BOOK TITLE: The Australia Times - Life & Love magazine. Volume 2, issue 6

August 2014Vol. 2 No: 6
Lets Play
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
This issue, we are getting busy.
Busy learning, that is, but not how you might think.
We’ve been learning to put down our phones,
pick up our plastic shovels and build sandcastles.
We have kicked off our winter boots to run
barefoot across the grass like school kids. We have
spent lazy Sunday mornings on the couch having
ludicrous tickling matches and frosty afternoons
inging the Frisbee through the last remaining
slivers of daylight.
We have curled up in sleeping bags, even on the
chilliest of evenings and gazed up at the glowing
night sky, armed with hot cups of tea and grins
plastered on our faces.
We have been learning how to just hang out,
reminding ourselves what it feels like to just muck
around, be silly and PLAY.
Being the control freak that I am, I sometimes
struggle to cope with uncertainty. Events I cannot
change, decisions I can’t control, rainy days when
the sun is nowhere in sight. But this month, I’ve
been trying to let go of that all-consuming desire
for certainty.
Life isn’t certain.
“Life is what happens while we’re busy making
other plans”, are words John Lennon once
shrewdly declared. Sometimes, no matter how
meticulously we may plan, we don’t have control
over what happens next. What we can control, as
I’m currently learning, is how we react – and that is
what matters most.
Ames xx
Deputy Editor:
Cover photo by Amy Dorrington
Independent Media Inspiring Minds4
Let’s play...
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 5
Image by Amy Dorrington
Snott y
By Amy Dorrington
Tis the
Independent Media Inspiring Minds6
to Be
Man u, hankies and other unpleasantries
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 7
Man u – that mythical creature that pays
your household an annual visit and whacks
anything with a willy sideways for days on
end. If you’re a man, you fall victim to it at
least once a year. If you’re a
woman, you fall victim to its victims and
all the unsavoury trimmings – and that my
friends, is much, much worse. Once a year,
that beautiful man in your life morphs into
a (barely) walking snot factory and starts to
resemble what can only be described as a
fragile little petal uttering nasal screeches
more offensive than The Nanny. His already
questionable hygiene gets a big fat
spotlight (or should I say snotlight) shone on
it, and your slightly obsessive hypersensitivity
to germs becomes magnied to the point
of total panic attack. Please don’t touch
anything after blowing your nose or hocking
a golly into your palm. At least he covers his
mouth. Wash your hands, cough, repeat.
And what the hell is with hankies? They
should be named rank-ies. They seem to
materialize from thin air whenever man u
comes to town, surprising you when you
move a pillow and catching you unawares
when you’re putting on a load of dirty
laundry. What is it about that small piece of
seemingly harmless cloth that we nd so
revolting? Perhaps because the humble
hanky is rarely a vision of soft inviting cotton
owing in the breeze and more often a
monstrosity of crusty snot-soaked festering
lth that virtually cracks in half when you
dare to touch it (wearing rubber gloves and
a gas mask of course).
I still have chilling childhood memories of
being out at a family dinner and Dad
pulling out his hanky like it aint no thang, and
I watched, mortied at the vulgarity
unfolding before my eyes. That disgusting
piece of washed up cloth was the only thing
protecting our faces from being assaulted
by snot chunk missiles. The most
mind-boggling part of this story is that my
Dad is anything but a lthy specimen. He
exceeds what most would consider
reasonable levels of hygiene for a member
of the male species. He is always
immaculate (his desert boots could rival your
cooler-than-average sartorial wizard), his
shirts are ironed down to the last wrinkle and
he holds legendary status in our family for
being the greatest dishwasher stacker that
ever lived. In other words, my Dad possesses
a freakish dose of perfectionism and is most
denitely an anally-retentive clean freak.
But when it comes to snot production, he still
hasn’t evolved beyond the not-so-golden
age of the old-fashioned hanky.
The noise was bad enough – envisage an
elephant sneezing into a trumpet – but it was
the nightmarish awareness of the gunk
being expelled from his nose, and the
invisible germs ying across the table into
my personal space, that truly repulsed me. I
must have assumed this was a relative norm
of modern society until only a couple of
years ago when a similar incident
happened at a much larger social occasion.
I suddenly realised the gravity of the hanky
situation. Out came that all-too-familiar
fabric snot square – this time from the pocket
of a friend’s boyfriend – and what ensued
was truly traumatising.
As expected, the entrance of the hanky was
followed promptly by the trumpeting snot
missiles. But it was when this dude – only in
his mid-twenties – busted out his two pointer
ngers, gouging each one into the hanky
and up its
corresponding nostril with such gusto (I was
genuinely concerned he’d reach grey
matter), that I realised this was no longer
okay. Wait, was it ever okay?
Calling it a light bulb moment seems like
overkill, but after all the years of being
grossed out by Dad at the dinner table
blowing snot rockets into a raggedy scrap of
fabric, I realised this was not okay. Not when
tissues exist. Not when we live in afuent
Australia, where hand sanitiser has become
a staple on the ofce supplies order, where
you’ll cop lthy glares on the peak hour train
if you sneak in a quick sleeve-dab of your
dribbling nostril because you used your last
tissue as a napkin when you ate that entire
charcoal chicken straight from the bag. Not
when wet wipey things are sold in the
Independent Media Inspiring Minds8
supermarket under about fty different
camouages: baby bum wipes, makeup
removal wipes, facial cleansing wipes,
deodorant wipes, oven wipes, shower wipes,
bathroom wipes, and my personal favourite,
feminine hygiene wipes. How many varieties
of a soggy tissue can the marketing
machines possibly conceive? But I digress.
Off to the supermarket you go, hauling your
own snot factory into Coles to round up the
troops. The chicken noodle soup troops, that
is. Chicken thighs, noodles, onion, celery,
carrot and a shitload of chilli and garlic. Blast
that nasty man u out of the hemisphere.
Never mind that you’re also battling the
annual ‘Hello nostrils, it’s me, Winter’ head
cold that’s decided to get all up in your grill
and now has a rm grip on your own mucous
levels – oh no – he has The Man Flu To End All
Man Flus and you had better believe it is way
worse than anything you could possibly ever
experience in your life.
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 9
Independent Media Inspiring Minds10
Play Time
By Connie Lambeth
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 11
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
Play, why leave it to the kids? Let’s
work to ‘reclaim our inner child’.
If play is good for children, surely it’s fantastic
for us adults as well! Maybe some of us are
taking ourselves way too seriously and
forgetting to have some fun, and with so
many distractions in a day, nding a
moment to ‘play’ can sometimes seem
impossible. Even for those of us not on the
nine-to-ve rollercoaster, our days are still
spent running between one activity and
This whole issue of play, laughter and
humour was brought sharply into focus
several years ago. One minute I’m laughing
a fair portion of each work day - at myself,
at the hilarity of kids in my preschool class.
The next thing, the ‘fun door’ slammed shut;
couch-bound illness meant months spent
solitary rather than in the company of happy
kids playing together, laughing at themselves
and each other, with the adults around them
swept up in this regular ‘Mirth Festival’.
Seriously, ve year olds can be great…they
laugh if you hold a nger up to their nose,
they laugh if you pull a funny face or say a
silly word or attempt a bit of spoonerism. I
was aware of just how benecial it was for
me to have a job where a fair percentage
of the day involved laughing and having
fun. However it made the situation so much
more difcult when I was suddenly thrown
into isolation and attempting to crack a
smile, a joke or anything to steer the ‘fun
meter’ upwards once more. I became so
determined not to fall into ‘sad sack alley’
that I read humorous books, watched silly
movies and television shows and once
even tried tickling myself… though that
was fairly unsuccessful and just resulted in
me itching myself! Aware that I was often
‘home alone’, my next-door neighbours
must have wondered about those
guffaws of laughter steaming up the
windows, or maybe they gured my jokes
were so priceless that solitary mirth was a
matter of course.
Growing up, I have to admit that my
family were a pretty wacky bunch, which
I’ve found helpful in my adult life,
having developed a bit of resilience and
the ability to see the funny side of a serious
situation, or to at least try and make light
of things where possible and appropriate.
I’m wondering if being one of four kids in
the family made some kind of difference,
with six different personalities feeding off
each other’s nonsense. There does seem
to be an upgrade in the ‘fun stakes’ when
there’s more than a couple of people
hanging out together.
Assorted eccentric behaviours amongst
the various members of my family
encouraged some pretty creative thinking
at times, and luckily, my parents were keen
to promote self-expression by allowing us
the freedom to engage in some unique
kind of hobbies. An example of this was
dad’s obvious joy when I stated bluntly one
morning that I wanted to build a sh pond.
Next minute, the border rocks were
delivered and a shovel and cement
appeared out of thin air, ready for
action. How many teens beg for a truckload
of rocks so they can immerse themselves in
solid manual labour for hours on end? Weird
but true! My father seemed thrilled to see
his fourteen year old daughter digging a
large hole in our neat suburban garden, and
beamed a grin larger than a well-fed croc
as he watched me cart barrows of
boulders, with my youthful energy,
enthusiasm and striped baggy ares
bonding in glorious harmony. A few weeks
after my illustrious days of sh pond
construction, I proclaimed one ne
morning that it was now time to make a
fernery. With another project on the go,
dad’s eyes brightened instantly with the
prospect of observing a busy adolescent
once more engrossed in activity rather than
slouching around like an otter in dry season.
My father’s wacky take on life certainly
contributed to helping me deal with growing
up stuff during teen years as well as assisting
me face the challenges of adulthood.
It appears that we humans are often not bad
at struggling through difcult
experiences, though personally I’d rather
it be ‘Party Central’ all the way…more ‘La
Bamba’ and less ‘A Bummer’…more
confetti and less dirty dishes! It certainly
helps to ‘always look on the bright side of
life’, the glass half full and all that. Laughter
makes us feel good, with an increase of en-
dorphins released by our brain.
To this day, I continue to reect on the
playfulness of my early family life with
particularly fond memories of the regular
teenage pranks that led to quite a bit of
hilarity amongst the ranks. I think the fun
broke up the boring routines of the
everyday working week for my parents
therefore maybe they turned a blind eye to
more than they should …or perhaps we just
plain exhausted them and ignoring was their
favourite strategy. Either way, my childhood
experiences as part of a creative, busy,
quarrelsome, loving, quirky kind of family
have denitely gone some way to help
manage tough times.
Even a stint as a Girl Guide gave me some
life coping strategies though I was unaware
at the time. One of the Guide Laws was to
“Smile and Sing Under all Circumstances”
and I have drawn strength from this little
phrase on several occasions. Mind you, our
Guide Leader had her own take on things
with a couple of her sayings rmly
embedded in my mind to this day. Her
favourite was: “You will look good in a
hessian sack as long as you smile”. Though
this one stuck in my mind, I somehow never
quite believed it, especially after
experimenting with this idea one day.
Picture me hiding in my bedroom as a
gangly teenager, whipping a bit of old
hessian from my craft box around my
naked torso and smirking into the mirror…I
did not look good, I looked totally ridiculous.
However there was one positive from such
an experiment; I laughed so hard and my
arms ung so wide that I knocked the
mirror off the wall cracking it into fragments.
Mum rushed into the room to see what the
commotion was about and found her
hessian-clad daughter doubled over in ts of
laughter at her shattered reection.
My wise, calm mother did have her ‘wild’
side, loving a good bit of fun with her teens
on the odd occasion, especially upon
kicking back with her once a fortnight
cigarette after the evening meal. There
was the night thirteen year old son dutifully
poured a cup of tea for his mother into a
saucer. Rather than ying off the handle, she
lapped up the brew like a kitten, keeping
her good humour, grace and jovial nature in
check during her second born’s nest
moments. The following night this same
lateral thinking lad decides to pour her tea
into a vase. Alas, this did not go down quite
so well…guess the water was tainted with
daisy juice. Nevertheless, mother didn’t
upset herself too outrageously, rather, with
eyes twinkling, simply poured a fresh tea into
an ordinary old cup while we teens sat there
laughing our butts off.
This whole subject of play has had me
thinking about the serious stuff we all have to
manage every day and how, if we could
introduce a bit more fun into our lives, it
Independent Media Inspiring Minds12
would help us deal with everyday
annoyances, grievances and upsets and
help us look at life through a different lens. A
while back, I can remember hearing about
the Australian school considering banning
kids doing handstands because a parent or
two complained about the
inappropriateness of such an activity. Then
there was the Hufngton Post article written
by a U.S. Kindergarten teacher who
decided to give up her career, lamenting
how playtime for her young charges was in
serious threat of extinction, to be replaced
by longer hours of more formal learning from
a younger age. We all need to work hard to
preserve as much free play for young
children as possible, with the
understanding that it is crucial in the
development of a healthy mind and body.
Unstructured, creative and imaginative-type
play helps kids grow up to be stable, happy
and well-adjusted adults. It would be great
to aim for a bit more play in our adult lives
while promoting the importance of a playful
existence for all ages.
Why is play so critical for a child’s
development? It helps develop good social
skills, extends problem solving, encourages
self-expression and offers a great release for
stress. ‘Play’ is a young child’s ‘work’
providing a fun, interactive, ‘hands on’
approach to learning all kinds of new skills
and knowledge. Sometimes we see footage
on the news of kids playing amongst the
rubble of war with devastation all around
them. It seems that in the direst
circumstances kids love and need to play.
Needless to say, it is important for them to
play out their life experiences to relieve the
stress they are under as well as engaging
with their peers and having fun no matter
what the circumstances.
With the complexities of the modern work
environment and longer hours, sometimes
there are limited moments left in the day to
play with our kids. Today might be the
perfect time to hold a family meeting over
the dinner table to brainstorm some family
play ideas, which are bound to have
positive outcomes for all parties. For those of
us lucky enough to be home prior to
dinner, we may be able to slot in a regular
play gig with our kids before bed, providing
their time isn’t taken up every day of the
week with ballet, footy and restick twirling.
Otherwise if schedules are tight we can set
aside a time each weekend where it’s pure
fun and games as a family, where we turn
off our electronic gadgets and give the kids
our undivided attention, where we let them
come up with the ideas and lead the play.
Apart from this free play there’s also loads
of activities to do like bike riding, kite ying,
chasey, hide and seek, Frisbee, soccer, card
and board games, cooking, art projects,
musical jam sessions, walking the dog, or
going somewhere fun as a family such as
the bowling alley, mini golf or an adventure
playground. Holidays provide a great
opportunity to go further aeld so perhaps
we shouldn’t cringe at that trip to the theme
park…might not be our thing hanging upside
down and half way to the moon, however
such a family excursion is bound to have us
all laughing and sharing memories of fun
lled adventures for years to come.
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 13
Somewhere between childhood and
adulthood, many of us simply stopped
playing and got all serious about life.
Perhaps we aren’t so practised in doing
something for no particular reason.
Creative, free and unstructured play
doesn’t need a point, a goal, an
achievement, an outcome, rather we
should play just for the heck of it. Perhaps
the saying, ‘all work no play makes for a
dull person’ has a lot of merit, not that we
can run around being cheery all the time.
However, by introducing a bit more fun and
play into our lives it’s bound to help
release stress, improve relationships, as well
as help us feel more positive and able to
manage all kinds of tasks and problems.
Maybe adult play isn’t so different to kid
play… mucking around with friends,
playing ball games, dressing up as Darth
Vader, going on a spontaneous cycling ad-
venture, joking around with work buddies.
Some companies have all kinds of excellent
methods to keep their employees
challenged, creatively inspired and happy,
probably encouraging them to stick with
their job for a longer period.
Such innovative companies gured out
long ago that playful activities promote
creative self-expression, build team skills,
boost energy, enhance problem solving
and refresh mind and body. My company,
should I ever own one, would have a
storage cupboard of confetti, a music
video of ‘La Bamba’ and a box of
If play is that important for kids and families,
surely it helps in our personal relationships
as well. Maybe engaging in more activities
together will amp up the joy, laughter and
vitality that we know is so important for us. A
dose of humour incorporated into our daily
interactions, while stirring up those
mundane routines may be a good start.
Play is a great way to keep a relationship
fresh and exuberant and may lead to more
energy, a clearer mind and make for a
more positive relationship with improved
intimacy. Playful activities to share with
a partner aren’t so dissimilar to those we
would do with our work colleagues and
children…playing board games, watching
silly movies, participating in a yoga class
together, planning a themed dinner party,
drawing, painting or bike riding, donning
a tutu, throwing some streamers. There’s
so much fun to be had that we should not
waste a moment.
Excuse me, gotta go
Independent Media Inspiring Minds14
Play Dates
Laughter Club or Laughter Yoga
Join a Laughter Club for the physiological
and psychological benets. Eye contact
and playfulness between participants soon
turns forced laughter into real and
contagious laughter.
Attend a Comedy Festival or get yourself
along to see your favourite comedian
Story Club Sydney
True, themed and funny stories are read out
of a giant book. Story night held monthly.
Forbes Top Ten Funniest Movies Ever
er/2012/09/21/top-10-funniest-movies- ever-
Playground for Adults and Kids
Monash Adventure Park
Madison Rd
South Australia 5342
(08) 8582 5511
Theme Parks Gold Coast
Spoonerisms – Fun with Words
This game is fun for children and adults alike
and is available at toy shops and stores like
Interesting Reading
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 15
Page 10:
Page 13: Photo by A. Dorrington
This page: https://www.ickr.com/photos/38223744@N00/2921688796/
Independent Media Inspiring Minds14
My Heart is a Globe:
Ro m e
Photos and Words By K. Felice
Independent Media Inspiring Minds18
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 19
I’d own 9,922 miles in need of soul
Looking for a reason to move, a reason to y.
I was a statue in the middle of a blizzard
Blind to a world I was yet to understand
Fog mirrored the miserable cold I wore on
the inside
Snow left me paralysed
Wind cut through me like a knife, bleeding
scars that still remained.
I wandered through the pebbled streets of
Rome, admiring beautiful Italian
restaurants and welcomed by kind
greetings, as I moved through narrow, rigid
spaces. Listening to the melody of the
accordion as it followed my unstable
Desire ignited within me as I was drawn to
the whispered wishes for love that fell to the
bottom of the Fontana di Trevi at the end of
the street.
The cries of some
Superstition of others.
Looking for understanding, something to
trust- guidance from the universe-
My heritage drew me to the one place my
mind had been closed to.
A place of belief
A place of hope
I stood there, staring up at the remains of this
beautiful ancient city.
My feet grounded in time, whilst the rest of
the world continued to move without me at
full commotion. A realisation of all the years
spent afraid of falling.
Unaware that to fall, you could also y
Yesterday is history. Today is a gift. Tomorrow
is a mystery.
Deep in translation of the beautiful language
“Vivere Senza Rimpianti”- the words I had
inked my skin hoping they would withdraw
their meaning- live with no regrets
I decided to move
I found a reason to soar
I found Vatican City
As I entered an unfamiliar chapter, my eyes
were drawn to the winder staircase. I felt so
inferior standing at the bottom looking up
Sun beamed, as light shone downwards,
encouraging the path to be taken.
The top had not been visible. Like a sky I
would never touch, a heaven I was sceptical
to believe in. A new clearing with each step
The say freedom is at the top- I had found
myself running backwards. Further down the
ladder of my life. Afraid to shine, living in the
shadows of darkness.
But I nally awoke to the analogy before me.
- Unknowing of the destination, but fearless
of the exhibition. Acknowledging that we
must walk, before we can run and to walk
we must move.
I was blown away by the beauty and
creativity behind the renaissance work of
Michael Angelo.
The colour and creations that resemble a
face to a higher power. The stories of the
A life of birth
A life lived
A life lost.
A camera in hand, searching for vision
further than lens
Hoping to nd everything I had lost sight in
Independent Media Inspiring Minds20
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 21
myself, beauty within the broken
perception of my own mind. Drowning my
thoughts in the openness of another artistic,
optical view.
Never fully understanding, but nding
comfort in trust and believing.
After the Sistine chapel, I took a wrong turn
into the church. I felt somehow connected
to their prayers.
Emotion in their sorrows
My eyes awoke to what my mind could not
I sat down to hear the words...
“I’m on a lonely road, asleep at the wheel.
I’ve chosen a path, drunk by the bottle of
how I feel
I fall to my feet
Beyond the reach of re. The clarity of light,
no longer my attire”
I felt exposed to emotional nakedness
Broken walls, walls I had obstructed to avoid
Sight, where I hid behind the lies.
I exhaled to feel free of the storm
To feel free of a wound, to feel free from
“Siete degni”- you are worthy.
I later sat on the window sill of my hotel
room. My feet dangling over the edge of
the building, my eyes closed feeling the
cool breeze on my skin. Listening to the busy
streets and the exchange of uent Italian.
Admiring the hold of this timeless beauty and
its ability to light your way to make you feel a
part of something bigger.
The smell of pizzas and the sounds of the
cello, I couldn’t help but to think of how
lucky I was.
The journey was challenging, but no one
ever said it would simple. No one to
recognise, how hard. There is no scale to
nding yourself.
Each step is a risk, but to stand still, it’s the
biggest regret of all.
Independent Media Inspiring Minds22
Learning to Hangout
By Nicole S. Kelly
My second-born starts school next year and
I am acutely aware that this exceedingly
important young phase of his life is about to
pass; that this time right now is ripe for
bonding and one-on-one time.
Just him with his Mummy.
Over the last few weeks I have made a
conscious effort to try to enjoy hanging-out
and playing with him; at the playground, in
the garden, on the trampoline.
In doing this I’ve noticed that I have actually
forgotten how to just hang-out.
To just relax and do nothing.
So much of my life is spoken for in the
plethora of to-do-lists and schedules. So
much so that when I tried to just be in his
world, I found myself withdrawing from his
play and doing household tasks or arranging
some other part of our lives.
Once I became conscious of this, I decided
I needed to re-allow myself to just be with
I’m sure 90 percent of his reluctance to
cooperate recently, is because I seem to be
constantly rushing him along to get out the
door, do errands & generally BE somewhere
So, yesterday after we dropped my rst-born
to school, I took us straight to the beach for
the whole day, until we needed to leave for
school pick-up.
We did nothing but explore, walk, talk, nd
shells, feathers, stomp on dead jellysh
tentacles, marvel at live starsh, feel the
sand between our toes, squirt each other
with water, get wet, get dry, eat our
picnic, balance on the wall, climb rocks,
jump off rocks, draw in the sand and walk
some more.
Sometimes we just sat on the sand and
didn’t talk.
Or did talk.
Or noticed planes in the sky.
By the time we needed to leave, he was
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 23
tired and informed me that he would have a
nap in the car.
The best thing about it was that we didn’t
have to be anywhere else.
There were no rules.
He didn’t need to wait his turn to play on a
piece of equipment at the playground.
I didn’t tell him to stop touching something
at the shops.
We were present. And together.
I learnt a lot yesterday.
I learnt to:
stop WORRYING about stuff…and I allowed
myself to remember how to just hang-out.
I felt free and really appreciated the luxury
of experiencing this.
This is all a child really wants isn’t it?
The freedom to explore and create and
And to have their parent present and
interested in their world?
Actually this is all I want for my life: Freedom,
Wonder; to have the time and space to
allow myself to create, and to enjoy feeling
relaxed and present and connected in the
lives of my loved ones.
When he’s an adult, I want him to choose to
include me in his life. He’ll spread his wings,
travel, maybe even live overseas, and he’ll
have his ups and downs and challenges as
everyone does. Therefore it is important for
me to know that he will want to
communicate with me and keep me in his
loop whenever he feels the need. This starts
with us enjoying time together, unpressured,
making him and his world a priority for me to
honour, NOW.
May you enjoy connecting with your loved
Image by Amy Dorrington
Independent Media Inspiring Minds26
My introduction to internet dating was
initiated one year after the breakdown of a
three year relationship. My well-intentioned,
yet coupled-up friends and family thought
I had been single longer than what was
deemed acceptable, expressing concern at
the prospect of me being left on the shelf for
singles. The suggestion that I was running
out of time to snap up an interested buyer
surprised me. After all, I was only two weeks
away from my 23rd birthday.
Living in a small rural area certainly limited
the pool from which I was to sh a husband.
At the time, I was the only single female
teacher at the local independent school,
which destroyed my anonymity around
A Date To Forget
By Lizzie Watson
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 27
town. Forget quiet, intimate dates with a
mysterious man, it was more likely I would be
served by one of my year 10 students with a
giggle and a wink.
I was constantly reminded of my fertility in
magazines and newspapers and how it was
going to plummet once I hit 25. The
conversation in the staff room was
dominated by engagements, weddings and
eventually, conception and babies. It
became difcult to look their husbands in
the eye when I was invited around for dinner.
I asked if anyone knew anyone who might
be suitable for me. Depends how you dene
‘eligible’, was the usual response.
“As long as you are okay with his kids,” a
further reaction. So, after a few too many
glasses of wine at Friday night drinks, I sat
down at my computer to introduce myself to
the love of my life.
The next morning I woke up with a raging
hangover and 23 new emails in my inbox.
After sifting through various ‘kisses’ that
ranged from 40-year-old men who lived
in New South Wales and Queensland, to
20-something-year-old guys who were
looking for a good time while taking shirtless
seles in the bathroom mirror, I arranged to
meet Snowboarder86.
Snowboarder86 had a nice smile and a job.
He seemed chatty and not just after a
casual ing or even residency. We
exchanged phone numbers and decided
on a movie at the local cinema. I hoped
that I wouldn’t run into any of my students.
Really, I just hoped this guy wouldn’t be one
of my students.
A few days later, I had a glass of wine with
one of my married friends, Tilly, in an outdoor
bar. We talked politely about her husband
and their house renovations for a few
minutes, then she quickly changed the
subject and leaned towards me, her lips
forming a discreet smile.
“So….how did it go?”
I paused briey, taking a long gulp of wine.
I pondered what to tell her. She tapped her
hands on the table impatiently.
“Are you going to see him again?”
I glanced at her eager face. She wanted
me to tell her everything. That the movie
had progressed into dinner and that he had
taken me to the best restaurant in our town
with gorgeous views over the river. That we
had had scintillating conversation over wine
and seafood and the chemistry was electric.
That he had paid for dinner and opened the
Independent Media Inspiring Minds28
car door for me and drove me home. That
he had walked me to my door and lingered
for a moment, politely refusing my invitation
to come in for a coffee. That we had shared
our rst kiss under the outdoor lamp. That he
said he said he would call me soon. That as
soon as I had got into bed I received a text
from him saying he couldn’t wait to see me
again. That I was sure he was the one.
Actually, it never happened.
Tilly’s face fell. I moved about in my chair
which suddenly felt uncomfortably rigid and
nished off my wine in one mouthful.
“What happened?”
I grabbed the bottle and generously
topped up my glass.
“I was waiting for him inside the cinema
when I received a text. I had already run into
two parents and bought the tickets from one
of my own students. The foyer was beginning
to empty and we were going to miss the
start. I opened the text message and it said,
“Just waiting for me mum to get home so
she can drop me off”.’
Tilly looked at me horried.
“He lives with his parents?”
I told her how he didn’t just live with his
parents, he didn’t even have a licence.
Therefore I was going to have to wait for his
mum to drive him to the movies after she
returned from the supermarket! The movie
had already started.. I had two choices; I
could leave the cinema and be asked why
I didn’t watch a movie I bought two tickets
for by the student who served me, or I could
watch the movie and get half my money’s
worth. I turned my phone off and entered
the cinema. Afterwards, when I turned my
phone back on, there was only one text
“Soz, can’t make it. DTF later?”
I deleted his number.
Tilly’s face screwed up in sympathy. She
patted my arm.
“Dating has changed ; it’s evolved into this
whole new game where guys just don’t have
to commit to anything anymore. It must be
so hard to navigate.. At least you don’t have
to go out to a bar to meet men anymore, it’s
so impersonal.” She placed one hand on her
chest in wholeheartedness. “I am so relieved
I don’t have to be ‘out there’ anymore. I just
don’t think I could do it.”
Later, I thought about what Tilly said. How do
people meet these days? Most of my friends
are dating and marrying their high school
sweethearts, or people they met at university
and overseas. If my friends couldn’t match
me up with a suitable guy, could an internet
algorithm do a better job?
In the next few years, I dated several guys
I met from online websites all promising to
match me with supposedly compatible men,
guys who were scientically selected to be a
potential mate. After a lot of trial and error, I
nally discovered my problem.
People. Lie.
“Guys are so aky,” said my single friend,
Louise. “Especially with online dating
because you don’t have any friends in
common. They can lie and treat you like shit
but retain their ‘nice guy’ persona because
no one will ever know. And girls aren’t any
better. They shop for men like they shop for
their next handbag, the highest price is
usually the winner.”
”So, is it the internet that is making them
aky, or is the internet just enhancing their
natural akiness?”
Louise stared at me.
“Which came rst, the chicken or the egg?”
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 29
By Dawn Misso
Independent Media Inspiring Minds32
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 33
Social media. Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr
- it’s all out there for the world to see. And we
seem to be becoming more and more
obsessed with checking our news feeds
every hour or so, posting pictures to portray
our ‘happy’ lives and being seemingly
harmless voyeurs of our so called friends’
As a teacher, I often notice students
engrossed in their social media apps on their
phones. Posting, checking, waiting
anxiously to see how many ‘likes’ their most
recent holiday snap or witty status update
will gain. Young people are such vulnerable
creatures and it is a constant concern that
these sites are only perpetuating a danger-
ously high number of narcissistic youths who
will be
unable to cope with the realities that they
face in the non-electronic realm.
Having taught at both tertiary and
secondary institutions for almost a decade,
the link between social media, narcissism
and depression is becoming virtually
impossible to ignore.
According to a recent study, one in three
adolescents is likely to develop some sort
of anxiety disorder or experience a level of
depression. This gure has increased
dramatically in the last nine years and is
largely attributed to the internet and social
media. Psychologists in schools and at
universities are treating young people for
such disorders, which some believe are easily
The problem is that when we look at these
sites, we see how others live; moreover how
we think they live. We measure, compare
and yearn for that house, those kids, that
girlfriend etc. When contrasted with our
seemingly mundane lives, we feel
inadequate, depressed and alone. We need
to realise no one is going to post a status
saying ‘I hate my life’ or a photo of them
looking forlorn and melancholy. Nope - they
post the life they want to have, and this, by
all appearances is the reality they want you
to believe. Some of you may not be fooled,
but many are, particularly adolescents.
A counsellor friend from a leading
Melbourne university stated that he fears
we are “no longer resilient to the perils of
adolescence or adulthood. It seems we are
becoming more vulnerable and more
susceptible to psychological disorders that
were previously rarely diagnosed, particularly
in the 18-25 age group.”
I was overwhelmed in my rst year teaching
at a leading Melbourne tertiary institution, by
the number of special consideration forms
I had for students who were suffering from
serious cases of depression, self-harm and
suicide attempts, as well as acute anxiety
and panic attacks. What struck me was that
these students were in the prime of their lives
and were in a highly sought after course,
having achieved an aggregate of 95 or
higher. Yet here they were, unable to cope
with the stresses, pressures and realities of life,
both personal and academic.
What is happening to our education system
that is churning out such vulnerable and
sensitive people who are unable to think for
themselves or cope under periods of high
stress? How do we teach resilience to a
generation who desperately need it?
To parents of teenagers using various social
media sites, consider the boundaries and
restrictions which can be implemented to
Independent Media Inspiring Minds34
guard against the chances of children and
teenagers becoming prey to the narcissistic
inuences of Twitter and the like.
Unfortunately, it seems that this is only the tip
of the iceberg.
It is more important than anything else to
teach kids how to be resilient and tackle
challenges they face in their daily lives with
poise and determination. They need to be
taught how to pick themselves back up
when they fail, and that not everyone is a
winner, as seems to be the new idea in many
schools where everyone gets a participation
ribbon and no one ‘wins’. This is not true in
real life and it is dangerous and cruel to be
setting up the next generation for a fantasy
life that is all lollipops and rainbows.
Unfortunately, these narcissistic tendencies
which may lead to depression and other
anxiety disorders are not conned to the
school and university halls. They are just as
apparent within generation X as with the
younglings of today.
It is concerning, yet on occasion also
amusing, witnessing ‘real’ friends on a
social media site, with regular posts of status
and pictures depicting a great career, newly
acquired wealth, boasting they are the
world’s best parent or that they have an
enviable relationship. In reality however,
some people may not be happy with their
appearance, could be in the early stages
of an eating disorder, really hate their job,
their other half is having an affair, or they are
suffering from postpartum depression and
would much rather be working instead of
looking after their own kids. It’s sad, but it’s
true. It is real life. You can’t Photoshop, lter,
adjust lenses, edit your comments etc. We
need to cast a discerning eye when
viewing social media sites, and wade
through the poppycock to look at what is
happening behind those ltered photos and
edited status updates. Better yet, actually
call your real friends for a chat rather than
stalking them or liking fteen of their photos.
Get off your phone and get on with life and
enjoy your own private corner away from
social media eyes.
Dawn x
Let’s face it, nobody chooses this scenario
when they are scrapbooking their wedding
photos and adding little hearts and sparkles
of perfection and dreams of unicorns. We
all thought we had snagged the prince of
everyone’s dreams and we’d live divinely
happy forever, only separated when death
claimed us. Even then we’d be buried
holding hands.
Then somehow our life as we knew it,
Sometimes those we have journeyed with for
years don’t wish to continue along the path
we are heading. One may be content to
holiday in the Riverland and be satised with
lying on the grass snifng duck poo, but the
other has dreams of Disneyland and being
part of the light parade kissing up to Mickey
(or Minnie, depending on which mouse says
yes rst). Or vice versa. Other times they, or
we, pick up hitchhikers. Somebody has to
get off the bus.
There are too many reasons to list that may
throw us into the face of the big D-Devil.
I have been there. He isn’t as scary or as
gloomy as he has been made out to be. If
you approach him carefully with a cupcake
and call his bluff, chances are, you’ll be the
one in control of the bus.
It may feel like it, but you’re not journeying
alone. Sadly, divorce is a growing sisterhood.
But burying your butt in the bed covers is
not going to do you any favours in the long
run. (And think what it will do for the size of
said butt!) Nor will it be great for your kids
and families who will also be affected by the
Do you really want your children or your Ex
to see you snivelling in your Elmo PJ’s? Es-
pecially if he’s done the dirty on you. Get
on with the rest of your life, and think of all
the positive and exciting things that may
lay ahead......a whole bounty of possibilities.
You could be the next Nobel Prize winner or
discover a new vaccine for detecting idiots
before you marry one. Just keep your mind
Independent Media Inspiring Minds36
Divorce Pa rty!
Book The Stripper, Were Having A
By Catherine Whelan
open to all that you’re now free to accom-
Yes you are allowed your mourning time.
Grieve for all that you have lost. It’s a healthy
part of the process. It would be concerning if
you bottled it up to later explode all over the
Coles checkout girl forcing you to rip open
your newly acquired rolls of toilet paper (this
may or may not have happened to me). It
hurts to hell and back. But you’re stronger
than you realise, and this part of your life is
only temporary. Yes, I realise it sounds
horribly cliché, but believe me - and every
other sister who has walked this road - it is
true. It WILL get better.
How you cope with the big D is all about
how you look at it. Positivity is a mind altering
thing. You have two options in dealing with
the whole shamozzle: Let it destroy you, or let
it refresh you.
So pull up your socks, a bra is optional, and
in the words of Bridget Jones, “put on your
big girl panties”.
Life goes on girlfriend, and so must you. Think
of all the advice you would offer your BFF if
she was in the same situation. Now actually
take some of it yourself, with a few nips of
Vodka if you must.
Here are my Top 5 ‘Been-There-Girlfriend’
Tips For Coping With Divorce:
1. Don’t let guilt eat you.
monster have afternoon tea with you briey
if you must. Enjoy your time together, have
a big misery party, then banish it from your
house forever.
I stayed in my marriage for many more years
than I should have because of guilt and the
worry of what I would be putting my chil-
dren through when we separated. When the
wheels inevitably fell off the wagon, what
I had imagined would happen (the worst
case scenarios of my kids locking themselves
in their room and threatening to never eat
again unless we got back together), never
eventuated. I had created so much unreal-
istic angst. I wasted precious years because
of stupid guilt.
My children coped so much better than I
gave them credit for. Of course there were
hiccups as they adjusted to different routines
and tension as we negotiated the murky
waters, but I was incredibly proud of the way
they handled themselves.
So stay strong, bluff it if you must. Your
children will take the lead from you.
Guilt is not healthy. It won’t change the past;
only hinder your shining future. Give it the big
middle nger, a kick up the butt, and then
shut the door.
2. Have some tact making the big
Family and friends in your inner circle will not
be at all surprised.
I was terried telling my strict Catholic
parents that I was separating from my ex.
I chickened out and told them by phone,
shaking, sweating, and hyperventilating at
the expected response. My mother’s words
just oored me; “It’s about time”.
These days, modern girls announce their
impending singledom in many ways.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, billboards. It is
no longer an embarrassment to be a
divorcee. We are strong powerful women,
who make our own decisions. Don’t mess
with us.
Divorce parties are becoming more
common amongst newly liberated girlfriends.
They are similar to Hen’s nights, but with a
lot of men (or ex)-bashing. I have seen some
wicked divorce cakes with brides or grooms
heads cut off and blood trickling down the
sides of the cake- and they were the more
tame ones. Google them, trust me your mind
will boggle.
A word of warning: if you’re still in contact
with your Out-Laws, it’s probably not a good
idea to invite them to the stripper party. May
I also suggest that the day after separation is
a tad early to send out invitations for the big
3. Get help with the legal stuff.
I cannot say this loudly enough girlfriends.
This is where I got it SO wrong. I thought we
could sort it out like adults and what we
(he) said we would do, meant that we (he)
would. I did not get legal help to make our
nancial arrangements ofcial.
Dumbest move (apart from marrying him) I
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 37
Image by Anna Clemson
EVER made. My car was repossessed
because he hadn’t been passing on the
payments I was paying to him, and then I
had a court ofcer knocking on my door
with an arrest warrant for non-payment of a
joint credit card he was supposed to have
cut up. They decided to go after me for the
money when he declared
bankruptcy. I went to court and explained
my sorry situation thinking they’d
understand. Sadly I had no leg to stand
on because my name was on the original
account. The judge said unfortunately this
isn’t the rst case she has seen like mine. I
will say it again: GET HELP WITH THE LEGAL
STUFF. Even if the separation is amicable,
there WILL be issues somewhere along the
4. Open your mind to possibilities.
My world is so far removed from where I
was when I was married, it’s unrecognis-
able. I have accomplished things I never
would have within that relationship. I am
becoming the ME I am supposed to be
(that sounds like a song I must write).
In the ve years since I separated, I have:
• Returned to study and gained
qualications in Aged Care.
• Moved back into the workforce gaining
employment in a prestigious Nursing Home
• Worked P/T as a Medical Receptionist as
a second job.
• Opened a home cake decorating
business. (I hadn’t EVER made a fancy cake
previously, but had always dreamed of it.)
• Merged all of my skills and training as
Independent Media Inspiring Minds38
Teacher and a Carer, into an amazing job
as an Education Support Worker in disability.
• Become a writer!
• Continued to solely support my 3 children,
one of whom has a disability.
I eagerly look forward to what the future
holds for me now! I am free to make
choices that I couldn’t within the connes
of my marriage.
I am proud of how far I have made it on my
own. It’s been empowering and
condence boosting.
I am slowly making my way through my
bucket list. (Or as I recently saw it called: a
F*** it list!)
I don’t want regrets when my number is up.
I bet you have a long lost mental
‘someday’ list. Well, it is now that day to
begin ticking them off!
So if your dream is to experience bikini
bungee jumping or opening the rst
cupcake cafe on Mount Fuji, then rustle up
some guts and nd a way to make it
happen. Take courses, join groups and
have fun meeting and experiencing new
people. Enjoy your new freedom and
chance to recreate yourself. You can do
and be anything you want.
5. Be gentle on yourself.
It’s going to take time and lots of
self-pampering to settle into your new life.
Don’t rush anything, and by anything I
mean DO NOT jump into the dating scene
because you think you’re lonely. Get a
puppy, then get to know the new you. Get
closure on your old life. If that means selling
your wedding rings and burning albums,
then have an almighty bonre. Don’t beat
yourself up over past mistakes. Your future
is unwritten and yours to create. You’re
going to be given truckloads of advice
( just like this article ) from well-meaning
family, friends and shopkeepers. Take what
suits you and leave the rest at the curb. Try
things on to see how they t, but don’t be
afraid to swap things around if they don’t
work. Yell, scream, throw the cat, fall apart
and put yourself back together again.....in
whatever form YOU want. The choices are
yours......have fun with it.
Oh the places you’ll go
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting
So...get on your way!
Dr Seuss
Independent Media Inspiring Minds 39