25 August 2015

Five years. Not one swear word.

It's true. 

My beautiful first born turns five today.

And in all that time she has never sworn. 

Despite the prolific profanity from her mother, the closest my baby girl has come to swearing is when she misheard her father and yelled 'Sausage' instead of 'Tosser' at a car that cut us off on a country road. 

That's right.  

Five profanity free years! Take that #TeamNuture.  And take a bow #TeamNature. 

She uses many of my other oft uttered words like 'conundrum' and 'goose' and 'darling' and 'discombobulation' and 'riddickerlous' and 'hiwearweus', so it's not that she's not listening.  

She can name a dozen different kind of dinosaur and speak some Spanish.  But that's down to Playschool and Dora.  She can sing most of the Muppet's soundtrack but that's car trips for you. She thinks singing "It's all about the cake, bout the cake, NO SALAD" is the funniest thing ever but that's because of Meghan Trainor and a recent visit from Dillon and Lachie.  

Not a one. 

Not. One. Swear.Word. 

I honestly want you all to stand up and punch the air and yell 'FUCK YEAH'.

Not because I care if she swears. I really don't. She'll sort out appropriate and inappropriate and do her own thing regardless of me, regardless of her father and regardless of what is considered socially acceptable.  I know this because we all do.  

But we spend a lot of time worrying as parents that our own lack of perfection outweighs anything else that we do.  We think that our stuff ups are far more visible to our children than all the things we get right.  We worry that our quirks are more powerful than our personalities. 

We're fecking idiots.

And arrogant with it.  

Our children do not look to us to be perfect if we give them the same luxury of imperfection.  They do not look to us to be right if we are gracious enough to admit wrongs. They don't mind our cases of overwhelm if we allow them to yell too when they don't have the words to express themselves quietly.  

They basically don't give a shit what we do as long as we are not holding them to higher standards then we adhere to ourselves. 

My five year old is not stupid. She knows the difference between adult words and kids words. She knows that saying something is 'boring' drives me to distraction. She knows that words like 'hate' are not tolerated and that being unkind is unacceptable. She knows that 'patience' means waiting quietly and yet she doesn't do it because she doesn't understand why waiting quietly is any way a virtue.  

I don't either. We have that in common. 

But my profanities are not the words that matter to her. At all. And that's a powerful message for a mama. 

She knows that I don't always get it right. If I don't own up, she'll call me on it. She is fierce in her loves and her passions. She is loyal to her friends. She feels all the feels. 

All. Of. The. Feels. 

She is kind. She adores her sister and is adored equally in return.  She and her father can say 'bottom' out loud for days on end and never fail to find it hilarious. She is grumpy. She is cheerful. She is a morning person.

Like a real live bonafide morning person.

She loves reading. And songs. And music. She is tired. She is brave. She is funny. She is clever. She is interesting. She is interested. 

She is human.

And she allows me to be human too. 

Happy 5th birthday to my peaceful, my powerful, my bright and my beautiful Tullinator. 

Thank you for loving me. Just the way I am. 

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18 August 2015

Humanity with profanity (and giveaway)

What a blogger looks like 'at conference'
Over the weekend I attended ProBlogger conference which is (drum roll) a conference about blogging.

Somebody said that getting 700 plus bloggers in one place to talk about something they're fanatical about made us sound a bit like Hillsong but I can assure you that there was way too much wine without water, no Justin Bieber and way too many times the word 'vagina' was mentioned for that comparison to have any validity.

I was a little bit (read: hugely) chuffed when somebody described my blog to another blogger as "kind of social good and people focussed, pretty funny, a bit ranty and with a touch of swearing".

Humanity with profanity. Who knew I had a niche???

That said, it's no secret that I feel all the feels and generally feel quite strongly about them as well. And I'm okay with that. Mostly. Except when I'm not.  And then I generally blog about that too.

Somebody asked me what drove me to blog in the first place and it was simply being stuck at home with two small people who were unable to engage in any meaningful discussion about why Tony Abbott was such an arsehat or why tuna has to feature so prominently in lunch recipes.  I can't say it was a calling as such but I am happy to repurpose that should I ever write a memoir.

And to be fair to me - those two small people are still disinclined to participate in solid discussions like that but can name every single Disney princess known to mankind, 7894 reasons not to eat vegetables and most of the planets.  We basically don't have a thing in common apart from the odd gene or two.

So I blog on. Or carry on. Take your pick.

If I was asked to identify what drives a lot of my posts - it's my aversion to apathy. This is of course beautifully summed up by The Lorax.

The rest of the time I just blog for the conversation.  I'm an innately social person who works for herself.  I like the connection. I'm not on a journey. I have no fashion sense. Can't cook. Won't craft. Think that if you're kind to your children you're probably doing okay. Only run for money. Reflexively sarcastic and with a very black sense of humour.

I don't have 'a thing'.

But I like people. I genuinely do. Even the ones in velour. Unless you're a dick. Then I'm less inclined to like you but I TRY not to be a dick back.  Not always successfully. Because, you know, human.

So there is my one thing. My contagious message.

On another note - I am an active supporter of a couple of organisations that are incredibly dedicated to the #dontbeadick philosophy - one of which is, as you know, World Vision Australia.  World Vision are bringing the awesomely talented voice play skills of Naturally 7 to Australia in the next few weeks.

Naturally 7 have #madskillz.

Naturally 7 have supported Michael Buble world tours, duetted with him, played with Coldplay, Ludacris, Mick Hucknall and so on and so forth.  You can check them out-voicing The Voice here and all you have to do to win one of ten pairs of tickets is to comment below or on my Facebook page telling me the name of somebody you think is ace and the show to which you would like tickets if you won! (Comp closes at 6pm on 28 August 2015 AEST)

What about you? What is your contagious message when it comes to life? Got one? Wanna borrow mine?

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7 August 2015

A 40 hour ponder

When I was younger I used to love participating in the 40 hour famine.  I'd like to say that it was just because I am a nice person and raising money for people less lucky than myself was a driving part of my personality from birth, but I suspect my early social activism was driven by a love of barley sugar lollies.

Plus you probably got a certificate.  And who in the 80s didn't love a certificate? 

Everybody did back then - why even the cast of Neighbours participated and in the years that followed the cast of Heartbreak High had a sleepover together to participate and then even later Hugh Jackman participated and thus eating barley sugar for 40 hours became a bonafide sexy time activity. 

For some inexplicable reason Australia and New Zealand are the only people that 'famine' for 40 hours. Every other country that participates does it for anywhere from 8 - 30 hours. This is a sensible amount of time because you can sleep for the entire time. We definitely missed a trick there. 

The 40 hour famine and the MS read-a-thon were my introductions to social activism when I think on it.  And with the 40 hour famine gig turning 40 this year, just like I did last year (I'm such a trendsetter) it's interesting to reflect on how the notion of social responsibility has evolved from my point of view. 

The 80s were famous for capitalism, greed, high pants, bad perms and flat tops.  Activism was something that people did in the 60s while smoking weed and social good always had to be a school approved activity.  We had receipt books, and sealed envelopes and while we thought the notion of starving sounded awful, we were DOING something helpful and wasn't that nice.

Fast forward to now and social justice is one of my driving passions and I struggle to find proof sometimes that anything I do, or that anyone else does, makes any difference at all.  Capitalism and greed have become the hallmarks of our government policy, plastic sandals are back, and people wear 80s hair styles and smoke weed as part of their retro stylings.  It's like nothing and everything has changed.

My fundraising efforts have evolved over the years and I lost the taste for barley sugars about the same time as I discovered West Coast Coolers were yummier than Passion Pop. What I haven't lost is my intrinsic belief that apathy is far more destructive than any other single human approach and that we must be proactive in our quest for a world that is about 'us' and not about 'I'. 

It's worth me remembering that if the 40 hour famine is still ticking along after all these years, evolving to meet the lifestyles of a new era of young social activists, that apathy is not actually the defining element of our society. People do care and in their own small ways, are striking out and making small sacrifices that contribute to change.

And that is something that truly electrifies me. That all of us, in our own small way, are contributing not only to the sales of barley sugar but towards a world that allows for kindness, compassion and empathy to be the hallmarks of a decade.  And that my friends is awesome.  

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4 August 2015

Small People. Big Futures.

I didn't blog much in July.  My brain was basically overwhelmed by the world's general dickishness and I really felt that if people were going to be such arsehats to each other, there was nothing I could say or do that would change that. 

But then just this morning, the fug lifted and I remembered that if I quite liked being that pain the arse friend you all have with an opinion that none of you asked for and so I lifted my hands to the keyboard and started tapping out all these letters, one after another and words are appearing before my eyes.  It's freakin' magic I tell you.

So today is the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children's Day which is dedicated to celebrating the strengths and culture of indigenous children. This year's theme is Little People, Big Futures.

Which is ace. Most parents like to do that with their own little people.  Celebrate their strengths. Explore their culture.  Dream of their possible futures.  Give them opportunity. See them soar.

And then some numpty wrote a comment on an article saying "Why did they need a special day? - Don't all kids matter?"

And I yelled at my computer "OH FOR FUCK'S SAKE". Out loud. Really loudly actually. Because when you work on your own you can yell at your computer as much as you like.

Because of course all small people matter BUT some adults are idiots and racist and discriminatory and so not all kids get the same opportunities to realise their strengths.  So we need to do whatever we can. And if that means our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have a whole day dedicated to reminding them why they are beautiful and worthy and wonderful - then BRING IT ON.

The reason we need to celebrate the strengths and cultures of our indigenous children was made evident with the furore around Adam Goodes last week.  You know, the bit where every racist in Australia spent a lot of time explaining that they aren't racist it's just they don't like Adam Goodes.

Fine. Whatever. I don't care how you justify your racism to yourself. Just don't try and justify it to me.

The simple fact is that following 227 years of systematic and institutionalised racism, not all of the children born in Australia can count on a big future.

And we know that because small Aboriginal girls dressed up as Elsa from Frozen are colour shamed in shopping queues by adult women who think only small blonde girls have a right to play dress ups.

We know that because 60% of our Aboriginal children are lagging behind their peers by the time they start the first grade and only 10% of them get to finish Year 12.

We know that because we boo our Aboriginal sportspeople for performing indigenous dances at matches but not the fair skinned rapists, wife beaters, drug takers or the idiots that shag their best friend's wives at family barbecues.

We know that because 26% of our prison population is Indigenous but yet they only make up 2.5% of our population.

We know that because 20% of Aboriginal teenagers are not living with either parent. We know that that Aboriginal children are more likely to be in care, deprived of the opportunity to know culture, know self.

We know it because non-indigenous children grow up unable to speak a single word of a local language but can go to schools where they are taught in French.

We know it because girls like Samantha Harris and Jessica Mauboy can never just be models or singers, but have to learn to navigate the tricky and sometimes ugly political and media landscape that dissects every word they utter and every move they make to ensure that they are being 'Australian' correctly.

We know it because we know about the American Civil War but not about Myall Creek, Risdon Cove or the Tasmania "Black Wars".

We know it because we know the story of activist Martin Luther King but not that of Vincent Lingiarri.

We know it.

So to all the beautiful Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who see and hear the very worst of what we have to say, hear this also.

Those people that speak badly, they do not speak for me or mine.

We who do not experience the adversity of racism nevertheless recognise it's impact on those who are afflicted.

We will try to speak up when people speak down.

We will challenge the placidity and laziness of everyday racism.

And most of all we recognise that we can not change what has happened, but that we can change what will happen, by trying to raise our own small people to be the kind of people you would be proud to call Australian.

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