14 August 2017

One for each year

I got asked last week why I feel so passionately about marriage equality when I'm not gay.

I'd like to say first of all that I don't think wanting all the humans in the world to have the same human rights as other human rights is the weird thing.

I think the weird thing is that not everybody cares about equality.... not just marriage equality.  Why aren't we all passionate about a world that is free of hate and bigotry of all kinds. Why does one human think they are better or more worthy than another human being EVER?

I mean we can think we're funnier, or more interesting, or cleverer, or even better looking - but to think we are more human than another human on the basis of skin colour, religion, sexuality or anything at all really is just daft.

And I think people know that.  They do. But we can convince ourselves of almost anything in an effort to belong and some people choose hate as their act of belonging.  That's the whole thing about free choice.

But sexuality isn't a choice.  It's the same as skin colour. Fuck all to do with you and all to do with biology.  That' doesn't mean sometimes you don't wish it was different - I'd love to have skin the colour of Lupita Nyong'o - but I was cursed with the kind of pinky white skin that burns in the sun and makes you look weird and blotchy for a month after you cry.

I think the only reason people would wish their sexuality was different though is because as a society we have spent a lot of time being homo/queer-hateful and that kind of negativity can be hard to ignore.

And some people argue that marriage equality is not THE issue of the day. That it doesn't affect everybody.  But it does. When inequality is enshrined in law against any of our fellow humans, we're essentially condoning inequality as a reasonable option. And history shows that ignoring inequality and hate allows it to flourish. It's a well documented way to hell.

But we're on the cusp of setting the world to rights by ensuring all Australians have the same human rights as each other. Sure, I get that we can go to war with North Korea without voting for it but deleting a sentence in our legislation requires 122 million dollars worth of paperwork - but hey, mine is not to point out the hypocrisy again of the LNP.  They're doing a mighty fine job of it themselves.
But I am 42 years old.  And I have at least 42 reasons of my own, one for each year I've been alive, for wanting marriage equality.  They have names, partners, children, homes. I have worked with them, travelled with them, drank wine with them, cried with them, laughed with them, celebrated with them. They are my friends, my confidants, my tribe. They are better humans than me on the whole, and mostly better looking and kinder. None of them are funnier obviously but then who is?

So in short, I have at least 42 reasons for being passionate about marriage equality.

Even though I'm not gay.


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3 August 2017

This time next year

I had to have a really difficult conversation with my daughters aged five and six this week.

And I blame Brad Purdy and Karl Stefanovic.

source: News.com.au
We were watching our recording of 'This Time Next Year' on Tuesday afternoon and Karl encouraged Brad to say it out loud..... so he did.

"I am gay."

Says the six year old who is about four years late to the "WHY" stage.... "Why did he have to say it out loud?"

So I explained that he has never told anybody before that he is gay.

"But why not?"

"Well he was worried that his family and friends might not love him if they knew."

"But why?"

"Well some people don't think that loving people of the same gender is okay."

The five year old now adds her "But why?" in that tone that tells an adult that they are making no sense at all and you are definitely not getting your point across.

This is where it got tricky - how do you summarise the complex issues of bigotry, politics, religion and the importance of equality into a few sentences that explains everything in a way that is suitable and digestible for two small people. So I said 'Um' and paused for a moment.

And the six year old interjects with "So Brad hasn't told anybody that he wants to find a husband because he is worried his Mum and Dad might be mad at him?"

"Well yes, I suppose so."

"But it's just love, why would his Mum and Dad care who he loved? Isn't love good?"

"Yes, yes it is".

"I don't get it. If you love somebody, you just tell them. You can love anyone you want. It's nobody elses business right?"

And in that moment I could have hugged them so hard they popped. I would have liked to have sat them down in front of every opponent of marriage equality and said to them THIS. THIS IS WHAT LOVE IS.

It's just something you tell people. It's nobody else's business. It's definitely not something that needs to be voted on.  Kids get it. It's only adults that make it more complicated than it needs to be.

But because I'm a responsible parent I just said "No it's nobody else's business my darlings, you're quite right.  It's just that some people are....."

"Arseholes."

Well yes.

But just for the record I was going to say "odd about things sometimes."

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31 July 2017

Bugger sex, it's hate that sells

I watched the news unfold about the unmasking of the terror plot here in Australia and couldn't help but feel a little cynical about it all. 

Not the actual raids  - I'm happy for police and our security services to be arresting every Tom, Dick or Harry that's thinking about inflicting violence against people. I kind of wish they'd be as proactive about arresting people who beat their partners or children on a regular basis as they are about uncovering plots about so called jihadis on ipads.

No, my cynicism is linked to the media beat up of the story. In a few short hours we went from having thwarted a terror attack that was going to blow up a plane, to having thwarted a terror attack that was going to gas everybody on board, to showing people wearing hijabs being escorted from houses even though there has been nothing at all to suggest that any of these women have anything to do with anything but we all know that a key part of creating an anti-muslim narrative is to show pictures of hijabis.  

And now we have the breaking news about some young men who planned violence back in 2014. It's breaking news.  It's excellent breaking news that we can have all the bad news about those bad bad Muslim terrorists on the front page of our papers and news sites today, just when ALL OF THE MUSLIMS TRIED TO KILL US AGAIN. 

And breathe. 

I am so over the media narrative that creates a society that is so heartbreakingly xenophobic that no matter what the truth is, we can't see it because we're being fed a solid diet of inflammatory, hate filled bile that sees truth being abandoned for distasteful rhetoric that distracts from the issues we should be talking about. 

Are we talking about the marginalisation of the poor to ensure tax breaks for the rich? Are we talking about the systematic torture and abuse of refugees that we are paying for on Manus and Nauru? Are we talking about ingrained racism so horrendous that we the death of an Aboriginal boy chased down by a man in a truck is considered manslaughter not murder? Are we sharing positive community stories of inclusion and success?  Are we talking about anything that actually impacts everyday Australia?

Nope, we're all just hating on Muslims again.  And of course, that means predominantly women and children bear the brunt of our hateful racist discourse because they are visibly identifiable due to their choice of headwear.  

Now I know that not everybody subscribes to my way of thinking. I know that a lot of people think we have to do everything we can to protect ourselves from all the bad people.  And do you know something. That would be fine by me IF WE ACTUALLY WERE PROTECTING OURSELVES FROM THE PEOPLE THAT ARE ACTUALLY FACTUALLY MORE LIKELY TO HURT US.

The statistics prove over and over and over and over again that the likelihood of us experiencing death as a result of terrorism are extremely low. We're more likely to die at the hands of a partner, or a drunk driver, or the police. We are more likely to die falling down stairs, being bitten by a dog, as a result of an breathing related incident. 

Basically - while terrorism totally sucks arse, it's not where we should be focussing our attention. We definitely shouldn't be having the media whip up a xenophobic rage against a tiny percentage of the population so that we stop thinking critically for ourselves. 

Worse is that we've been here. We know how the demonisation of a religious minority plays out. We know that ultimately it ends badly. 

Hate sells. So please for the love of Colin, you have the power, so stop buying into it.

And actually, physically, stop buying it. Please. 

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21 July 2017

Dear Australia Post

Oh how I want to say it's not you, it's me.

But it's not.

I pay a small fortune to post letters via you and can't even get a letter from capital city to capital city in a week.

But yet strangely, the letter I sent to England arrived in three days.

I order things online and your parcel delivery drivers don't even pretend to deliver the parcel anymore, just drop it at the closest post office and ask them to send me a parcel card to collect it.

Every other courier company can pull up outside any of the houses on my street and drop a parcel off, they can even follow the directions on the front if there are specific delivery instructions.  But not Australia Post.
What happens when you google Australia Post Fail?

I go online to suburb based forums and find page after page after page of people lamenting the money they pay Australia Post for a service they no longer get. So I recommend Sendle to all of them. It's not perfect but at least they deliver your parcels to your door. I go to google and it's pages of articles and media storm proving that I am not alone in finding you the most frustrating service provider in Australia.

I go onto Twitter - the 24/7 channel to talk to you and you don't reply for days. You only ever answered my email once. Nothing has changed. Your local representative at the post office tells me to complain to head office. I ring and waste vast periods of my life not having the phone picked up.

You paid one CEO millions for nothing and the next CEO, a woman, you pay nothing compared to the other. But still service hasn't changed so it's not like you are investing the money you saved on perpetuating gender based inequality to improve the quality of the service.

You lament that we don't use your service but why would we when we can send it via couriers for less, and know that not only will they come to collect it, but they'll actually deliver it on time too. To the address. Not to somewhere nearby which is more convenient for the driver.

Of course today I'm just annoyed because if it wasn't for me following up missing parcels with the company that sent them, I'd be none the wiser that I didn't have parcels delivered again.

Twice. Twice in one day I had to go to the post office to collect parcels that I was home to receive.

The post office guy told me that the delivery man once got a parking ticket on the road I live in. So now he won't deliver parcels to our street because it has limited parking. I live in Sydney everywhere has limited parking so I find this excuse nothing but pure tomf&&kery.

My post office people are lovely. But I have no interest in visiting them a few times a month to check if I have any parcels.  Because you are paying a driver to deliver those parcels and he's not. So I kind feel not only am I getting screwed here, but you are too.

I know there are worse problems in the world. But I kind of feeling that a postal delivery service should be able to deliver the post.  You know, or rebrand to Australia Post Not Quite Delivering Your Packages Because It Is Too Much Of A Pain In The Arse To Actually Deliver Parcels Service. 

Yours crankily, (and still missing a package that was due today)
Me



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13 July 2017

Not a butt kisser

This is the brief I got from Talk About Creative
"Please just write for your readers - what they want to read - 
just please refer back to anything you like on our blog."
And they will give me some money in return for my words. 
This is what is known in the 'hood as a sponsored post and this is me being upfront about it.
🙌 🙌 🙌 🙌 🙌 🙌 🙌 🙌 🙌

I really don't know what you want to read, dear Readers. But hello, here I am writing. Again. 

I have been working full-time since I was 17 years old.  I've worked in different states and in different countries. I've worked for big globals and small NFPs.  I've worked great jobs surrounded by awful people and some awful jobs surrounded by great people. And it took me a good twenty years to realise something about myself.

I'm incapable of kissing arse.  

Don't get me wrong, I've tried. I could see how it worked from a young age. Say the right thing, curry favour with the 'right people', don't disagree with bosses, laugh a lot, always defer to somebody more senior even if they are talking horse-shit. 

I tried for a very long time. I even caught myself 'tinkling with laughter' at one boss' asinine jokes to prove what a good sport I was. I think occasionally I even cracked the subtle art of 'playing the game'. So it was a gradual realisation for me that it was never going to work for me. I haven't got it in me.  Respect for me is something we earn. A title or seniority in the system doesn't mean shit if you're not treating other people with respect.  And there are a stupid amount of managers out there that don't deserve the respect they demand.

So it was a surprise to me to realise that 12 months into starting my own business, I had gone down the 'playing the game' route in establishing my business.  I was trying to kiss arse and I didn't even know whose butt I was trying to kiss. I was conforming, corporatising and becoming the kind of consultancy that made ME, MYSELF yawn. 

I wasn't loving it. Because it wasn't me. My business started to flourish when I just started being ME again. I'm loud. I'm outspoken. I'm good at what I do. I am good at out of the box thinking. I am so super excited about working with businesses that want to contribute to the world in a way that is good and just and positive (as well as make money - we don't need to be unrealistic here people!)

 I didn't want to work with just anybody, I didn't want to kiss arse to get jobs and work with people that weren't my kind of people. I wanted to work with people that know who I am and what I stand for. I wanted to work with people that are interested in what I know, not just who I know. 

But it's funny.  When we put ourselves out there for the first time, trying to create something that we are massively passionate about, it's so easy to fall down the rabbit hole of taking advice from people not necessarily qualified to do it.  The ol' it worked for them, it's what I should do! All my original business blogs were so freakin' boring that when I rebooted my website last year, I pulled them all down. It was because here on Talking Frankly, where I just wrote as me, it worked. But over on Elverson, I was writing like I had some kind of stick shoved up my rear end. 

And since I work in the new media space, writing copy and articles, creating strategies and managing risk for businesses investing in social - being boring, uninspired and talking in a voice entirely alien to my own was never going to be a good way to build my business. 

And I wish I had I discovered Talk About Creative earlier, I kind of feel I wouldn't have taken as long to work this all from a business perspective. Just this week they put up a post called Why your Facebook Strategy is a pile of POOP!  - it's the kind of stuff I often say to clients, but for some reason - while I think it, and I speak it, I am not blogging about it. 

And my massive - somebody just slapped a fish across my face and yelled "FISH" - moment was blogging never works if you don't write with the same passion for a topic that exists when you talk about it or actually do it.  Everything you blog about is going to be POOP if you're doing it because you have to, and not because blogging is one of the ways you connect and engage with people. 

Which is the whole reason I started blogging in the first place. This is why I'm passionate about social media and it's incredible role in creating positive communities, sharing ideas, education and empowerment.  

So I'm thanking Talk About Creative for the kick up the butt. I'm thanking them for highlighting the disconnect between one of my blogs and the other.  I'm thanking them for the dosh. I'm thanking them for the huge amount of blogs they have written which I can share and use as resources both for myself, and for when I meet others embarking on the, frankly insane, small business journey.

And yes, I used the word JOURNEY. It's okay. I'll see myself out. 

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26 June 2017

Best. Superheroes. Ever.

There are very few 'professional' opportunities for a blog written by a pottymouth female who has no 'niche', so the fact that two have recently come into my inbox makes me feel a bit like a kid on Christmas morning.

The first was an invitation from iFLY Indoor Skydiving Sydney West to come and check out their new Superhero Training School which is launching these school holidays.  I immediately said yes to five gifted tickets without checking the small print.

In case you are wondering, the small print will tell you that a thrice fractured S3 vertebrae rules you out of flying until it heals properly. This broken butt business is starting to get old I have to say!

But I digress.

Nobody makes it through life without wishing they could fly at least once.  As adults we chase it by bungy jumping, parasailing or via tandem skydives. I did a bungy jump in New Zealand some years ago over Lake Taupo. The feeling of tipping off the platform to plummet towards the water below is one of such exquisite terror that you understand why people become addicted to it. There is a poetry to the freefall that is not reflected by the words captured in the recording of my fall when I ask if it's okay to wet myself.  The answer is yes it is, but I didn't. It's a life highlight to be honest.

Thing is, bungee jumps, skydives, parasailing - they are things you do once because, well, because money.  But kids don't think of life in terms of money. It's the best thing about being a kid really, not having to think about money.

Kids think of life in terms of experiences.

And if you don't think flying like your favourite Superhero is an experience, you are dead inside.

Learning to fly like a Superhero is pretty much the best thing ever if you are 5, 6 and/or 7 years old (my control group for this experiment). Actually, my husband is 35 and he also thought it was the best thing ever.... so basically - being a Superhero NEVER EVER gets stale.


Mind you, when you head to one of the iFLY venues to try it for yourself these holidays (on the basis of this blog so that lots more people realise the value of giving cool shit to pottymouth bloggers - please and thank you) make sure you are totally ready to answer questions about how people fly, how planes fly, why Superheroes wear capes if they aren't actually needed for flight, why birds flap wings and people don't flap arms, and also have some kind of theory about why they won't get travel sick flying when they do get travel sick sometimes on car trips.

FOCUS CHILDREN! WE ARE GOING TO FLY!

Anybody who reads my rants regularly knows that I am absolutely besotted with my children.  I got lucky basically - I grew really awesome humans. And my heart basically burst out of my chest when I saw them all kitted up in their 'air suits' ready to fly.  They'd done their training and knew what all the hand signals were and they looked like a cross between Superwoman and tiny Top Guns.

The cute! It burned!



And to see them fly! Their small faces screwed up in concentration (and also because they hadn't realised how blowy it was inside the flying tunnel) and their bodies curved into the right shapes to stay afloat.


All the feels on the faces of the the ones that chose to 'go up' (which is when Jimmy - the instructor - takes hold of them and flys them up to the top of the tunnel and back down again. TWICE!).

video

It was also beyond adorable when my smallest one was momentarily terrified, when she thought he was going to let her go (he wasn't).  Bet it's the first "tandem skydive" he's ever done with a small person on his head!


When they had finished and were basically on the kind of high adrenalin brings - bouncing around the venue almost achieving more height than they had during the flight - I tried to get them to describe how they felt about it.  Mr 7 wanted to go straight back in NOW, Tully (aged 6) wants to come again because she felt like a 'real life Superwoman' and Cassidy (aged 5) thought it was great but she DOES NOT WANT TO GO AGAIN!

"I liked it Mama, but I think I prefer being in a plane to being out of one!"

And it's fair to say that should Mr 35 follow through on his current plans to become a skydiving champion, he'll have no reason to oppose me getting another motorbike.

While the kids loved flying, they were also fascinated by the training, the outfits, and they adored watching the iFLY teams demonstrating the advanced flying techniques such as spinning and going upside down and flying in formation.  They spent ages with their faces pressed to the glass (sorry whoever had to clean that glass) watching in fascination and opining on how it might work. I'm fairly confident on the basis of those discussions that none of them are heading for a career in aviation but who knows....

There was a downside to having spent a few hours living the Superhero dream - leaving the venue we had to impose some rules banning freestyle parkour and have some quick conversations about gravity and why you can't fly without training. Especially from walls, park benches and the like.

We'll be back fo' schiz - probably after my broken vertebrae heals and we've had a chance for Cassidy to forget the moment she sat on Jimmy's head.  Sorry again Jimmy.

With the man himself - Jimmy
For those interested in giving their kids the full Superhero experience and join me as "Mama of the Year", there are three current locations for iFly Indoor Skydiving - Sydney West, Gold Coast and Perth. Opening over the next year there will be another Sydney venue and a Melbourne venue. The Superhero training classes are free (sans fly) and only $39 with a 'fly'.  For more details go to www.ifly.com.au


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20 June 2017

More of them then ever

Today is World Refugee Day.

So remember that as you get out of your bed that was in no danger of being bombed last night.

So remember that as you order your soy based decaffeinated latte and skip breakfast even though there was plenty of food to be eaten at home.

So remember that as you send your children off to school feeling confident that no army will break in during the day and steal them away.

So remember that as you drop a text to your friend making plans for next weekend because you aren’t locked up in indefinite detention illegally.

So remember that as you chat to your colleagues and badmouth the prime minister knowing you won’t be shot for treason.

So remember that as your children come home and tell you that they hate potatoes because you know that kind of hate won’t kill them.

So remember that as you lie beside your partner secure in the knowledge that you will both be there in the morning.

So remember that as you go to the toilet and pee for as long as you like without having a guard time you for your two minutes, or have to barter your dignity to get four minutes.

So remember that as you worry that your children have been exposed to adult themes listening to Katy Perry rather than been exposed to adult themes by being sent to fight in a war.

So remember that as you complain about the mortgage confident that you’re not having to sell your house to get on a boat in the middle of the night because you have no other option if you want your children to grow to be adults.

So remember that when you drive home from work and nobody fires a gun at you.

So remember that when you argue with a policeman knowing that he won’t threaten to rape your daughter to make a point.

So remember that when you vote in people that disregard other people’s human rights.

So remember that when you turn off the news because you’re sick of hearing about refugees.

So remember that when you demonise people based on race or religion.

So remember that nobody leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark. 

Because refugees are you.  Refugees are me.

To deny their humanity is to deny ours.

Today is World Refugee Day.


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