Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Don't shove me out of the nest!

"I'm 26 years old and I still live with my parent."

Saying that out loud sounds kind of dirty & shameful, doesn't it? When you think of people who live with their parents, the stereotype is typically an unemployed virgin with no friends. And they eventually become serial killers. If I look around at most other 26 year olds, they live in shared units with friends, in awesome apartments with their partners or they even own a house. But I'm not them. Well I have been pretty much all of those people at some time or another in my life (Wait! Except the unemployed virgin with no friends!) I moved out of home when I was 17 and four months old. And I moved 4 hours away by myself! I lived in a share house with five strangers but I quickly I moved in with a new boyfriend and stopped going back to my real home. That didn't go well and I moved back home with Dad after 18 months.

I was with my Big Bad ex for years while living at home and after a while it occurred to me that he lived with me. It was never really discussed or anything, but less of his stuff was going home and eventually he stopped going home too. After a while we decided to save up and buy our own house. So we did just that in May 2007.

Some people may be shocked to learn (or to remember) that I used to be a home owner. Yep. I used to buy Better Homes & Gardens magazines. Don't get me confused with someone else, I never cooked, I hated cleaning and I had a room that was just for unfolded laundry because the wardrobes sucked! But I had my own home and had even wondered if maybe the spare bedrooms might not be spare forever. Well they weren't because eventually we realised that while we could afford to stay in our house, we weren't going forward and we put the house up for rent. Big Bad Ex & I moved back in with Dad. In case you're wondering how a relationship fares when you move back in with parents, the answer is badly. It sucked as a couple. I like it because I'm happy at home but as a couple, not so much. I wouldn't say living with Dad was a contributing factor to why I broke up with him but it helped make me unhappy enough to realise I was wrong, he didn't really get me & I didn't want to be with him forever.

As I said, I was happy living with Dad but so was Big Bad Ex. He just... didn't... leave. So I did. I moved in with my cousin. It was the best year of my life to date. We had so much fun. We would go on late night coffee runs, hosted amazing parties, had the best set up of our stuff & had friends coming & going all the time. I learned a lot about who I am as a person while living in the unit. I became so much less angry (yes, I used to have a vicious and acerbic temper.) I learned to self soothe - a skill I never had until then. Like I said, best year of my life.

But like all good things, eventually it came to an end & in an effort to save money again, I moved back in with Dad (Big Bad Ex has finally moved on, though is still in regular contact with my dad). I've been here for eight months now. I'm happy here. It's just Dad & I. We share the cooking & cleaning - even though that mainly consists of heating canned soup & somebody doing the dishes. We play football together on Monday nights & he's my football coach. He plays on Wednesday nights so I get the house to myself. My friends are always welcome & they come around quite often.

Now I live rent free while I save up money for England. But I pay a big portion of the bills including the phone, internet, electricity and rates. Ok, maybe I pay most of the bills. But I don't pay rent & I definitely don't do my fair share of work around the house so I guess it all evens out in the end.

I don't see why society should look down on me for living at home. Is it the fact that I'm single that is the problem? Should I have settled for boyfriends that didn't make me as happy as I deserve to be and force myself to live with them? Should I waste my chance at a savings account so that I can live with strangers in a unit? Should I sacrifice my chance to live in England for a few months so I can instead do the exact same things I do in Australia but in a house that my dad doesn't live in? It all seems so pointless and I haven't heard any argument that makes me feel like I'm not making the best decision. So you know what? I don't care.

"I'm 26 years old and I still live with my parent."

Miss SAMawdsley xx

Questions:
  • What do you think of people in their 20s & 30s who live with their parents?
  • When did you move out of home and why?
  • Have you ever moved back home and & how did it work out?

Monday, 21 May 2012

Almost famous

Sometime this week, I will be holding an actual copy of my first book, The 100+ Club presents Reminiscing. I can't even begin to describe the feeling. I've wanted to be a writer since I was little. But dreaming of writing my own book seemed too far fetched when I was younger and even more so as I got older.

But then in 2009 I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. Queensland Community Care Network, who runs the 100+ Club, decided to write a book about the members of the club. I was invited to present a proposal for my vision of the book. It came to me instantly. I saw history (Australian and world) presented in a chronological order with quotes in the centenarians' own words. I saw it as a book that was fascinating no matter what page you happened to turn to and that was full of wondrous photos from the last 100 years. With my cousin's help I created a presentation to sell my idea for the 100+ Club book. And I nailed it. My vision was shared by the QCCN board of directors and I was offered a role that involved me writing the 100+ Club book.

If this were a Hollywood movie we would cut to my first day of the job and how lost I felt. Deciding to write a book is one thing. Being given a deadline is quite another. The movie would show me floundering a little. It would show me staring at a blank computer screen with my fingers hovering, unmoving, above the keys. Finally it would cut to me meeting Ruth Frith, 100, for my very first interview. Ruth Frith would probably be played by Betty White and I would be played by Kate Hudson or a blonde Anne Hathaway, so just imagine that. Now we're laughing, and Ruth (Betty White) is telling me all sorts of funny stories from her life. It gets a bit awkward as we talk about sex, and Ruth tells me 'there was no... no, things to stop you from having babies back then.' We then have tea and cake and we laugh some more.

Now it's an 80s movie montage of Kate Hudson smiling and talking with lots of different centenarians. Three of them are probably played by Betty White in different wigs because let's face it, there aren't many actresses over a certain age. A highlight would be my interview with Ivy Bean in England (let's cast Judi Dench to play Ivy) and my brother (he can be played by Channing Tatum) acts as my official photographer. Cue Channing delivering an inspiring speech on the drive back to London about what an amazing job I have, how jealous he is and how inspired he was to meet Ivy (Yes, this really happened) and you're halway through this feel good flick.

But eventually we get to where I am now. My words are at the publisher. Someone has already hacked at them with a brutal editor's pen. The hardest part of the whole process of writing a book was handing my words over. I had worked hard on them. I knew that within myself. I gave everything to crafting a well-worded and flowing book. But could I have done more? Couldn't I always have done more? Finding the point at which I said 'yes, here is my book. I am finished' proved not just difficult, but impossible. Eventually, after months of stalling, my boss was forced to lay down a deadline. Hand it over on this date. I was doing edits and rewrites the night before. I imagine it was the same feeling parents get when releasing their children into the wide world. You'll never do it voluntarily, you have to be forced to do it.

And how do I feel? Well, frankly terrified. But, on the flip side, coming soon to a bookshop near you!

Miss SAMawdsley xx

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Google: Did you mean...?

There's a really great tool deep in the heart of Blogger that enables me to see how random people have come to stumble on my blog through search words. I mean, it tells me exactly what words they typed into the search engine in order to find my website. It's very cool and it really helps to learn what topics of mine are engaging a wider audience. But sometimes, it just confuses me.

To try and illustrate these search terms, I've included the very first photo that comes up when I search these terms myself. I hope you find them more helpful than I did.

"boy in a dress party": I would not say I am an expert in the field of boys in dresses at a party. My only experience is one Friday night when some friends were really bored and I was really accommodating, they dressed me as a drag queen, so for an hour or so I was a girl pretending to be a boy pretending to be a girl.

"scratched cornea" & "swollen knuckle": These two search terms are always rating amongst my highest traffic magnets. In fact, 'scratched cornea' is my single highest traffic raiser. Anyone would think I am an expert on obscure injuries or something.

"tool girls": I'm not sure what a tool girl is. Any guesses? Or is this something that is NSFW (which, for the uninitiated, means 'New South F#$@ing Wales'. (Actually, no it doesn't. I learned what it really means when I misread the words 'spent the day fisting' as 'spent the day fishing' and opened the accompanying photo.)

"anti+twitter": Yes, I was traumatised by that NSFW tweet but I wasn't exactly anti-Twitter, just anti-that-porn-star-that-was-funny-to-follow-until-he-scarred-me-for-life.

"hipster zombie before it was cool": While I'm not 100% sure, I think it's safe to say that before a hipster zombie was cool, it was just an elitist prat of a zombie who ate only the brains of vegans. But that's just a guess.

"justin bieber circumcised or uncircumcised": If I thought I was scarred after the 'fisting' tweet, I was naive. This search term has actually kind of traumatised me. I was in love with Josh Hartnett as much as a 15 year old girl can be. But I had ONE photo (out of the 100+) on my wall of him without a shirt on. It was from Black Hawk Down and he's in fatigue pants and dog tags, and a bit war-torn & dirty. But I never, in my young adolescent fantasties gave a second thought to his penis. He was like a Ken doll to me when I was 15. Hell, even now (when my sadly misguided affections have moved on to Topher Grace) do I have any thoughts of penises. Is that just me?

"raptor penis": If there's one consolation in the Justin Bieber horror story, it's that only one person found my blog searching that term. Thankfully the internet does not deem me an expert in the field. However, multiple people stumbled on my blog searching for more information on raptor penises. I can not fathom what information they were searching for but I sure hope they didn't find it here!

And lastly, an honourable mention must go to the following...

"what is that raptor sound in my backyard": This made me laugh & I hope this reader got a giggle out of my blog post about this very same subject. It's one of my favourites. (And the second photo in Google Images was the movie poster I made for this blog post.)

Miss SAMawdsley xx

PS: I have the lovely Miss Wanderlust to thank for this blog idea. She was the first person I saw do it and I give her all credit!

Questions:

  • Can you explain any of these search terms?
  • If you have a blog, what are some bizarre search terms that provide you traffic?
  • What are some seriously weird things you've had to google? And why?

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Getting under my skin

Tattoos are not to be entered into lightly. They are one of those things that requires careful consideration and a clear decision making process - like buying a car, picking a career and choosing a Twitter handle. You can't rush into any of these things!

I have one tattoo. It is a green four leaf clover on my right hip. Jess, my best friend in the whole word has the exact mirror image on her left hip. This is because I am right handed and she is left handed. It's a beautiful perfect design that symbolizes different things to each of us - for me, it's my Irish heritage and the sacrifices my Protestant grandmother made to be with my Catholic grandfather.

I have thought of many tattoo designs I would love to get over time. Designs inspired by Alice in Wonderland, dinosaurs and The Nightmare Before Christmas and quotes from Edgar Allan Poe, Red Hot Chili Peppers and other songs that have spoken to me deeply.

The only two I ever thought about enough to really consider getting permanently inked into my flesh are the words 'Mi temor no soy yo' just below my left breast. This is Spanish for 'My fear is not me' - as in Yes, I have a fear (of death) but it does not define me. If I was partial to more ink coverage, I would get 'Es el alma temerosa de morir que nunca aprendĂ­o a vivir' or Spanish for 'It's the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live.' I have been teaching myself to speak Spanish for years now & those words are very special to me.

The other tattoo is 'You'll never walk alone'. This is the Liverpool FC motto and was the song sang at my Grandfather's funeral. The lyrics inspire me and feel like they were written especially for my fear.

I had previously been debating fonts to use, wondering if I should stick true to the all caps design on the Shankly Gates or choose a favourite script. Tonight, I finally settled on a design. Dad wrote the words out in his own handwriting. They look simply beautiful and I can't wait to have them etched permanently onto me.

I am going to England (what? You hadn't heard?) in around three months and plan to get my tattoo done in Liverpool - birthplace of my grandfather and my father and home to my favourite football club. I've found a tattoo parlour and emailed them.

But this brings me to a problem in my process. I had always wanted my tattoo on the outside of my right foot (see pic) because this is my kicking foot (for football) and because... well because walk, foot, walk? See what I did there? But I've read this can either fade or smudge. Since my tattoo is 9cm long x 1 cm tall & the thickness of a ballpoint pen, the fine detail needs to remain.

Yes, others have similar tattoos. I don't care.
My design. It's in my dad's handwriting and in
lower case font (AKA: Santa's handwriting)
The other issue I have is a tattoo needs to remain uncovered for 2-3 weeks minimum and up to three months to truly preserve the artistry. I can't do that while traveling around England! I had planned to make a quick pitstop with my traveling companions on our UK toad trip (of which I am the sole driver). Perhaps I could trek out to Liverpool just before I return to Australia and let the healing happen here? I'm not sure.

I've emailed the tattooist asking for an opinion on all this. If it comes back in the negative (and I'm afraid it might) where else could I get this tattoo? I AM getting it and I AM getting this exact design. It is in an envelope labelled 'my tattoo' and is in my suitcase already (along with my Oyster card & its union jack holder). So, 9cm long x 1cm tall handwritten tattoo. Any ideas for placement if I can't get my foot?

Miss SAMawdsley xx

Monday, 7 May 2012

I know what boys like! (Actually that's not true)

When I started this blog, I promised to blog honestly. So here's an honest story.
This post focuses on my own insecurities as a person.
It may contain personal opinions, jaded points of view and self-deprecating humour.

I have a lot of guy friends. In order to maintain this status quo without causing trouble, I make decisions when I meet guys as to whether they are friends or potential boyfriends. A guy can move from potential boyfriend to friend but once a guy is in the friend zone, I see him like a brother and a Ken doll. It is damn near impossible to move then.

I hung out with my friend Tony for the first time in years today. I was invited wakeboarding but thanks to my latest 'Sassy's accident of the week', I wasn't able to risk reinjuring my barely stable knee. But I agreed to go along with what I thought was a group of people. Now I met Tony in university. We were working on a group assignment with another girl, Victoria. Tony had a thing for Victoria so I'm very confident he is ok with being categorised as a Ken doll. Tony & I got along great & the first time I was ever in a plane, Tony was flying me around. He even let me have a go flying too! And he's moving to Perth soon so, yeah.

As I was pulling into the carpark where I was meeting Tony, I saw a hot guy. As I drove around I figured out that the hot guy was the friend Tony mentioned was with him. Ah, yes. Sufficiently awkward. I quickly figured it was just us three. Now this guy, Adam, is that kind of hot that you just know every other girl on the planet also thinks he's hot. I'm not saying he's the best looking guy ever, just that he looks friendly, approachable and like, cool guy next door kind of hot. But in my typically judgemental and compartmentalising way (stemmed from years as the victim of bullying), I labelled him someone who was going to have nothing in common with me and was probably going to be pretty pissed off at Tony for inviting this weird girl along.

But Adam was instantly joking with me, very funny and a pretty nice guy. I had a great time with them both, taking photos of them wakeboarding. I actually had a really awesome afternoon. Then we went to the pub for beer & pool. In order to carry on the fun hanging out, we made arrangements to drive my car back home so we would have one car & one DD. But as I parked my car, Adam got or made a phone call. I'm not sure how but the girl he likes told him she was free tonight & if he wanted to see her, it had to be that night. Cue, my little heart sinking just a little. It's not as if I liked him or anything, I'd only just met him but I was still a tiny bit disappointed. Which brings me to my point.

I know nothing about this girl Adam likes. Not one detail. But here's the thing. I've imagined this girl:

She has beautiful glossy chocolate brown hair that she straightens every day.
She is never caught without makeup.
She spends a lot of money on clothes and always looks great.
She wears heels no matter what.
Her cute little handbag has a phone, wallet, keys & liploss in it. That's it.
She has heaps of equally gorgeous friends who all look very similar. Their photos look like girl band promo shots.
Her Facebook shows her in clubs, with friends, on the beach & at holiday places like Bali & Thailand.

That's what guys want. Right?

I have dirty blonde hair that I rarely brush between washes. I only straighten if for a really special occassion.
My idea of make up is scratched on eyeliner, mascara & recently I bought a super invisible foundation. That's my going out makeup.
I do not buy anything that is not on sale. I also shop at op shops. Because I like them.
I wear heels if it's a special occassion & I won't actually need to stand up.
My handbag sling across my body & has everything including tablets, old receipts, lolly wrappers, half drunk water bottles and once, even swimming goggles.
My friends are gorgeous. I have a small handful of them. We don't go out much.
My Facebook shows me playing football, Kinect shots from my Xbox & taking stupid photos of myself, usually for comedic purposes.

That's NOT what guys want. Right?

I asked guys on Twitter what they value in a girl.
I got answers like funny, intelligent, shared interests, doesn't smoke, kind, generous... These are all qualities I like to think I possess. Now Twitter guys are smart guys. But I'm not sure they represent the typical red-blooded male. Given half a chance, I think most guys would take the hot chick over some weird, football & Xbox-loving quasi guy like me.

I can not stress enough, I am NOT fishing for compliments. This is my blog. These are my thoughts.

You see, on paper I know I sound like the ultimate girlfriend. I love sport. I love playing Xbox. I hate flick chicks & love action movies. I am more than willing to laugh at myself. I can fix most things around a house. I also am aware that I am no swamp donkey. But I don't think that is actually what guys wants.

I think they want the girl who oozes sex appeal in short skirts & gorgeous clothes, not the girl in the tartan skirt & Pink Floyd shirt. They want the girl who pouts into the camera with perfectly made up hair and faces, not the girl who couldn't really be bothered, as long as I don't look too bad, I'm OK.
Girl who oozes sex appeal
Girl who doesn't take herself seriously

I grew up the only girl in a house with two guys. I can use most power tools. I can fix almost anything in a house. I've tiled bathrooms, painted walls, built cupboards and laid concrete. Other girls won't get dirty because they will break a nail or they just plain don't know or care how to fix things. That's what girls are meant to do and what guy wants to be emasculated when his girlfriend can fix the broken door but he can't?
Girl who looks hot with power tools
Girl who can actually use power tools
I play football three times a week plus regularly just kick a ball around my yard. I play with men on a Monday night and I play hard. A few weeks ago, I was knocked out playing keeper. Other girls play netball. Once a week. Maybe. Or they go to they gym looking freakishly perfect, work up a gentle sweat & pat themselves down ready to starve themselves for another week.

Girl who is a gorgeous gym bunny
Girl who breaks herself playing sport
Guys also like the hot girl who gets together with her girlfriend on a Friday night & Saturday night. They wear heels for the entire time, they drink Cruisers or something and flirt outrageously. My Friday nights are more often than not spent playing Xbox or watching movies. That's if I don't have a football game. My Saturday nights are spent much the same way except I'll be watching football by the end of it because the EPL games start at about 10pm.
Girls and their Friday night shots
Girl and her Friday night shots
Girls always look gorgeous and "guy ready". Always. They're like ultimate fantasies and look just how they should, as girls, all the time.
Girl who looks gorgeous going to bed
Girl who wears dinosaur PJs to bed
This is just how I see it. I see these girls who always look perfect & I look down at my own dinosaur Tshirt & jeans. I know I'm different. I know who I am & I love who I am. I am confident and not fake at all. But I just can't be that girl. Not without being fake. And I can't do the hair and the makeup. I've tried. When I was hanging out with the guys today, I was talking about how I'm sure I can wakeboard because I can skate the ramps & bowls on rollerblades. I talked about how I want to go to a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert. I suggested beers and pool. And then I asked the barman to put the football on the bar TV.

I feel like guys are never going to take me seriously. The perfect girls are the ones who the boys want. I'm not saying guys don't like me. I know there are some that have. I'm not, as Cher would say, 'completely without' but I am not that girl.

On paper, I am the best girlfriend EVER. In reality, I guess I just don't take myself seriously enough as a girl.
Yes. This is me.
Yes, I'm a girl pretending to be a boy pretending to be a girl.
No, there wasn't a fancy dress party.
It was Friday night. We were bored.
Miss SAMawdsley xx

Questions:

  • What do you think guys like?
  • How do you imagine the perfect girl?
PS: I'm sorry if I offend any guys (or even girls). I know all guys aren't like this. Hell, maybe most guys aren't like this. Maybe no guy is like this. I may be jaded, cynical and a little bit unwilling to put myself out there. But this is my blog. This is how I feel. And these are my thoughts. If you are one of the girls I described, note that I am not dissing you. I am jealous of you. You seem perfect to me.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Will blog for music

Anyone who knows me would be well aware that I am going to England in a few months time. For me, this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. My brother currently lives in London with his fiancĂ©e and I will be staying with them. I am going to England to get to know my soon-to-be sister-in-law before she leaves all her family and friends behind to start a new life in Australia. I will also be helping to arrange the wedding and help make preparations for her to make her big move. In reality, this trip is not something I can really afford. I work for a charity and as expected, I really don't earn a great wage. You may already know that I am raising much of my funds on Ebay, selling anything I can get my hands on. I have become a hermit and anything that costs money and does not help to get me to England has been effectively banned.

Regular readers would also know that I am a big lover of music. I collect records - scouring second hand shops for 50c treasures that I proudly display in a cabinet. I lament that I was not able to grow up in the 70s and see that pinnacle period in the evolution of music for myself.

Well this may surprise you but as much as I love live music, I don 't own an iPod. But I desperately want one for my trip. I am terrified of flying and music is my biggest distraction. I have so much music I would love to listen to but no way to bring it with me.

So I have turned to you - my dear and loyal readers; people I have shared myself and my soul with implicitly. From the feedback I have received, I have made you laugh, I have made you cry and I have made you think. And now I am asking you to give something back.

Now I am not the kind of person who expects something for nothing. I was raised by a single dad, I have been gainfully employed since I was 10 (that is not a typo) and have cleaned hotel rooms rather than accept government handouts. I also like to think I can make the world a better place. So I would like to present my campaign...
* Will blog for music *
I am officially raising funds for an iPod and have chosen to also collect money to donate to the charity Musicians Making A Difference (MMAD). I have chosen MMAD because it's a charity that helps emotionally and socially traumatised children express their pain in lyrics, find their voice in singing and escape the world through music to help them survive. I have had my fair share of pain and I understand the escape music can provide.

So here's the deal.

A 160GB iPod classic is $279. I will donate 10% of my earnings to MMAD until I raise $279 at which point every cent over that amount will be donated. My going away party is on August 25 so that will be the last day of my fundraising campaign.

What I am asking is for you to donate a minimum of $2.79 - 1/100th of the cost of an iPod. But as I said, I do not expect something for nothing and I have promised, I Will blog for music so in exchange for your donation, this is what you will get.

  • 500 words published on my blog about absolutely anything. Challenge me. Make me work for your donation. Pick a topic you love. Pick something controversial. Ask me to review your website, blog, Twitter account, etc. Pick a topic you think I know absolutely nothing about. Be vague or be specific. If you donate the minimum of $2.79, that's $0.00558 cents per word, so get your money's worth!
  • 10% of your donation will be donated to MMAD and to changing the lives of kids who have had an unfair start to life. You can help share the power of music and enrich their lives through song - or smashing the heck out of a drum kit!
  • If you email me your favourite song & a photo, I will put that song on my new iPod with your photo as the album art (whatever photo you choose - it can be you, your Twitter avatar, your favourite picture - anything!) I will make your name the album name so every single time that song plays, I will think of you and smile! I promise I will keep this on my new iPod for the life of the device.
Ladies and gentleman, all that can be yours for as little as $2.79. Like I said, that is the minimum amount to get all this and you are of course, more than welcome to donate more! Remember, the more you donate, the more I will donate to charity and help children through the power of music. Wow. If 100 people donate $2.79 I will raise enough for my iPod but I will have written 50,000 words in the name of my cause. That... is kind of daunting. But none the less, I promise here and now, I Will blog for music.

So how do you donate to these fantastic causes and get your 500 words and name / photo on my iPod? Simply donate through PayPal, using the 'Donate' button on the right hand side of this blog or by sending your donation to my PayPal account samantha.mawdsley@hotmail.com through the PayPal website - if you don't have PayPal, simply send me an email & I can provide you with my bank account details. Then let me know (by commenting or emailing me) what you would like me to blog about, what song you want to add to my iPod and what photo you are setting as the album art.

This has been quite hard for me to write as I am not the type to ask for help. An amazingly kind Twitter friend once offered to donate money to help me get to the recent Pink Floyd concert but I could not bring myself to accept the charity. If you can't afford to click the donate button to your right, know that I still love you and would be very appreciative if you could share the link to this blog post through Facebook, Twitter, email or hiring a mobile billboard to drive around your city. So thank you for playing along and I look forward to hopefully having some fun with you!

Miss SAMawdsley xx


PayPal: samantha.mawdsley@hotmail.com
Email: Miss.SAMawdsley@gmail.com

Ts & Cs
One blog post / song per person (unless an amount is negotiated - I may be swayed! :P )
No porn or inappropriate photos. I will happily be sharing the iPod with younger cousins.
Blog post topics must be appropriate for all ages as I have younger readers too.
I will endeavour to post your blog ASAP. I'm too broke for a life, so it's not like I'll be too busy!
I will post the final amount raised in a blog post & include a receipt for the amount donated from MMAD.

Friday, 4 May 2012

I was a hipster before it was cool to deny you are a hipster...

I am not a hipster. I'm not! I don't think. Maybe. I hope. I don't even know anymore.

I read an article a while back that I can't find anymore that was a tongue in cheek How To guide for being a hipster. I clicked the link expecting to giggle at the idiot hipsters. Instead, I found myself going "Wait! I collect vinyl. I have done for over six years now." And I wore skinny jeans before anyone else! I remember my friend laughing at me saying "only you would wear those horrible jeans from the 80s." This was in 2005. My ex's parents disliked me purely based on the opinion that "Samantha dresses weird". I always have. Suspenders? Band tees? Play suits? Staples of my wardrobe. Three years ago I scoured the shops for a pair of brogues. But I'm not actually a hipster, am I?

Allow me to dissect the following article about how to be a hipster.
The first part regards appearance. (I had linked to credit this article but my readers complained that it prevented my site from opening do to malicious something or other... sorry!)

"There's an art to finding acceptable Hipster clothing. The local thrift store will be just fine for all of your needs."
I have always shopped at op shops. I'm talking since I was little, little. Both Mum and Dad would take me to Lifeline and St Vinnies to paw over the dusty, used, but one of a kind delights. When my grandmother started volunteering in St Vinnies, she would bring hordes of stuff home for me to pick out the best stuff from. I loved it. I still do.

"First, are you wearing pants that are loose? If so, this needs to change.  Dig through the stale-smelling clothes and find some trousers. Then put them back on the rack and find some three sizes smaller."
For the last six years I've pretty much only worn skinny jeans. I bought my first pair from the bargain rack at Jay Jays for $10 because nobody in their right mind wanted them. Except me.

"A good choice for a shirt would be something subtle, but ironic, such as a Ninja Turtles t-shirt circa 1995, or perhaps a Pokemon shirt. (Don't make it too obscure though. Pikachu will be just fine.)"
Did I come back from England in 2006 sporting the most amazing Rainbow Brite shirt? Did I wear it everywhere and have infinite number of people say "OMG, I love Rainbow Brite. Where on Earth did you get such a cool shirt?" Yes. Yes I did.

"Lace tights with shorts? HELLO."
September 2006. And I made that necklace myself...
"Retro glasses are especially hipster. Even if you don't need glasses, it's still good to own a pair of these. They'll overwhelm your face AND everybody around you! In a good way!"
I begged my dad for glasses. My vision is perfect. I have the vision of a fighter pilot or a F1 driver. I asked an optometrist years ago if it was possible to get glasses with out any vision enhancing qualities. He was very confused but told me, yes, it was possible. Unfortunately Dad couldn't afford to indulge little 10 year old hipster Samantha. So I bought myself a pair when I was in England in 2010 - before you could buy them in Australia.

"This thing is called a romper. Romper=HOT. You can even cinch a belt around your romper if you want. ROMPER. ROMPER ROMPER ROMPER."
Numerous people can attest to my love of playsuits. I bought my first one in 2005.

I may meet these criteria, but am I actually a hipster? Ok, here's my latest favourite outfit.

1. Vintage Pink Floyd band tee
2. Tartan school skirt from a school I never attended
3. Stockings with built in suspenders
that are just starting to become cool
4. Union Jack leather bag I bought in 2003
5. Military heeled boots
Ok so I've established I unintentionally ooze a hipster vibe with my appearance. God damn it... but what about the rest of my life? You know, my interests?


"Being a Hipster isn't easy. The careless look and seemingly easy attitude takes hours to perfect, if not days. If you want to be a true hipster there are a variety of interests you need to have. While I can't cover all of them in this brief chapter, here are some basics for you to study."

Ok, let's hear them then...

"Hipsters have a very specific taste in music. Hipsters mainly listen to indie music, but also the classics. Listen to stuff like the Beatles, (damn it...) the Rolling Stones (What?!), and other '60s and '70s bands (You mean like Dr. Hook, Meat Loaf and Pink Floyd?... oh...). Listen to a lot of '90s music too, like Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Mudhoney, etc. (And Marcy Playground? Oh, you probably haven't heard of them, other than that one song... Damn!)"
Perhaps I would have more of a chance at arguing against this point if I wasn't currently listening to The Beatles singing in German - Sie Liebt Dich. You've probably never heard this version...

"When it comes to films there are several that make Hipsters drool.  Here is a short list of some important Hipster movies to watch and learn from.  
Donnie Darko - Every Hipster goes through an angst-y Donnie Darko phase at some point or another. Now it's your turn."
Donnie Darko? Yes, it's an awesome film but I first liked it in 2003, well before it was cool! ... God damn it!

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - Because of this movie, Hipsters like the name Clementine. Also they like dying their hair pink and blue."
I may or may not like that movie. There's no proof. But in my defence, I like anything with Jim Carrey in it! And I planned to dye my hair pink when I go to England long before reading this! I've just been gainfully employed and unable to do wild things with my hair!

"DOCUMENTARIES. Hipsters love documentaries as well. It makes them feel aware.
Oh come on!! Who wrote this?! I've always loved watching documentaries! I even watched 'The Crocodile Hunter" before people even knew who Steve Irwin was! ... Oh, I just keep doing that!!
Well if I am a hispter, so is Simon! We watch documentaries together all the time! It's kind of our thing!

"Become a photographer / graphic designer / artist / writer / blogger."
I... but... trick question! I'm writing about how I'm not a hipster on my blog. That's not fair! My blog about how I'm trying to be a writer... Ugh!!!

"Hipsters don't need art school. Because they already have a keen eye for what looks acceptable and what doesn't, they make natural freelance photographers / designers / artists / writers / and bloggers."
I may have dropped out of my writers course at uni because I felt I knew it all and didn't need a degree to make it as a great writer... but that doesn't prove anything!!

But I have other interests too!

2006: I liked scrapbooking before it was cool.
And I fell in love with Tim Burton when I was 11!
2011: I didn't get into sewing because hipsters do it,
I genuinely want to make my own quilt!
2006: I liked The Nightmare Before Christmas before it was cool!
And have always loved the 80s!
2007: I've collected records since way before it was cool!
I was telling Dad about the hipster article but had to be sure he knew what a hipster was. The conversation went a little something like this.
Me: Oh I was reading this article the other day about how to be a hipster. Wait, do you know what a hipster is?

Dad: No

Me: Ok, it's like... they like things before they were cool. Like, they listen to music that nobody else does, they dress weird and stuff.
Dad: Oh ok. So like you?
And another ex's friends decided upon first meeting me that I was a hipster and I would say something and they would laugh and say "You're such a hipster, Samantha!" I was indignant, insisting that I was not.

I think, as is typically the way in life, that The Simpsons sum it up best.

Marge: Am I cool, kids?
Bart + Lisa: No.
Marge: Good. I'm glad. And that's what makes me cool, not caring, right?
Bart + Lisa: No.
Marge: Well, how the hell do you be cool? I feel like we've tried everything here.
Homer: Wait, Marge. Maybe if you're truly cool, you don't need to be told you're cool.
Bart: Well, sure you do.
Lisa: How else would you know?
Samantha Mawdsley

Miss SAMawdsley xx

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The one where I talk about penises

The parents of this child were
charged with  child cruelty
The parents of this child
suffered no ramifications
I am adamantly against genital mutilation. And that includes parents circumcising their sons.

I caused some controversy on the Internet (specifically Twitter) when I tweeted this.
I am against circumcision. For both men and women. There, I said it.
I was retweeted and favourited so many times (even as I type this, I'm still being retweeted around the internet) and the responses I got back were overwhelmingly supportive of my stance and agreeing with me.

@BenHarkin Yeah, I never could get excited about the prospect of circumcision

@Greyko Whenever a woman says she'll circumcise her son cos it looks better, I ask her if she plans on f***ing her son.

@DomSlashRyan Seconded. Especially for women, but even with men, there's no medical reason for it whatsoever

@cosmicjester I agree, I think routine circumcision for non medical purposes is barbaric

I followed this up with another tweet:
If a guy has a circumcised penis, that's fine & I definitely won't judge or think it looks weird, but let the man choose later for himself...
That prompted these responses.

@RockStar_Matt Lol who the f*** would choose it.

@CJ_Politics Sadly, most women I know look at this from the opposite perspective. I think circumcision is cruel, and a waste of money.

@jasoncodes That's it right there. It should be up to the individual to decide once they're capable of informed consent.

@natsukigirl I pretty much feel ill anytime someone tries to justify circumcision.

@CaBaNa_Dread I agree, I think routine circumcision for non medical purposes is barbaric

Some people found some wiggle room on my stance, such as for medical reasons. I knew a guy who had to be circumcised for medical reasons. His foreskin did not pull back and was fused to the head of the penis. Of course I support the decision his parents made. Where there is a medical necessity, what other choice is there?

But allow me to clarify, I am against circumcision that is not the express wish of the owner of the genitals.

If I had a child and I tattooed some meaningful family crest on his shoulder, I would be charged.
This is my choice and means a lot to my family but it's still wrong. It is irreversible and the child did not choose or agree to be part of this.

But if I had a child and I snipped off the foreskin of his penis, I would not be charged.
This is my choice and means a lot to my family but it's still wrong. It is irreversible and the child did not choose or agree to be part of this.

If the child wants to grow up and tattoo our family crest on his shoulder, after the age of 18 he's most welcome to.

So why is circumcision any different? If the child wants to grow up and snip off the foreskin of his penis, after the age of 18 he's most welcome to. What right does anybody have to take this choice away from their child? With all the outcry over and campaigning against female genital mutilation, I can't understand how some people cannot make the leap and connect it to male circumcision.

A child who is circumcised at a young age cannot change his mind. A child who is not circumcised, can. Don't deny your child this very important choice. The man he becomes may not be happy with what you decided for him.

Many people argue in favour of circumcision, citing health and hygienic reasons. Teach your son proper hygiene. Simple. Many, many men go through their younger lives uncircumcised without suffering infections or any problems. Remember when it was standard procedure to dock the tails of a rottweiler? Now it's illegal. Why do you suppose this unnecessary medical procedure was banned?

As I've stated, this should be a choice for the owner of the penis to make later in life. Out of medical necessity, it becomes a different story - but that should be seen as a similar (albeit less serious) situation to parents of a child suffering from meningitis who needs to decide whether to allow doctors to amputate a limb.

But I'll leave the final word to Corey James.
@CJ_Politics That said, I am myself - not by choice.
Miss SAMawdsley xx

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Would you really want to know?

I smashed my knee in a hard tackle over two weeks ago. I was on crutches for over a week and couldn't drive for nearly two weeks. For me, the main thing is I won the tackle and consequently, my team won the game.

A fracture has been ruled out but with continuing pain, I went to see my physio. He has been a physio for the Australian Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams so I trust him implicitly. He also mistook me for my mum a few months ago. Last time he saw my mum, she was around my age so that's how long he's been tending to the muscles and joints of my family.

Well I saw my physio today and I explained my injury. He asked some questions, as they do and I mentioned that while my knee is sore and has been slow to improve, my foot on the same limb has been really cold. I told him it actually turned purple on the first night after the injury occurred. He seemed a bit taken aback by that and reached down to touch my feet. I was telling him about this as I was taking my Converse sneakers off - that's what reminded me to mention my foot. He pulled back. I assumed they didn't feel any different as both feet had literally just come out of shoes. He told me my right foot was definitely much more cold than the other foot. But he offered no explanation.

As I was lying on the table and my physio was massaging my leg, I asked if he had any theories as to why my foot would be so damn cold. I asked because at the time, my right foot was so cold that it was hurting. He seemed reluctant to answer and started talking about  my sympathetic nervous system. None of this made much sense to me.

Suddenly I thought I was cottoning on to what he was saying and my heart sank like a stone. "Are you telling me this is all in my head?" He insisted he wasn't and upon deciding he hadn't convinced me he told me he thinks it is "Complex regional pain syndrome". He provided a brief explanation about nerves and laughed when he told me it is very rare and he said as soon as he thought of it and how rare it was, he thought if someone was going to have this syndrome, it would be me. Thanks(!).

But then my physio did something I didn't expect. He explicitly stated that I was not to google it. He repeated his direction many times, insisting reading about CRPS would scare me. He told me I could tell my medical profession based friend about it because she wasn't aware of any possible cause but I absolutely was not to google it myself. But his explanation did not offer my any real reason why my foot is cold. And he told me that if I read about it I would become worried. Worried about what?

So what would you do?

...


...

Put yourself in my position.

...

Decided what you would do yet?

...

I think I did what most everyone would do. I burned the words into my mind and googled the heck out of the condition the second I sat in the car.
Chronic regional pain syndrome
It's not good. Nothing about what I've read is good. The article opened with "...is a chronic progressive disease characterized by severe pain, swelling and changes in the skin." and didn't get much better from there. I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry and then drive home like a zombie. Obviously I haven't been formally diagnosed and even if I do have the disease, there is a small chance the syndrome can cease it's progression and go into remission. But since as I type this, my right foot is again so cold it's hurting, I'm still afraid.

But what would you do? Would you really want to know?

Miss SAMawdsley xx

Questions
  • What would you do in my position?
  • How and how long would it take for you to make your decision?
  • Have you ever been in the position to decide if you wanted to know something bad?
  • What did you do?