-to shopping destination: Myer, Salvo’s opshop
Favourite online retail shop: Modcloth
Favourite international travel spot: I've only been to New Zealand but it's exceptionally lovely.
Favourite city: Melbourne. I’m gonna live there one day.

Life
Talismans: Anything on paper. Movie tickets, notes people have written etc. all gets stuck on my wall.
Influences: Mum and Dad, God.
Something no one knows about you: I sometimes worry that I'm that annoying friend everyone just pretends to like.
Favourite subject: English
Biggest indulgence: Shopping when I can't afford it.
Pet peeve: People randomly singing. Drives me nuts!
Best purchase: My Nikon D90
University: Hopefully Swinburne in Melbourne in 2013.

Food & Drink
Favourite food: Chicken burgers and doughnuts
Lunch today: Mi Goreng noodles
Tea: Lady Grey
Coffee: No thankyou
Favourite drink: Water, raspberry lemonade
Snack: Red Rock Deli Sweet Chilli and Sour Cream Chips

Entertainment
Book you’re currently reading: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Favourite books: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Bible, Paper Towns by John Green, Raincheck on Timbuktu
Favourite movie: Juno
Websites you always check: Facebook, Twitter, Mamamia, Hello Noise
Favourite song: Don't have one but I'm a sop for Everything by Michael Buble
Best show on TV: The Amazing Race
Favourite magazine: Yen

August 19, 2011

the winter blues



It's almost guaranteed that I will get sick at least once in winter. And in the past week I hit the jackpot. I won’t go into details cos it’s blatantly uninteresting but I did lose my voice for quite some time. It amazes me how people say “Oh, have you lost your voice?” or “Are you sick?” when it is quite clear that the answer is YES to both stupid questions. My feelings towards winter are quite indifferent. I like summer but I hate it when it’s too hot so I always look forward to winter. But then winter is long and cold and boring. I’m more an autumn and spring kind of girl. The end of winter is nearing and I am so excited. Winter is lovely at first, but by August I think that everyone is just over it. Call it vitamin D deficiency but I just long for sunny days. They can drastically improve anyone’s mood.

The possibilities seem endless when the sun is shining. In winter, life is usually made up of oversleeping, movies, homework, sweaters and cups of tea. Don’t get me wrong, I love all those things and even talking about them makes me appreciative of winter. But I just miss sunny days where it is so much easier to get out of bed and make the most of your day. I haven’t been to school this week, so I feel a tad out of touch with reality. I think I’ve just got a case of the winter blues. Tiredness, laziness and zero motivation. Does ignoring your school work sound familiar to anyone?

There are numerous cures for the winter blues. Watch countless episodes of your favourite television show *cough* *One Tree Hill* *cough*. Shamefully I’m onto my fourth season within less than a month. Sleep, Strepsils, Aloe Vera tissues. Lady Grey in a red stripy mug. Apples and chicken curry. Water. I seriously have drunk my body weight in the stuff. Books and blogs that make you laugh. When I was feeling miserable earlier in the week, one of my friends dropped a DVD and my history folder at my home and just said hi. It was so lovely and made me feel so much better. Even just a nice Facebook message can make all the difference. Let people look after you. But most of all have fun. And look after yourself. I think we could all be a lot healthier and a lot happier people if we just cared more for ourselves, and others. Find a hobby and do it. Kick those wintry blues in the butt until the sun starts shining again.

July 30, 2011

pro·cras·ti·na·tion

  ^

Procrastination is defined as, "to put off till another day or time; to defer; to delay." I'm pretty sure that every member of the human race has, at some time or another, procrastinated. Something about avoiding doing the stuff we need to is just so damn attractive. Charlie McDonnell explains the scientific aspect of procrastination in this video (go to 1:47 for the good stuff). Procrastination is actually a battle in our brain between being productive and well, avoiding being productive. Countless times my thought pattern has gone along the lines of, "I should really start that assignment" and "Oh, I suppose a few more episodes of One Tree Hill couldn't hurt." In that battle, the latter wins nearly all the time.
It can depend a lot on our personality. Some people always leave things til the last minute because they need an approaching deadline to push them, while others get things done in advance because that is what works for them. I'm a bit of a fence sitter in this regard. I by far prefer to get things done beforehand, so I think that's my natural inclination - yet I am lazy and often leave things til the last minute because frankly, I find better things to do with my time. My head is regularly on the hunt for stimulation, and when my schoolwork offers no motivation, books, Twitter, Facebook, television shows and sometimes even sleep is more enthralling. Procrastination feels so naughty, addictive and wonderful all at the same time. And there's nothing wrong with that.
I think procrastination is important because sometimes our brain just needs a break. That's why we get lunch breaks - our brain can just not work flat out for eight hours straight. Yet when we are completely unproductive and achieve nothing due to procrastination, well, that’s just a bit silly. I’m in the middle of the mid-year exam period at the moment and am exempt from classes to have ‘study time’. From what I’ve seen on Facebook, not a whole lot of people are actually studying. I’m just as guilty of this, but I always study in the end, with at least 24 hours advance. If I don’t study I get stressed, and no one likes the stress monster.
So I have a proposal, which applies to me as well. Get your crap done. It’s as simple as sitting down and starting. It’s not the easiest thing to do but once you start, it’s an incredible amount easier. Think of it this way, as soon as you’ve got your crap done, then you’ll have free time to spend on Facebook or watch One Tree Hill or have a nap. And you’ll have no guilt because you’re not procrastinating. You’re rewarding.

July 13, 2011

the final HP

^

I'm not the biggest fan of the Harry Potter movies, but I love the books. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is one of my favourite books of all time and I'm so glad they made it into two movies. Part 1 was fairly good considering the first half of the book is quite slow - but I was far more excited for part 2. I went to see it at midnight yesterday (well today technically) and I was hoping I would not be disappointed. There was so much I was relying on to be in there, and by the end of it I was rather impressed. The sequence of events surrounding the battle of Hogwarts is quite emotional and I still cry when I read the book. I was holding high expectations for part 2.

I haven't read Deathly Hallows in a while so forgive me if my detail is wrong, but the movie was so close to the book. Incredibly. Things were inevitably missed as they always are, but I was so impressed that it matched my favourite book. I loved Snape in the opening scene, that facial expression said so much. The break in at Gringotts, along with Griphook's involvement, were done quite well (how cool would the trolley ride be at a theme park?!) Aberforth was as bitter as he was meant to be and the scene when Harry, Ron and Hermione first arrived in the Room of Requirement was lovely, like Hogwarts was normal for a while. Neville is usually a character who gets sidelined, and in this he just totally kicked ass. His speech to Voldemort and everyone else made me cry and it's so cool that he's no longer the awkward kid with a remembrall. One of the major things I was relying on was when Molly Weasley screams "Not my daughter you bitch!" at Bellatrix and that bit did not disappoint. I was definitely going to have words with David Yates if that wasn't in there.

I change my opinions on favourite characters all the time but I really like Ginny in the books. It frustrates me in the movies because she's so less fierce and strong and brave than she should be. The revelation of the truth behind Snape was done so well. Probably my pick for the best thing in the movie was Snape's last moments - except it was in the wrong location. There was such a different side to the Professor Snape we know when he said, "You have your mother's eyes." That scene, along with his memories, which were done brilliantly, added such heart and authenticity to the movie. Part 2 is the most serious of all the Harry Potter films, but I loved that it was still humourous. Ron had some great one-liners (even though it missed the great one from the book's epilogue) and other similar jokes helped diffuse the tension.

Most ridiculous was Voldemort's hug of Draco which is just to odd/funny to even talk about! I'm glad that Harry still saved Draco from the fiend fyre in the Room of Requirement, but what was with the new, very unfamiliar Crabbe? It annoyed me when Luna didn't take Harry to Ravenclaw Tower, because in the book that's when we see McGonagall kick the Carrow’s butt, and let’s face it, that would have been awesome. Maggie Smith did so brilliantly and McGonagall was everything I wanted right down to the tough exterior/heart of gold. Her line, "I've always wanted to do that spell," was just so darn cute. Ron and Hermione's kiss was exactly as it was supposed to be.

The plot would seem a bit confusing in parts to the eejits who have not read the books, as some things were not obvious. The Avada Kedavra/Expelliarmus battle near the end did not make it clear that Voldemort's own curse hit him and I disliked how he suddenly got psoriasis and vanished into thin air. I was expecting jubilation at that moment yet everyone just seemed to ignore Harry, despite the fact that he'd just killed Voldemort. Fred's death is perhaps one of the most impacting things for me in the books and I was disappointed it wasn't given more attention. I was expecting to bawl like a baby but my eyes only welled up as it was only given quite minimal attention. I know it's a fictional world but I feel so sorry for George. However I think the fleeting moment of the dead Lupin and Tonks was excellent.

I missed not having the Teddy Lupin involvement in the movie because I think that Harry being a godfather showed that he was growing up and that a new set of witches and wizards will always fill Hogwarts. I'm a fan of the epilogue in the book because I'm a sucker for happy endings yet it was just so weird and funny at the same time in the movie. When Harry approaches his death and turns the resurrection stone to see Lily, James, Sirius and Lupin was quite well done as was the Kings Cross scene with Dumbledore. Especially annoying was near the end when Harry snaps the Elder Wand before repairing his own. He's not going to use Malfoy's forever is he? That  needed to be in there.

There was more fine detail that was missed and probably some things that were added, but for me – it was excellent. Part 2 was everything I wanted it to be. Yes, they missed things, but that fact is overshadowed by the amount they didn’t miss. For a Harry Potter movie I was so bloody impressed and I will be seeing it many more times. I’ll probably notice more mistakes and pick holes in it and get sad that it’s over, but the magic of Harry Potter will live on forever.

June 30, 2011

stingy/frugal/generous



 ^

As the above picture suggests, some people eat money. I am not one of those people. I'm probably more the opposite. Growing up, my parents taught me the value of what I like to call the 'half-and-half' policy. Excusing birthdays, Christmas, necessities and the occasional spoil, if there was something me or my brother wanted, we would have to contribute towards the cost. As a seven year old I wanted my ears pierced but I was only allowed to when I was eight. We came up with an agreement that if I wanted pierced ears during my seventh year, I would have to save up and pay for half. (Mind you it was only $6!) Our contribution has always depended on the situation and still does today, but often we hear, "We'll go you halves." My parents have always taught me the value of hard work and saving. I can remember saving my pocket money for that particular something and I saved for almost a year in 2009 for my Nikon, which my parents also generously contributed to. 
I don't like spending excessive amounts of money, unless it's merited. When shopping, I consider purchases over-thoughtfully and want my value for money. When I started casual work at the beginning of grade nine, it really made me value money a lot more. It's very easy to spend your parent’s money and expect them to pay for everything, until you know that every ten bucks or so, is an hour of work. I sometimes worry that I'm stingy and I probably sometimes am as I don't have a ridiculous amount of money (sometimes I have barely any at all). There is a big difference between stingy and frugal though. Stingy is defined as, "reluctant to give or spend, not generous." And frugal as: "economical in use or expenditure, thrifty." I like to think I'm more on the economical side of my spending, but seeing as I regularly add up the total of my whole outfit and give myself a pat on the back if it's under $50, I'm most likely a tad stingy. 

I'm thankful for the way my parents have taught me about money. They have taught me the value of money and to work hard for it. To save for future aspects but to always be generous. And that a little splurge every now and then is perfectly okay. Most importantly, Mum and Dad have shown me that money isn't everything. I see kids and teenagers whose parents buy them everything that they want. Obviously the responsibility is with the parents, but I worry about kids who are used to getting so much without effort. For them, money can mean everything, yet they have no concept of what it takes to attain it. I'm currently saving for a Mac Book and my parents have agreed to contribute towards it. Not half though, because now I'm older, more responsibility lies with me. While my parents still pay for a lot of my things and constantly surprise me with their generosity, I'm glad that they've given room for me to be independent in my finances. I know that when I'm older I'll be fit for supporting myself more so than the kids that never learnt the value of money.    

June 18, 2011

race ya?


I love The Amazing Race. It’s one of my favourite shows, and I say that completely unembarrassed. It’s an epic combination of scavenger hunts and travel – two things that I think are pretty damn awesome. I get so excited when it’s aired on television, which hadn’t really happened much of late. I love the challenges they do and the places they go. Everyone has one weird quirky thing that they’ve always wanted to do. And mine is to be a contestant on The Amazing Race. This used to be a dream that could never happen, because appearing on the American show is very unlikely for an Australian living in Australia. So you can imagine my excitement when The Amazing Race Australia was launched last month. Yes! My dream was no longer crushed. It can (and hopefully will) happen.

Half of the drama and excitement on the show is how the teams relate with one another. Or how two members of a team get along. Or how they don’t. The American Amazing Race is very dramatised and I love it, even if it’s incredibly annoying at times. I thought the Australian version would be perhaps not as over the top in that regard, but no. It is at times sometimes even worse. It’s hilarious when a team is made up of a dating couple who have clearly not dealt with much conflict together. There is a couple on the Australian version at the moment exactly like this. The guy is totally over controlling and will not let his girlfriend do anything that he hasn’t told her to do. He yells at her for turning on a tap and claims she’s selfish for not apologising to him when she did nothing wrong, yet he refuses to apologise himself. In last week’s episode, while riding quad bikes on sand dunes, she crashed and he checked that the bike was okay before her. He then said, “If you were behind me like I told you to, this wouldn’t have happened.” Did someone say jerk?

While this particular couple is an extreme case of conflict during the Amazing Race, it can happen. Two people being with each other for every single moment is enough, but throw in strenuous physical activity, navigating through foreign countries, doing things out of your comfort zone, all of it in the nature of competition. A big competition. You can see why people get a wee bit stressed. I think that entering the Amazing Race should be a prerequisite for any marriage. It’s better than any marriage course you could do. If you can get a decent way through the Amazing Race, co-operating and not killing each other, I think you’ll be right. When I’m a contestant on the Amazing Race Australia, which I definitely will be one day, it will probably be a good idea to utilise the free marriage course and do it with a boyfriend or fiancĂ©. The weird thing is, the couple I mentioned before, actually decided to go on the Amazing Race for that very reason. Apparently they’re still together.

June 11, 2011

nerdosaurus


      ^

On Wednesday, after 3 years, 1 month and 22 days, my braces came off. I didn't mind having braces at all, and although I'm glad to see the back of them, I at first felt like I'd lost a little piece of me. (I'm over that now). Despite that the good old days of headgear are behind us, there's still a 'nerdy' stigma attached to braces, even though a lot of teenagers have, or have had, them. Perhaps to be considered even nerdier, are the beloved glasses. Add them to the braces, perhaps some frizzy hair, an outdated cardigan and BAM. Ultimate nerd. Apparently. Last week for the first time I got prescribed for reading glasses. So for a mere five days I had glasses, braces and probably an outdated cardigan (I will add that I make second-hand cardi's look exponentially cool) minus the frizzy hair. I was the epitome of ‘nerd’.

But then I lost the metal mouth and lost my nerd status. I'm glad that I only had braces and glasses at the same time for a short time, but I still embraced my outer nerd. But it got me thinking, why are these outward characteristics considered nerdy? A nerd is defined as "an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a non-social hobby or pursuit". A nerd is basically an extreme enthusiast. They come in many varieties. Whether it be a computer nerd, a Star Wars nerd (I know an extreme case of one of those), a school nerd, (think Hermione) or God forbid a Glee nerd. A nerd is intelligent and an expert on their topic. If they were to go on a game show with questions specifically catered for their nerd topic, they would know all the answers. Nerds are nonconformist. They don't go along with trends or popularity; they are a nerdy about whatever they like, based on their own interests and hobbies.

Having mouth problems and visual impairment does not make us nerdy but it perhaps contributes to the overall look of it. I like to consider myself a nerd, but upon learning the real definition, I know I fail. The closest thing I would be is a Harry Potter nerd, but seeing as I'm not that obsessed and Potter is a very conformist thing of late, I don’t fit the nerd code. I'm a bit of an English nerd as I love reading, writing and talking about books. And I like learning. Does that count? I want to be a nerd. So if like me, you are unsure of your nerdiness or perhaps would appreciate some more nerd in your life here are what I like to call The Three Steps to Ultimate Nerdiness. After choosing what you will become nerdy about, Step 1 is to LEARN everything you can about your chosen field of nerd. Step 2 is to become an EXPERT. You must know every single pointless detail and be ready to whip it out on any occasion. And step 3 is to DEFEND. A lot of people don't like nerds for some reason (probably jealousy), and will try to test you. So be proud of your nerdiness and defend your subject with your great intellect. And maybe throw on a pair of glasses to seal the deal.

May 31, 2011

human trafficking does exist


^

Last night, there was an expose on live cattle trafficking from Australia to Indonesia on ABC1 program Four Corners. I didn't watch the program, but this is what I have discovered. Thousands of cattle are sent by ship to Indonesia, where they are fattened and then sent to the slaughter. 500,000 cattle are sent to Indonesia each year due to such a high demand for beef. The trade values at $300 million. The cows are kept in atrocious conditions; they are abused and then die slow and hideous deaths.

I understand that it is shocking and somewhat controversial. According to an ABC News article, the Australian government is now considering banning live animal exports. As of yet, I don't know where I stand with this issue. What I do know is that a nation is in uproar about a trafficking trade worth $300 million, with 500,000 victims. The outrage has been expressed through all kinds of social networking and media. But there is another trade that I know about. One that earns $32 BILLION per year. One that has 27 MILLION victims.

Human trafficking.

Slavery exists. Let me reiterate those statistics. Every year 27 million people are sold. Sold. That's more than the every person in Australia. 1.4 million of those are sold into slavery for the sex trade. 800,000 women and girls are trafficked across international borders. They are kidnapped, taken to foreign countries and are repeatedly raped and beaten. Sexual exploitation alone generates $27.8 billion a year. Somebody becomes a victim every 30 seconds.

I understand that it all sounds like numbers. If it does, watch this and this. What we have got to realise is that while 27 million victims sounds colossal, we have to look at them one by one. It could be your sister, your brother, your parent, your neighbour, your child or even you. Every 1 in that 27 million counts.

So while people in Australia are fretting about the horrible treatment of cows, millions of people are imprisoned in a trade that they in no way asked for. During the 45 minutes of the report about the cattle trade, 90 people were victimised into trafficking. I'm not saying that treating animals badly is okay. Because it's not. What I'm saying is that it is so bloody ridiculous that 500,000 cows is a big deal when there are 27 million humans in a far worse situation. People are more important.

The issue of human trafficking can sound a bit exaggerated, but it's true. Too true even. For anyone who has seen the movie Taken, about a man who hunts down the traffickers of his daughter, that is an accurate representation of what happens. I heard a true story about a man, while on a mission trip in India, whose taxi driver took a turn down a wrong street. The street happened to be where a large amount of sex trade was partaking. In rows and stacked up on the sides of the street were girls, of all ages, naked and in cages.
This is real.

The worst part of all in this horrible issue is that only 1% of victims are rescued. And only 1 out of every 100,000 traffickers are convicted for their crime. Human trafficking thrives in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and is not seen as a present issue Australia. Perhaps that is why the government sees no reason to create awareness for it. But it is an issue for Australia. Just because we don't think we live in close proximity to an issue, does not mean that we ignore it.

The A21 Campaign is an organisation that was "born with the decision of ordinary people taking the responsibility for human trafficking." They are passionate towards creating awareness and doing absolutely everything they can to minimise human trafficking. They describe the trafficking trade as the 'modern day Holocaust.'

A couple of hours ago I posted this on Facebook: "I don't know much about the live cattle trade, but I know that there have been 27 million victims of slavery, 1.4 million of those into the sex trade. It's horrendous. People are more important. Do something about that first." I was encouraged to see someone else repost this.

I truly believe that people are more important. All people are important. Take responsibility for human trafficking. Because I don't know about you, but it disgusts me. It makes me sick that this is happening in the world we live in. In the 21st century, after centuries of conflicts and the fight for freedom, we are still fighting. If we don't speak up, no one will. There are 27 million people without a voice. And they need our help.

May 26, 2011

if the shoe fits

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Ah, shoesssssssssssssssss. That's my inward, if not outward, reaction to shoes. I melt like butter on hot toast when I see a pair of delectably attractive footwear. I suppose it's a tad crazy that something you wear on your feet can evoke such a reaction, but it does nonetheless. There are countless times that I've been shopping and have immediately stopped, my companion steps ahead, because a pair of shoes have caught my eye. Sorry to be frivolous, but I love shoes. That's not to say I love all of them. I am incredibly bias and even derogatory towards some footwear. There are some damn ugly shoes out there. Sneakers, although serving a good purpose, are not attractive, especially when teamed with jeans. I'm not a fan of platform heels, or thigh high boots, or loafers. The new boot trend that's going around doesn't particularly tickle my fancy either. The list could go on. Style is not the only issue, as both colour and texture can make or break the beauty of a shoe.

For one who claims to love shoes so much, I don't actually have that many. 22 pairs in total, but it seems like a lot less to me, as I probably don’t wear half of them. My absolute favourite pair of shoes I own are my teal high top Converses with the yellow laces. My brother bought them for me for my 14th birthday and I have worn them so often that they are incredibly comfortable. I love Converses a lot. I have a pair brown suede lace-up ankle boots that my friend Lizzy bought me on a rainy day when I was wearing inappropriate footwear and was running the risk of getting hypothermia. I never liked suede shoes before and now do very much indeed. I also have a pair or red-ish coloured flats that my parents bought me a couple of years back which are beautiful. Do you see a reoccurring theme here? I do. I'm currently saving up for
this pair of Dr. Martens, and if you buy them, I will kill you.

I'm a budget shopper in every way possible, which sometimes includes footwear. But I can merit more than a hundred bucks being spent on love for your feet. One day I hope I have places to go other than school that deserve more interesting and classier footwear. I don't think a person can ever have too many shoes. You can't say that they are pointless or worthless, because everyone needs to wear shoes. Otherwise splinters would become a pretty big issue. Shoes are a staple in every ones wardrobe. Shoes can make a person feel much better about themself. As long as they're comfortable. I loathe uncomfortable shoes. Practicality, as well as style, are just as important when dressing your feet.