Blog 116 – Start Giving A Shit.

We all have those days when we can’t be bothered. Can’t be bothered working, can’t be bothered conversating, just can’t be stuffed. Long days at work, university or after a family reunion. The day’s when we’re absolutely exhausted mentally with the endless questions about how things are going, what we are doing with our lives and listening to other people.

We have all drifted out of a conversation with someone we’ve just met and ended up wondering why in the world we were talking about Donald Trump or something random. We have to also admit that it’s not always because of tiredness that we stopped paying attention but sometimes we as people just stopped listening because we stopped caring so much. But what is the price of not caring?

For a second, imagine what life would be like if you stopped giving a shit about everything? Sounds pretty good right? But what opportunities would you miss out on if you went through every conversation half-assed and vacant? If you overheard a conversation about something you could have offered your advice on but didn’t because “you couldn’t be bothered.” How would your friends and family treat you if you didn’t give a shit about them? What would be the overriding effect if everyone didn’t care, how would that impact our world?

 

Actually caring about things can be as simple as being present in a conversation, participating in something we don’t usually care about. Something I’m completely guilty of is always thinking I know what is best for myself and like many things I’m often wrong.  I like to think that everything I currently believe in has always been that way but every now and again these little journeys pop up which change my opinion on things and it actually shapes what could be considered a different version of who i am, maybe like yearly iPhone upgrades, very slight changes which accumulate into significant and very sizeable changes. Being present in conversation is about as important as having lyrics in a song. It provides depth, it grows a sense of involvement, something other people can relate too.

Over the last two years, i’ve been on this journey of self-discovery. Through blogging and cycling, advocating for young people in state care, not being sure about what I want to study, considering what Christianity means to me. Having difficulty with relationships. A whole mixture of massive journeys.

All of these journeys have taught me more about myself and others, in particular, how my experience in the care system has changed my worldview. My adoptive parents fostered other kids because they clung on to something deeper than biology and sharing the same blood. They would make compromises in their own lives be it financial, social or even allow their cupboards to be raided whenever I came over willingly because they valued connection beyond just saying that they cared, they followed through with their word and actioned change into other peoples lives. Those lessons wore off on me. Moulded my persona and helped me appreciate other people. The same way a musician is influenced about what to sing, it sets the tone for everything they do.

 

When I was 16, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC) sent out a request to all care experienced young people between the ages of 16-30 if they would like to be a part of an advisory panel that would report to the Minister for Social Development. With some convincing from my mum, I unwittingly emailed back letting them know I was keen.

With all of the right words in the correct locations, my request was denied… Lol… At the time I was still sitting my NCEA’s in high school and my passion was to get into graphical design and become an architect, so it didn’t affect me very much.

Not until one day I received an email from the same lady at the OCC who asked whether I would be interested in taking part in a focus group with a whole group of other care experienced young people living in Christchurch. The bribe was pizza and fizzy. Like all kids as soon as the words free and food are dropped, the rest of the conversation kind of doesn’t matter.

So I walked into this meeting thinking I’d be catching up with a whole lot of heaving hitting, inspirational leaders. But instead, I was confronted by a group of kids who had less than I did. These people had tattoos on their face, gang affiliations, some had even been to prison. These were people who needed a voice but didn’t believe it was even possible, they didn’t feel like they were entitled to it.

Our facilitator at the time, a lady called Tania (who is absolutely amazing), spent time with us asking what we thought would be helpful for young kids in care provided that we had all come through the system at different stages in our lives. A lot of thoughts were drawn up around knowing their rights, being able to have more freedom voicing their thoughts on things, there were so many thoughts. The entire mindmap ended up being scribbled over the entire 5 x 2-meter wall, floor to roof.

The conversations grew louder and louder, not in a nice way either. Stories were being shared about the abuse that some people went through, the horrible stories which I never believed could possibly happen in New Zealand. Sitting around the room in a messy circle each person shared their story and what they’d gone through. As each person told a bit about themselves I realized a continuous pattern that I was the only young person in that room who hadn’t been physically or sexually abused by someone.

 

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It made me upset and pissed off. It was enough to make me question the morals of our culture. That there are people out there who do this shit to kids and leave visible scars and seem to believe that it is okay somehow. How domestic violence is such a real and living issue within New Zealand and while it didn’t affect me in my life, there are many people to whom it does affect.

This was the first step in changing my opinion around others. From there I was asked a second time to be a youth advocate, and still being salty about the first time, yes was the answer. Three years on and a new Ministry has been created and its name is Oranga Tamariki – The Ministry for Children. An overhaul of the attitude behind how New Zealand view’s the problem of young people living in poverty.

Since that day I have spoken at large conferences, with Prime Ministers and academics. I have helped at a governance level to create and raise funds for a charity organization called VOYCE-Whakarongo Mai, which stands for the voices of young care experienced, that specializes in giving young kids in care a collective voice. There are thousands of people involved in this work not just in the care experienced space but in every element of our communities. All of whom have huge roles to play.

Do you think that these services would exist if nobody cared?

What would happen if nobody could be bothered? Would these important social enterprises still operate today? Services like: The United Nations Foundation, The Rotary Foundation, Heart Foundation, Starship Foundation, Tearfund, World Vision, VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai, these services would not exist if people didn’t care.

It’s easy to believe that it’s somebody else’s problem and therefore somebody else will fix it. That was exactly my thinking when I was 16 years old about the care system. The thing was, I always knew that there were social problems in New Zealand. From the “It’s Not Ok” ads on TV, even to completely different initiatives like World Visions 40 hour famine. But the truth is that I never really realized how much of an impact my seemingly insignificant opinions could actually have on everything, from policies which turned into laws to changing the minds of my friends and just opening their minds up to the reality of the problem.

The fact of the matter is that change doesn’t happen if everyone waits for somebody else to fix the problem. The same way the dishes won’t get done if everyone waits for somebody else to do it. It takes leadership to get anything done. Somebody has to start a movement to encourage others to be inspired to do the same.

New Zealand’s care system has been changed 14 times over the last 20 years. It was only until this time around when some bright spark thought of the idea to actually ask young people who lived through the care system what they thought about it. I know right… Seems like a logical thing to do, ask children what they would like the Ministry for Children to look like. Can’t believe it took 20 years to figure that one out…

But that’s actually a common thing, nobody seems to remember that almost everything we like to call our world was designed by someone, built using somebodies hands and handed on to another generation.

Sometimes the most obvious solutions to things aren’t actually as obvious to other people as you think. Our worldviews are all different. We all have something different to offer to people. But it is everyone’s responsibility to give a shit, and that can start by simply paying attention to the difficult conversations we all ought to be having with other people.

 

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 114 – From An Outsiders Perspective

It’s always interesting meeting new friends and getting to know who they are. Those first few months of spinning yarns and slowly earning each other’s trust. Learning to see what their strengths and weaknesses are from an outsider’s perspective. Those awesome occasions once you’ve heard all their stories and share memories with them and you’re put into a position where they finally trust you enough to bring you into their home.

Call it the chapter when you introduce all of the side characters, your friend’s parents or partner, their cousins or relatives, and friends. Even the decorations around their home and the general vibe speaks novels about a person and why they are who they are. Everything that you weren’t told seems to come out after the first few times you visit a person’s home. Like opening a sandwich you bought from the bakery. It’s contents become more obvious over time.

Now it’s not to say that you could just waltz into somebodies home and figure out every nasty thought they’d ever had, although you could just read the labelling on the shelf before you became invested in the sandwich. But it means you get to see some of a person’s primary characteristics being overlaid inside the place they grew up in, inclusive of the other people they live with.

This happens to me from time to time. From friend’s whose parents are armed defenders squad soldiers to newly wedded families with a new cat. Booming business-owning families all the way to stoners with nothing better to do than drive doughnuts in their backyard to piss off their neighbours. But for the sake of this talk, I want to reflect on one particular friend whose family taught me that you can survive primarily on love. That you can survive on the warmth generated by love as if to say that same sandwich only needed one ingredient.

When I was a depressed little teenager, my family shifted cities. We moved into this neighbourhood called Cashmere in this earthquake-prone city called Christchurch. Now little did I know that being socially awkward and noticeably anxious in a school full of shaken up teens makes it really really difficult to make new mates. It would be more productive to try to make fruit bread by toasting an apple.

Long story short I eventually made a group of mates. It took them a while to realize that I was just a massive softy. The kind of bum who likes cups of tea next to an indoor water feature with a brioche bun filled with avocado and bacon probably with a yummy homemade chutney on a laid back Thursdays 3pm.

It took some time for them to adopt me as a new prospect but somehow they found a way to let me fit in. Surely enough the majority of whom I still talk to today. All of those guys have grown up with me over the last five years from being dramatic and highly reliant teenagers to becoming less dramatic independent adults.

One of my best mates was introduced to me through this group. In how all fashionably classy friendships are made, through bitching about other people we both mutually disliked. The consistent and exaggerated moaning about people we both knew and both despised. An extremely fruitful way to spend hours of cackling with another person, I would recommend.

From then on, my mate and I continued to find the funny in everything. Whether it be about a teacher’s mannerisms all the way to the problems with brands like Beats by Dre. There was a consistency there which eventuated in our friendship. A friendship strong enough to earn his trust and be invited over.

The first time I went around to my mate’s place all I remember hearing was, “mum, Mana’s here.” Like a drill sergeant announcing a captain being on deck. Like an outfit, I went into full mum-mode by putting on my innocent until proven trustworthy face.  Through the fly door screen, all I heard was a homely voice saying, “hi Mana I’m (Bob’s) mum.” Followed by a prompt to come inside and not to worry about my shoes.

Dragon’s, rock/metal band posters, ashtrays, and love. That’s all my eyes could see in those first few steps into my mate’s place. They weren’t unshaken. Their family wasn’t perfect. Like many good people, shit happens and you learn to adapt to the situation, get thicker skin, deal with things over time. My friends mum worked hard. Day in and day out both at work and in their home. In the beginning that’s all I saw, just a hard-working, no bullshit New Zealand family. From an external view, a cold and solid livelihood, period.

Meeting my friends family was during a rock bottom period for me. Weighed to the ground by my anxieties, having issues with acceptance of who I was and problems with relationship breakups. The usual teenaged angst type of stuff. A period of time that you really just need help from other people.

When things go tits up, especially as a teenager, it can be really difficult to explain why it happened to parents who don’t really know who you are. Sometimes all you need is to talk to people who you’ve not previously had very much to do with. Sometimes what you need is a second family to kind of induct you into their world.

Family dynamics can become extremely solidified especially when you’ve never known much different. In my case, there had been so much clinging going on, by which I mean it became a case of never wanting to detach from my parents or learn about how others lived. I was so worried about how others might perceive me, Scared of the hammer coming down afraid of their judgment. A cold and stark reality that others only see things from an outsiders perspective.

Meeting other people has this cool feature that gains insight into understanding how other peoples family dynamics can educate unforeseen circumstances kind of like a chef teaching how to cook your favourite dish but better by adding a special ingredient, being more time appropriate or applying some other logic. It’s really as simple as studying others but we should learn about the secret sauce for now. Getting to learn about what lies within the solid centre, or within the breaded sandwich. Trying to understand how my friends family worked was about as powerful as taking cooking lessons.


 

After some time of appreciating who the people my friend and his family were, eventually you see what’s inside the cold centred middle. Behind the hard-working parenting, the passive bitching between sister and brother. Beyond the no-bullshit typicality of my friend’s kiwi family. It took some time to learn that this was how their family loved each other. A transcendent and loving conversation without words like heat within a freshly minced pie.

Love and acceptance was the currency my friends family traded in. A secret sauce that other people couldn’t corrupt. It was as if they didn’t give a shit about how other people lived and that was so refreshing from a younger and far more insecure little me.

Passively learning about all of their signs from the arguing they always did to the subtle giggling afterwards all the way to the endless talking about Game of Thrones or squabbling about somebody else they didn’t like. The thing that got to me was that my friend’s family didn’t have all the things other families did.

They didn’t have all of the belongings, the fancy cars or illustrious achievements hung up on the walls of their house paraded for everyone to see. They didn’t have an array of university qualifications or even a dominant male figure walking about the house. Their home wasn’t decorated with fancy artwork, instead, there was an occasional ACDC rock band poster resting next to their dining room table.

My point is their home wasn’t rich or even slightly well off. There were no high incomes or even two parents. Instead, there was only a hard-working mother and hard-working, loving not-so-young kids.

His family endured through many shakes that I never dealt with. Literally. During 2010, 2011 and beyond there were severe earthquakes that struck the Christchurch region. Imagine growing up in a place your entire life and having the majority of its terrain, it’s infrastructure being broken and uplifted. The disgruntled unfamiliarity of your livelihood, and yes it sounds dramatic but remember when so little else besides love gels your whole life together, how much would earthquakes unsettle your home life?

 

 

Another non-physical language next to love my friends family used was music. It helped to push through the hardships of suffering thousands of earthquakes. One of my memories staying over was listening to the Rock Fm playing late into the night. I thought I’d switch off the radio but was promptly told to put it back on. Not in a police officer kind of way but like mum telling you to eat your food before it goes cold.

Music was a security. It reminded them that they were safe inside of the chords. An empowering force, something that they liked. It let them forget about the shaking, it gave them a sense of stillness. It reminded me of all the times I used music to ease the stress of a situation.

There are endless external sources which could break families apart. Economic, financial, socio-political, earthquakes, you name it. But nothing hardens a family together more or strengthens relationships like an incorruptible love, spoken or not. My mates family taught me everything about staying strong. They even taught me a lot about my friend and why he came off so staunch and concrete.

It was because it takes time and a lot of hard work to earn some peoples trust. Not because they’re unsociable but because that is how they have grown up. With a solid centre. Though from an external position it might seem like they don’t care but in reality, it’s quite literally the opposite. My friends family didn’t have all the privileges but they still had more than the richest or most powerful.

Instead of cars and material belongings, they had relationships. Instead of talking about TED talks we spoke about memories together. It taught me that not every family needed all of the salads or the fanciest meats in their sandwich but instead they could get by using their special ingredient, love.

Be more open to loving discussions. Not necessarily with the next person you meet but instead becoming a source of warmth for those closest to you. My friends family taught me to guard my heart. Not to become invested in external sources like fixating on frivolous spending but instead to be grateful for what I have.

They remind me how we all need to love our family. That we could lose everything in life from our employment to our loved ones. But at the end of the day, as long as you have love as your glue and a mean tune on the radio, nothing can break up your family. And on that note…

Thanks for checking in!

 

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Blog 108 – Addicted to Being Busy

I sometimes think that people are genuinely just being busy for the fact that they enjoy being busy. The consistent type the ones that like to fill their schedule with everything other than making meaningful relationships with others.

It’s not just the serial extroverted either, what if somebody told you that everyone is just being busy for the sake of being that way…

I grew up in a home full of busy people. On one hand, you have a mother who has so many degrees at University neither you nor I will ever be as hot as her, and on the other, you have a dad who is soo one stroke that a roast with meat and two veg hits the plate nearly every day of the week.

Everyone in the family, asides from dad and my youngest sister, is military level martial artists, two of which were instructors, all of which are black belts. Where the tenants are:

  • Courtesy
  • Integrity
  • Perseverance
  • Self Control
  • And Indomitable Spirit.

It’s like the life motto in our house is so “go hard or go home” that the “go home” is removed from the saying entirely. The type or persistence that has you running timed runs at 12 years old training for your black belt grading. The type that has you running around in a white uniform that looks like a straight jacket for crazy people in front of kids playing basketball at school on a Saturday afternoon.

Sometimes I look at myself and think “why the heck did I say yes to that?” those moments when you full well know you’ve got something else on but the enjoyment of achieving it drives you to say yes instantaneously.

What? You don’t have those feelings? Not everybody does but maybe it’s the opposite of procrastinating? Maybe it’s a case of needing to achieve in order to feel content with oneself. That some people like myself get off on over achieving and end up doing everything but really achieving nothing. 

But is that any reason to slow down? What’s worse, being overly unproductive or achieving so much that your CV when you reach 50 years old will be longer than the bible…

I am constantly at war with myself, saying shit in my head like “am I trying hard enough” or “what more could I be doing to better equip myself for what comes next.” Perhaps all of those childhood memories of watching my mum vacuuming the top of the wall units in the lounge at 5am on a Sunday morning is what actually brought that stuff up for me.

My latest goal was to start up this new blog, the blog collects the stories of others and displays them into a narrative. Something that people could browse in their spare time. It was specifically started with the intention that it could combat mental health. That a person in need could come across it and utilize some of the tools that other people have talked about that were important for them.

This is still an amazing idea but can’t you see the problem? The holidays are over now, University is back up and running, that project is pretty hefty. On top of this, I also said yes to being on the panel for the William Wallace Awards which sits tomorrow at lunch time. There were 49 candidates, each candidate had anywhere between 4 and 80 pages of reading to go through carefully and respectfully.

Then there’s home life… The list goes on… But what is more important is recognizing the pattern. The mindset that if I don’t feel like I’m achieving enough, then there is a problem.

A capricious cycle of finding solitude in stress-infused silence. The ten-second excitement factor after pushing publish to the latest blog you’re currently reading. The bow on the stage that lasts a fleeting five minutes. Is it passion or is it problem. 

This is not a bragging session about claiming to be an over achiever. This is a confession session so that you don’t feel pressured into working tirelessly to achieve something that doesn’t really matter beyond the paycheck, beyond the certificate, beyond the bravado, beyond the bullshit.

If being busy keeps you happy, then fine, live and let live. But if you’re not achieving authentic relationships that are meaningful, whats the fucking point? Though it’s a bit of a serious reaction to over achieving something.  Sometimes striking a balance can be evidence of exercising the fourth tenant mentioned above, self-control. Learning to be at peace whilst remaining still.

In the words of Jackie Chan,”Being still & doing nothing are two very different things.”

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 107 – A New Blog!

You can visit the new blog here! WHAT WE SEE

So you may or may not know that we’ve recently started a new blog called WHAT WE SEE. It features a whole range of different voices from people within the community and shares a little bit about their stories.

The goal of the blog is to develop a wealth of opinions on topics surrounding mental well-being that we are dealing with in our local communities. Such issues include teen suicide in the state. Vulnerable youths and mental health. Ensuring quality care for care experienced young people and much more.

By constructing this new blog I hope to give the voices of the community, who are invested stakeholders in the well-being of young people throughout New Zealand, a collective vehicle that can be used to help aid those in difficulty. Specifically looking to help young people in New Zealand.

My experience in the state care system has meant that I am able to reflect on the process of the state care system as well as suggest practical ways in which we can all work together to help change the culture in New Zealand. I have been lucky enough to understand the mechanisms behind the ministries and private organizations and bodies that exist to front these social issues.

Perhaps another young person suffering from depression, anxiety or a young person who just needs to hear about a story from another young person or somebody they’ve never met.

The attitude of this new blog WHAT WE SEE is all about drawing from experiences that other people have faced in their lives. That they can give these little taonga back to their community to help somebody we’ve never met, without expecting anything in return. 

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So how could you get involved?

It;s really simple! All you need to do is write in via the contact page or by getting in touch over Facebook and gauging your interest in being part of the collective voice as well as a little bit about your personal background.

From there somebody will get in touch with you quickly as possible and hear a little bit more about your story. You can be super loud! Or you can be anonymous. This is all about sharing your experiences with young people in our community.

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How long’s this been running?

Since August actually… The best thing ever has been thus far getting to hear other peoples stories just flourish and shine on their own without any moderation, without any changing because they are so real.

The blog will continue to remain this real into the future. The goal is to start small and develop a network of people. But the opportunity is to grow so large that the blog becomes its own service.

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If you have any other questions about how you can get involved or if you just want to know more please feel free to email me or leave a comment at the end of the blog!

Thanks for checking in!

You can visit the new blog here! WHAT WE SEE

Blog 102 – Why Won’t Millennials Engage In Conversation?

Am I the only one who feels awkward sitting next to another young person not knowing how to strike up a conversation? Like, am I the only who feels devalued when a person sits next to me with their cell phone covering their face?

In comparison to the last generation who would address adults as “ma’am” and “sir” and would be more than willing to help out in their community when somebody needed help or voluntarily. When an aunt needed help gardening or the local dairy owner needed help putting up their “have you seen our cat” signs through the neighbourhood. The days my parents told me about when they could sit in the pub and know everyone and greet every newcomer or could easily befriend people they didn’t know as they walked down the street or on their first days at school.

It’s like we’ve become more bitter and less trusting in everything we do. As if to suggest that everyone is out there to steal each other’s thunder. The snobby looking, white shoe wearing, expressionless Facebook dwellers that gossip about petty things and see nothing outside of the 10-kilometre circle that they live and exist in.

Do we just wake up pissed off, head to school/work then moan about life all day, come home grumpy, watch funny Facebook memes then hit the pillow again? Surely there are opportunities within that where we can afford to have moments of spontaneity?

Surely there are times when we can think about more than just ourselves…

We sit and complain about all of the horrible things going on in this world yet we can hardly give somebody the benefit of the doubt to ask how their day is going. Can we not just simply put our cell phone away for a minute and be present?

The demographic of this chat is people born after 1985, the millennial generation. The one’s who group up in packs, wear the trendiest clothes, buy the latest smartphones, exist in tomorrow but are completely vacant for today.

The ones who “follow their heart” and the ones that want “purposeful lives.” They go out to parties and sleep in until 10:30 am. The people who don’t really know what they want to do in life or are binarily opposite and think they know everything about everything. The ones who lack identity beyond the brands that they wear, the ones who value music that sounds the same as The Chainsmokers or Justin Beiber.

The Millennial’s that sit looking dopey with their cell phones stitched to their faces. They stare and judge people passing by but hide in a digital shell when the person they’re sitting next to tries to strike up a conversation. The ones who lack trust or are very interested in finding out more about somebody else.

But let’s talk about Trust.


What is it? How can I buy it? Do they sell it on Trade-Me? It’s like we set the threshold for earning our own trust before meeting new people so high as to make it impossible for people to work their way up there. We set it high for the sake of setting it high because we’re too afraid to get hurt. We become known to anxiousness because we value social security higher than we value vulnerability.

Maybe it’s because my generation forgets that with every moment of randomness comes the opportunity to create something new. Something awesome, something that can’t be bought from a shop or on Ali Express. A cool interaction that cannot be replicated through a self-checkout at the supermarket or from an algorithm on Facebook.

Why the heck are we so afraid to get hurt? I don’t mean run over by a bus or falling into a sink hole but instead being afraid that someone might figure us out, might see our true colours. For who we really are. Maybe that’s a secondary definition of what it means to trust somebody. Trusting as an act of giving somebody power to know us and subsequently exercise that power over us.

Personally, I’ve come to blows with people who know me. Often because I’m more afraid of how they might use the things they know about me to leverage other things when it suits them. But that stuff usually becomes banter pretty quickly because everyone needs to learn to laugh at themselves from time to time.

Having no trust in other people because we’re afraid to get hurt can’t be the only reason we don’t trust other people. I think it might be because we value ourselves too much to the point where we can’t talk friendly over a coffee to a stranger.

We live in an economic environment where inflation increases faster than the living wage, Where things cost more and we earn less. It makes our money worth less every day.

We live in an environment where teen suicide exists and is socially unspoken and depression is rife. We are a country full of people but we suck at helping uplift others we don’t know.

We live in a nation with high levels of domestic abuse and the same number of children taken away from their families as the United States of America per capita yet we have 1% of that countries populous.

Maybe millennials have been impacted by this consumer/creator cycle where they want to stand out and think the only way they can do that is to sell themselves off as being a brand? Maybe people enjoy being hard to decipher because they think it makes them interesting and that somebody might notice that and make more of an effort to get to know them.

What a load of shit. 

It doesn’t cost to be nice to somebody you don’t know. You’re not going to be figured out after a friendly conversation at the sushi bar. It’s not like somebody you don’t know is going to forget you because meeting somebody new and learning about their world is one of the most soul replenishing things you can do.

The cost of being nice is on sale now. 

So maybe the person you meet is a bit of a dick. You might not be agreeable with everything that spouts out their mouth but surely it’s worth putting yourself out there to meet somebody new. Build a council of mates bigger than the one you currently have.

What is there to lose?

We teenagers are so addicted to social media and love the dopamine kick we get out of chatting with like minded people we’ve filtered out on Facebook and Instagram but when it comes to being vulnerable with our lunch…

You’re not going to lose the likes on your profile picture by talking to somebody you don’t know, you’re not going to suddenly be shunned by your peers for talking to a stranger at the buffet. The true price of being nice is free, and I’d buy that. So maybe you should say hello to somebody random next time you’re alone or with mates out getting coffee… We’ll talk about mob-mentality tomorrow.

Thanks for checking in.

Blog 100 – REST

Something that sparked up a bit of conversation between me and my friend Sam this week was the importance of rest and the power of sleep. After walking nearly 50km over three sessions of walking we kind of resorted to talking about well-being and discussed how rest was something athletes do beyond the sport.

Something I learned when I was watching this youtube blogger named Cycling Maven was about this annual bicycle ride they did across Australia called the Indi-Pac. (Indian Pacific wheel race). This race was over 5000km and went from western Australia near Perth across to eastern Australia in Sydney. The ride taking as long as it took the riders to complete it and in some instances actually race it.

Long story short the racers would have to find adequate means of resting each day after riding crazy distances of in some instances up to 550-600km in one day. (Which is ridiculous) Some riders reporting that they would only sleep up to four hours per day and In some cases less and then exercise up to fifteen hours with few breaks in-between. Pure insanity.

The riders spoke about how they would come across significant health issues. One athlete went on to explain one night, during his tour across America, when he slept on the side of the road in a disabled toilet and was woken up by a busting truck driver banging on the door wanting to use the loo. He said that he actually forgot where he was and went into a panic attack.

The real talk is that nobody is immune to rest. But defining rest is what I feel comes down to an art. I’ve spoken about rest in numerous discussions in my blog before. I don’t think that when talking about the necessity of rest we should visualise becoming a grizzly bear retreating into a cave over Wellington’s super cold winter months and do no exercise. But I feel that maybe instead it’s a call from God to actually rest in the faith sense. To be calm and gracious in both exercise and recovery by listening to the body and creating a relationship with ourselves (and God) and having faith that we will wake up fresh and be able to climb any mountain tomorrow.

I apologise if this turned biblical for you quickly. Maybe it’s not your belief personally but I feel that if you trust and have faith in your body and listen to it more you might benefit from having better rest.

In the Christian sense I guess my faith is knowing that there is nothing I can do to deserve the love of God but that the price has been paid already and the only reason I’ve been able to accomplish so much already is because there is some kind of cause that I am working towards. But in rest it means that I am able to be grateful in my recovery and am ready to grow later with God.

Anyway that’s my two cents worth. I hope you can think on that like I have. What rest means for you. It’s ironic that I write about rest now even though I am awake at 11:30pm and am coming up with excuses not to sleep. But here is my opinion on restfulness and what it means to me. Share with me, in the comments, what it means to you because I’d love to know. And as always,

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 096 – Ride On 

So these words are from a late night of both travelling and studying. Studying for what should be my economics examination but wasn’t. This is a short story of the perceived failed lifestyle that so many of us inconsistent students often face. 

You see, there is nothing liberating about studying. Some people just don’t learn shoved behind a desk listening to some guy rant on in the vast distance on the other side of a lecture theater. I know, who would have thought? 

Those people learn in other ways, such as doing and experiencing. They grow their expertise as they do things because it’s relevant to what they’re doing right now. It’s practicable. For a lot of students I know who struggle with the concept of University it’s often down to a lack of confidence. 

I’ve struggled with this too. Hitting my second year of study knowing that my track record shows D grades and A+ grades has helped me realize one thing. It’s not consistency that is as important as is passion for one thing or a few things. 

When I was sat at my desk tonight, all I could remember was being so incredibly fascinated by this bike ride that I’d planned. Not your motorcycle kind either. No, a push bike plan. A plan to cycle half the length of New Zealand across its North Island during the middle of winter to raise funds for kids in care. 

My philosophy is that when it comes down to the line what matters most to people is their satisfaction to life. Not by what credentials they have or what job they could get with their A-grades.

We are moving into the age of deep fried avocado chips and Jacinda Ardern’s. Where every system will be questioned for its familistic value under a more liberal, intelligent and practical democracy. Where children won’t feel isolated in an abusive home because there is someone out there advocating for them. A time when family traditions are pushed aside for non-sexist, relationship building communities of people who widely accept individuals as family. 

A time when a bachelor of commerce won’t be necessary to get a job in selling shirts at K-Mart. A time when a bachelor of business communications wouldn’t be needed to work as a Journalist in Syria but instead let you prove your worth by showing the work you have accomplished. 

I’m talking about higher education becoming less relevant to employment, which I’m sure 90% of students and 100% of their parents want. Is to become employed with a job that provides, or better still, allows that person to buy their first home. Get a nice car, start a family. Erect a white picket fence…

I’m not saying the white picket fence cookie cutter lifestyle trend is bad. I’m saying it’s boring. Where is the life in that? 

My point is that if you want to get the most marginal utility, or satisfaction – something I’ve learnt in economics tonight, you need to make sure you’re doing what you’re passionate about. Good old fashioned, do what makes you happy mantra. Instead of being passionate about university, tonight I chose to arrange my bike ride. Not because I hate my parents for funding my education but because it was something that made me happy. It gives me purpose. 

Excuses Excuses… 

The immediate assumption leople could make is that students come up with every excuse to avoid studying at all costs. But what kind of a student doesn’t avoid studenting? 

I have a close friend who has had difficulty this year trying to find his way through university. Not because he isn’t smart or isn’t capable because in many ways he’s gifted and talented. He has all the right qualities going for him and is genuinely an intelligent guy, like so many students out there. 

He’s not doing very well because the pressure of his parents to achieve great things swallows the pride he gets from doing what he loves. In turn he blames the system for not letting him walk into a job just because he’s gauged interest.

When people ask kids the question what they want to be when they grow up they always expect half of them to be jobs requiring higher education. The thing is that only some of those jobs really “need” an education. The British Navy had unqualified doctors during the world war mending wounded people back to life. Stammering King George VI of England hired an unqualified speech therapist to help him become the first live broadcasting Monarch to The British Empire during a time of war. The therapist was an actor who had experience in the field of speech therapy also during the war. No qualification, no APA referencing expectations.

What I’m getting at here is that not all students should be forced to do well in school. They shouldn’t feel like cogs in a machine because there shouldn’t be pressure to do well in something because it’s probably not going to work out that way, especially if it’s not liberating. 

I think it’s important for everyone to know that liberation is not the American type, but the type who can prioritise family, health and happiness above money, A-grades and white picket fences. 
Obviously, that student who is up late at night pondering whether to organize a bike ride or study for his exam tomorrow is going to pick bike ride. And there will be consequences for that, he probably won’t do very well. Will go onto failing the course and will probably sit it next semester. The consequence is not the time wasted, it’s the money it will cost to repair the damage done. 

The cost will be to resit those papers. 

The cost will be to ask for forgiveness from your parents. 

The cost will be thinking about how hard they had to work for that failed examination. 

It’s a real stress that a lot of students face. 

So there is absolutely a level of accountability from the student to their parents. But there is also a level of support a parent needs to provide that isn’t financial to encourage their child to do the best they can without asking any more from them because they love their child endlessly because that’s what families do and that’s the most important thing. 

I guess when it comes to living you need to be sure you know what you’re passionate about and gravitate to it like water to the Earth. 

Mine is cycling and spinning yarns at six in the morning… 

Blog 095 Flatting

In any living environment, the thing that we value the most is our own space. Space to do whatever we want. To cook, to clean or to listen to loud depressing music eating a sandwich in bum pants. For sure, flat life has it’s up’s and downs but I guess it’s how you mould those situations into opportunities to help define the person you become.

In today’s discussion, we’ll get down and dirty into some of the more honest concerns and situations which have popped up with flatting. As we go we’ll dwell on how these can act as massive learning opportunities.

A little backstory…


So last year I moved to Wellington from Christchurch to study at Victoria University. A few friends of mine headed in the same direction northbound and mostly ended up living in the same halls of residence. Long story short after a long period of knowing each other we ended up coming up with the most random decision ever to flat together, and voila! In the words of Inspector Jacques Clouseau, “you are now up to speed.” 

This year, shifting into a flatting situation together was one of the biggest decisions some of us had made. I didn’t really know what to expect or how any of it would play out. It was one of those, just try it and see how it goes situations. When I first moved in, there was this sort of awkwardness between my flatmates. Having argued with some of my close friends towards the end of the previous year and also being the last person to shift in, everyone sort of already knew what was up and knew how to go about their business.

Heading into the first night I was pretty angsty, thinking about rent, thinking about school and just general nerves in recognising that I was pretty much out there. Now that’s not to say that at any stage things were overwhelming but instead, I would say that flatting with other people would be a challenge for me. A challenge because it meant that I would have to set aside some of my normal traits and grow up quite a lot. It meant that I couldn’t just confront one of my mates because I would be sleeping in the room next to them.

I’m really good with confrontation, but the problem with confrontation is that it affects other people in bigger ways than you’d expect. Someone like me who has little to lose isn’t afraid to argue that the concern is others people don’t necessarily have the same solidarity. To put it nicely, shifting in as a flat has been a happy process but no process has ever occurred without some drama and confrontation.

This was not my first time living away from family. In my last year of highschool, my parents weren’t around so much. Mum worked and lived in another town and Dad commuted in between. Working and studying meant I hardly ever saw Dad when he was around, and so I had gained a lot of independence in spite of that.

I’d be lying if I said that the other people in my flat and in my friend groups had the same level of independence when I first moved in with them two years later. The tricky part about independence that I’ve realised is that when things go wrong and you need the support of your parents, it’s really hard to garner that same support when you’re trying to be self-sufficient.

One of the things that I’ve noticed about my friends is that some of them struggle to give up their stubbornness and ask for help. Especially being in such a busy time in our lives when there’s so much happening with Uni, with growing up etc. The more help you can get the better…

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Social Dynamics:

So to start us off I’ll rant about how the social dynamics of living in a flatting situation is nothing short of balancing four pizzas on two hands whilst running across a rooftop on a rainy day.

We all knew each other to a deeper level than just “friends.” We knew each other’s vibes, we knew where we were coming from and understood each other’s personalities. So coming into this new flat was a lot like going to a school camp. It was like going into a holiday program in the beginning and then ended up turning into a bloody team building exercise. Learning to mesh in situations when you can’t be bothered, learning to accept personality indifferences. Learning to handle other people’s shit and also learning to deal with your own shit is probably the biggest challenge.

With a selection of different personalities all needing their own sets of rules and ways of engagement. There is a huge contrast between person to person. Being aware of the difference made it easier to deal with conflict or otherwise celebrating uniqueness. Creating relationships is an age old thing but when you’re living with someone you really do get to know them. Not much is left to be analysed.

Getting used to the antics, getting along with the banter and enjoying the company of others was the easiest part about moving in with a group of people. It never seemed to be too much of an ask to simply put on the back burner some of the remarks people would leave, because I would dish out some of my own. I’d say the first element of structured living in a flatting situation is to consider the importance of other people’s time schedules and bare in mind that everyone is going through their own stuff.


But it’s when those tough days come about. Those single digit winter-like evenings and there’s no food in your cupboard that test you. When there’s a disturbance after a confrontation between flatmates that interrupts you. When jobs haven’t been done and you’re feeling powerless after your day that it gets to you. The small life stuff that is mostly what growing up is about.

When the stress kicks in and you can’t accommodate for somebody else’s antics which create a fuss. When you don’t have time to put up with someone’s shit that causes ripples in the flat. Nobody likes to confront somebody. When it happens everybody feels victimised. When there’s reason to be upset with someone then there’s usually an illogical explanation to why it happened.

Take milk for example. The most stolen fluid in the world apparently. It doesn’t matter if it’s blue top milk, trim milk, soy milk, almond milk, Up N’ Go milk, it could come straight from the udder itself and it’d still be stolen. Having your milk poured into somebody else’s cup or bowl is bad but it’s also annoying being called out for the theft when it wasn’t you. If your flatmate swears from their room and refuses to ask for something politely after you come home happy at 9 pm on a weekend night. If you’re on cooking duty but there are dishes everywhere. If you want a shower but the floor is disgusting and there’s hair in the plug hole. Trying to keep your cool when somebody says’s something untrue when they’re drinking and you overhear them.

Yeah, there’s a lot of stupid mundane shit that can be annoying when you’re in a flatting situation. It’s open warfare bro. But still, there’s a lot of cool things that can be taken out of it. The weird banter you share with the lads in the middle of the night and receive noise complaints from your neighbours below. When you create weird video montages on a random Friday evening because you were bored and share it on social media. Learning about all the embarrassing shit your flatmates have done at home from their life long friends. The mutual dislike you share about a teacher or a person from your hometown or high school. The appreciation for your neighbours late night singing or music choices. The nicknames you build over stupid acts of idiocy like Shampoo, Cheese and Laundry Powder. When there’s a story about your WiFi address. When every photo on your walls has an important story. The string you use to attach your keys onto to hoist down to people at the door downstairs to let themselves in and the stories behind that. When every bedroom in the flat emanates the characteristics of the person who lives in it. When you name the people in the building across the parking lot that you’ve never spoken to before because their windows align with your bedroom but it’s super creepy that they can see where you sleep. It’s always more important to remember the positive takeaways in these flat situations because at the end of the day it’s all about those relationships and establishing stronger connections, establishing better friendships. Though it can be hard and frustrating, at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter because we are all heading in our own directions any who.

A big part of my blogs has been recognising that sometimes you need to show grace when other people and going through hard times. For sure, I understand what tough times can feel like and a lot of the time like last year, you find yourself in predicaments when you really rely on the support that those around you can provide. So in that sense, I do owe it to some of my flatmates. As understanding as they were, I was never far from their support. So coming into the flatting situation this year has been a big wake-up call for me personally.

It can be really sad watching those relationships fall apart, especially when it wasn’t your fault that things went the way they did. One of the biggest learning curves for me was knowing that some people don’t know how to offer themselves any help. But watching your friends sort of plunge into a state of isolation and treat themselves horribly is a shocking thing to have to go through. The old saying, “you can walk a horse to water but you can’t make it drink” never felt more relevant. It’s really sad to watch your friends realise that growing up is really shit. That you can’t control other people and when things aren’t going your way you can’t leverage their support just because you need them too.

Social dynamics are the biggest factor to consider when moving in with other people. Coming to grips with the fact that there’s no way of avoiding the deeper conflictions between your beliefs and their beliefs as well as putting aside your own concerns in order to resolve any confrontation. From my experience, the dynamics of flatting is the biggest thing to consider. It’s something that can be taken way too lightly and can quite easily stress friendships.

Blog 094 QUIT DRINKING 

Today’s discussion is about giving up drinking alcohol. Not your regular alcoholic confession story but better worded as a design direction statement more than anything. The reason I say design direction is because I see myself as a product of a whole lot of successes and mistakes. Not all necessarily all my own fault but I see things as if you can start a habit you can stop a habit. It’s better looking at things from a conceptual standpoint because you can get to know yourself at a structural timeframe level and get to understand where it all went wrong.

So let’s go back a few years and figure all this shit out. Get to know me better and understand where I’m coming from. This conversation is not set up to convince you that I’m a good person. It’s setup so that we can both be better. That you can hopefully feel proud to say “no” everytime somebody else says “yes.” Let’s get to the bottom of this in a big way so that we can both get on with our day.

I was pretty late to the party getting started with the whole drinking thing. Reached the age of sixteen never having had any real interest in the world of alcoholism or ever really finding any value in brown water. My parents reached out to me one day. My dad handed me a double brown and a spoon then said, “if you can open this beer, you can have it.” Being the stupid prideful snob the opportunity seemed too easy to say no to so I smashed it back.

Cracking my first beer was like earning some kind of noteworthy badge or something. Being a teenage kiwi boy from a rural neighborhood, it all seemed like I’d just ran my first marathon or built my first shed, a huge achievement. There was something about it that seemed unnecessarily normal. As if my parents were comfortable with it. Because they were!

I’m not blaming anyone but myself for drinking. My parents have always been conservative and intelligible people. But the concern was that it was socially acceptable and that was a part of the problem. Like when an architect designs a home for a family. A home is supposed to represent the values of that family and it’s crazy to assume that the accumulation of wealth in which the family has created would ever be influenced by external sources but they often are. A home, a place of sanctuary can so easily be affected by social norms that influence what the building ends up looking like. Say for the box-like design that we often see in residential houses these days. Or the internal makeup with the bathrooms usually separated from the lounge.

That’s not to assume that influence is always bad. But normality allows people to do things which make no sense or have any real value, like drinking. It doesn’t give us anything good. All of my happiest moments were spent sober so why the fuck should drinking be a part of that?

About a year after my first sip saw that it was time to have my first major piss up. I made a promise to myself to get wasted with good company at least once so that I could say that I’d done it. Any opportunity to make good on that promise and I’d take it. One day my friends held a party and it got a lot crazier than it needed to. A dozen Mavericks, a splash of cider. A few shots from my friend’s dads Whiskey bottle, the whole bottle. It snowballed into this late night rigmarole of hellish partying.

By no means is that a complaint though. It was one of the best nights of my life. A messy night of alcohol infused melodrama mixed with relationship issues, which we’ll talk about in just a second, and self-destructive friends. It ended with one of my friends leaking off the balcony and getting smacked over by the person he leaked on standing below the balcony, and rightly so. I guess for the main part drinking back then was all about learning who the right people are to be drinking with and getting to know what my limits were.

So what’s the problem?

I had a lot of relationship anxieties. Call it weird, call it whatever you would like. My relationship issues didn’t spark from a lack of love or a lack of laughter with my ex’s but instead because I was lonely and afraid of being rejected. With this new found substance it gave me opportunities to express how I was feeling better than if I was filtering them out sober. Drinking was my outlet to treat other people like shit, a very unnecessary and tiresome fact. There wasn’t much of an opportunity to realize it at the time but it was the start of a two-year period which would cause me a couple of major problems.


A little backstory:

Relationship issues were something compounded into my early childhood. With my biological parents never having raised me, returning to my life when I reached the age of five and then finally disappearing again was the first mistake made during my earliest childhood foundation building stages. It was when they came back and stuffed everything up again like ripping off a bandage and stabbing around the first cut holes.

Reaching those early pubescent years thinking about acceptance from my peers was a big deal for me having lost some of that at an earlier stage. Coming to grips with experimenting and learning how to love others was another major design flaw for me. I knew how to love others because I’d been treated properly growing up but my problem was a lack of feeling accepted.

Fast forward into my late teenage years where I discovered alcohol, sex, and money. The problem with rejection was still very entrenched in things. Call it a growing period, call it melodrama. Nobody needs that stuff. If the problem is with me then I guess the solution lies with me also. Time to learn how the wood meets the nail and where it all fits together. Perforated eves on my rooftops. Water tight to shelter from the rain. My later teenage years were and have been a time of significant stuff ups. This is where some backstory is really necessary.

Seventeen was the magic number when it all went tits up. Still coming to terms with sexual orientation and also struggling with relationship issues. I guess turning seventeen was the moment of chaos and madness. During my friends eighteenth, after a morning, afternoon and evening of binge drinking. I’d only recently learned that I was cheated on and so I ended up using alcohol as my scapegoat. Running away from my friends through a river in my brand new blazer, swearing at the police in the back of the police car and spending a while in jail. My friends who were upset were forced to call the police on me and it was the first really big wake up call to sort things out at a structural level. It was like having an earthquake testing the integrity of a building and it all coming tumbling down.

It wasn’t the drinking, it wasn’t the cheating, it wasn’t my age or a lack of support from my friends. They only helped push things over. The problem was a design error. My rejection issues and how they affected my ability to withstand social pressures were to blame. This stuff might be pretty dramatic for you but having lived through it and knowing what it was all about (and this blog being about what I see) I guess what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. It was hard for me then and let’s use it as a big learning opportunity for us both.

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I just wish I’d learned earlier…

Unfortunately, it didn’t end there. The year after my first major breakdown was the second series of incidents which didn’t need to happen either. A real judgment moment I guess. In my first year at university, I’d overwhelmed myself. With a long distance relationship on the go, studying architecture full time and pretty much working three jobs at once there was way too much for any one person to be juggling. Mix that with some significant rejection indifferences and one evening of hard drinking after thinking that you’d been cheated on the second time and voila!

The second time I broke down, everyone around me let me know that it was time to do something significant about it. Some of my best friends no longer felt comfortable around me. Some felt anxious when I was in the room. One Monday about a month after I’d learned my girlfriend had got with someone else at a party, sick from not sleeping, taking antibiotics, drunk on life,  eventuated with punching walls, head out the window and a two-minute wrestle with a couple of bulky police officers saw me again in a police cell with hell to pay the day after.

I’d lose friendships. I’d lose trust. My parents would have felt anxious not knowing what state I was in. My halls of residence would quickly kick me out and there’d be no more room for my bull shit. But most importantly, I’d get the opportunity to grow from my mistakes. I’d get the chance to change which way I was going. This was the last time I’d drunk to the point of non-remembrance. The last time I would see red and decide that other people were to blame for my issues and actually do something about it.

The months after were a whole lot of petty nights out until I came to the stage where I could see how drinking only catalyzed issues with other people my age it was never the cause for the shit. I learned that the real problem was always deeper if there ever was any. So it was like this big moment of realizing after ages that it doesn’t even matter. That drinking is completely pointless. That it’s never going to help me in any significant way, therefore, it should never be treated as a highlight of my day.

When people ask why I gave up drinking it’s not because I had problems with drinking it’s that I have problems full stop. That alcohol is just making my life much more difficult and that I should definitely treat it as if I were a 49-year-old alcoholic. As if I did have mental health issues. Not living in fear of drinking but instead coming to terms with the fact that I don’t need to drink and there’s never any premise that makes drinking necessary.

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Since then: 

Every occasion where my friends, family members or girlfriend would drink I’d always feel privileged to be the sober one. There is a lot of reward in deciding not to drink. For one, being a poor student it saves me a whole pile of money deciding not to drink. If there’s one thing I notice with my friends and flatmates it’s that the ones who drink spend a considerable amount on purchasing drinks for nights out and it’s something I can always appreciate to a high degree.

My next big gripe is that I’ve probably lost weight thus far this year. I used to be into all of the sugary stuff like espresso martinis and gelo shots, but In general my drinking used to be pretty unhealthy. So it was another huge advantage for me was improving my health, I might have made up for that one in eating cheese but at the same time, it’s always something else you can feel really proud of.

The night I gave up drinking was the night I got back with my beautiful girlfriend. It wasn’t the decision to love her that made me want to give up drinking. It was to improve on myself and stay in control of my actions and remain totally accountable for things that inspired me and encouraged me to make some significant design refinements.

My love for her has only become stronger over these last few months and every time I’m with her enriches our relationship. Which brings me to my lucky last proud moment is that giving up drinking has improved my relationships with people. I am able to communicate with my family and friends that I feel proud to be a part of their lives humbled sober.

There are always rejection issues. Unfortunately, it’s a product of poor design. I think it’s worth noting that there are significant steps which have been taken to reduce the risk of feeling anxious in social situations but there are always a few moments of random madness during a confrontation that drive a bit of upset.

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What does this mean for you? 

The reason why I started this blog was to advocate for those who don’t know how to voice their concerns for particular issues. There is always a reason to improve somewhere because nobody knows everything and wisdom is the opposite of knowledge. Wisdom is knowing that I know nothing. That the glass is never full. In that space, you can always take on board something new. You can always lend somebody a hand.

To some kids or young adults out there, and even some who are older might find that my journey resonates with them at some stage. The point is to use that for good. The change didn’t happen the first time I realized that drinking was a problem. The change happened when I made the same mistake a whole bunch of times.

But this isn’t all about me, any more than it is about you. If we can get to the crux of things we can notice that if we give up drinking we can improve on a lot of things.  We can improve Friday night because we’ll get tired more early, sleep earlier and feel better in the days after the party. We can look after friends and loved ones when they need our help most. We can improve our well-being and ultimately improve our general health. Save money and save lives when deciding not to drive drunk, legend.

Mate, there’s literally tons of opportunity for development and improvement when you decide that drinking is a big waste of time. Because when you build a house upwards from the foundation up and you do a solid job, without getting a cowboy builder in to do a shitty job, minus the drinking and all the bull shit, you end up getting a solid person.

End.

Stay tuned for my last week of blogs.

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 093 Sexism/Feminism & What I Think

Let’s do this!

First off for those who don’t know, I am a nineteen-year-old male student studying in Wellington city. I hope you enjoy this discussion as much as I did and if you have any comments please feel free to leave them at the end of the blog!

Why does it matter what I think?

Because it’s an opinion piece. Choose to listen or take off your apron and f*** off upstairs. Now that we’ve covered my inner Gordon Ramsay, I’d like to talk about feminism and what it means to me and why it’s significant. Well first off I’m your typical kiwi bloke. I enjoy the banter of cracking mum jokes, l enjoy sparring with the lads in the dining room. Going out to town with zero thoughts about sexism but instead, jam out to some sick tunes at a drum n bass concert.

I don’t like doing the dishes, cleaning the windows, unblocking the drains. I don’t like having to finish assignments, sit in exams, worry about hand ins. There is nothing nice about having to stay up till late o’clock to finish an assignment in the morning. I don’t like it when my friends are disrespected by other people. When they’re groped In inappropriate places, when they are wolf whistled at from the other side of the street.

There’s nothing nice about watching your friend upset in a rut because she was told that there was a guy staring at her breasts. There is nothing nice about being accused of being that guy either. Walking through the bras and underwear section of Farmers with your girlfriend or female family member and being accused of perversion. Both sides have to make more of an effort that’s for sure.

We are on the same page. In an urban society, we are on the same page. Not to say that all places are urbanised or support females in their rights and needs. No person in their right mind likes to see another person being treated like shit, guy or girl. It’s a human thing, so easy to relate when you’ve been through it all before. Feeling upset when somebody else lets you know that they’ve been traumatised from sexual harassment or abusive behaviour that people seem to think is okay.

There’s not much international support to stop historic cultural sexism. But the feminist regime is slowly becoming an urbanised trend. For me at least I feel that there isn’t as much sexism in New Zealand as there was back even when I was a kid ten years ago. Technology has evolved to allow the media to expose those who withhold strong opinions against females. Kids are taught in school that females and males should have equal footing in any environment.

Back then they might not have been telling us the whole truth because I don’t believe personally that there ever has been a true representation of equality between both sexes. My point though is that we are starting to realise in my generation, the millennials, that girls have exactly the same right to express themselves as men do and that’s reflected through more frequent independent advocacies speaking out at major global conferences such as in the UN and in major countries like India and Germany.

I can’t speak for the youth ambassadors of yesterday but what I can say now is that the urban population, due to higher education and greater exposure to the likes of other social conflicts such as homosexuality, gender stereotyping, racism, fascism and general independence. Because there is so much more awareness in western culture it seems more valid that the population is becoming less sexist and more feminist.

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But what does feminism actually mean to me? What stock does it have? I don’t think that feminism has historically been about providing equality. I feel that a lot of the time there have been cases where individuals have abused their power to justify their own personal hardships dealing with sexism. Where some people have used their right to speak just to abuse those who oppressed them. When ladies try to claim feministic causes but they’re actually just trying to tip the scale and make men pay for everything wrong in the world.

I’ve come to learn that feminism originated and grew from the idea of equality between males and females. That it started with a group of people who collectively believed in the greater good the same people just of different sexes. That the idea came from promoting even footing both at home and in the workplace but more importantly in society and around the community. So my point is why can we not keep it that way? Why does it have to be tarnished by reputable indifferences which determine that we should fit certain stereotypes?

To figure that out let’s talk at a deeper level for a second or two. So historically guy’s were the ones who would lead because in many ways it was about survival, it was about having a person with enough muscle to see the tribe fed and the only way to garner that support was through hunting, gathering and labouring. So in effect without getting too specific it was more important a thousand years ago for the stronger person to lead so that we would survive.

Guys, for the most part, were given full reign over leadership opportunities. They could say, do, and be whatever sinful person they desired. They could also be a genuine person and treat others how they would like to be treated. Queue the Industrial revolution. A time when people no longer had to farm or labour as much because there was now machinery to do so for them. People were lazier and had more time in their day to create new opportunities.

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Fast forward through the world wars and the great depression, beyond technological innovation, racial inequality and you get supermodernism and the creativity generation. An evolvement from survivalist instinctivity into becoming a diverse and colourful people who have time to iron out a few mistakes in the ways things are run. We no longer live as a people who rely on the strongest for leadership and survival but instead rely on the most creative and entrepreneurial for innovation and progression.

And you definitely don’t need a dick for that…

What I’m saying is that I’m not about sexism at all and I think that at a human level we can agree that sexist stereotypes are archaic and outdated. Feminism should be treated as an opportunity to prove that we can stick to one thing and that is equality for everyone. Not used as an opportunity to spite the other side. Because when you step on a demographics toes you are affecting everybody innocent.

It’s also a question of ego. Because guys were always the ones who had to prove themselves as being the strongest in order to hold leadership opportunities. To have any real mana in conversations or decision makings it was vital that they never showed any sort of vulnerability. It was expected that the male would never cry, would never show weakness because they were expected to pull the weight and the only way to do that was to show that they had no weaknesses.

But what makes social roles in urban spaces so different to the ruralist lifestyle? 

With urbanism comes an increase in population, there are more people. Becuase there are more people there is usually more money, particularly in western culture. My theory is that it makes more sense for businesses to exist in those urban spaces. Like food stores, supermarkets, clothing stores etc. Because everything is more convenient you skip out the necessity of just surviving and you create an atmosphere where people have time to stop and think. Stop and think of societal needs like racial equality, gender stereotyping, feminism etc. Space where the only variable is creativity. From that sparks a whole lot of other things such as innovation and progress.

What I’m saying is that it’s all good. We’ve now got time to chill out and not think too hard about surviving in urban spaces. I’m not claiming that all places are urbanised, and we’ll talk about New Zealand in just a second. But the marginal discussion is that we no longer need sexism or ever really did because girls have just as much purpose in modern society and just as much responsibility to upkeep their civil duties. Pay taxes, drive on the left, don’t be a dick and respect other people. So yeah, of course, I think there should be equal pay in the workforce. Of course, I support female independence. I am totally on board with females having the right to express themselves and how they wish too.

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Especially in New Zealand. Such a small population means less convenience. Less urbanism back in the 80’s and 90’s because there was so much manual labour. Things weren’t done for you if you wanted to keep your family warm you’d have to go out and chop up some wood after work during winter. The great depression meant that New Zealand was in a rut in terms of making ends meet.

There has always been more sheep than humans in New Zealand. it’s a country built on farming, and I don’t know about you but it’s a far cry from sitting in an office block doing the coffee rounds. It was harder economically and so it was tougher for people to survive. At least that is my interpretation of what New Zealand was likely like well before I was born. There was more of a necessity to silence women even though New Zealand was the first country to allow women to vote.

If we want to put a label on New Zealand’s sexist culture and gender stereotyping, from a guys position it would seem more likely that sexism existed because we live in a working class country full of farmers, full of labourers and tradespeople. Work was more manual due to the population being so sparse. If we compare ourselves to countries like The United States or The United Kingdom, not only are we sparse but we’re also so isolated out in the middle of nowhere.

So when you get all of these guys who are acting really tough because they’re expected to chop the wood, mow the laws, bring home the bacon. You get a whole lot of guys with really sensitive egos. You get lots of guys bottling up all their shit. I know for me growing up and coming through an all boys high school things like expressing your feelings was such a rare thing. It still is because I came from a small agriculture/horticulture community it’s so rare to see any rainbows or any metrosexism because it’s so ruralised and very unurbanised. So you get this population of people who still believe in archaic values because they don’t know any better.

It’s like this pressure cooker environment where guys think that they have to be this silent protector and hero for the ladies because we’re taught that females can’t look after themselves. That they need a man in their life to protect them and keep them safe. Last I checked most girls seem to be pretty independent by themselves. No, I’m not saying they can walk home by themselves in the middle of the night because there are some crazy people out there who do some nasty things to people. But not for a second do I believe that females can’t look after themselves. This is New Zealand. We live in one of the most isolated and rugged ruralist countries in the world, we all ought to know how to look after ourselves.

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Feminism, as I see it, is permission to be self-sufficient without socialist expectations and rules on what you can and can’t do by yourself. Whenever somebody says sexism is still a problem in the world I say that it’s true, of course, it’s true. Because people hate change. People have always hated change, they’ve always hated accepting something new because they’re afraid of the unknown. it’s a completely irrational fear to have, like tickling. There is no precedence to be scared but the problem is we don’t know when it might end.

I’m not saying feminism is like tickling but instead the irrational fear is similar. Guys struggle with egoism because they’ve been dealt a bad hand too. Sure, it’s not nearly as rough as what girls received but that doesn’t mean it can’t be respected because those needs must be met if we are to work together and make any tangible change. Most guys don’t actually mind it’s more just about wanting to feel just as valued, which is interesting because isn’t that the point of feminism also?

Now I’m not saying that girls should compromise their success or their happiness or their independence to accommodate for male acceptance because that’s not the go. It’s more of a consideration factor. To consider that actually everybody deserves to be treated with respect, their successes should be accommodated for, they never deserve to be doubted on as an individual, and that nobody regardless of sex should ever be expected to lead in the first place.

Because some people just don’t care, like me. Not everyone wants to be a survivor and not everyone wants the responsibility of innovating. Some people are just content with being themselves and some people just want full autonomy to do that. Full autonomy to love who they want, full autonomy to be loved by who they want and be treated with respect as individuals.

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It also comes down to what values your parents teach you as a kid. What your parents teach you. What their parents teach you. As you get older you tend to give less of a shit about what other people think so the older the better sometimes. My point here is that I’ve found my family cares about my interests a lot so I can trust them with the really hard conversations. When I call dad out for being a dick or if mum is stressing everyone out. What you learn at home defines how you treat people outside of the home a lot of the time.

It is a parent’s responsibility to exactly articulate how you are supposed to treat other people. I guess it’s a call to arms to invite people to think on their feet with regards to how they respect females and males equally. That they show decency when out on the town, that nobody is accused of being something they’re not just because they fit a gender stereotype. That feminism is at the end of the day treated as an opportunity for change collectively. It’s everybody’s responsibility to upkeep equality and freedom of expression. Whether they’re a New Zealander, Islander, Irelander, Avatar character, whatever goes man everyone is responsible for the upkeep of relative equality.

Sorry for keeping you in this space for soo long, if you’ve managed to stick it through all the way to here then you’re a bloody legend. So if I could round up all of my opinions on sexism versus feminism and collated them into a list it would come across a little something like this:

  • Sexism is shit.
  • The original idea of feminism was great.
  • It’s been taken out of context too often.
  • Gender roles have evolved.
  • Urbanism has created a niche society.
  • New Zealand has adopted new values in the reflection of an urbanistic takeover.
  • I highly value independence, full stop.
  • Family values are where you start. It’s your parent’s job to teach you right.
  • It’s our job as an international community to do something about it.

 

So… What are you going to do to voice your opinion? At the end of the day what matters the most is that change is occurring. It’s real and it isn’t going to go back to the days of slavery again. You already know my position on all things sexism and feminism. But just keep asking yourself how you’re going to change the face of the planet, what can you do to help. It honestly doesn’t take much, it’s simply just as easy as being polite and respectful towards others in every capacity. Putting your own personal ego to the side and celebrate other people’s successes male or female. It’s free to be nice bro…

Today’s talk has been a work in progress for a while now, but I’m glad it has been said. If you would like more of this sort of content or if you have any comments or messages please feel free to comment on my work. hopefully we can reach an agreement somewhere.

Thanks for checking in!

 

 

Blog 090 What If We Had A Fully Cloud-Based University?

Cloud based computing – Allows people to connect via a server system that lets them connect and record information online.

Today’s discussion is more of a one-man rant than a civilised conversation between two people. The whole concept of thinking you are dumber than you actually are. It seems crazy that so many of us complain that school is hard that classes are dumb but is it more of a factor that our teacher is poor at teaching or is it that we are actually pretty thick to begin with.

Well I don’t think it’s the second answer. I refuse to believe that it is a result of being a bad student because time and time again it’s a real thing where a teacher loses my focus after a four hours of constant teachings. It doesn’t seem logical to assume that we are all bad students because it’s irrelevant to the personalities we all have.

I don’t want to make this chat a discussion on how university is flawed because we all know that university no longer or likely ever has correlated to getting jobs. University is designed to give people the opportunity to understand how to work. By giving deadlines, by setting tasks and exercises all in the aspiration to develop you into becoming a person who can be utilised into the workforce.
But if you’re like me and you just want to do your own thing and build a relevant lifestyle around that then how do you learn and how do you become a contributing member of society specifically if you’re challenged by a teacher who sucks at their job. Well it comes down to a few things, finding out how you learn best, and then secondly having the teacher show you how to do something by teaching you in a way you understand.

Staff are still confined to the shift work and hours in their day, they can’t make miracles happen and teach a couple hundred people. That’s why we have tutorials because they allow us to go into a space where there are fewer people and we can get the little pieces of information that the lecturer doesn’t necessarily give us.

But what if we didn’t even need tutorials? What if we could get all of the work we need to meet the requirements of university by doing them all at home? If we could work on the cloud based system, have access to all of our course resources, libraries, documents, passed examinations etc.

What if we could go into our desktop for two or three hours a day and manage our university life without even leaving home? Why are we confined to leaving our families, leaving our friends and support groups just to satisfy the needs of an old corporate entity named university who doesn’t even guarantee us any tangible real world benefits. It’s stupid.

Imagine if University was actually universal? If we could log in anywhere around the world and have all of our classes available with a short video with audio overs to help us learn as well as exercises within those materials to allow us to take part in an exam which was also online. If we could get to the stage where internet security was powerful enough to create trust between us and our university provider.

If we could get the ability to rely on our technology systems and came up with solutions I’m sure we would be able to find a way to make online based university courses a thing. Because guess what, they already are Harvard and Oxford universities both have access to cloud based university classes. I’m pretty sure I signed up to their architecture course this year but due to obvious reasons it was more out of curiosity and less out of legitimate interest.

Given the opportunity to sit down in your own time and digest the information presented in lectures rather than waiting for your lecturer to arrive and teach you in a way you don’t understand would be a tremendous tool to allow people with an educational service that they understand. It would make it easier to learn and it would make it easier to digest if all lessons were available online and all lessons were put in a way that a multitude of people would be able to understand rather than relying on the notes set out by a teacher in a smaller room to solve the bigger problem.

I think at the end of the day what’s more important than education is recognising within yourself that you are pretty amazing. It’s really easy to get into this unhealthy space of thinking you aren’t good enough because in reality you’re paying for education, you’re there to listen and to learn. So if you’re not learning then it is the universities responsibility to help you navigate to a state of learning. It’s not good enough that people should doubt their ability to achieve when they have been brought up as a human and deserve the right to learn and understand I their own time.

There’s nothing worse than thinking you’re bad at something because you had a teacher who wasn’t able to teach you in a way that you could understand. That you could doubt the dignity you had left beyond the social drama beyond all of the crap. Just another thing to deal with thinking you’re no good at doing something.

When I took physics in my last year of high school I thought that I was no good at doing physics but what I didn’t take into account was that physics in itself is an extremely obnoxious and ridiculously difficult class to take in the first place. Let alone having a guy who really knew his physics but really had no clue how to teach.

Now I’m not saying it was my teachers fault for my apparent poor learning but instead I would use it as an example of the effects of not having a teacher who knew your capacities. While you could sit and say “well why didn’t you ask him after class” but that’s not the point. The point is to find a way which makes it a more functioning system as a whole. To make it a more efficient operating system that we can all relate to.

A University Without Classes. A totally encompassing Cloud-Based operating system that allows students to geographically study without the restrictions of leaving their families and provide them with a modern way of learning. Having a system where an online lecture only takes place at a certain time to ensure that students still remain dedicated to everyday tasks such as waking up, preparing themselves for their day and then making it to class on time.

 

You could also have group based exercises that skip passed the judgement and let people focus on what’s more important, learning your stuff. You could have a library online that lets you connect to the referenced book rather than having to pay hundreds to do so. There is honestly so much potential in using a web-based cloud system and the only reason it’s not currently existing in New Zealand is down to Privacy laws and general confidence in the network.

Let’s not dance around the cloud. The reason why university doesn’t already exist in this way, regardless of the internet being such a massive part of our day to day lives is because people are making big bucks off the transport industry, off the real estate, off the leasing contracts and all of the nitty gritty things that always seem to be the culprit. Effectively, it comes down to the money. So if you’re asking yourself “Why the heck am I here when I don’t understand a single word coming out of this guys mouth” it’s because of money. The only thing you can do, is tell yourself you’re awesome and speak up about it.

That’s been another blog from me, hope you’re keeping warm as autumn comes to a close.

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 086 Bravery & Persistence

Today’s Challenge:

I want you to think about what one thing that challenges you physically from doing that you have always wanted to do whether that’s running a marathon, swimming an ocean mile etc. The next thing I want is for you to actually ask yourself if you can do it or not. 

  • What is one thing that you’ve always wanted to do?
  • Can you actually do it? 

The aim is to find out whether you’re actually brave enough and persistent enough to create a plan to do something that pushes your boundaries. That other people might tell you is a bad idea. These apart of a new series for the last two weeks of blogging. There is no goal, only that you participate and that it helps us both learn something.

 

 
I think there’s a stage when you realise that you couldn’t care less how well or how badly something is going to go. When you’re working on an assignment late into the night and you notice that you’ve passed the point of no return and decide to carry on. Tonight’s discussion concerns persisting through the rubbish we have to put up with every day to remain and achieve things before thought not possible. We’ll also go into some depth regarding bravery and what that sort of means to me and how it’s usually operating in tandem with persistence.

Today’s weather was absolutely shocking. With a north westerly wind howling through like a flicked towel made it hard to walk straight or in my case close the door of the Uber. No shade. There was a stage in the afternoon when I was heading to my only lecture for the day and then a fire caused the whole building to be evacuated. A couple thousand antsy students between the ages of 18 and 30 all crammed on the side of a hill.

The biggest concern was that the class was only 50 minutes long and because the fire alarm happened moments before class was supposed to start more than half of the lesson was overruled by somebodies overcooked lunch. Like it’s not as if all of these students and staff hustled their way up the lofty mountain, Kelburn Campus, in shit weather or anything.

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Above:  WHATMANASEES Instagram

But when I missed my class out of no fault of my own, I thought it might be a good idea to get out on the old bike and get some kilometres in. But at the time it never occurred to me that there was a storm coming in. After the point of realising “oh man how will I get out there safely!” Your brain sort of shuts down at a certain point when it notices that you might be putting your body at risk by going out into bad weather.

It takes a lot to convince the brain of something it doesn’t want to do. It’s always most difficult when you haven’t pushed the boundaries in a while. Kind of like stretching old muscles for the first time in a while. Because when you do something that your brain doesn’t want to it pretty much goes against every order your brain has ever had. To keep you safe and to make sure that every crisis is averted to ensure your health stays balanced.

Just like riding your bike in 80km winds, hail, and 10mm of rain in one hour just as it’s getting dark during peak hour traffic. I think for me this was a bit of an excitement factor to get out there and just ride regardless of the weather. Had enough of not doing what makes me happiest. Persisting and being persistent to get out there in the deluge, head down and just go. Admittedly it was extremely cold but i’d never say that i’ve felt as much liberated when you reach that moment of no return. When you’re balls deep and it’s all going tit’s up you learn to keep going.

I guess that process is applicable to everyone. You can actually accomplish those ridiculous goals you come up with it just takes a lot of hard work and a tonne of persistence to keep getting out there no matter the weather. If you want to walk the length of Earth then you can there are clubs for that. If you want to climb Mount Everest on a bike but you can’t get yourself to Nepal, you can there is a Strava challenge called Everesting which is a challenge where you have to climb one climb as many times until you’ve climbed up to the altitude of the peak of Mount Everest at 8848m.

While i’m obviously trying to be motivational and all of that soppy stuff, at the end of the day if you’re just practical and realistic with yourself about what you can and cannot do then it makes everything easier. Rather the elephant is in about 75 bit chunks and it’s your goal to pass one or two chunks each week until it’s finished.

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Bravery is like colour. Everyone has their own perception of what that might look like. When we apply it to our daily lifestyle is changes the tone and mood of our day. When we cave after our boss asks us to do an extra shift on the same day and we say yes when we don’t want to it makes us feel shit. When we don’t get our questions asked in a lecture or tutorial because we were too anxious to ask a question we feel bad about it.

But when we tell our boss that we can’t be bothered and that life exists for us outside of our 7-4pm shift work, that’s confidence. When we raise our hand to ask a question in front of three hundred people in a lecture, that’s confidence. It allows us to be there for our mates improve on the banter. It allows us to be there for those we love, and rip them out when they say something dumb.

When you make time for yourself and you make time for others then essentially what you’ve created is colour. Bravery in the form of confidence. To achieve what you didn’t think was possible takes bravery because if you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll never get what you’ve never had. Learning to confide in yourself that you’re not going to be around to make art with all your colour is not immaturity, it’s growing up,

For me, learning to become more persistent with my working efforts and doing what is right rather than what i’m told is right has been my biggest struggle. Pushing past the boundaries that my brain has created because the biggest critic in your life is yourself. You can say you have your own back because that’s easy. The reality is that most people and sayer’s and not doers.

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Getting out on that bike for some might be getting to work on time. For others it might be getting married to the person they love. It could be handing in an assignment the day before it’s due and having set that goal three weeks ago. It could even be something mundane like doing the damn dishes.

It doesn’t mean you have the right to be a dick about it. Other people can be brave to and you should respect that and give them space they need to grow. it’s called tall-poppy syndrome buddy, look it up.

End.





I’ve decided that i’m going to start up a daily challenge for us both to push ourselves on. It could be absolutely anything. There is no goal asides from asking yourself a basic 2-second question. The aim is to improve on reasoning skills and self confidence levels. But aside from that thank you for reading along today I truly appreciate that. And as always…

 

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 081 Cycling On NZ Roads 

Today’s chat comes from the view of a cyclist who uses New Zealand’s roads to get from A to B. We’ll cover the basic principles of riding solo versus riding in a group and we’ll also discuss the difference of opinions in the eyes of motorists who infrequently respect the safety of those on skinny two wheels.

Us not a case of not existing, as much as motorists would like to believe. Road cyclists have the goal of improving their fitness and general health. Some people are battling cancer while others are training to raise funds for cancer. Others are getting the milk and some are just exploring. But ask yourself what you’re doing and is it worth risking the life of a person by swerving in front of them travelling downhill at 60km per hour.

The general consensus is that cyclists are Lyra wearing road hazards sipping coffee and riding four a breast. But it’s simply not true. They are human beings fighting the elements going nowhere quickly minding their own business. The main argument is road safety and while I don’t condone riders going four a breast whatsoever, they generally represent ten percent of the cycling community while the rest are riding between places by themselves being yelled at for no reason but they’re holding up traffic.

It doesn’t take much to wait until the road is clear, a cyclist should move to the side of the road when safe to do so. I always do! It’s just common courtesy, I’ll shift across the road so you can pass by me and in return I expect plenty of leg room, no honking of any horns and respect for my safety.

The second rant is this argument of Lyra in and around coffee shops. It’s not a.relevant argument. It helps tremendously, and when you’re pushing a headwind which we have all done once in our lifetime, every little helps so grow up and if you don’t like man was don’t bloody look.

New Zealand has particularly shitty roads due to poor infrastructure and lack of resourcing to do so. For a cyclist on one inch wide wheels it’s considerably more dangerous to ride using the burns of the road when there is grit, potholes and parked cars. Sodomy get shitty if we remain front and center. Give us some space, it’s just common courtesy, being nice is free.

Wellington in particular is a busy city, we get it so there’s no need to be pushy. As the population rises due to increases in migrants to the country, more people will be buying in the outer suburbs which means more pressure on public transport and more importantly, more road users. As the population goes up the roads get busier. While everyone is frustrated about times to get around it’s important to remember that everyone’s pissed off. That’s just common courtesy, again it’s free.

So whether your rant is about road hogging, coffee shopping or if you’re just an impatient piece of shit. Grow up and recognise that people die on NZ roads. Be courteous and other will repay it in full. Today’s little rant is in #reflection of some guy who came a thumb width from sweeping my front wheel from under me. It’s just not good enough.

That’s my little rant for today.

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 080 Working In Retail & Hospitality

We all know what retail assistants look like three hours before their shift ends. The meta-smile, can’t be bothered-ness seeping through in conversation. Weary legs and a hangover, four hours sleep without breakfast, trashed the house and unmade bed, student loan and a job in retail that hardly covers lunch costs. Yeah, living the dream.

Today’s chat hones in on retail workers and the poor treatment they receive in particular within the workforce. The facades and forced smiles impede on our personalities and expectations of what individuality looks like. Underpaid and undervalued in a social sphere that claims to be developed. In light of the recent protesting across New Zealand, this chat glances over the current state of affairs with retail workers and how they vary from other industries.

My first job was pushing trolleys at my local supermarket. For around a year people would undervalue the little brown kid pushing cages across overcrowded parking lots. I’d push trains of trundlers over the stone mall floors and count the minutes until my break through the stock market international clock.

I was earning minimum wage at $14 an hour at the time. My first pay was a healthy $84, at the time it seemed as though I was earning enough to provide for a small family. Gradually you learn that money is relative to how much overhead you’ve got to pay for. When I was a fifteen -year-old trolley pusher there was no comparison to a young couple with a baby trying to pay rent, afford food, buy enough warm blankets to keep their home warm and look after their baby.

Relative overheads for me has been a big part of growing up. Realising that I couldn’t imagine how hard it must be for those families working tirelessly to provide for their families because these businesses are too cheap to fork out another dollar an hour so that their workers could afford enough blankets to keep them warm over winter.

When you visit McDonald’s and you come across a 30 something-year-old assistant operating the counter dealing with a drunk self-obligated teenager throwing a hissy fit because they dropped their nuggets on their wobble back to their chair. You’ve got to spare a moment for the worker. There’s no way they don’t have rent to pay, friends who treat them like dirt because it’s public knowledge that McDonald’s assistants earn less than the living wage of $20 an hour.

Maintaining a state of calm through the rockiest confrontations earning not much more than a trolley boy selling shit food, working with overpriced shoes, making coffee for red-eyed students at 1 am in the morning. Labouring within the retail and hospitality industries include dealing with customers who are generally on the defensive because they are there to spend money and so easily disregard the emotional personality of the workers who deliver the service.

People who work with people should always be classed as a medium paying job at the bare minimum. Not the minimum amount legally obligated to. In a reflection of the latest protests from fast food workers in New Zealand pushing for more funding. Our system doesn’t accommodate for stewardesses on aeroplanes dealing with unrelenting customers who spilt their coffee down their shirt due to turbulence, or even trolley boys who are complained about when they’re in the way of cars when they’re pushing 15 trundlers across the parking lot.

If we spent more time stating that people who work with people are valuable resources because they sell us our food, size us our shoes, provide us with water on our flights, give us trollies to collect stuff at the supermarket. It would remove the dirt from their eyes and remind them of their significance as individuals. While our system needs to make a big change to accommodate for these workforces, being nice doesn’t cost anything.

Thanks for checking in…

Blog 078 ANZAC DAY – Now Vs Then!

Though today’s conversation is aimed at discussing how propaganda is still alive and well in today’s economy, I would like to emphasise the significance of lives of those lost. That ANZAC day is important because it serves to commemorate the lives of those who passed away and not a day to blame people or a system for encouraging enlistment. It is important to remember the characteristics that these people had. They all have families and they all deserve to be treated with respect outside of the fact. During the first world war when battalions of our soldiers were encouraged to head overseas to war our country wasn’t informed about the graveness of war and weren’t given the same indication as we would receive today. I’ve learnt that it wasn’t until after the war when our people came home when there was radio silence about the experiences our soldiers had.

When dad’s, brothers and grandfathers didn’t come home from war did they feel the real impacts of war? When people realised that the army intercepted letters and moderated explicit wordings where the men would explain how grave war was because it conflicted with our militaries interests to recruit reinforcements over the years of war. That our leaders wanted to train new soldiers to send overseas because numbers won wars and numbers showed our support for other beneficiaries such as trading with allied countries, it gave our allies reasons to support us in future conflicts. That it seemed easier to cut out the words of soldiers to their loved ones to prevent them from discouraging enlistment.

It was reported that before World War Two, prior to the Gallipoli landings, that many people refused to go to war and were branded as “objectors” who were simply people who dissented from participating in another man’s war. Men who declared themselves not willing to enlist as a part of the ANZAC were arrested in their own homes. In one particular case that they made a series on TVNZ called The Field Punishment. A documentary series on the second world war making accounts of when 14 of the staunchest “objectors” were persecuted and imprisoned in Trentham Army Camp where they would later be sent overseas to set an example of what happens to people when they dissent to enlisting or decide to pull out.

It does set an example but only as evidence that our governing body at the time would do everything within their power to slip between the lines of political interest and the trenches of our soldiers on the battlefield. That at the time our government wanted to acquire more monopoly over the world stage than valuing the lives of brave people who didn’t want to have to demoralise themselves by killing other people in vein.

Isn’t it great that we don’t have to deal with that sort of propaganda today though? That we are much more able to what we wish because we have the technology to allow that. We are much tougher on our governments to produce good legislation and make wiser decisions regarding the involvement of our people in matters of warfare. We say we couldn’t imagine the confliction of war because we re better equipped with our personal rights and less easily led on. That much is true…

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Above:  WHATMANASEES Instagram

But are we actually free from propaganda?

In my respectful opinion, the marketing and advertising of material things are today’s equivalent to wartime propaganda. We are made to believe that we need new clothes all 25 seasons a year, we are made to believe that having a fancy house is the destination of success and happiness. We are told that using certain chemical pills will increase our health and fitness.

When in reality clothes should last for at least a year without breaking, most people cannot afford a fancy house and should never need to because they should be giving their money to families who are struggling to pay rent and then settle for a more modest home that they can actually call home. When the only chemical we need can be found in organic foods such as fruit and vegetables. If we actually need protein then we should eat meat instead of being lazy and finding unnatural alternatives.

Morally, we already know this stuff. The problem is that there is advertising on our social media sites and on our televisions. While ad-blocker might work there it doesn’t prevent that advertising is in our supermarkets, on giant billboards slapped against bus stops and even on the sides of student accommodation complexes.

We’re made to believe that eating certain foods, wearing branded clothing and buying the latest smartphone will eventually make us happy. That we will get access to “freedom.” That only by getting all this stuff, we might make it to this imaginary place. It’s like telling a child that if they spend a few bucks on a postcard to Santa it might actually make it to The North Pole and that their wildest dream might to some capacity come true.

No different to the propaganda used to encourage unknowing 18-year-old boys back in World War One to enlist into the ANZAC campaign. That it would help their country reach a state of “freedom” and that it needed to be done to prevent the war from reaching the shores of New Zealand.

When to be honest it only comes down to a few war mongering dick heads making a whole lot of uni-modal decisions to stamp their weight on the world out of greed, power and wealth. That war at the end of the day is a huge waste of human life and a massive unnecessary burden on the lives of people.

Advertising is modern propaganda aligned with a similar ideology that purchasing good will bring us happiness. The key differences are that it concerns big money businesses and not primarily our government. Secondly, it concerns individual freedom and not national freedom. It’s a case of feeling free as an individual versus feeling free as a nation or a people. Liberation from the opinions of others based on the belief assumption that the clothes I’ve purchased are expensive, branded and aesthetically appealing therefore I am immune from the judgment of others which subsequently gives me the freedom to do as I wish. Versus liberation for my country because if I enlist it may improve our chances of taking the beaches of Gallipoli and subsequently our allied forces might be able to disable the Turkish forces from aiding our countries “enemies” and therefore we may have a better chance at winning “our” war. Which means that we will be able to achieve a state of “freedom.”

Some people treat objects as leverage to feel better about themselves with money as their resource. We are to wear certain clothes, to drive certain cars when in reality we are just as functional in the clothes we wear and don’t need a $120,000 Tesla electric car because lets face it you only want it because they look amazing and you think it’ll make you a better person and not because of the functional benefits.

At the end of the day.

As stated at the beginning of this chat I made it very clear that this chat is not to blame anyone in particular for the deaths of these individuals but instead use the occasion to reawaken the exposure of false beliefs.

At the end of the day, freedoms lie within the growth of individuality. That we construct our personalities uninfluenced by assumptions of false freedoms and know the difference between our own battles and another person’s war. That we are unmodulated in what messages we send to ourselves and others.

Something this generation is good at is questioning the resolve of our governing body. We have the technology to inform us from multiple lenses and therefore we have a healthy scepticism for things we are told.

One of my main concerns and you’ll find it through most of my blogs is about marketing and the lack of individuality. That so often I see clever marketing skills that have been driven from an age of professionalised creativity which tricks our vulnerable generation into buying shit they don’t need. That our kids are adversely effected by the condemning nature of false beliefs and assumptions that they can only be happy if they buy stuff.

My point today is that we should be aware of these big money corporations who claim to act in the interests of our people but are only interested in making lots of money and aren’t even remotely interested in providing value to their customers. Like making clothes that don’t last, smartphones with battery life expectancies.

We need to priorities our social development by ensuring that our beliefs are built well on facts and are informed by people uncorrupted with power or giving into marketing strategies that give us no value and make us build assumptions that cost us individuality.

Ultimately, ANZAC Day is a time to commemorate those poor soldiers who passed away in war. They had lives, they had families and within those relationships had very meaningful memories. They were still human. Lest we forget the lessons of ANZAC Day so that we don’t repeat it under similar circumstances in the future.

End.
Thanks for checking in.

Blog 074 Jealousy & Paranoia

NOTE: Another long conversation, and yes I know, another heavy topic.

Sitting in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday afternoon, I thought today might be a good day to reflect on two of the most vicious feelings we ever go through as individuals. Jealousy and paranoia. While this is not in reflection of anything in particular. It is something I’ve struggled with on many occasions. So I thought why not take the opportunity while I am camping, surrounded by family who loves me, and write something that is very painful to chat about.

Today’s heavy chat is in relation to overcoming paranoia and jealousy. To do that we will go into detail defining what the two mean and discussing the underlying assumptions we make and how these assumptions eventually turn into jealousy and paranoia. I want to analyse how these two feelings affect how we socialise and why we might become anxious. If we can accomplish this hopefully we can then relate these issues to bigger world applications and that we can both learn something from it.

So what is jealousy to me? I suppose it’s when there is a moment where my own interests conflict with decisions made by somebody else. There are a few circumstances where jealousy could be the resulting emotion. Lack of involvement or being missed out. When another person’s feelings don’t correlate to my expectations. When somebody else has something that I don’t have and attracts the attention of people I do care about. Jealousy is when control is vulnerable. It’s when we don’t have the access to somebody else’s decisions. When you cannot control somebody else for whatever reason.

The most important assumption here is the assumption that we had any control of other people in the first place. We can’t control what other people do all the time. Not even some of the time. Therefore, we cannot protect ourselves from all the bad things that happen. We can’t force our partners to never have eyes for another person. We can’t make our teachers teach in a way that only works for us. We can’t have total control of cars on the road and prevent crashes from happening all the time. We can never have enough food in the pantry to never have to fill up again. People change and food goes off, shit happens. Jealousy and conflict prevention can only be moderated by making sure that we are putting our energy towards healthy solutions. That we are monitoring close and prudently how we are as singularities. By running a tight ship we can be sure to minimise conflicts and crisis’ from occurring.

But that’s not jealousy. Jealousy to me is the tight feeling that makes me stress harder. Not a healthy stress either. It’s the feeling you get the days before Met-service states there is going to be a massive storm. A build up of anticipation for something we have little need to actually worry about or even any control over. We could probably take small steps to ensure we aren’t directly affected. However, jealousy is loosely definable as an illogical emotion. Kind of like being tickled, the fear of not knowing how long it will go on for, how long the storm will last, and not knowing if we will be able to maintain a constant level of balance and health. Not knowing if the people we love and care about will continue to do so once they invest into whatever another person has that we don’t.

For me, jealousy is a symptom of the fear of rejection and failure of succeeding. I don’t know about you but every time I’ve failed something and another person turns around and tells me about their success. I already feel like I’m good enough, not holding the mana, not being worth the attention. The immediate assumption that whatever value I considered holding within myself has been compromised because the train of thought that I had was wrong and derailed. That other people’s perception of me has somehow changed, that the mirror on the wall will show a different version of me, one that is somehow weaker than the first.

Rejection to me is like spinning out of control and aquaplaning across a teary highway. Drastic measures seem to be needed because if I don’t then it’s likely a crash is going to happen, right? Jealousy is easily caused when you learn that somebody else has something that you don’t. In some ways, you believe that the only way to get back to how things were before is by forcing the steering wheel in the opposite direction to where you are drifting too.

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But simple physics will teach that the crash nearly never happens when there is a loss of control but it’s when you try to reverse the situation by doing the opposite of what you were doing which actually causes an accident. Instead of feeling vulnerable and learning from it by going forwards, when we try hard to reverse the problem we only set ourselves up for more failure and the likelihood of going backwards. Take a Moto-GP rider at full swing riding across The isle of Mann TT for example. When in speed wobble the only way to stay balanced is to press down on the centre of gravity instead of resisting the wobble. Rejection is the wobble, correction is jealousy, stress is falling flat on your ass.

I used to always switch to jealousy because it motivated me to work harder to achieve beyond that level next time. Kind of unhealthy I know, but the anticipation of failing or being rejected is enough to spark jealousy and stressfulness all at the same time. This must affect other people, surely…

I think at a deeper level we all know that we don’t have control over other people’s lives. That it’s not really a reality that’s ever applicable or ever should be. We can try to make ourselves believe that we can but in really is all a part of an illusion that as kids, we slowly learn through trial and error that we aren’t always right, that we make plenty of mistakes and we are told left right and centre that nobody is perfect.

So we know that we don’t know everything and that we don’t deserve to have control over anybody asides from ourselves and the decisions that we make as individuals. I’m totally on board with that, shit I know that if I was the leader of a country that after a long period of time we’d probably fall into some sort of hardship. That it might work fine for a while but it will never be perfect forever because humans are dumb (I’m a human) and it’s absolutely going to turn to shit eventually. No organisation or government has ever worked forever.

We set up all of these micro-management gauges, like bank account balance checking applications on our smartphones, organised roading systems to prevent car crashes from happening, and fridges so we can see at a glance how much food we need to stay alive. We have fences up to tell other people where public land meets private lands, we have settings on Facebook which let us decide who can see our posts, there is a battery sensor at the top right-hand side of our monitors to tell us how much longer we can read Mana’s blogs. All of these micro-management gauges give us a sense of control so that we can feel in power, and jealousy is remembering we ain’t got shit.

So what I’m getting at here is that we already knew that there is nothing we can do to be perfect but through making all of these gauges we might be able to maintain the little dignity that we think we might have to rescue the lost power. I reckon that within everyone is a period of time where something has happened where we have lost control over a situation. It might be very big or it could be pretty small. Where we have felt a little bit of rejection that has made us at the time effectively shit the bed. When mum tells us we can’t afford something because there is not enough money in the account. When our teacher says that grades are a direct reflection of what we are capable of and then we get a bad grade. When we are rejected by the person we liked. When somebody tells us about our friend’s party we weren’t invited to. When our boss tells us that we are doing a terrible job. When you find out your girlfriend got with somebody else. When a business partner leaves you because they found a better partnership elsewhere. The applcations of jealousy are pretty much universal.

A build up of small moments where we feel rejected for no reason is like a mould build up on a bathroom roof. While this might be a lecture of avoidance, it’s more of an annoying notifier to get used to the pain and get used to feeling the unbearable feelings in order to feel stronger as an individual. Get used to feeling jealous and rejected so that we both become stronger as individuals. The hope is so that we can then help others through the same thing when they reach those moments.

Nobody likes to be paranoid but everybody likes to be in control, to some degree. So what level of control is healthy? What would happen if we decided that control wasn’t our priority and that we could get by without feeling the need to be in control of anything. Who sets the standard for the practicality of control?

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Above:  WHATMANASEES Instagram – Day 108

If we could make a healthy compromise in what control we’re willing to give up and what control we believe is absolutely essential to our everyday routine like what time we wake, how much food we consume, what emotional bullshit we get involved in. What common medium exists where we could evenly portion a healthy control over our routine and how aware we are of our weaknesses, such as being able to react to the decisions people make that directly affect us.

The current state of affairs for social situations is that there are three bubbles of control that we use to protect ourselves when we have to deal with things so that we can prioritise our general health and equalise when needed. The third and outermost layer focuses on wider social impacts such as poverty, child abuse, the sex worker industry, and natural disasters or the weather. Stuff that we know is really important to help fix but we will only help change them if we have dealt with the inner layers and have any energy left over.

The second layer is the decisions that people make that might affect us, but not necessarily. These sorts of social happenings are the likes of group events, work timetables, exam deadlines, family reunions, somebody knocking on our door, a message from somebody we don’t know on Facebook, etc. The second layer is also the control we try to create over other people. This is the layer we will talk about in depth in just a moment.

The innermost layer is the stuff we should always be on top of because they immediately affect our lives. Like spiritual health, mental health, physical health. Just health in general is the most important thing in our lives but I would argue that health is different from well-being. That our well-being, or Hauora in Maori, is a direct affiliation of how we are as a singularity. How we perform by ourselves naturally. But there is nothing natural about a person after they are put in social situations, you have to consider how people react when they are under pressure, this we could refer to as health.

The second layer is where jealousy lies. Jealousy takes two people to tangle with becausre it’s an unnatural emotion that only exists when we give other people the control over us. When we spend too much time exerting energy on less relevant things like what other people have that we don’t have because we live in a society that tells us that those things matter.

Can you see the problem? Can you see that valuing the outer layers is less important for our own emotional health because we are effectively wasting time and energy worrying about other people’s stuff and less time focusing on our innermost priority, ourselves. It doesn’t just stop there either. What happens when you get a broken person helping another broken person? Did the safety video in-flight not teach you to put your face mask on before helping others? Taking for granted our own health by not spending enough time re-applying support within ourselves is something too many of us do.

But it doesn’t even stop there! Paranoia as an emotion is like… Mate… Go another level deeper than jealousy and the long-term personality characteristics that result from prolonged jealousy equate to paranoia. When you get cheated on by your girlfriend you become paranoid that your next girlfriend is going to the same. It’s hard to find the courage to allow them to go to parties without giving them the benefit of the doubt that they’re not going to make out with another guy, that they’re not going to cheat on you too. Right? So it’s a process that you have to think about very clearly and work on building the from the foundations up to ensure that you are as stable as can be.

That’s something I’m dealing with now! Admittedly I’ve been cheated on twice and I still struggle trusting my girlfriend because of it. Luckily I spent a long time considering myself as being the most important person in my life, and this entire blog pays homage to that. Loving myself and putting a lot of energy into focusing on my own spiritual, mental, physical and emotional health empowers me to write and compels me to help others without considering anything in return, not money, not gifts, I don’t even expect people to read this. So long as somebody finds it useful and utilises it to some degree.

Jealousy and paranoia are vicious relationship wreckers. Nobody needs them. It is never our fault that we naturally care about other people. It’s not even our fault that other people suck and do things that compromise our relationships. But it is our fault what actions we take to resolve those conflicts. We as individuals are responsible for the actions that we take against jealousy and rejection. That’s why it’s so important that when we do crash. That we make sure we react in a way that focuses on our individualistic growth, that explores looking into relevant means of building our own support systems that accurately represent our health being a top priority, not somebody else’s achievements.

Through the love that we deserve and require of other people we can be encouraged to love ourselves and treat our own concerns as our best resolve. That no girl or boy should be worth the upset we try putting ourselves through regardless of being cheated on. That no storm is strong enough to make us feel undervalued. Through these beliefs that we deserve to be cared about, we recognise other people’s claims as well. That through birth we are all born as natural singularities, and through our adult years should always remain as natural singularities. While other people may achieve great feats we in our own rights hold characteristics which are completely admirable, which includes the respect we have for ourselves.

That is something worth being jealous over.

End.





While I know that I didn’t go into much detail what paranoia means, I think that the definition can be discovered through figuring out what jealousy means. Thank you for reading this epically long and tiresome conversation and…

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 072 Urbanism Versus Ruralism?

WARNING: Foul Language and A Shit Tonne of Bitching. 

Moving back to Blenheim for the Easter Holiday period gave me a quick glimpse into the ruralist lifestyle accommodation that only two months ago I was so used to. It really shines a light on socio-economics and how much of a contrast there is between the two. We really undervalue the effects that the environment has on us emotionally and our ability to let go of things like stress and insecurity.

In today’s conversation, I want to focus on the key differences between urbanism and rural lifestyle by defining the two from experience. We’re going to discuss how these small differences have huge impacts in social situations. How drama isn’t regulated enough in schools, in workplaces, and in university. In the hopes that we’ll be able to come to the realisation that we take those drama’s personally and then we neglect the help of those who matter like family, friends, the people who won’t leave you just because you’re being a dick.

Urbanism is a cluster fuck of people living in a small land mass. It’s just a compromising space where other people’s feelings trump your own. Where flatting situations seem like the best way to shit on another person just because they have no other way of avoiding it. Where being misunderstood can make a person react out because they feel insecure about your opinions because they’ve spent too long at the library and not long out in the open world not thinking about what other people think looking after themselves.

An urban space is constructed by creating infrastructures designed to make lives convenient. City life where convenience is scaled to the biggest it can be. Where people only have to roll their fat ass off the couch to jump in the elevator which leads them to their uber to drop them off at a supermarket just to buy a chocolate bar and talk to a self-checkout bitch who gives you the same demonising “thank you for shopping with us,” call as she did yesterday or to the other ten customers around you. Or alternatively, you could stay watching that documentary on youtube about global warming, about how someone else’s life’s dynamics work. Shit mate you don’t even have to leave the couch, you could simply sit there and wait for some guy to go and pick it up for you, all for a greasy dollar you spent without even taking your wallet out from beneath the cushions.

Urbanscapes are a place where people can judge a restaurant based on the “decor” instead of considering the food they are receiving, where a chef has spent hours vivaciously preparing the meal to satisfy your snobberistic tendencies just to listen to you complain. Where there are families literally half an hour away who can barely afford budget bread. Though it scares me that there might possibly be a place in this world that gives a shit about what coloured carrot was placed on your 10-inch across dinner saucer. I can almost guarantee that this other mystical place in snob-land is also an urbanscape. So get the fuck over it.

So what do I mean when I say to get the fuck over it. Well, I mean that you should probably consider for a second that urban life is like living in a giant pressure cooker. Where people have work, assignments, relationships, job commitments. All of this stuff going on! The busy nature of an urban city is like a busy hospital with people running around, cramming into elevators, eating shit food, while the small minority actually instigates doing a job that matters while the rest of us are saving nobodies life and complain about the wallpaper. That ninety percent of everyone sits behind these screens, like me and you, tucked into their beds, sat at their desk, perched on their cell phones, doing what?

The problem with urban life is that people think they can’t do anything to change what their life is like. Hugely nonsensical resolutions. They give up on their own identity because they’re bathing in laziness, defending themselves from social criticism and think they are helping others by not telling people how they’re feeling because they believe that nobody else gives a shit. In that belief they would rather blame others than actually face whatever the heck is going on in their life, complain that everything is hard for them when the reality is they only have to walk fifteen minutes to get where they’re going and fail to understand how easy and lucky they are to even have those privileges. So don’t tell me for a moment that it’s only the proximity from one residence to another being smaller. Don’t tell me that people don’t have problems they’re not resolving. Because the evidence is overwhelming! Youth suicide, social anxiety, rates of depression, are all on a huge rise particularly in our cities and not just one city but all of them. They’re all shit, and it’s oozing from the outside in.

Where trees are fake and lack any substance. They had a store in Wellington, particularly for fake plants. Plastic, expensive and entitled fake plants, just like ninety percent of the population in a city. Let’s bitch about the expenses of living in a city for a second. You would think it’s the convenience of everything which leads to house prices and food prices increasing astronomically from one neighbourhood to the next. I would argue it is more about the people who decide to move in. Those incredibly wealthy one percent who decide to buy three penthouses in one suburb just because they can take advantage of the various seasonal changes in weather.

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Above fig.  WHATMANASEES Instagram

Now that we’ve said that let’s chill out just for a second and talk about ruralist lifestyle. Relaxed by space, provided with opportunities to be responsible for our own shit. If we need help with something then you need to go out of your way to clash with another person without being a complete knob. Where it’s a glance away to view nothingness. Where there is nothing but you and your feelings, barely any cell phone coverage, really shitty data reception and absolutely a landline. The water in our house still gathers water from a well. A well, yeah the kind that ancient Romans used to collect water before they rolled them along in barrels on their stone made water troughs into their great cities… over a thousand years ago. It’s not really a place where you could expect much to be done for you, there’s certainly no uber, no waffle shop, and there are absolutely no restaurants where you could make a complaint on a cellphone app without being spat on by the stressed out Sous chef.

Ruralism is realism, urbanism is uberism. Don’t let other peoples bullshit hold you down.

Thanks for checking in.

 

Blog 064 Lack of Individuality!

20 Minute Read

Today’s conversation is a little less miserable in comparison to yesterday’s. It is in regards to an epidemic amongst the millennials of today. Not your influenza virus cross contaminated variety but more adjusted to the likes of your everyday conformity. I’m talking about a psychological normatively. I’m talking about the need to fit in and the lack of identity. Where we call each other “brand whores” and “fake.” This talk is more aimed at teenagers, students and young adults from a stereotypical metrosexual personality. Actually, this whole blog was brought to my attention yesterday when a friend named Luke Faulkner (name and shame!) mentioned that it was a problem. I have to agree in many ways that I’ve known about it for a while. That there is a real need for our loss of identity to be spoken about.

The things I’d like to discuss in this chat include:

  • Impulse and who it affects.
  • The music we listen to.
  • The world of marketing.
  • What Individuality actually is and why we value it so much.

It will share a little light on all of these areas from a relaxed perspective. I’m not a guy with a degree in psychology, I’m a student who has other things to do too. So I don’t claim to know everything, but that I have a passion for exposing my own flaws so this is a great opportunity. While this won’t effect every teenager the hope is that it might make somebody out there stop and consider that there will be truths for you in within my opinion. That I hope it has a long lasting effect on you and your daily life. I may in the future re-blog this post in another conversation on how we aren’t doing enough to limit our losses. That we should be furious with the adverse systemic effects that having our identity stolen away really has on us.

The first thing I want to talk about is impulse spending. We all think we have to buy nice looking clothes, have great looking cell phones, the newest MacBook Pro and the sleekest looking shoes. To some degree, we might convince ourselves that we need to feel great about what we wear but the immediate assumption is that other people give a shit. We think that other people actually care about what we wear, and they do. People do care about what we wear otherwise there wouldn’t be as much bitching about it all the time. We are a part of those conversations though, we have to take responsibility for our own part to play in all of this because we do it too. While we might tell ourselves that we don’t really care about what others think, the reality is that we wouldn’t spend so much money on these belongings if we truly didn’t care. From the shoes we buy to the shirts we wear, and no you don’t get a hall pass today if you go op-shopping. Saving money on clothes that you don’t necessarily need to support your outfit is just impulse for people on a lower budget. There’s seems to be a need to design your outfit to suit the mood of other people, not yourself.

We come up with these weak excuses like “I need a scarf with my T-Shirt because it’s very Wellington.” Or “I need another shirt because I have to match today’s new season.” As if assuming that today was any different to yesterday. That today is ‘definitely’ a brand new season with a 20 degree (celsius) temperature difference to yesterday. Sure thing bro. 365 seasons in one year, right? Right…

On a practical level, we need new clothes every few months, true. But have you ever stopped to wonder that it’s because the synthetic material used to make clothes today is literally tear-able, not made to last, and you only bought it because it was cheaper than earlier in the year or that the colour really matched your new shoes. Another item you bought also out of an impulse decision when the only thing you went to town for that day was to buy a warmer jacket.

Beyond the clothing situation and into the mindset of the madness. What impact on our lives does impulse have? Impulse to spend on frivolous things. I know out of the experience that many of my purchases have been led on by an excitement factor. Something triggered by the idea that I might have something more than somebody else. That I might to some degree meet the look that I perceive others to expect of me. That I have more time to relax about the clothes in my wardrobe because there’s new stuff in there to satisfy the look. That I’m enough. With the existing underlying assumption that if I’m not enough then I may be rejected, so it must therefore be right that I spend my hard earned money on a plain white Kanye West shirt for $120 that’s no different to the one sold at the Warehouse for $5.

An immediate translation between our existing insecurities transferred into our wallets and lack of budgeting discipline. Now I’m not assuming that everyone has the same problem as me but for a second consider why there’s such a lack of identity in the first place. Why is everybody trying so hard to be something that they’re not? Why is there such a lack of self-worth? Is it because we all want something that other people don’t have? That’s a question that you need to answer yourself. But the purposes of this discussion is the lack of identity within millennials may be evidence that they are exhausting their energy on impulsive decisions that might be due to a lack of direction.

I was listening to a podcast this morning regarding minimalism. It focused on the perception that we have too much clutter in our lives. That we have too many clothes, that there have been reported cases where a parent has passed away and all of their possessions were left to their kids. The podcaster explained that the children of these parents were finding that they had a lot of clutter which they had accumulated over the years. That they had bought a lot of stuff that they never saw their parents wear, that they never utilised, and that it had sat in the Attic of their house for decades and served no purpose. There are two questions that I raise to that situation. The first question is:

  • Are millennials the only generation with an impulse spending problem or is it an epidemic which affects every age category?
  • In sixty or so years when we pass away, how much shit will we have that we didn’t ever need that will be handed down to our kids and what will they think?

In regards to the first question, if there is proof that people many years our senior have gathered junk that has cluttered their lives for so long, are we not the only generation who have gone through life with consumeristic impulsiveness? Because it scares the shit out of me to learn that my aunties and uncles, even grandparents may have suffered in this same bubble of lacking own individuality. It kind of scares me because if that’s true it means we are living in a world driven by depressed people. By CEO’s, Pastors and Prime Ministers, who have given up their self-image and have taken on the role of somebody who can, not only not cook pizza, but also who suffers from a similar fate of unhappiness because they’ve lost touch with who they are as a person.

What I’m getting at here is if we are living in a world full of adults who have important positions, does this not serve as a reason to merit change? That in a damning way we all live on a planet that is messed up because we are confused about what person we are trying to exist as. I don’t know the answer to that question, but I sure hope it’s only banter and that we can shake it off.

The second question is more hypothetical. I’m aiming at recognising traits within our lives where we can probably improve on or help us understand where we are at and what we could do to also recognise where we’re making mistakes every day. Ultimately through my own view, it will help me actually make a long term change that is sufficient and deals with the primary problem which is a lack of identity and the constant battle to be something we’re not. If we imagined what our future children would think of us in many years time regarding the sentimental objects we got over our lifetime if we imagined how much other shit we’d piled up also and how that might diminish our character in some respects. Maybe that’s our dirty laundry, and no not in the form of grubby socks, but all of the stupid decisions we made. That the material is only an analogy for everything excessive we have built up but not dealt with that is actually exhausting us.

What if architecture and spatial design were just adult excuses to spend money on frivolous things like a granite tiled bathroom floor, or a cantilevered bedroom balcony because you really needed a view not possible from inside with an opening window…

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The second section I want to discuss is about recognising that there is evidence in our lack of identity through the music we listen to. There’s an app called Spotify which is a music streaming service that allows everyday users to jam their favourite beats. I’ve been using Spotify since 2012, creating playlists of the stuff that I like. Within Spotify, there is also the option to browse the most popular tunes and the most viral stuff being listened to globally. Within these chart toppers is generally the same musicians/artists. The likes of Selena Gomez, The Chainsmokers, Zara Larsson, Clean Bandit or even some of our favourites like Ed Sheeran, Drake and Coldplay etc. Now don’t worry if you have no clue of many of these names, that’s totally fine.

While it does come down to the lyrics of the song we are living in a world where even the most sacred forms of expression, music, is adversely affected by genuine un-uniqueness. When there are hundreds of millions of musicians/artists who all have different vibes but we choose to listen to a select group. That if a musician has the right sound then their chances of success are dramatically increased. Sure there is variation between different genres, take rap for example. There are many successful rappers who made it without needing too much resonating noise to appease the ears of the people. Because they had awesome shit to say, they knew what they wanted to say and they expressed their words through music But what makes Justin Bieber the third most listened to artist in the world?

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The third idea that I want to bring up is Marketing strategies and the effect that money has on the everyday creatives and social influencer. The marketplace is like societies shadow. That no matter what social influence or hierarchical essential exists, like clothing, music, even sports and social networking. There is always a marketplace that exists where some clever bastard saw an opportunity to make money.

But it’s not our fault! Brand whoring is a direct reflection of a person who has been caught up by the consistent slamming of these large companies who try slap us in the face wherever we go with advertising. They recognise that we have a weakness in anticipating that people might like us more if we wear brand heavy clothes. That a business will adjust their colours to suit the new season and what their competitors are selling.

More importantly, we are encouraged by advertisements to buy their stuff because it means that we might feel more special. Whenever we buy into that shit we lose touch ever so slightly with who we actually are because we attached to these materialistic things. Therefore it might be easier for us to think that we are unique because we have a MacBook Pro, we have white shoes, we have a turtleneck sweater, we own the latest smartphone, therefore we cannot possibly be rejected right? We might then elude to the security of our headphones where we can listen to some emotional songs that we can select based on what playlist we’ve made, and bam! We’re listening to the same stuff everyone else is listening to. So we aren’t so special after all?

The answer to both of those situations is wrong, and this is from experience. Ever sat in a lecture of a few hundred and noticed how many people have MacBook Pros? I have, me! But we’ll talk about this shortly. The point behind musical similarities is to notice how we rely on other peoples vibes to curate our own feelings. We rely on the experiences other people have had to make ourselves feel better when in doing that we are becoming the mindset of that musician. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t special in any way because we are. That while you might enjoy buying all this stuff and listening to these songs, it doesn’t actually change the person you were born as.

One of my dad’s quotes is “you can’t polish a turd.” While I’m not saying you as a person is shitty I’m referring to marketing as an embodiment is shitty. It’s terrible! You see it in sports, you see it in every single aspect of our world where companies try to make money from advertising things to try and expose our insecurities. You see this in cycling where lycra is used as an opportunity for companies to show off their brands to people on the butt cheeks and breasts of women because they know that people will be looking there out on the road.

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The industries which benefit from the specialisation of woken, to the degradation of sporting culture. They’re like vultures who conspire to work tirelessly to find ways in which to foreshadow a community who already struggles with its own independence and its own individuality.

So we’ve discussed what behavioural patterns might pertain towards the idea that there is evidence that younger adults within the millennial generation show signs of lacking individuality. Through the frequency of clothes they buy, the music they wear and how we are all affected by the marketplace. But what actually is individuality and why do we value it so much? What makes us even want to be individualistic, are there people out there who are comfortable leeching onto alternate identities because they’re scared or happy to be someone they’re not?

I’m a firm believer that we are a collection of hundred of tiny moments where we peek a glimpse into our actual selves. When we are confronted or surprised and our brains for a second stop and pause in a moment. I remember when my grandpop passed away. My family were all in the hospice and there was a waiting room where me, my sister and my mum were all waiting. Before the news came down the corridor I remember plugging in this old electronic piano accordion that looked like something from the 80’s that never quite made it into the 21st Century. The vinyl wood printed chipboard finish with squeaky black foot pedals to sustain and dampen the keys. The horrific cream white curtains and terrible rose paintings. I pressed the ‘on’ button and started whisking away to the tune of Stairway to Heaven by Led Zepplin. The sounds of many days practising and stumbling on each key trying to figure out how to make it all sound harmonious all merged into a song that I could play without needing any sheets. The eerie denseness in that hospice paused for a moment. It was met by the expression of a teenager screaming out through the presses on each key to the love for my grandfather who it later turned out had passed away during my playing. That I unknowingly made the connection with him in that moment, through the eyes of a naive boy, that old accordion had guided me to find my sense of belonging lies with the love of my family and the personality that they raised blesses me with strength beyond any o could muster individually. That you could argue it as a sense of airy fairness, it does come down to deciding how you wish to adjust your personality based on the assumption that not everything you know may be the honest truth. That maybe being apart of a family who loves and cares about you is more significant than caring about what shoes you’re wearing, what coloured shirt suits today’s brand new season, what skeletons are locked away in your attic, what dirty laundry you possess, how being more minimalistic would improve your life. Recognise that love through your family naturally is the safest way to go to reconnect with what individuality actually is, and that is being a home body who emulates love to yourself but also to others.

End.

Thanks for checking in!

Daily B: 11 PM NZT

Blog 061 The Art of Letting Go – Part Two

There is nothing that makes me more angry than when somebody I love far away from me is hurting and there is nothing that I can do to help them. Having felt this feeling today and having not been able to do anything about it, I want to share with you the enragement that I went through so that we can both gain something from it. That it might inadvertently stop a person from drinking when they’re going through something, that it might help somebody out there in some abstract way.

Without getting into specifics, the anger emotion for me is usually a reactionary from another feeling. Like frustration, anxiousness, and upset. All of these stupid emotions can be triggered by the dumbest things. Like when the banter is taken too far, or if a family member has been injured and theres nothing you can do about it. These heavy lead ups gather momentum because the suspense within the fear is usually an uncomfortable one. A fear of losing control over your life. When we are disconnected from the illusion that we are in control of everything, when that falls apart we are left juggling why. That these psychological remnants persist when we feel that our control is compromised. We have grown up constructing our lives around being independent because we think that we can rely on nobody but ourselves. That we make the immediate assumption that having control over certain things within our lives somehow correlates to having a balanced lifestyle?

That we build our personalities around the fact that we can stand on our own two feet and that everything is fine and dandy. When in reality if those supports are ripped from beneath us we get caught in a kerfuffle and can easily react out in a way in which we might regret, like being angry. By creating this network of control, like having tips on our families, a balance indicator on our smartphones bank app, having enough food in the cupboard, checking up on our grades through our universities website. These balances put in place a control barrier that when there is an imbalance it can be solved more easily. But what if the problem is really bad?

From a guys perspective, there is almost an expectation that if something goes down like if a guy messes with our girl then we are supposed to “Step them out.” Natures championship rivalry to impress others by being something that you don’t want to be. To be that guy who acts brave and boldly confident but weakly confides behind closed doors, takes off his fake man work outfit, and realises that he is putting his own wellbeing to the side to act out in a way that isn’t reflective of his character. There’s no excuse for stupid behaviour. There’s no excuse for violence in any domain. So what can we do about it?

I’m not saying this is in any way a personal reflection on what has happened to me. Just explaining the process of getting to a state of anger and finding solace in the notion that its okay not to be so independent and that its okay to ask for help in certain situations which cannot be dealt with in an ideal way because we don’t live in an ideal world. But first we’ll discuss a well known fact that social norms expect us to behave in ways in which no person morally should.

I’m talking about the age old concept whenever the boys go to town I get so confused. Obviously because I have a beautiful girlfriend in whom I love dearly. Before this though, there was so much confusion running through my head that 80% of girls don’t want to be treated like chicks who can be rated on a scale of 1-10. That they honestly just want to live and be happy and be free to do and dance however they please. But it’s the other 20% of girls that get sloppy drunk because they either don’t know their limit or have a lot going on inside that needs sorting out. That on the surface, they dress in revealing clothes, flirt with every guy they meet and act as though they want to be rateable. So many guys see that as being reflective of the girl inside but that’s almost like taking every word Trump speaks as if they were backed up with evidence.

You can roll your eyes at my next sentiment. Guys often fail to look deeper either due to a lack of experience or think they’re doing the right thing based on the gender stereotypes in place already. It honestly makes me sick to the stomach every time I see a guy reach in to grab a girls ass and see her life diminish on her face because she’s been harassed in a club. The reason why I am confused by the psychology of why we socially accept that these human beings are treated so much less than what they are worth is because they deserve to be cared about by somebody who understands and respects them, not some dick head with emotional problems persisting in his pants who fails to see how incredible she is. I am so confused by this. It literally makes me angry, particularly that I have helped for years to let this become a reality by being apart of the banter with “da bois” by being one of those dick heads in the past. It makes me angry that we exist in a people grouping that makes this stuff “normal.” That it’s absolutely fine to treat a person like a piece of meat, when in my head I feel that I have let down half of the entire planet by not pushing the guy aside and beating the living shit out of them. Thats justice in change, not standing by motionless.

My point being is that its so easy to get pissed off by all of the rubbish we are accustomed to live with because we are told that this is how we are supposed to live our life. But when that conflicts with my morals. That the problem is my morals are what I hold most dear. That I have constructed my whole life believing that by having control over other peoples lives, by telling that guy to fuck off and leave that girl alone, is trying to enforce my control over him. That it makes no difference in me getting angry, or in me getting violent towards him for treating a girl the way he was made to believe was what he supposed to do by “the lads.” It makes me angry that I hold myself accountable for being a part of a gender that treats women as if they’re hardly human.

Maybe the answer is that we don’t need to be in control. That if we step back and look at the underlying assumption that perhaps we are trying to accomplish something that is not our own fault, that we have to pick our own battles if we are truly going to put our own wellbeing first. That it is better to defuse the suspense by disarming the suspicion. By convincing the guy who treats girls like shit that it doesn’t need to be that way, that she is a human being and has as much right to exist as he does. That she is an incredible person with life and has love in herself and that she and we all deserve to be treated with that same courtesy. Without getting angry. Without getting violent. That letting go of the reigns will bring peace in the worst points in your life. To alleviate some of the stresses you’ve burdened yourself with. That perhaps it’s not really worth drinking if you really want to have a clear head and treat her with respect.

There are so many ways of letting go of what is uncontrollable. Realising that your lust for control wears you down and by letting go of the reigns you improve your overall mindset and are in some odd way a better person because of it.

End.

Thanks for checking in…

Blog 053 Sex Before Marriage!

Today I want to talk about something really interesting. Something that will undoubtedly get me into some degree of trouble and likely some degree of grief. Sex before marriage. The concept isn’t a religiously favourable one. At an emotional level, it is seen as one of the deepest forms of trust and solidarities a person can offer. The emotional connection, the spiritual exposure. Sex is a way of letting somebody passed your walls and into a space of trust and expectation. It hinders your ability to be a rational person. But is it as important as the religious authority would have you believe?

Today I want to talk about this because sex before commitment is something I think that everybody should experience. To be able to protect themselves from making mistakes, to have the wisdom to be able to grow and know their limits. To experience and have an informed opinion about so that they can define the distinction between sex and love. To be able to know what love looks like and how it differs from the lustfulness of a child without boundaries. That when the most formal commitment in life arises, marriage, that the person would be well-informed enough to know when the other person actually cares about them, to know when the other person respects them enough to treat them properly. To have that connection and to know the needs of the other. That if it doesn’t mean enough they will be able to make the informed decision to care bout themselves more than the needs and physical lusts of the other.

At the end of the day, how can we possibly know the answer to a question if we haven’t experienced it yet? We have to go out, make mistakes, get hurt, and learn from those experiences to understand what sex actually does to us. An expression I could use is that it is almost like trying a spicy food for the first time. There is so much division in the world and it is sad that we can’t come to terms that some people need to experience these things to learn and mature from them. Vital learning kerbs all avoided because of bubble wrapped social ideologies.

From my experience, growing up with the expectations that most people my age when I was sixteen were already getting it on. It is unavoidable, the pressure that others would create when they would ask questions like, “have you done it yet?” The over sexualisation of kids on social media at the time was already drastically worse than the generation that came before us, the first millennials.

Heading into high school knowing sure well that statistically more than 30% of year tens openly admitted to having had sex. More than 50% in year eleven, and more than 70% in year twelve, admitting to having had sex. The majority of the boys would have been towards the contrary, having being allowed the right of passage when it came to socially accepting sex as being something cool and something only the popular were doing. It was cool. But come to think of it, I know that most of those kids were probably talking shit. It made no sense for most of these kids to having had sex in the past. Not to any capacity, it seemed unlikely. For some, it was a right of way but for others it seemed like a bargaining chip that was used just to increase a person’s social status so for me to say that I was confident that most people were shagging at a young age, those of you who are highly anti can rest assured that this definitely wasn’t the case.

But what does it matter? How do the decisions of others affect your way of living? Let’s fast forward to the life of a 19-year-old student living in a student accommodation block surrounded by beautiful people, all of whom are completely allowed by law to do with their bodies however they please. At this age, it is even more acceptable to do with your body as you please. So acceptable that it’s almost unacceptable not to have. The reason I bring this up is because most forms of religious marriages don’t occur before 20, and if they do then it’s honestly just an excuse for the latter or a difference of opinion.

It’s a huge mistake to think that religion or Christianity is an excuse to treat others like they are not in control of their own body, or even their own wairua, spirit. I can understand from a mother or father’s perspective. Their little boy, their little girl, their child having practicing sex with another person. The natural inclination to prevent and protect. To only have accepted the idea of sexual interaction far beyond the point of marriage. To accept the idea only when it becomes socially normal. Such an unrealistic expectation to have, especially when so many people are doing it all the time.

But the point is beyond the views of a parent or the views of a 19-year-old student. The point is that there are so many people trying to control the way people should go about using their own body. I think that people should be allowed the opportunity of experience. I think they should be given the right to do whatever they want to do regardless of its consequences. But particularly the idea of having sex. The experience is arguably an important one because it teaches people to know what the difference is between loving somebody and being manipulated for sex. That the answer is kind of backwards trying to figure out who a person might be and what spiritual needs that they hold.

Learning about what love is for me is really a vital stage in figuring out who I am as a person but also appreciating other people’s relationships and how amazing they are as examples of how to manage when everything turns to custard. But also learning to appreciate the love that your parents have for you. To learn to appreciate how incredible the love for you must have been when you were born. To be able to learn from the most barbaric means and to grow and adapt as a person who understands what it means to love and to be loved is actually pretty awesome.

Blog 052 The Way People Learn

Everybody learns differently, it’s not a case of one size fits all. It’s quite often that some ways will clash and that its harder for some people to learn. I was quite pissed off the other day when I went into a class expecting the teacher to be able to teach me something, only to find his teaching method to be really rushed and the way that he teaches to be really difficult for me to learn from. Hidden beneath the reams of paper he would hand out to the class, the pointless readings and the code words for certain lessons, I found myself confused and even though I spent the following two hours beyond the lesson just trying to understand what the heck this guy was trying to teach. I still found myself struggling to get the concept.

My angle is this. You go into a class expecting to be facilitated for your lesson. To expect that you will be able to understand the material taught to you regardless of how complicated it might be. To assume that you almost knew nothing when you walked into the class, to walk out at the end of the semester having benefitted from the teachings and the course content. What I hate is that this just isn’t a reality for me all the time, and yes I confess that I may not be a genius. Although why it is true that I might not be the future Elon Musk or the next big thing, I can’t begin to assume that 7 billion people on this planet and I would be the only one to struggle in class even having gone over the relevant material. So what is that I’m missing?

From time to time students and teachers alike have made reports of struggling with learning or teaching the information. They have reported that it has cost time and money for them to get to class and that sometimes it’s impossible to do so for whatever reason, and so they have missed the classes altogether. So it has dawned on me. The expectation that we are to attend classes, that we are to go to school and learn from the confines of a giant concrete building at the top of a hill, may be precisely why it is hard to learn sometimes. That we are restricted in our ways of learning and not given the opportunity to grow and experiment with different ways of learning.

I’m eluding to online learning. Call me crazy but it must be hard to come across a single University without an online forum to collect information in 2017 regarding variously taught materials or to gather extra information about a topic. It must be hard to find in today’s climate a network strategy about going about an exam or learning a lesson that is not already online at any one point. What I am confused by is the lack of online encouragement from a universities perspective to give us the tools and knowledge that we need to succeed within a class so that we can actually gain something from spending our time and money for 12 weeks of a course.

I struggle to comprehend why we cannot learn everything that we need to know through simple online tutorials, lectures and other abiding material essential to the final examination. That it makes absolutely no sense that we have to get our sorry asses up out of bed at an ungodly hour of the morning, waltz to the top of a hill only to arrive at a lectureless lecture and no time to piss around.

But then I had a realization. The realization that there is actually no point in having a physical campus. That the entire system is intrinsically flawed. That university cares not about our actual learning in the long term but that they can get away for years of our lives having dealt out time schedules, moderators and finally an A4 sheet of paper bullshitting us that we have actually learnt something but instead have only put up with the bull shit time constraints, cold wet winter mornings waiting for the other poor guy to arrive, and confusion around the actual taught material.

I don’t believe that the current system actually works because it is influenced by big money. It is manipulated to suit the constraints created by a system that is hundreds of years old, and that we are not being given the precise tools that we need to accomplish learning. Do I have to spend ten hours for every one-hour lecture attended just to get it into my “thick skull” that there is actually some life relevance and reliability of the information learned? It seems incredulously irrelevant to create a system that forces people to go higher just to learn in a uni-modal way.  I guess that’s why they call it university…

Onto a more personal note. The grievances created through a system flawed through big money politics, why not give us the tools we need to learn by creating a digital platform that allows multiple forms of learning. Through written content. Through audio diaries. Through digital imagery. Through videos which show the ideas in action. We’re fucking adults. Stop treating us like we need a few more years at high school and give us what we’ve paid for. Knowledge. Nobody should be forced to sit inside on a beautiful autumn’s morning waiting for some guy to arrive and teach in a way that doesn’t suit them. Everyone has good teachers and bad teachers and everyone reports on how they learned more or less based on a teacher’s different way of teaching.

It’s time to react to the way people learn. You’ve already given us an online forum as a source to give us a course outline. But are you that scared of piracy that you think we would be bothered to copy and paste? You’ve already built up massive libraries and on some occasions gave us an online book ordering network to give us the material we need to learn. So why do we still need to spend hundreds on getting our own editions? You force us to buy ex-copies that have outdated information because you out-price us at the thousands you already expect.

A pledge from the everyday student to yours sincerely, it’s time to wake up.

Blog 051 Social Anxiety

By Mana Williams

There is so much clout surrounding youth suicide and the struggle people can have with anxiety. Today’s mellow chat expresses my accounts with anxiety through giving you some insight into my own story. How that relates to other people. In the hopes that I might be able to raise awareness of the silent killer from a fresh perspective. It’s something that we have to actively talk about, because it’s so easy for us as a people to take for granted the thing that hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders face each and every day. It’s so easy for us to fall asleep on the issue. So it’s time for us to wake up again.

It’s quite frustrating when somebody calls you out for being wrong. Whether that’s in class, at a lecture or even something mundane like not having the guy behind you scoff because you dropped your wallet and held up the line in the Warehouse. Visiting places and anticipating that people will rip you out for something can be really frustrating, coming from someone who openly admits to having struggled with anxiety as a teenager. This talk is for those out there struggling with anxiety to better explain from my perspective what it means and how it can be relieved.

Waiting in a long line at the Warehouse to buy my stuff, a teenaged girl in front of me was trying to pay for her washing basket, watching her drop her wallet with all of her bits n bobs coming loose I could see that the tension on her face was building. After she fell to the floor in a desperate panic hoping nobody would notice, she kicked her coins beneath the till where the customer assistant was standing. The panic was evident in her shaking, fumbling around and general unsettledness. But it looked similar to something I had gone through before. Rushing to get passed the transaction counter to be sure not to piss off the people waiting impatiently behind you. Rushing through everything too scared to face the confrontation with another person.

Anxiety is pixelation. A fuzziness of expression that divides our chances of being understood or accepted. The mid-teenaged girl looked like she’d been having a really rough day. She appeared fine on the surface but through the eyes of a guy who was an old acquaintance with anxiety, I could only have felt sorry for her. With the guy behind her scoffing with frustration adding to her problems without considering that she was going through something. It made me reflect on the causes of becoming anxious.

My experience with anxiety came symptomatically from the fear of rejection. An icky mold growing through the seams of an ill-tempered boys mindset designed around the idea that others deserved to have power over me. That it didn’t matter how much suffering you had to go through, the shame of stuffing up was far more unbearable. In the awful circumstance where you might trip up running for the bus, that you might drop the glasses walking to the kitchen from the dining room table at your aunt’s house just trying to be helpful. Anxiety always seemed to prevail.

The inconsistent waves of anxiety in my early years were the result of being taken away from my parents at eight months old and being placed into the care of other amazing people. The natural inclination to be attracted to the ones you’ve been brought up in without ever knowing any difference is the exact feelings which built up over time within my head. Then to have those feelings ripped apart after having being taken away from my parents without being told why then to blame those mistakes on myself was without a doubt the reason why I struggled with the hardship of feeling rejected. That others ought to have the talking stick and that I was always an inferior substance. Somebody who’s opinion never really seemed to matter as much as the next person.

Through the fears and obstacles that I had to overcome in my early years, when I was five years old I remember seeing my mum walking out the driveway heading to see my grandfather. I remember vividly running to the gates and crying uncontrollably until she came home over an hour later. Not having realized that my sister was in the house the entire time in charge of looking after me. In the mind of a young child, these experiences can be really testing, without the capacity to understand why the world is this horrible place and that not everyone is perfect is incredibly sad.

This is only a brief depiction of my story, however. There is no validity in expressing my experience and then asking you to feel sorry for me. The point of this little extract is to help you understand why some people struggle with anxiety. By giving my account of what caused me to feel anxious at a younger age and occasionally still today is to reflect on the feeling that there are others going through the same thing. Something as small as paying for a fucking washing basket can create enough grief to trigger a panic mode. That all some people would do is stand there, with their smug faces and scoff at the weakness shown by a poor girl who is definitely suffering through something. It is not good enough.

Anxiety is nobodies friend. Through my own self-growth and development of confidence over time through getting the support of those around me, I was able to overcome the deep anxieties that I was suffering through. Extremely lucky in hindsight to have had those voices advocating for me. For those people to stand with me and actively raise me up was a humongous relief effort that likely would not have given me the confidence to write these blogs.

It’s honestly as simple as appreciating the work somebody else has done in a way that is genuine, in a way that captures their attention so intimately that it makes that person who is struggling with anxiety to stop for just a moment. because that’s all it takes to save a life. That’s all that it takes to prevent a person from going off the rails. When they know that there is one person standing in front of them who genuinely cares about the work that they are doing. That can be sufficient enough to inform them that they are valued in some way that makes them want to be an actively contributing person who can carry on that legacy and continue to help others who have been down in that place where nobody likes or ever deserves to go.

It is as simple as saying “good work” or “well done you’re amazing.” Especially if you are someone of authoritative status, which to a person struggling with anxiety everybody is a person of anxiety, even if you were the guy standing behind the girl in line at the warehouse. If you could just lend a hand, ask if the person struggling is alright, if they need any help, that they are appreciated in some way, anyway at all. The smallest contributions to an ever anxious society is an abundant source of joy and fulfillment.

That’s all it takes man…

Blog 041 Pride (LGBT)

By Mana Williams Eade  10 Minutes

This small chat is just a quick reflection on the Pride festival yesterday. Reflecting on the attitude, the nature of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community within Wellington and shares my perspective on a few things.

Let’s get something clear, I think the ability to take pride in one’s own sexuality is really quite admirable. But let’s stop for a second and recognize how sad it is that we have to celebrate the ability for people to feel proud about who they love. How sad it is that people cannot just simply love who they want without judgment, without stigma. It’s not nice that people have to go above and beyond to get the rights that they deserve, to love whomever they please. I think that it’s bullshit that people have to go through a long unwinding process of organizing a parade and a festival of thousands of attendees, like the one held in Wellington yesterday, just to show society that it’s perfectly okay to love who you want.

When will people get it in their heads that people can love whoever they want?

A process must occur whenever people see two guys holding hands in public places. As if to assume that because it is not normal the public has the authority to treat the LBGT community differently, if you haven’t already you should check out my blog 040 about stigmatizing. Historically, yesterday’s pride parade was the biggest pride parade in Wellington in over 20 years. Which proves that this has been going on for quite some time. This suggests that we haven’t changed much as a society in 20 years. We pride ourselves on making huge advancements technologically but we cannot even comprehend that one guy might love another guy? It changes the meaning of the word pride! As if to suggest that even the meaning of the word PRIDE is to be limited to social norms, but it’s ironic when a minority group like the LGBT community have to push the buck to what is and what isn’t pride. But it’s not all doom and gloom. For time’s are a changing. A time where you could ride your segway down the middle of the main road in Wellington wearing a drag queen outfit and not give a shit about what anyone thinks. See image below for more details about how not to give a shit.

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Credit: Wellington Pride Festival parade. Photo/ Frances Cook – NZ Herald 2017

How do the choices of whom other people choose to love, affect us?

Do we really need to go out of our way to comment that a particular group of people are ‘weird’ simply for doing what they feel is expressing their own emotions? This calls for an analogy. The ability to love who you want is like dancing in a ballroom full of people. If you have somebody in your life that you love, would you walk across to ask them to dance with you? Is it not just jealousy when you see somebody else enjoying themselves in a way that you want? I feel like it’s never going to affect you. it’s never going to affect you unless you get too close. Unless you get involved. Unless you crash into each other. Besides, if you really love a person, does it really matter that much what other people are doing around you, or shouldn’t you be focused more on the person in front of you?

What really matters?

They aren’t there to hurt you, they are just like you. They are human. They are everyone and everyone feels the same sort of shit when they are stigmatized against. When they are treated as a minority. When you try and use authority to degrade them when you try and make minority groups feel like they are not worthy of priding themselves based on the person they love. One of the most refreshing sights from yesterday’s pride festival was to see the police presence, to see them actively encouraging the public to be more inviting of love regardless of how that looks. They were not in force and they were accepting of the people around them. The difference that the police made by being at the parade changed the image of the police force themselves. They made people snap out of their stupidity and whatever socio-political game they were playing and exposed the reality of the situation that in that space, these people are trying to show how much they want to love who they want regardless of gender. Having the police force present provided a different and warmer lens on what New Zealanders collectively ought to do, and that is to change their opinions on what is weird and realize that everybody is weird.

17358741_1837490489872889_4448705958328712000_o.jpgNZ Police presence at the Wellington Pride Festival parade.

End.




I guess this is the second chat for today, not too long just a rant I really needed to have. I wanted to get it down as to why some people think that it’s okay to call this community of people as being weird. Otherwise, stay tuned for the next chat, it’s going to be epic!

Thanks for checking in…