BOOK TITLE: The Australia Times - Life & Love magazine. Volume 1, issue 2

November 2013
Vol. 1 No. 2
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
WELCOME NOTE ........................................................... 5
A CURVEBALL ................................................................ 6
TEMPORARY RELIEF FROM HEARTACHE ........................ 8
INTRODUCING DANIELLE ........................................... 12
CRAFTY DEVIL .............................................................. 14
THE BEST EVER, BEST MAN SPEECH ............................. 19
WHEN CAN WE STOP STRIVING?................................ 22
CUTS AND LIES ........................................................... 26
HOW TO LIVE THE GOOD LIFE ................................... 28
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
Cover image courtesy of Angie Geurs from
Forever Soles www.foreversoles.com
Photographer: Hannah Lilly Leser:
Stylist: Kit Alida from Alida Buffalo Vintage
Model: Christina Macpherson
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Independent Media Inspiring Minds4
Welcome to issue numero
duo of TAT’s Life & Love
This month we take
you on a rollercoaster ride of
emoons and I can promise you one
thing: even if you’re the macho type,
I challenge you to not ball your eyes
out like a hormonal teenage girl aer reading
what we have in store for you. But, never fear,
I guarantee you will also end up hysterically
chuckling to yourself - you know, like that
crazy guy on the train who you makes you
kind of wish you had whatever he was
A big shout out to this month’s fabulous
team of wiy
and wonderful wordsmiths and
clever creave types for your truly
amazing talents.
Without you, we wouldn’t have a mag!
Want in? We are always looking for new
contributors, and would love to hear your
feedback. If you’d like more info or just want
to say hello, please ick me an email at:
Peace & Love,
Amy xx
Amy Dorrington is an ex-Queenslander, currently residing in sunny
Melbourne and making a living working for a technology company. When
she’s not blatantly attempting to dazzle people with her charm, wit and
incredible modesty, Amy enjoys interpretive dancing, eating to the point
of food-baby and pretending to care about AFL (because her grandad told
her if she doesn’t like AFL she doesn’t have a soul). Amy has a degree in
Media & Sociology, a tendency to overuse the word ‘magical’ and has
just started a blog called Winning at Failing.
About the Editor:
Image Credit: Hannah Lambeth
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 5
Earlier this year, we were enjoying
some quiet time kicking back with
my folks in Noosa, chilling out after
a month of manically packing up
our lives in Melbourne. Noosa was
our first stop before my fiancée
and I took off on a six-month tour
of Europe, and we were grateful
to have booked in some buffer
time in my hometown.
Mum had mentioned that Dad
had been suffering from some
heart and kidney complaints,
but at 84, these symptoms arent
uncommon and rarely serious.
Dad had started to feel symptoms
on a trip they took to Sydney
in February, with Dad insisting
through the pain on driving non-
stop the entire 1000-kilometre
distance in their new car. Mum
and I had laughed over the
phone afterwards at Dads
stubbornness, especially when
the doctor diagnosed him with
likely gallstones.
I had been so busy packing my
life into boxes in Melbourne that
I hadnt even picked up that
something might be wrong until
we arrived. Dad was skinny,
and looked a little older than he
had looked last time, but he was
happy. We stopped at our favourite
cafe in Coolum on the way home
from the airport, and as we looked
out to the ocean, Dad squeezed
my hand super-tight the way he
used to – until my knuckles felt
like they might break. As usual,
I protested in mock horror whilst
he just laughed, but we both knew
hed never truly hurt me. He let
go and looked at me tenderly.
“I love you, Bier,” using the
nickname I’d been given as a little
It wasnt until a few days later
that I discovered just how bad his
condition actually was. I made
a coffee and sat with Mum in
the living room, and it was then
I saw the sadness in her eyes.
Dad was still asleep, and Mum
was whispering to make sure he
didnt hear. “The cancer is back.
Its travelled to his kidneys, and
its bad.”
My stomach turned to cold, hard
stone and I felt my eyes burn with
by Victoria Schladetsch
Six months ago, a curveball went straight
for my heart and broke it: I found out
that my Dads cancer is back.
Life as I knew it seemed
to disintegrate before me.
So much can change in
less than a year.
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tears. Dad hadnt been out of bed
much the previous two days and
I’d begun to worry. I tried to keep
it together. “I had a feeling. How
long has he got?”
Mum looked at me straight, but
her face flooded with emotion
as she let her guard fall. “The
doctor says maybe three months,
but we still need to see the
specialist. He doesnt want you
to know, he needs to deal with
it in his own way. But I had to
tell you before you go.
Life as I knew it seemed to
disintegrate before me. How do
you digest the news that the only
man youve loved unconditionally
since you were born is going to
In truth, this is the second time
weve faced this prognosis. Four
years ago, I had a call from
Mum with the exact same story.
Dad fought the prostate cancer
bravely the first time, battling
it via chemotherapy for a year
until he took matters into his
own hands. Dad relentlessly
Googled, night after night, and
was led to a glimmer of hope,
not here but in Asia. Mum
and Dad took a mortgage out
on their home and travelled to
a sprawling industrial town
in China, where Dad received
previously un-trialled stem cell
treatment at a ‘cancer hospital’
over the course of six weeks.
Dads cancer not only shrunk
during his time in China, but
virtually disappeared – it was
amazing, an incredible, blissful
miracle. However, Dad flatly
refused to return to the doctors
in Australia for further tests.
Maybe it was because he felt let
down by the Australian health
system, or maybe it was just to
avoid the psychological stress
of a relapse. Ignorance is bliss,
after all. Whatever the case, Dad
hadnt returned for a test until
this year.
The decision to continue with our
trip was one of the hardest I’ve
ever had to make. Pretending
not to know about Dads illness
was even harder. The day we
bid farewell to my parents was
the most difficult on record.
Knowing it might be one of
the last times I see him, and
yet pretending to be so excited,
so happy to leave for the other
side of the world - I cried and
cried in my fiancées arms after
they left. I couldnt think of a more
inappropriate time to leave for
an adventure.
And yet, we did. We travelled, and
via Skype we gave joy and hope
to Mum and Dad through our
stories, and every moment shared
with Dad online and over the
phone was a special one. Hes
survived past his so-called
expiry date yet again, and it
was my beautiful Mum who
has nursed him back to health.
With chemotherapy and most
conventional treatments ruled
out due to his age, it was an
angel in the form of a GP who
recommended (off the record)
that Dad should try a sugar-free
diet. They say sugar feeds the
cancer; theyre right.
In six months, his cancer has
shrunk, his health has returned,
and we too have returned home.
So much can change in less than
a year. My family feel as though
weve lived through a miracle, and
maybe we have. To see him on our
return, so alive and happy, was
the greatest gift, but maintaining
his diet and mental focus is
pivotal to his full recovery. Out
of all of this, Ive learnt to truly
live my values this year: good
health, embracing each moment,
and treasuring family. Without
caring for these three things,
what is life?
by Victoria Schladetsch
I couldnt think of a
more inappropriate
time to leave for
an adventure.
Image Credit: Marie-Louise Schladetsch
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Image Credit: Crossed Heart original image by Liquidnight http://www.ickr.com/photos/47263829@N00/8719226934
Independent Media Inspiring Minds8
It’s 4am.
From above, you hear multiple
voices singing, “…the summer’s
gone, and all the roses falling”.
The disorientation wears off
and you establish your current
location: at home, in bed. Your
Irish neighbours upstairs have
woken you with their drunken
rendition of ‘Danny Boy’. The
wine buzz has worn off and the
booze blues have ofcially set in.
It dawns on you that youre alone;
it’s not just the feeling of literally
being in your own company but a
deep isolation from anyone and
everyone. It’s a state of mind
that isn’t particularly surprising
given the events of the past few
months. But this acceptance
doesn’t necessarily make you
feel any better about it. Theres
a tightness in your chest and
its suddenly hard to breath. It
feels like you want to cry, but you
can’t. You could even say theres
a tingling in your left arm if you
wanted to be really dramatic.
Your mind is racing, what is
wrong with you? You know its
not a heart attack though; it’s
much, much worse.
Popular culture constantly
reminds us that we need to be
strong independent people; and
I’m not here to reject this idea. In
fact, I completely support it.
In our society, it is absolutely
essential to have strength,
otherwise you’d never leave
your house and if you did, the
moment you stepped out onto
the footpath youd be swallowed
Most of us will, at some
point, experience the
exhilaration that is a
by Daniel Walmsley
Image Credit: Heartbreak original image by Paul Iddon http://www.ickr.com/photos/nodditect/70300595/
That bottle of wine polished off just after midnight lulled you
into a false sleep. A moment of confusion, where are you?
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 9
up by the vortex of modern life.
So therefore, yes, we all do have
to be strong and independent
individuals; most of us get this.
If you’re anything like me, getting
through the working week is
an absolute shit-ght. Not to
mention making time for friends,
family, post-graduate education,
cleaning the toilet etc. Life, for
most of us, is really challenging
but we get through it because we
have to. We have ambition, goals
and dreams. We know what we
want, we ght for what we want
and we go for it but that’s not to
say were guaranteed to get it. As
the Rolling Stones song declares,
you can’t always get what you
want. For most, this is hard to
cope with and in our society we
have the luxury of getting really,
really miserable about it.
Most of us will, at some point,
experience the exhilaration that is
a relationship. This can be totally
unexpected and in some cases,
not necessarily something we’ve
wanted; it just sort of happened.
A person materialises before
you and you nd it incredibly
easy to be in their company. You
feel as though you could stay in
the moment forever, or at least
until the bar closes. It might
not happen instantaneously,
but at some point it dawns on
you; you like this person. This is
followed by an absolute feeling
of euphoria. And it’s this magical
feeling that makes you approach
even the dullest of daily tasks
with an enthusiasm you didn’t
even know you were capable of.
You can even see the humour in
your obnoxious Irish neighbours
upstairs. Once you’ve had a hit
of infatuation, you will always
seek it and nothing else can
really compare. It’s unrealistic
to believe that we can stay in a
perpetual state of ‘crush’ forever
but it’s reassuring to know that
it is possible. However, there is
a ip-side and unfortunately, the
opposite end of the spectrum
is equally as intense. If you’re a
sceptic like me, you can’t help
but ask yourself:
1. Where did they come from?
2. Where is this going?
3. Is this really what I want?
It’s around this time that things
generally go one of two ways:
a beautiful union is formed in
which two people come together
and create a beautiful life
together, or things go completely
pear-shaped and the levels of
love and commitment become
completely unbalanced with
one of the parties holding all the
power. The latter is where I nd
myself on that fateful morning
at 4am. Perhaps, it was a case
of spending too much time
pondering over question three.
Or, maybe I was dealing with
someone who didn’t share the
same feelings as I did. Either
way, if I intended to get even
a moment of rest I knew that
something had to be done.
As if to reassure us that were not
crazy and were not alone, our
Facebook and Instagram walls
are bombarded daily with quotes
like, “If it doesn’t come easily, it’s
not worth having”, “be willing to
go it alone” and, my personal
favourite, “one day someone
will walk into your life and make
you see why it never worked out
with anyone else” (initiate eye-
roll now). This provides very little
comfort when you’re home alone
and the only stable relationship
in your life is the manager from
your local liquor store, who
refers to you as a ‘regular’. What
exactly are we supposed to do in
the meantime? Have faith that
something better will come along
or stand idly while everything-
anything slips away from us?
A person materialises
before you and you nd
it incredibly easy to be in
their company.
Independent Media Inspiring Minds10
And even
more alarming,
what about
if we inadvertently fall for the
absolute opposite of everything
we have been programmed to
expect? Youre losing control
of the situation. Suddenly, your
happiness depends on this other
person who doesn’t seem to have
the emotional intelligence to see
that they’re killing you.
If you’re one of the poor souls
whom the tide is turning for, the
following weeks are the hardest.
It’s during this time youre
subjected to awkward dinners,
messages unanswered and
that ‘punched in the stomach
feeling you get when you realise
that the love you have toward
this other person is most likely
unrequited. Your relationship is
falling apart. You know this, they
know this, your friends know this.
But still, you try desperately to
grasp onto anything you can; a
nostalgic trip to that bar you both
liked, a home cooked meal or your
absolute unconditional support
of every move they make in life.
Yet you still seem to fall short. If
only you could have one more
chance. Youd do anything just to
open those communication lines
just one more time. But no matter
how hard you try, there’s nothing
you can do about it. Your instincts
are telling you that it’s over, but
you’re not ready to accept it.
The harshness of reality might
actually break you. So, I say, bury
you head in the sand. Allow
yourself to feel it, wallow even.
It’s okay to admit that youre not
okay. It’s not a sign of weakness
to admit that youre struggling with
the feelings associated with being
Right now, you need to take the
edge off. You will eventually have
to deal with the fact that youre
breaking up, but not right now. In
this moment, you merely have to
get through the day and it could
be as simple as saying hello to
this person. If they don’t respond
then that’s their problem and its
probably for the best that youve
begun the grieving process. You
will eventually be able to accept
this if you honestly believe you’ve
done everything you could
possibly do to salvage this
relationship. The universe can
bring you someone but if they’re
not right, it can pull them away
whether you like it or not. And
no amount of clutching at that
person can stop them from
falling into the black hole of
separation. If it isn’t meant to be, it
will never work.
Ultimately, you cannot depend on
someone else to make you happy.
Happiness and contentment
needs to come from within and a
partner should complement that
not create it. There are various
reasons why youre feeling this
Or, maybe I was
dealing with someone
who didn’t share the same
feelings as I did.
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 11
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
way and perhaps your relationship
is an easy scapegoat. You have
to remember that this isn’t about
them, it’s about you. Perhaps
there really is a bigger picture. You
might be under a lot of pressure
in life, maybe you are just a
little unhappy or dare I say it,
even a little crazy. Regardless,
you still have to go to work in
the morning so there’s no
point worrying about that now.
Sometimes your mental state
really does just needs a quick
x; something to get you through
a particularly heinous working
week or even just through the
night. You need to be able to get
some rest. So now is the time
to formulate a quick plan of
attack. Decide on a time that
you’re going to make contact
with them and don’t think about
it until that time comes.
It’s now 8am and you’re ready
to go to work. In the end, you’ve
decided to disregard your entire
plan of attack. Sure, it helped
you get some rest but theres
no time like the present, right?
What else is there to lose? You
nervously type the simple text and
hit send, it was so easy. You put
the phone into your bag and make
a pact not to think about it for
the rest of the day.
The chest pains have subsided;
you accept that you’re going to live.
The mufed sound of the phone
vibrates almost instantaneously:
one new message.
It’s them, they’ve responded.
You’ve managed to avoid that
horrible post-text 24 hours in limbo
or even worse, no response at all.
It was all so easy. Sure they’re still
treating you like you’re ‘completely
ordinary, not extraordinary’ but it will
have to do for now. The emotional
morphine starts to seep through
your body, you can nally relax
a little. Youre completely aware
that this is a temporary solution
to your current state of mind, but
that doesn’t matter right now.
Sometimes even the strongest,
most independent people need
a Band-Aid to get them through
the loneliest moments in life.
So go on, pick up that phone.
Send that text. You are not alone.
It’s going to be okay; at least
for today.
I promise.
But no matter how
hard you try, there’s nothing
you can do about it.
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Danielle Kate Sibbons was
born on 25th November 2001
with the left side of her head,
the back of her neck and
shoulders, her lower back and
several places on her legs and
her bottom, covered with thick
black skin.
Three days later, she received a
diagnosis of Congenital Giant
Melanocytic Nevus. There is no
known cause and no cure. In the
giant form, it is rare.
At the age of seven days, Danielle
had the rst of many surgeries.
The black lumpy skin on her
head, neck and lower back was
removed, as well as some of the
smaller patches, and the precious
child was in an induced coma for
ve days.
After a month, Danielle was
allowed to go home just for
Christmas Day, wrapped in
Finally, she was discharged
from the Adelaide Womens and
Childrens Hospital on the proviso
that she be brought in to the
ward every day for painful
dressing changes. Slowly, the
gap between dressing changes
stretched to two days apart and
none on weekends.
The skin on her head did not
regrow, and she endured several
infections. As she got older, she
had to be sedated for dressing
changes. The specialists allowed
her to celebrate her rst birthday
with no dressing change and
four days later, she had a skin
graft to cover the entire left side
of her head as the skin was not
ever going to grow back. The
whole of her right thigh had
the skin harvested for her scalp
By Marilyn Linn
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
Danielle reached all the
developmental milestones of
teething, crawling, walking
and talking. The skin graft
was successful but there was
much scar tissue. Hair where
it is not wanted is often an
issue. Folliculitis became an
issue because the hair could
not penetrate the scarring and
became infected. More heavy
doses of antibiotics followed
This became the norm until she
was three years old when a dental
check discovered every one of her
teeth was hollow. She underwent
another general anaesthetic and
each tooth was lled to maintain
spaces for her second teeth in due
Regular skin checks continue to
be undertaken and two years
ago, she had another large
surgery because there was some
suspicious colour in the thick scar
tissue on her neck.
As she grows, more and more
satellite nevi pop up but there is
no hair on the entire left side of her
head. There are no hair follicles in
the grafted skin but all the other
places where there is nevus skin,
there is hair, including face, arms,
legs, back, tummy . At three years
of age, she had her own battery-
operated shaver and could shave
her own legs and arms.
Laser treatment was attempted,
in an effort to reduce the hair
growth and to lighten the nevus,
with limited success. The pain
of healing was considerable for
this brave little girl. Other forms
of hair removal are not suitable
because of the fragile nature of
nevus skin.
She has hundreds of satellite nevi
now but this courageous child
wears a bikini to swim in and
shorts when the weather is hot.
The sun is another huge issue for
Danielle. Sun safety is crucial
and she has learned to apply sun
protection properly. As well as
courageous, she is growing in
She is twelve years old now and
is a competent athlete, plays
volleyball, does jazz, modern
and classical ballet, participates
in recreational callisthenics,
learns violin and piano and can
sing like an angel.
Her head will never have hair
on the left side and she will
always have to shave the hair off
the other nevi.
Nevus skin does not have sweat
glands, so her body is prone to
overheating. Her teachers are
supportive and they know she
is not one to complain. They
keep an eye on her, especially
during sport at school. The
school assistant allows Danielle
to keep a cold face-washer in the
fridge at school to assist her with
cooling down when the weather
is inclement.
The regular check-ups at the
Women’s and Childrens Hospital
and visits to many specialists,
will be on-going all of her life.
Every single spot of nevus is
considered to be pre-melanoma
and she will never be free of it. It
will not ‘get better’.
She is undoubtedly courageous
as she learns to manage her
skin issue and never grizzles
about doctors’ appointments and
Danielle is a delightful twelve-
year-old child with a huge skin
issue with which she will have to
deal for the rest of her life.
Danielle’s parents have set
up and co-ordinate a support
group for other families with a
nevus person and you can nd
out more about this condition
at: www.nevussupport.com
Independent Media Inspiring Minds16
disaster waiting to happen and the garment ended
up two sizes larger than planned! Still, I was into
recycling not re-knitting so I washed the unfortunate
garment and stuck it in the tumble dryer where it
predictably shrunk to a small girl size. My BF (now
husband - coincidence? I think not!) was openly
thrilled to be spared from wearing a sloppy cabled
flop, while my GF was thrilled with her tight mini
woolly in the decade where muffin top jumpers
were quite the rage. A couple decades of ‘knitters
abstinence’ followed, partly due to the muffin top
flop as well as a long period of living in a sub-tropical
coastal village where anyone wearing anything
other than boardies
and a cotton sweater on even the coldest days of a
Queensland winter was scornfully looked upon
as a softie.
My knitting career was initially launched at about
eight years of age, when a brave teacher set our
class a craft project for the term, the boys looking
suitably unimpressed, necks swivelled to the oval
below. I chose to create a hot water bottle cover in
navy blue and green stripes, ignoring both teacher
and parent warnings that “blue and green
I still carry the emotional scars from my enthusiastic
crafty endeavours of the ’70s, as a ‘twenty-something’
new teacher in a small country town with obviously
way too much time on my hands...
There was my foray into the weird and wonderful
world of macramé, where my bizarre creation of a
‘rustic’ owl balancing precariously on a branch lent
a quirky touch to my sparsely decorated rental at
the time. I’ve never quite recovered from the silent
smirks of friends staying over, their inquisitive eyes
drawn like moths to a light in the direction of the
lopsided object of my creativity drooping forlornly
in a corner. I decided right then and there that
macramé was definitely not my thing!
Next came the knitted garment for the BF. Back in
the era of flares and bad haircuts, knitting a garment
for your chosen one was a sign of true love. I asked
myself many times over the years that followed, why
oh why didnt I stick to something simple like a
pompom beanie. Not me... instead, I launched head
first into a complicated cable pattern no less. As a
novice cable pattern knitter, this was obviously a
by Connie Lambeth
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
Independent Media Inspiring Minds18
should never be seen without a colour in-between.
Well the sky didn’t fall in, though I spent several
weeks terrified it would!
The most favourite knitting recollection I have is of
a long colourful scarf, which I worked on fervently
during history classes one year in secondary school.
Things were cruising along quite well in the
early weeks while the garment remained within
the perimeters of my desk. However, the situation
eventually grew out of hand, as the ever-growing
monstrosity wound its way over numerous
desks like an oversized rainbow
serpent. Eager classmates,
mostly boys from
my memory, tied,
tangled, twisted
and wrapped my
creation around
chairs, desk
legs and even
c l a s s m a t e s
(especially the nerds
huddled together in the
back corner). By this stage
things started to turn a little ugly
with the once patient teacher’s furrowed
brow knitted (excuse the pun) together in a snarling
fury. It was at that precise moment when I came
to the realisation that my class time knit sessions
had had their day, as had my popularity with that
particular teacher. Still, good while it lasted and s
ome much needed entertainment as we endured
the endless monotony of 18th century history in
continents far away from our reality at that
time. (Our teen reality being who to sit with
in class, what boy you liked the most and
the contents of the latest Dolly magazine).
I’m into knitting again and obviously not the only
one who gets a thrill out of twirling a bit of yarn
around a couple of knitting needles. It’s great to see
a resurgence of this creative, relaxing and socially
cheerful craft, with groups of girls and women
flocking to knitting groups across cities, suburbs
and rural areas across Australia. One such
knitting group in the United States call
themselves ‘Stitch n’ Bitch!’ My local knitting
group is nameless to my knowledge, with
more of the ‘stitch’ and less of the ‘bitch.
No doubt, there are a few
men also enjoying such
pursuits these days.
This thought
prompted me
to explore the
history of men
and knitting,
that in the
period knitting
was a male
dominated trade and
only men were allowed to
join knitting associations! It was
high status work, which could include knitting silk
stockings for the Queen. A woman could only join
if she was the widow of a master knitter, passed all
of the tests required to achieve the status of master
herself and received special permission from the other
masters. Centuries later, there is a resurgence in mens
interest in this craft. We hear stories of men knitting
in prisons and on public transport, while boys in
some schools learn to knit as in the past, no longer for
reasons of necessity but rather for pleasure and self-
Photo Credit: Guerrilla Knitted Bike original image by Dan DeLuca http://www.flickr.com/photos/19257752@N00/4862019198
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
Independent Media Inspiring Minds20
“Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that
he is finding his place in it while really it is finding
its place in him.
(C.S. Lewis)
I also discovered that there are a number
of charity knitting groups such as
Knitting for Brisbanes Needy, which
covers not only Brisbane, but anywhere in
Australia where a tragic event happens, such as the
2009 Victorian Bushfires. Since inception in 2006,
150,000 items such as warm garments and knitted
toys have been made and donated to help premature
babies, the homeless, youth in crisis, aboriginal
settlements, aged homes, families in need, cancer
sufferers and crisis centres for women and children.
What a beautiful reason to take up knitting.
‘Knit’ is a word derived from ‘knot, it’s origin lying
in the basic human need for clothing for protection.
In about 200AD Arabian men were fishing for
food but had no way to catch several fish at a time.
They were messing with yarn and forming loops
and ended up creating fishing nets, eventually leading
to the craft of knitting.
During War years the US and British
Governments asked everyone to knit. Schools
even had competitions such as “who could
make the most noise with their knitting needles
(which of course the boys must have loved).
There was a positive sense of contributing to the
war effort... “Knitting for Victory.
Today, the ‘Handmade Revolution’ is here, after
years of declining interest in knitting and other
crafts, encouraging the creative spirit present in
each one of us. Try your hand at knitting, crochet,
weaving, quilting, sewing, or perhaps even macramé!
Making something for yourself, your home or as a
gift to a friend or family member is very rewarding.
“I join a long strand of humanity whose story is told
through the textiles of time.
(Richard Muto)
As the old adage goes: “It’s the process not the end
result that’s important.
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
Independent Media Inspiring Minds22
Recently, I was given a ‘once-
in-a-life-time’ opportunity
to deliver a best man speech
for my closest friend. Many
thoughts crossed my mind
initially, but for some
reason a sense of dread was
the emotion that seemed
to linger most, given the
high expectations people
(in particular, yours truly)
tendto place on themselves
to deliver a great speech
at significant events like a
In this circumstance there
was no shortage of material,
given I had known my friend
for almost all 31 years of
my life. Plus, the fact that
he was such a colourful
character meant that spinning
a yarn about him would not
be an issue. e only problem
was the lingering expectation
and that hint of formality that
is expected when addressing a
broad demographic of people
and not just your mates.
I didnt want to be one of those
self-indulgent people who
got up on the microphone for
close to an hour and end up
boring the room to death, as
I have witnessed on many
occasions. Firstly, I needed the
speech to be well timed.
Secondly, I wanted to ensure
my speech didn’t wind down
the well-worn path of a typical
21st-style roasting. Tales of
one-night-stands, comatose
benders and debauchery
were areas I wanted to avoid.
I had covered these topics
approximately ten years
earlier when I actually spoke
at this same friend’s 21st
and if anything, I needed to
explore new areas that were
more pertinent to the occasion
and those involved.
It also needed to avoid being
an audition for ‘Australias
Next Top Comedian’. As
tempting as it was to trial a
whole bevy of new material,
I decided that was probably
something best saved for
an open mic night at my
local pub.
All these musings about what
to talk about and what not to
talk about were great, but I
soon approached the usual
juncture I seem to always
reach: actually putting pen
to paper (as opposed to
dreaming up ideas within my
inner monologue each night).
What had originated as an
exciting opportunity was
slowly starting to resemble
a chore – like homework or a
university assignment I was
obligated to complete as a
means of obtaining a pass
I had more than ample time
to prepare; given it was
a destination wedding in
Barbados where my friend
intended to marry a local girl
he had met three years earlier.
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
A crowd of friends and family
back home intended to make
the trek over for it, given that it
was presented as ‘the wedding
and holiday opportunity of
a lifetime’. Anybody who
could afford to attend was
welcomed to be present at
the wedding. I actually had
more free time than most,
given I intended to travel with
my girlfriend through South
America for a month prior to
the wedding. Unfortunately,
planning my adventures in
Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and
Peru won out over writing some
nice things about my friend
for his wedding day.
A couple of weeks before the
big day, I was heading out for a
rendezvous with several of the
Australian wedding guests in
New York before we reached our
final destination of Barbados.
I was greeted with friendly
faces and then the occasional
dreaded question of, “hows
the speech coming along?”.
e girlfriend was starting to
hassle me about completing it
on a daily basis. Unfortunately,
the excuse book was out again
and I was referring to the
chapter of ‘Procrastination
via Bucks Party in New York’.
e two-day hangover that
ensued didn’t exactly help in
any creative attempts to put
much more than a few chook
scratchings down.
Finally, we arrived in beautiful
Barbados and I was now
hell-bent on, at the very least,
writing something neatly on a
piece of A4. I began to engage
some of my friends hoping to
find my muse and inspiration
for some sort of structure
for this speech of a lifetime.
A few conversations and rum
punches later, I had convinced
myself of the best structure
after some sage advice from
my close friends. e focus of
the speech was to revolve
around a brief introduction
to my connection with the
groom and then the majority
of the speech was to revolve
around a few stories of my first
experiences with the bride
and groom to be. Given my
reputation as a bit of a smart-
arse and supposed wordsmith,
I was inevitably going to throw
in some one-liners about some
of the groom’s shortcomings,
particularly with regards to
the laid back attitude and
disorganised approach he had
decided to take to organising
the whole event.
e night before the big day,
I still hadnt completely settled
on what it was I was going to
say. A final sleepless night and
an early rise was where my usual
eleventh-hour inspiration finally
Frantically scribbling away at
7am, I had managed to piece
together a few pages of notes in
dot point form with the main
ideas underlined. I was backing
my ability to retell the points I
had told a dozen times before, as
opposed to reading a completely
scripted speech word for word.
I became at ease when the
groom and I sat chatting away
that morning whilst we stared
outside at the first bit of rain
we had seen in days, we were
now considering a Plan B given
the prospect of a wet wedding
was now a real possibility.
Photo Credit: Sven & Amanda original image by John Hope http://www.flickr.com/photos/36517509@N02/5069188394 Photo Credit: Spekulator http://www.sxc.hu/photo/621757 Brokenarts http://www.sxc.hu/photo/432276
Independent Media Inspiring Minds24
e rain soon subsided but I
found little comfort when the
groom admitted he had not
even started writing his speech.
All he had to do was write a list of
people to thank and his speech
would write itself.
My notes sat crumpled in
my pocket throughout the
afternoon, a distant memory
amidst all the celebrations
but while others surrounding
me were well on their way
to alcohol-fuelled frivolities,
I had made a conscious
acknowledgement to resist
the lure of the rum punch,
remembering that my main
duty as best man was still
yet to be fullled. At the
ceremony, I was alerted that
it was customary for the
best man to be aware of the
bride’s whereabouts in the
lead up to the ceremony, but
this task seemed like an ancient
relic of wedding tradition that
would more likely be played
up in a Hollywood script. Its
not exactly customary to serve
the guests cocktails prior to a
ceremony, so somehow I dont
think they were too concerned
about tradition.
e late afternoon ceremony
with a postcard-perfect surf
beach as the backdrop went off
without a hitch and it was soon
time to relocate to the reception
venue. My impending sense of
dread was again growing as I
yearned to just down a Jager
bomb at the bar and start
enjoying the night like all the
other wedding guests.
When the groom’s mother
kicked off the speeches and fell
victim to a dodgy microphone,
I felt the nervous tension
Finally, my time had come to
give my speech and when
looking out onto the room I
tossed the notes to the side and
approached every dot point
with purpose. Observing the
room reminded me of the final
hurdle that greets every person
who is speaking at a wedding.
I had to make a connection with
the people I was less familiar
with- in my case, the Bride’s
side, which was a somewhat a
difficult feat. My knowledge
of Bajan culture was pretty
much limited to knowing they
enjoyed cricket, Rihanna and
Extra Old Mount Gay rum.
I decided to acknowledge the
local hospitality since our
arrival - which was greeted with
a raucous cheer from the guests
and locals alike. I decided that
the fact that people were more
inclined to shake my hand and
congratulate me, instead of
avoiding me altogether, instilled
enough confidence in me to
believe that my speech had been
a success.
ere is no secret recipe to
writing a great speech, and
I should probably be the last
person to offer advice, given my
ability to procrastinate and my
propensity for disorganisation.
However, if there’s one lesson
I could take away from this
experience, it would be this: if
your best mate and his bride
are smiling from
then that is a
job well done
in my books.
Photo Credit: Spekulator http://www.sxc.hu/photo/621757 Brokenarts http://www.sxc.hu/photo/432276
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
During high school, I strived
to get into university. I studied
ridiculous hours, consumed way
too much sugar and sacrificed
many amazing house parties!
All with the purpose of achieving
an ENTER score, which, at the
time, I thought was everything.
That ENTER score got me into my
second course preference. I was
happy! I was going to university.
I spent my entire time at uni
thinking about working. I studied
Business, and all I thought about
was actually working towards
being a part of a business. Like
my fellow peers, I was desperate
to land a job. We worked hard, we
had late nights cramming before
exams, and we agonized over the
worthless group members – you
know, the ones who contributed
nothing and you would end up
completing the group assignments
Then, it all paid off - I landed a
great job. I had strived through all
four demanding years of uni and I
had landed a job.
Now that I am working, I’m
striving to be better and to do
better at everything I take on.
I am always working toward
that next step up.
I have strived my entire life, and
I am still striving.
Everyone I meet and the people
around me, they all strive too.
Most likely, so do you.
It feels like the right thing to do -
it is acceptable, it is normal to be
always striving, to be constantly
aiming for something higher.
To be striving for something that
we do not already have.
It seems everyone around me is
either working toward climbing
up the corporate ladder, saving
for a house, saving for car or
saving to invest. When this person
reaches the top of the ladder
or they buy that house or start
investing, what is the next thing
they will strive for?
At uni, I had my eyes set on
finding a job. Now that I have a
job, I look back at my uni years
and I reflect on how fast they flew
by. I realised that all that time
and energy I put into constantly
striving to reach new heights,
I missed what was happening
right in front of me. I missed
the amazing house parties!
Once I take the next stepping
stone in my career, will I keep on
striving for the next one? What if I
dont want to? Is it so wrong to not
want to strive?
When can we
stop striving?
by Teresa Ebejer
I am 24, and I have realised I strive a lot.
Independent Media Inspiring Minds26
The really scary thought is what
if everything we have strived
for disappears? We lose our job?
The stock market crashes? The
property market plummets?
What will we strive for then?
All these questions spinning
around my head made me really
stop and think. But this time,
the thoughts werent centred on
the future or my goals and
ambitions, they were focused on
the present.
I understand that having goals
in life are important – they
offer direction, purpose and
motivation and wed probably
go mad without them. I’m not
losing sight of my goals, but I
am making a conscious decision
to slow the speed on the all the
striving to attain these goals.
I appreciate that some people
may not get it when I say I’m
not saving for a trip, or looking
to buy a house. I’m just enjoying
where I am. Perhaps they’ll
think its irresponsible of me to
be slowing down - but frankly,
I dont care.
They can continue to strive for
their new job, their new house or
their new investment. Me? I am
going to strive to not strive.
(Wait - that is still technically
‘striving’. sh*t this is going to
be hard.)
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Evan Vasiliou
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 27
by Amy Conley
Independent Media Inspiring Minds28
rying to play it cool
in a relationship
when you are really a
neurotic nut-bag on the
inside is a tough gig.
Oh, the conclusions you can
jump to, and the entirely
fictional scenarios you will
play out in your head. I am
currently in a relationship with
a casual, breezy fellow who
I am almost certain never loses
sleep over the details of what
this all means, or heck, even
what ‘this’ might actually be.
Which of course implies that
I have to do enough analysis for
the two of us, right?
Anyway, I have been gallantly
trying to assume the correct air
of nonchalance for a little while
now. That was until thoughts
of “where is this going?” kept
popping up in my mind, like
rogue weeds of doubt, ruining
my garden of self-enforced, and
totally fraudulent calm. I did
not know how to have ‘the talk’
with my guy, without coming
off sounding like a deranged
Disney princess, demanding to
know of her princes’ honourable
intentions. So I carried on,
ignoring my true self. After all,
I didnt want him to know what
a neurotic, cant leave it alone,
must find out all the answers,
nightmare that I really am.
Until of course, I snapped.
Imagine a scene, like in the
cartoons where the characters
are in the dark, and you can
only see their eyes. Mine are
all squinty and enraged that
my guy has not developed
psychic powers and put my
overwrought mind at ease. His
eyes would be all sleepy and
ready to enjoy eight hours of
rejuvenation. That is, until I
snap on the light and begin with,
how serious is this?” and
the rest, as they say, is history:
My Guy: on a scale of one
to ten, we are a level nine
Me: What does that mean?
What is ten? Wait…
what is nine? Whats the
spectrum here?
My Guy: Well, imagine if
we were talking snakebites
right? And ten is death...
Me: [Glaring] Go on.
My Guy: Well, a nine would
be like a tiger snake or
something dangerous. You
might not die, but you are
definitely going to know it
happened. It’ll hurt. You
might even be paralysed.
So...pretty serious.
Me: [Silence]
My Guy: Plus, I mean, I
invite you around here
nearly every night...
Yes. This is legitimately how
we have adult discussions
about what we want out of
a relationship. With snake
metaphors. Even still, I got
it. I knew what he meant.
We communicated in a way
that made sense to us as a couple.
I did learn something important
though. In order to avoid
having fraught conversations
about love and relationships
at 2am, just be honest with
yourself. I no longer bother with
my façade of normality. My guy
knows I am insane and that I
overthink everything. He
laughs at me about my ability
to remember conversation
details to the letter, but to
still forget to eat breakfast.
I laugh at him about his total
inability to discuss his feelings
without using deadly animal
metaphors. When you are with
the right person, you can kind
of pool your crazy, and enjoy it.
Image Credit: Heads Off by Gunes T http://www.flickr.com/photos/44534005@N00/164986148
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 29
I never used to talk
in hairdressers.
I liked to go in, shut up, make
faces at myself in the mirror
and take comfort in the fact
that the next hour would
be full of relaxing music
and someone playing with
my hair.
However, the majority of
cutters (not the bad kind -
hairdressers I mean) insist
on talking, questioning,
complimenting and not
focusing on the task at hand.
And you have to be nice. If
you’re not, there’s a high risk
of becoming bald.
Don’t get me wrong, I love
hairdressers, especially the
ones that give you ve-minute
head massages. These guys,
they have to put up with a lot
of shit – customers who are
paranoid, anxious and rude.
Hairdressers are counsellors
and condantes, and they’ve
spent more time and money
gaining the credentials they
need for this job than many
of us have spent at uni, or
travelling, or in relationships.
But I just hate engaging
in conversation that isn’t
thrilling or even partially
interesting, that’s only there
to ll a silence I actually prefer.
But I also don’t want to
be bald…
So, I nally decided to
embrace the talking, but to
do it in style, in a theatrical,
emotionally engaging way
that would entertain
and amaze.
by Christina Macpherson
Image Credit: You Lie by Banksy. Original image by Nicholas Noyes http://www.ickr.com/photos/33602849@N00/4233333
Independent Media Inspiring MindsIndependent Media Inspiring Minds30
I decided to lie.
And boy did I lie. I would be
asked how my day was going,
and I’d launch into tales of
getting mugged and
performing a citizen’s
arrest. I would put on
fake accents and say
I spoke seven ancient
tribal languages – giving
examples of each. I
told one girl I was born
in Alaska and had a
wolf-dog as a pet, I told
another girl how I used
to be a band member
in the Avalanches
(that one not so far
off, my cousin was).
It’s lying, yeah, but
we all do it. We
take one of our own
experiences, or even
somebody else’s, and make
it more gruesome or terric,
more amazing or scandalous.
The story becomes legend,
people tell people, and
your lie makes you god-like.
It’s how heroes are born.
However, a problem arose for
me a few weeks ago when
I became friends with my
hairdresser, Tony. Wed go
to the pub, have picnics in
the park and watch horribly
addictive Hugh Grant movies.
Gradually, Tony began to
work out that his oh-so-
interesting client-turned-
friend was, in fact, full of shit.
I had been found out. I
admitted it – not born in
Alaska, no pet wolf-dog and
no, never been in a band (well,
unless you count the one in
grade nine when I got kicked
Tony took it well, he laughed,
called me a weirdo and then
challenged me to make
things right – to go for a
haircut and engage in casual
– and honest – conversation.
I meekly accepted the
The next day, I went for a
cut. There I was, sitting in
an upmarket indie
salon, staring
at my scared
little reection,
wondering what
the hell I was
meant to say.
Tony started, “So,
how you been?”
And I talked.
Truthfully. I talked
the entire time
about my week, my
family, my friends,
and I realized that
Tony was enjoying
listening to my real
life just as I was starting
to realize how much I was
enjoying living it.
We’re master story-tellers, all
of us, but never be afraid to
let go of the exaggerations
and drop the boundaries to
let people – even strangers
– into your real life. It’s never
as dull as you think, and you
might just get a damn good
haircut by doing so.
Image Credit: Model Christina Macpherson photographed by Mel Tjoeng for ‘The End Collective’
Independent Media Inspiring MindsIndependent Media Inspiring Minds 31
Living the good life can
mean something different
for everyone.
Independent Media Inspiring MindsIndependent Media Inspiring Minds32
However, there is sll a
general understanding about what
this idea entails to most human
beings living in the modern world.
The good life, in its most simple
form, is a series of never ending
sasfacon that only grows more
powerful as me goes on.
For me, the good life consists
of wanng to get out of bed
every morning, excited to take
on whatever each day has in
store for me. It has nothing to do
with the material possessions or
arcially induced sensaons. In
my mind, the good life is based
on the compassionate deeds you
perform, the personal goals you
strive to achieve, and the legacy
you decide to leave behind because
of the mark you made on the world
around you.
Here are some simple
steps I try to follow to
live the good life.
Urgency and haste instantly
diminish accuracy, awareness and
happiness. There is a big dierence
between geng things done and
geng things done eecvely.
It may be clichéd, but the best
things in life truly are free. From a
peaceful ocean sunset to sleeping
in on a rainy day, life’s greatest
simple pleasures can only be
purchased if your mind is conscious
of their arrival.
A happy and fullling life is a life
that is shared with people that
you enjoy being around the most.
Cherish those relaonships and
treat your friends as you would like
to be treated.
As many great people have said
in the past, the day you stop
learning is the day that you die.
Every day is a chance to learn
something new about the life you
wish to aain or the person you
wish to become. Keep inquiring
and exploring. A jack-of-all-trades
is far more equipped than a master
of only one.
Your passion is what you love to do
every day because it gives you a
sense of worth and fullment. This
can be concentrated into your true
life purpose, which is the key to real
wealth on this earth. Use your passion
in the most producve and universal
way possible and you will discover the
reasons behind your most important
endeavours and goals.
Meet new people who are like
you and dierent from you in every
way you could have imagined. This
will help you embrace the gi of
individuality and realize the role
you play in society. Understanding
these people will increase your
knowledge of how the world
works and the types of people its
experiences creates.
Sight, hearing, smell, taste and
touch. Each provides a gateway to
rewarding personal experiences,
so use them to truly make you
understand what it means to be a
living, breathing human being. See
the most beauful things, hear the
most pleasant sounds, taste the
best food, smell the nest scents
and touch the so sand.
Success is not the by-product
of limitless resources. Success
happens when you stretch the
limits of the available resources.
Dont focus on what you dont
have, focus on what you do have
and how it can help you get the
Image Credit: Photo by Navy Blue Stripes http://www.flickr.com/photos/36823652@N06/4296426003
Appreciate Life’s
Simple Pleasures
Slow Down
Talk to Strangers
Concentrate on
Your Passions
Learn About
Different Things
Foster and Nurture
Exercise Your
Five Senses
Use What
You Have
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Independent Media Inspiring Minds
What goes around comes
around. You have no idea what
type of fullment and security you
will aain for yourself aer you
help other people more and more.
The sky is the limit but to get there,
your goals need to be made crystal
clear by believing in them with all
of your heart and soul. You will
never get where you want to go if
you don’t know what you want and
dont think you have what it takes
to get it.
Each me you wait to make
a decision, you are wasng your
me and an opportunity is passing
you by. Stop being indecisive and
start listening to your gut. Decisions
are how we learn about how to
eecvely build the life we have
always dreamed of.
Opportunity somemes
knocks at unexpected mes. Make
sure you have enough exibility
in your schedule to respond
accordingly. Be spontaneous and
step outside of your comfort zone
at any chance you get. Experience
new things that you may have been
afraid of but always wanted to try
for your own personal sasfacon.
The most euphoric acvies tend
to seem incredibly scary at rst
One of the biggest
problems people have in this
world is that they are so trapped
in the past or the future that they
refuse to take control of their life
by acknowledging the moment
right before their eyes. They are
constantly worrying about other
things; their body is there but their
mind is somewhere else. Be present
in each and every moment, it will
make you a much happier and
inspired human being.
Not doing so guarantees loneliness
and failure. Stay true to your word
as that is what your character
is based o of and how you will
always be remembered.
There is no such a thing as perfect,
there is only percepon. The idea of
it is based on your own denion.
Instead of always searching for
perfecon, strive for the things
that sasfy your individual wants
and needs.
Being lazy and doing the
bare minimum only guarantees
mediocrity and dissasfacon.
Work hard to get closer and closer
towards your goal every day.
We all need to work to make a
living, so why not make this life-
consuming acvity as consistently
fun as possible? Make sure your
work is something that drains your
energy but also makes you feel like
you are making good use of it.
A red mind is inecient
and unhappy. No one can perform
to the best of their ability without
As the good old-
fashioned saying goes, those
who laugh more are the ones
who live longer. Stop taking life
so seriously and realize that
everything that makes you nervous
or uncomfortable may really just
be there to make you laugh.
“Right now is the time
that you can use however
you want to. Right now is
life. Don’t miss it.”
Assist Others
Be Clear on
Your Goals
Make A Decision
Keep Your
Be Spontaneous
Forget Perfection,
Find Satisfaction
Sleep Well
Work Hard
Be Present
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
Independent Media Inspiring Minds