Why you won’t know who you are and what you want out of life until you give yourself a fucking break

Out of high school I was very passionate and driven. There was a whole life and career that I envisaged for myself and I was keen to get started on it. However, as become clear through my tumultuous, laborious and scattered twenties, none of the things I believed I wanted for my life actually brought me any joy or sense of accomplishment. I drifted from one career aspiration to the next, with fabulous opportunities to grow and cultivate myself in live theatre, commercial radio, film & television production, and the visual arts. And each time, the opportunity and experience fizzled out leaving nothing more than a brittle sense of disappointment and failure. 

Looking back on all that now, I recognise that I actually had no idea what I wanted. I was a complete and utter stranger to myself. And it’s no surprise, because I treated myself like an absolute c*nt.

When understanding our relationships with others, it makes complete sense that most of us only reveal our real and authentic selves when we feel very, very safe. People cultivate this sense of safety in the way they treat us – with kindness, softness, understanding, and trust. We rarely bare our souls and reveal our intimate needs with someone else who heavily criticises us, demeans us, takes advantage of us and doesn’t ever listen. However, this is pretty routine behaviour when it comes to the relationship we have with ourselves.

When it comes to ourselves we don’t think twice to label ourselves “stupid” or “lazy”, “fat”, “old” or “a failure”. We push our bodies to the breaking point with work or parenting or partying, never heeding the growing demands to pause, reflect and rest. We avoid quiet time with ourselves, instead, drowning out periods of stillness with illuminated screens and endless Seinfeld re-runs. It’s no wonder we’re reluctant to reveal our innermost needs & desires. We treat ourselves like crap. But while you may have made this kind of inward relationship second nature, it doesn’t mean you can’t turn things around – after all, you have a lifetime so it’s never too late. I have been working on reinventing my relationship with myself over the past 4 or 5 years. I won’t say it’s been easy, after all, my inner self was understandably suspicious after all the initial maltreatment. But slowly, and reticently she’s begun to reveal herself. And here are some kindness practices that I used to help coax her out – hopefully they’ll help for you too…

  1. Stop with the negative self-talk.
    It’s not motivating. It’s not chic. And it’s not necessary to make hilarious memes out of. Think of the things you say to yourself and ask yourself if you’d say those things to someone you actually like and would want to be on your side. Trade in cruelty and condemnation for curiosity and compassion. It’s fine to make mistakes, it’s fine to screw up – just be creative in the way you respond to yourself afterwards. See how you can try to soothe and learn, rather than criticise and condemn. Also, call a mate out for being unkind to themselves, help them see how they might reframe that into something fuelled by kindness and self-respect.
  2. Seek out stillness.
    If you want to hear what your inner self wants and needs out of life, you need to make space to listen. That means taking time out to  go inward. Practices like meditation, yoga, deep breathing and intentional listening are great to give your mind and body some space from the demands of the world and let your inner connection flourish.
  3. Walk away from toxic people & places.
    If there are outer relationships or environments that make you feel really shitty, it’s time to move on from them. The longer you resist, the longer you tell your inner self that this is what you deserve. Try to surround yourself with people who have your back and lift you up, and immerse yourself in places that leave you feeling creative, connected, recharged and purposeful. 

It can be a tough time reinventing your inward relationship but there really is no rush. Baby steps are better than no steps. And you can be guaranteed that once you foster a better relationship with yourself you will begin to see your external relationships improve, and your relationship blossom of external experiences and opportunities. Best of luck showing yourself some love this year, you bloody deserve it.

A revised list on what to do before getting pregnant

What my miscarriage taught me about second chances.

This month I had a miscarriage. It was the first time I had ever been pregnant and the pain of the loss was incredibly visceral and real. Over the space of three months I was swept away in the idea that in a few months more, my world would be radically different. My life would not be solely my own responsibility anymore. I would be blessed with an experience unlike any other and my life would cop an entire overhaul. I felt nervous, excited and began readying myself. And then, one moment, laying beneath the cool jelly of the sonographer’s wand, it was all over. There was no heartbeat. No growth. There would be no baby.

It’s an odd feeling. Losing something that you never had, but that you so vividly imagined was already yours. The grief hit hard at first and then came in waves. While being in the midst of the loss, it was hard to see beyond the immediate pangs of my own sadness. I knew, deep down that there could be some lesson in this experience, some solace that, in time, I could grow within (despite the physical absence of such realities). I let my emotions play out. I listened to sad songs, wrote in my journal, sobbed in meditation and shared my journey with close friends and loved ones. As the acute pangs of grief subsided, I realised that there was indeed a gift that I could take from this tragedy. That gift was a second chance at a life without a baby, with space to allow myself to grow into a greater wife, friend and future-mother. I started asking myself what this second chance afforded me, and what I could discover and indulge in before my partner and I took the leap into the family-fray once more.

There are plenty of lists online about “what to do before falling pregnant” but they’re all about quitting smoking or taking vitamins or budgeting for nappies. But what about real, genuine learnings and experiences that would be useful (or at least much more convenient) before facing the impossible task of raising children? I asked a few of my friends who have kids. I thought about the limitations I felt I faced in my few months of pregnancy. I honed in on the things that overwhelmed and scared me most about the prospect of mothering. And I came up with this list…

Take Control of Your Thoughts & Manage Your Emotions

This one is not reserved for the parents-to-be, but is the responsibility of all of us. If you’re not behind the driver’s seat when it comes to your thoughts and emotions, they will well-and-truly run the show. Not to mention that, being unaware of how to deal with them effectively means it will be impossible for you to help teach your kids how to do the same. Learning to spot thought patterns that are destructive, limiting and unhelpful and becoming adept at replacing them with more cognitively nutritious ways of thinking is an incredible life-skill. As is learning to identify and sit with uncomfortable emotions, and not becoming obsessed with getting rid of them or changing them. This is something I’ve been working on over the past few years with regular mindfulness meditation, journaling and thought disruption practices, and it has been truly life changing.

Do Stuff that is Reckless and Indulgent

There is a LOT of fun stuff that they tell you not to do when you’re pregnant – beyond the whole no-drinking, no-oysters and lay off the soft, unpasteurised cheeses thing (hell, they even tell you you shouldn’t go in a spa bath). When I found out I was pregnant, I found myself wondering when is the next time I could ride a rollercoaster, or go on a horse trail ride? What about bungee jumping or trapeze? I know that life and fun doesn’t stop when you have kids, but it sure does get harder to drop everything one weekend and do something silly, lazy or possibly dangerous. When you have other little people whose lives depend on you, you need to get responsible. Which means that, post-kids, letting off fireworks out in a field somewhere, on mushrooms, might not seem like the best idea. But it doesn’t make it any less fun. So why not indulge now, when you have the freedom?

Get Comfortable Being Out of Control

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I did all I could to ensure I was being a stand-up gestational goddess. I made sure I was drinking the right teas, taking the right vitamins. I stayed away from people with flu, I moved my body mindfully and tried to limit stress and manage my anxiety. And guess what? I miscarried anyway. I think there is this real idea that mothering provides you with the opportunity of total control – you grow baby, you raise baby. You are calling all the shots. When in reality, I think that it couldn’t be further from the truth. Before and even while you give birth, there is so much that can happen that really has little to nothing to do with you. Then, when you are raising a child, I’m sure you discover that they are a whole entire little person with obscure needs and desires that you cannot always intuit or control completely. You can’t take the reins of life and lead it in your preferred direction one hundred percent of the time. Realising that sometimes whatever happens is going to happen, despite how much you micro-manage or over prepare for alternate outcomes, is beautiful permission to let go and roll with it.

Cherish Your Body

I have to admit that being pregnant was the first time in a very long time that I was able to look at my body in a mirror and not greet it with the superficial desire that it should be different. That my waist should be smaller. My thighs should be slimmer. That my shoulders were too broad and ugly and my teeth were the wrong size. After discovering I was pregnant, I kinda said “fuck that! I’m growing a person in here.” And figured that was enough. And of course, it was. But I also stopped and wondered to myself “Hey…I’ve always been growing a person in here. Not, physically another person, but me.” I wondered why it took me gestating a foetus to pause and marvel at the gifts of the human body and all the wonderful experiences and opportunities it affords me. How it houses me and protects me and does so much intricate and incredible stuff to keep me alive without me even thinking about it. If I ever have kids, I’d love for them to learn that too.

Learn Gratitude for the Phases of Your Life

In our society, it’s easy to think that we live life in a linear fashion. One thing follows another thing. We grow up, we get a job, we find a partner, we have kids, etc. and we die (hopefully at the end) and that’s it, the story’s over. However, the more I learn from the lives of those around me and from the very essence and fluidity of nature is that life runs in cycles. Sometimes we can find ourselves back to feeling the same sort of vulnerability and confusion like we did as children lost in a shopping mall.  Or drunk on power and control like we did as the older sibling lauding over our familial minions. Transitioning into parenthood is not necessarily a step forward in life, but could be one of going back. Revisiting past challenges and rekindling past kinds of love in new and different ways. There is something to be commiserated in every phase of life, just as there is something to be celebrated. As I languidly woke alongside my husband this morning, on an overcast Sunday at 9:30am to the sound of birds chirping, and faced a day with little in the way of commitments or responsibilities – I figured it was something to be grateful for. As, with the future prospect of child-rearing, this phase may be one that will not be ours forever and one that we will not revisit for a good, long while.

Breathe into Your Future

Something that surprised me most about being pregnant was how real and vividly something became in my mind and heart before it existed tangibly in my life. It was as if the physical proof of the first ultrasound scan gave me licence to believe this was something meant for me in my life. It made me wonder why I am so reluctant to believe so richly and fully in other parts of my own future this way. Sure, there’s no “career prosperity” ultrasound scan that you can get, and hey, even if you could – it’s no hard proof that that’s what you can expect with one hundred percent certainty. But hope is a beautiful thing. And it did feel powerful to hold onto it as I did, despite this time, with it coming to nothing. I’d like to learn to bring more of this faith into my daily life. Give myself permission to look forward and fully own that vision of what I want my life to become – with babies and beyond.

The selfish side of empathy

Empathy gets a good rap – and so it should. It enables us to connect with one another on an emotional level, and feel alongside others, particularly those who may be suffering.

I’ve always considered myself a rather empathetic person. I’m a good reader of other people’s emotional states. I’m quick to imagine what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. I cry during every Queer Eye episode. etc.

I remember times growing up when my mum was depressed and I felt her mood encompass me. While she was sad I felt unable to feel anything else but sad. I felt so attuned to her emotionally but also made it my duty to suffer alongside her – it felt only fair.

After all, isn’t one being emotionally tone deaf to carry along on one’s merry way when someone you love is feeling such pain?

Now that I’m older, my empathy presents in the same way, however, I’m becoming increasingly sceptical if this emotional mirroring is really a helpful asset. In fact, it may be a feature that places a weighty responsibility on the other person, making them feel culpable for my responsive feelings of sadness (e.g. “if I wasn’t feeling so sad, you wouldn’t be upset). Not only that, but it may have the effect of disallowing the other to accept and experience their own emotions, faced with the added burden of having to comfort me in my allegiant gloom. 

As I become more in tune, less reactive and slightly more curious about my own emotional responses, I’ve begun questioning my automatic empathetic response. In light of much I’ve been learning about holding space for others, listening with intent to understand and allowing others to have their own emotional experiences without judgment or reparation – I wonder how this empathy might be harnessed in a more helpful way. 

I am inspired by my partner – someone with a remarkably high emotional IQ (who hasn’t needed to learn it via a swathe of mental health journals and psychology books, ala me). When he meets me in my moments of suffering and sadness, he doesn’t try to force it out of me, nor does he wilt and wallow in a similar state alongside. He recognises what I’m going through. He lets me feel it without judgment. And while he might extend to me a little more added compassion & sensitivity, he meets me from where he is. If his mood is one of contentment, he doesn’t extinguish this. And having him there, feeling full, is a comfort to me on my darker days. It’s a little reminder of what’s possible. And it makes a part of me happy to know he is happy.

Learning to respond from such a place of strength won’t come naturally to me. My regular programming is firmly engrained and I’m going to have to remain well aware of my emotional responses in the event of the suffering of those close to me, so as not to automatically react with more of the same.

Empathy is a weird thing. But with all the good that it can do (and does), I’ll just have to keep practicing and strive to do it justice.

Why I secretly want celebrities to fail

Ok. I’m going to be real with you right now and I’m well aware that it will not make me look good. But there is a part of me that quite enjoys seeing celebrities fail. Whether it’s marriage breakdowns or public scandals, their creative projects bombing on a grand scale or them simply getting dragged for being socially unaware and generally tone-deaf to the current cultural climate.

Now I don’t generally enjoy basking in the suffering of others. Schadenfreude is a big ugly German word and, I mean, I’m not a psychopath (I know, I’ve done the test). So I’ve been curious about why I derive pleasure from seeing – what are essentially – other human beings fuck up.

I first thought it was the reassuring thought that “celebrities are people too” and they make mistakes. This would then make me feel better about my own mistakes. However, I think this reasoning is far too magnanimous to explain my reactions.

So I started re-evaluating our relationship with celebrities. Generally, they are quite shallow, curated and voyeuristic. Unless we’re close friends with a celebrity, we don’t know that much about them besides the fact they are publicly recognised in their given field, have a large platform through which to communicate and are (probably) wealthy.

Now how do we define/understand the following…?

  • Recognized in one’s given field
  • Has large platform through which to communicate/access resources
  • Wealthy

If you’re anything like me, you might see the former points as a clear representation of objective success. These celebrities are often living, breathing icons of “success”. So when someone successful stumbles, fails or fucks up in some way, it’s almost indicative of the fact that they can’t have it all. They can’t have the success and the happy relationship, or success and the smart kid who gets into college off their own back, or success and a first-class law degree.

This type of objective “success” is seen as its own reward. And a pretty lush one at that. Why should these people need more – when it seems like they have so much already? Perhaps I enjoy their failure (as Scrooge-ish as it seems) because it evens the playing field?

There’s plenty wrong with this way of thinking – enjoying the failure of others is a definite “dick-move” mindset. But it does provide me some insight into my personal insecurities and shortcomings as well as a little perspective on a few issues, namely:

  • The mindset of scarcity, e.g. the more someone else has, the less there will be for me.
  • My personal concept of success, e.g. what does it mean to live a successful life? What do I need in order to consider myself a success?
  • Judgement e.g. why do I react with hostility to other people? What is it about them that makes me feel threatened?

 I’m going to explore these points in some future blogs to see if I can get a little more wise in these departments. Do you ever recognise these issues at the heart of any of your dick-move mindsets? Lmk.  

Why Meditation Sucks

I don’t like meditating. Thinking a lot about everything is possibly my favourite pastime and so when someone says I should meditate it’s kind of like saying to someone who loves to crochet “Don’t crochet. Find time in your day to specifically not crochet.”

When I was a young kid, I remember my dad meditating. I remember thinking it was weird. Fancy being a grown-up and getting to do whatever you want, like buy every single tube of Pringles at the supermarket or drink Creaming Soda every day or ride all the cool rollercoasters – but instead, you choose to just sit down and close your eyes and do nothing.

I learnt meditation when I was around 8, when I started yoga. I was a super anxious kid – my head would often swarm with vivid and horrible imaginings of awful things happening to me and my family – and it used to give me chronic stomach aches. So to calm me down, my mum (who was way ahead of the yoga game) enrolled me in a kid’s yoga class. At the end of each class we were led through a very basic meditation. It involved feeling love radiate from within you like warm sunshine and fill your body, and then flow out your feet and fill the Earth. I liked how it made me feel and often let it play out in my head before going to sleep. But then I remember bringing it up around some primary school friends once and they laughed at me and said it weird. So I stopped doing it after that.

Fast forward to grown-up me, I’ve found myself consistently shocked at how frequently and adamantly most great thinkers in the psychology field insist upon a regular meditation practice. I mean, don’t they have anything better to do? And yet, time and time again, there it is. Just clap meditate clap So I tried picking it up a few times. I didn’t like it. I thought it was boring. It felt difficult most times, confusing other times, and all in all, not particularly useful. So I gave up. I had better things to think about.

Then late last year, I felt myself in a slump. That feeling where you’re being pulled in every direction (mostly from yourself and your own expectations) and I felt swamped and overwhelmed, like my face was wrapped with a wet towel and it was difficult just to breathe. I was mainly concerned with the fact that I felt chronically uninspired. My days seemed to fill up so quickly with meaningless fodder and at the same time I never had time to do things that really mattered to me. I went to my therapist and explained all this to her, and she said to me…

“Have you tried meditating?”

Pls, not this again.

Couldn’t she suggest something else? Like, anything else? When you go to chat to someone about how busy you are and they come at you with the old “Have you tried sitting down and doing nothing”, it’s like “Seriously? No.”

But she explained to me this notion of “creating space”. How the heaving pull of life can feel so stifling and suffocating when we neglect to give ourselves space from it.

I recalled the feeling of the wet towel. I wanted to breathe. So I tried meditating again.

I don’t like meditating. I don’t like cleaning my bathroom either, but when my bathroom is clean I feel good. That’s how I feel after meditating. It clears space in my head and as a result, helps me clear space in my life. It’s helped me become unwound from my wet towel and breathe through soft linen. I am not free of the weight of the world, but it’s no longer suffocating me.


At this time of year, there’s plenty to celebrate. With an influx of engagements and pregnancy announcements – our parties, functions and online feeds are gushing with public proclamations of some recently unlocked life achievement. 

After celebrating my own engagement this year, my partner and I have received many congratulations regarding the upcoming nuptials. Our online announcement elicited many messages of celebration and well wishes, and after the wave of dopamine subsided, I pondered the moments in our lives that will be met with the most congratulations. Weddings, engagements, new jobs, new houses, babies and births – these milestones are widely understood as positive, undoubtedly  celebration-worthy events and they all mark the occurrence of one thing – a new beginning.   
New beginnings are exciting. They symbolize the heralding of something different, and unknown. Starting something new can fuel us with a fresh sense of purpose and direction.
The moments in life that I feel are truly celebration-worthy are not the beginnings. But the middles. When you’re faced with hardship you never anticipated. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable and it is scary and uncomfortable. When everything seems to be conspiring against you. When you are so overwhelmed, broken and defeated and you’re teetering on the brink of giving it all up.

But you don’t.

These silent and noble moments often pass unnoticed. Not met with any filtered Instagram posts or public announcements over Christmas lunch. I often wonder if we underestimate the importance of these moments because they’re not received with a champagne toast, or a stylized photo shoot or 100+ little cyber thumbs-up. 

So with no likelihood of public congratulations, it will be up to you (and perhaps those very close to you) to recognize and celebrate these true life achievements. Albeit not as flashy as the beginnings of a lifelong love or a brand new baby, these moments make up the invisible middles that help strengthen our connections, build our resilience and fill our lives with purpose, direction and growth. So if no ones congratulated you for those moments this year, I’m raising a glass for you right now. 

Why Queen’s New Biopic is No Rhapsody for Young Artists

As a teenager, I was a crazy Queen fan. T-shirts, figurines, DVDs of live concerts and music videos, with obsessive recollection of the track listings of every Queen album. I loved Freddie and his story most of all. I would read bios written by anyone and everyone to learn as much as I could about his journey.
Bohemian Rhapsody does no justice to that journey.
The film is as grandiose, pompous and cliche as a good many Queen tracks but it does a huge disservice to future artists by the way it tells Freddie & the band’s story. There is no suggestion as to how Freddie became a musician, no inkling as to how he grew as a performer. He enters the film as a fully formed superstar destined for stardom and stardom is dutifully delivered. The impression that a talent, voice and presence as immense as Freddie Mercury’s was something ever present tells young artists “you either have it or you don’t” and if you have it, your rise to meteoric fame will be easy. There was no exploration of the struggle, the tireless grind, the growth, obsession and commitment of his story. The part I always found the most interesting and inspiring.
In addition to this, the film expertly paints characters as one-dimensional heroes and villain (guess who’s the hero – spoiler, it’s Queen) and reduces homosexuality to moustaches and a leather-clad gay club montage (no.)
I’m sure my fourteen year old self would have loved the film – the fabulous outfits, the awesome soundtrack, the glossy, vintage glimpse into an epic band’s rise to glory. However, my older, more cynical self sees how destructive representations of success can be in the eyes of young, impressionable creatives. Making Freddie’s journey come off as a “bed of roses” or “pleasure cruise” makes it all the more difficult for people to recognise that effort is an essential ingredient to any success story. Although, if you’d prefer to keep kidding yourself and see rockstars as divine entities with untouched, god-given talents who were always bound for greatness then you might enjoy this film. However, my suggestion would be to go back, listen to their records beginning to end, and let the music speak for itself. That’s Freddie’s true legacy and his story – told when he had the voice to tell it.


NB: If you’re hungry for some musician biopics with a little more grit or insight, some of my favourites are Tina & Ike’s story in Whats Love Got To Do With It, the last days of Brian Jones in Stoned, early Beatles story with Backbeat and The Doors.

The Art of Putting Yourself Down

There is a trend among some to be outspoken and vocal about the parts of themselves they’re unhappy with. The art of the put-down is less fashionable now but I remember, particularly back in high school, when it was the done thing. And I was certainly a master.
Putting myself down around others was an attempt at reasserting my humility. It tried to quash any suppositions of the narcissistic, egotistical aspects of my character that people might have read into. The idea that someone might take me for “loving myself” made me very concerned. I didn’t want to be seen in that way. So the easiest way to express myself was to offer frequent reminders to others that I was less than happy with a great slew of general aspects of who I was.
The acknowledgement and dissatisfaction of certain personal qualities was real. And I’m sure, not unique to me. However, the need to share this in the company of others was not particularly brave and vulnerable. Nor did it act as a great impetus for change.

Constant reinforcement of how crap I thought I was didn’t motivate me to improve.

And sharing it with others merely reconfirmed those insecurities – because even when people would argue back and insist I was wrong, I didn’t believe them anyway.
It’s taken a while, but I have since learned what a dangerous and detrimental behaviour this is (here’s when my nana and dad both roll their eyes because they’d been telling me this for years.) Not only does repeating these self-derogatory notions continue to give them more power and truth in your own mind, but the social expression of these notions also helps build them into your public identity. You become the person who isn’t good enough, the person who is insecure, the person who lacks confidence and dislikes themselves. You can also inadvertently make people feel worse about themselves by putting yourself down – if you’re constantly saying “I’m so fat” or “I’m so ugly” some people will use that benchmark at which to judge themselves. And if they consider themselves less attractive than you – you’ve just indirectly called them fat and ugly (it’s not nice, is it?)
The idea of “self-love” now is very much in vogue, and as much as it’s used as a tool for making us buy more of Rhianna’s new Fenty line and other shit we probably don’t need, it’s a much more healthy and empowering attitude to be encouraging. It reminds you “It’s great to like yourself!” It doesn’t mean you think you’re perfect – but it reinforces positive and adaptive ways of thinking about ourselves that help us develop, grow and flourish.
Next time you ‘re on the verge of negative self-talk – check yourself and see how you can rephrase that thought into something more healthy and useful. Make an effort to remind yourself of THREE THINGS you like about yourself, every time you think about something you don’t (because negative cognitions carry more weight than positive ones). And if someone offers you a compliment, just f*ckin’ take it. Don’t challenge it if you don’t believe it – someone has seen something good in you that they deem worthy of mentioning. Perhaps it might even be true.

Why We Should Let Artists Be Happy (And Stop Glamourising Suffering)

“No great genius has ever existed without a touch of madness” – Aristotle.

When’s the last time you heard someone say “I’m so glad that *insert tortured artist here* got clean and is mentally well adjusted. Their work is just so much better now.”
We glorify suffering in the arts. To some degree, I think we equate it with depth. People who feel heaps of feelings must be so complex and multi-faceted and interesting. We often talk about how artists’ peak periods were fraught with misery and turmoil, and their biographies usually end with them dying or getting their shit together (which, in either case, completes the story). It’s true that studies have shown that creative people have an increased likelihood of suffering from mental illness in their lifetime. But are we helping the matter when we constantly equate ones own genius with ones own suffering? 
As an adolescent, I bought into this “tortured-artist” thing hook, line and sinker. I idolised these people, I admired their art and I thought that their psychological illness only served to enhance their creativity. It made me less prone to addressing my own psych issues – hell, it made me, in a way, kind of proud of them. I must be complex, I must be deep, I must be interesting.  
It took a while to break this illusion. Of course, the last thing an “artist” wants to be is less interesting. However, ones ability to make great art is not synonymous with living a great life. We’re constantly shocked when incredibly wealthy, successful artists, who seem to have achieved every creative and commercial accolade possible, reveal they suffer from depression or take their own lives. It’s almost like we think they’re not entitled to be sad when all the while we’ve been hyping the fact that it’s their sadness that helps makes them great.
If you’re one who is prone to glamourising the suffering of your idols (or your own suffering), here are a few things to keep in mind;

  1. 1. You live your life way more than you live your art. They’re not the same thing (even though it does sound wonderfully bohemian). 
  2. 2. Happiness & contentment is not creative suicide. Many artists have flourished with the clarity and balance that comes with getting your shit together. 
  3. 3. The longer you hold onto the idea of suffering as a beacon of complexity and productivity, the harder it will be to separate from it. There is much more that makes you and others prolific, complex and interesting besides unhappiness. 

One of my favourite Americana singer/songwriters, Jason Isbell explores his journey with getting clean, starting a family and maintaining his career and creativity beyond the “tortured artist” concept. Despite walking away from his wild, reckless, outlaw lifestyle, his recent work is beautiful, nuanced and rich in complexity. Which goes to show art can thrive – beyond suffering, beyond misery, beyond  madness. 

“I broke a promise to myself – to ride the throttle ’til the wheels came off (&) burn out like a molotov in the night sky. I broke a promise to myself. And made a couple to a brown-eyed girl who rode with me through the mean old world. Never say die.” Molotov, Jason Isbell. 

For crisis and suicide prevention support, contact Lifeline’s 24 hour crisis line on 13 11 14. For more information and help with depression contact your doctor or Beyond Blue.


Being grateful does us good. Studies have shown that we can increase our levels of happiness by cultivating a daily gratitude practice – that is, by taking time out every day to acknowledge a few things that we’re grateful for. It can help drag us out of the funk of forever focusing on the things we don’t have and be appreciative of the things we do have. But what about when we decide to take our gratitude to the mean feeds of social media? 
I’ve always found loud and public gratitude kind of a weird thing. And since the emergence of apps like Facebook and Instagram, gratuitous gratitude is on constant, public display. People announcing how lucky they are for their partners, or how #blessed they are to be lounging on sunny beaches drinking cocktails. And I’m guilty of it too. Hell, I’ve posted my share of “Tough Day at Work” *posts photo at Opera Bar* and “Happy Anniversary to us! Here’s to many more”. I don’t want to get into shaming posts of gratitude, but I do sometimes wonder about my own intentions when it comes to posting this type of content. Whether I’m doing it to really acknowledge my gratitude, or whether I’m just keen for some quick and easy compliments to boost my self esteem and highlight to my Internet “friends” some of the aspects of my life that aren’t falling apart rn, and accompany them with some some stylised photography?
There’s also the issue of how insensitive some of these posts can seem at times, particularly when you acknowledge that you’re bound to have people on your feed that are going through hard times and experiencing devastating loss, grief, loneliness, isolation, stress, anxiety and depression. I can only imagine how hard it is for someone scrolling their feed on Mother’s Day after losing their mother, or going through a divorce on Valentines Day. When your cyber declaration of gratitude only compounds another person’s feeling of hopelessness, was that public post really worth it? 
Most of us have such a great deal to be grateful for, but perhaps sometimes it’s worth taking stock of how we can best express that gratitude with integrity and honesty. Maybe there’s power in #stay[ing]humble and taking a few moments before going to bed writing down or even just thinking about what makes us grateful in quiet reflection irl. Or maybe that’s so two-thousand-and-late and just post about everything on Twitter, idk. This whole social media revolution has changed the way we interact with our world and to some degree with ourselves and our own thoughts and feelings. Whether gratitude has a place here remains to be seen. And while we’re still working it out, I will be sharing photos from my upcoming holiday to Vegas. Bc #blessed (and also, I like compliments).