The Truth Behind This Photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(totes click-baited you)

 

It’s still an odd feeling, getting out of bed, getting everyone out of the house and then sitting down to write…for money. Odd because even though I’ve written nearly every day since I was 18 and even though I’ve been paid for my work and often, it has taken until I turned 37 to actually acknowledge that this is what I do, it’s how I pay my bills, shit it’s what I write on my immigration card when traveling.
I was lucky enough to have a bit of success early on in my career, at 18, but it was the sort that was stifled by my age. A lot of ‘well done’ but come back when you’re 30 because 20 years ago you couldn’t be young and a screenwriter. I didn’t have the life experience, education, etc etc. So I went to film school. Graduated with accolades and went back to these people to show them I’d gone and further pursued my desire to write, but at 22 I was still too young. With cap in hand I f**ked off overseas. Had a ball. Worked. Partied. Had my heart broken. Lived in the Eastend and finally returned to Australia, ready with my life experience to work back home.
But I wrote predominantly female characters, female stories and there was no market for that 10 years ago. Could I make them male? What did I think of gender swapping the characters? Why would a man watch my work? We can’t have unlikeable women on screen.
And yet for some reason, I kept on going, kept writing and took every other job in between -temp, Barista, PA, EA, caterer, waitress,dishpig, door bitch, program coordinator, just coordinator, data entry, file clerk. I had no fallback. I just had to take the work I could get. Spoiled for choice I was not. Of course, when there are articles about how well your career is going in the paper, or you’ve got a regular guest spot on the radio and even appear on TV from time-to-time,   it’s hard to convey to people, that this emerging success is for the most part smoke and mirrors. And for the next 10 years, I juggled, like most creatives. I had representation, then didn’t. Had films get financed but never made, had meetings full of promise that went nowhere and in between it all I worked a 40 hour week doing ‘another job’ on top of the 30-40 hours a week I often committed to writing, because that’s what people knew me as by then ‘a writer.’
Than about 2 years ago there was a shift. I was finding the juggle harder and harder. I was finding writing commissions were becoming more frequent, better paid than before and while I was able to support myself (and I’m talking ramen noodle support) I couldn’t let go of the other job. The job that had always been there, paying my rent, my insurance, putting food on my table. It was a crazy place to be in. At a time where my career was finally forming (as I was in my 30s now so I guess I finally had enough life experience), I still couldn’t let go of the in between work. I thought for some reason that if I did everything would fall apart. I went into therapy. Got diagnosed with anxiety. Got on medication and slowly I started to acknowledge that I was a writer. A freelance writer. Ok, so I’d started to acknowledge what and who I was but I still had a part-time job, on top of my ever encroaching freelance commitments.
It became a mark of (foolish) pride to have people say ‘I don’t know how you do it’. That somehow I was amazing because I devoted as much time and energy to both jobs. What no one actually knew was that it was motived by fear. Fear that I couldn’t be a writer at 37 years old. Fear that something I’d been trying to do since I was 18, was well a nice idea, but not a reality. But then I got pregnant and that fucked everything up (in a good way). I realised I couldn’t juggle everything. I’d have to choose. And so I chose writing or maybe writing chose me because almost as soon as I got pregnant I could map out the next 12 months with writing jobs. Forest for the trees and all that I guess.
I’m currently writing a film, working on corporates and training films, a web series and a TV pilot. All paid. All jobs I’m ridiculously grateful for and grateful for the people that believed in my work enough to give them to me.  Yet I still think I have imposter syndrome. After 20 odd years, that’s hard to let go of and I’m thinking I’ll probably carry it around with me for quite some time. I guess I wrote this because I didn’t want to post a lovely picture of my writing set-up for today without acknowledging how lucky I am to do what I love and how lucky I am that writing stuck with me all these years and never let me give up. Often people post lovely pictures that make the rest of the world think ‘why can’t my life be so perfect?’ – this is not that picture. Nor is it a picture that’s meant to inspire because f**k it’s hard out there if you have a dream. It’s just plain hard. But the flowers are nice. That’s why I posted this 🙂

Continue Reading

With All Seriousness

‘You’re a mum now Lou’ my friend informed me as I sat before her, tea in hand, despair draping my face. ‘You’re going to have to learn to deal with it.’

I silently opened a packet of Teddy Bear biscuits as she continued.

‘You’re just won’t be able to be funny anymore. Happens to the best of us. I use to be fucking Conan O’Brien till I had kids. Now everything I say comes across as if I’m giving a speech at the Hague.’

And just like that, she had confirmed my deepest fears – that now I’m a mum, everything I say and do will forever be read and taken with all seriousness.

F**k. For someone that makes a living from writing funny things, this did not bode well. I mean, I’d had a baby, there were bills to pay, a new car I’d bought to live in…

Yet the thing is, I had/have cause for concern. It had already started – the ‘with all seriousness.’

Last week my boyfriend/fiancé’s face flashed up on my phone – ‘F**k, he can’t live without me’ I chuckled to myself as I paused Netflix’s F.B.I Files (‘True stories from the F.B.I.’) ‘I bet he’d kill for me if I asked him….’

‘Yo, waz up?’ I casually enquired with my usual greeting.

‘Is everything ok?’ He blurted out between tears. I sensed something was wrong so I paused the TV. I’m good like that.

‘Why? Should something be wrong?’

‘I just got a text asking if We were ok. Are We ok? Why would We not be ok?’

I thought about it. Were We ok? Perhaps this was my out? Mark Ruffalo had recently landed in the Gold Coast and I had just gotten my legs waxed a month earlier…coincidence?

I decided to give it a go.

‘I don’t know. You tell me. Are we ok?’

‘What?’

‘I mean unless you’ve done something wrong?’

I un-paused the TV. This definitely was a conversation that could continue with background noise.

‘No, no…I mean don’t think so.’

‘Are you sure…?’

He fell silent for a moment, searching his brain for an incident, one where he’d fucked up so much that it would undoubtedly drive me into the arms of The Hulk.

‘Someone from work rang. Said you posted something on Facebook, about our relationship. She was worried.’

I flipped over to a documentary entitled ‘My Time in a Cult’. Winner.

‘And then she said it was something about me no longer being your lover, that I’d become your carer.’

‘Oh, that? It was a joke.’

‘She didn’t think it was a joke.’

‘It was clearly a joke. That’s my thing.’

I scrambled to pull up Facebook on my phone, only to notice 11 unread text messages had popped up, including 3 voicemails and various Facebook notifications.

‘And then my brother left a message asking if it was true –

‘- You are not my carer.’ I assured him from our bed, wearing an adult diaper, pushing 100 kg, wheelchair idling by my side table, power pumping two boobs at a time…

‘All I wrote was…’

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-13-30-17

 

 

 

‘Remember, from the other night when you were reading that SBS article, and I thought it was funny given I’d just wet the bed for the second time that evening and we’d laughed about how we really needed to get around to buying a mattress protector. Remember? It was funny.’

I scrolled through the messages:

Saw your post – it gets better xx

You and JK will be fine xx

I’ve sent you a link to a single mother’s Facebook group. Mostly widows but heaps of great tips. xx

I never liked him. Let’s do coffee soon x

This is just a kindly reminder that your ANZ card payment is now overdue.

I’m on my way over. Bringing chocolate! How could he!!! ☹ ☹ ☹

Did I leave my hairdryer at yours????

The Facebook messages were much the same

‘Thinking of you and the bub during your turbulent time xx’

‘Not you guys!!!’

‘Hi, my name is Kirtia and I like sex and men. Please meet??’

I couldn’t understand what was going on.

It was clearly a joke. I only ever posted funny things. I was the funny girl. What was happening?

And so this was when I called my friend for reassurance, the one who now works for the Hague…

‘Everything you do, write or post about from this point onwards will be met with a degree of earnest belief and genuine concern. Gone are the days of flippant remarks, you’re part of something bigger than yourself- being a mum on social media.’

‘But I’m not just a mum.’

‘As of now Lou, yes, yes you are.’

I took the last remaining Teddy Bear biscuit offering none to my friend.

‘Don’t despair Lou. You can still be funny in private, you know, as long as no one is watching, listening or reading you, but once you post your funny on Facebook, Twitter, Insta, blog about it, or continue to post on that YouTube Channel you made that no one ever watches – it will only be seen as a cry for help, a need for support, a plea for understanding, shit Lou, I mean with any luck you might end up a mummy blogger – purely by default.’

‘You shut your mouth!’ I spat at her.

It was a truth bomb I clearly wasn’t ready to hear.

‘You need to leave’ I said shaking ‘Get out of my house’.

And with that, she was gone.

A few weeks late I took to social media again. This time posting on the hilarious feeder-esque situation I now found myself in.

It was my comeback. A nuanced, funny observation on breastfeeding-


screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-13-29-47

 

 

 

My phone beeped:

‘OMG Lou. Are you ok? Just saw your post. Can I recommend Lanosin for your chafed nipples…’

Beep! Another message…

And just like that, my fate was sealed. My friend had been right. I was f**ked. Chafed and f**ked.

 

Continue Reading

What Would Miranda Kerr do?

I’ve started keeping a gratitude journal. I’ve been told it’s something Miranda Kerr does.

The idea is that you find at least 5 things to be grateful for each and everyday and by keeping a list of them you can reflect back on the good things in your life, making the bad things, well trivial and in making them trivial give them less power in your life.  It sounded right up my alley so I was eager to get the gratitude ball rolling.

Before I started though I had to give myself some rules so that my daily entries didn’t read like an ode to just ‘making it through the day’:

So NO –

  1. Woke up – still alive!
  2. Passed urine without trouble
  3. Still breathing
  4. Bowel movement regular and unforced
  5. Internet usage rolled over 🙂

Basically no gratitude was to be given for just being alive. I needed to be grateful for more.

So here’s Day 1:

  1. Heaters! Heaters are amazing.
  2. Mango’s – how good are mangos?
  3. Really good Crunchy Bar – are there any other types?
  4. Bath – how good are baths?
  5. Went to gym and it was awesome. Caught up on James Spader’s The Blacklist.

Sure my period was on it’s way, my credit card wasn’t rejected at the supermarket, they’re letting me pay off my computer in installments and the fuckwit across the road did me the honour of letting me park out the front of my house and sticking his truck there – but that’s too ‘poor me’ to be really grateful for it. It’s not really gratitude, not the sort of Miranda Kerr grateful I was aiming for.

Day 3:

  1. Glass of Rose. Wine is awesome. Thanks life.
  2. Bought a new hairdryer 🙂
  3. Weather’s pretty good
  4. Accomplished Pilates
  5. Really great raw dinner due to my strict no grain-diet. Raw is well, raw.

Didn’t need to mention the new hairdryer was a result of the fact I couldn’t afford to get a haircut that week…

Soon I was grinning so hard with gratitude that my face hurt.

Day 5:

  1. Friends. Yep, just generally friends are pretty good.
  2. Heat pack for menstrual cramps – phew
  3. Nice outfit  – looking pretty good today. Thanks clothes.
  4. The RTA wants to keep me alive by sending my rego reminder to me – how considerate
  5. Oh look, gas and electricity is due on the same day as rego – how convenient? Can just put one reminder in my diary.

Hmmmm….

Day 7:

  1. Sever sinusitis aside, it’s great they’re back burning to prevent further bush fires
  2. Periods are great. They remind us of fertility and that our bodies are efficient machines.
  3. It should always be further than you expect to walk to get an ice-cream on a really hot day – makes you appreciate it more.
  4. Airplane turbulence is just life’s way of saying ‘Boo!’ – Happy Halloween Lou!
  5. The broken drawer at home is just its way of telling me it needs to fixed.

Day 8:

  1. Parking fines are fine by me. Thanks for the reminder not to be selfish and hog parking!
  2. Scratching my car on a wall makes me grateful for insurance.
  3. Not having up-to-date insurance is just life’s way of saying ‘gotcha!’ – oh how we laughed…
  4. The best thing about not bring lunch into work today is seeing it still sitting on the kitchen counter defrosting and leaking everywhere – buzz me swimming in soup water FIRST when we get home!
  5. Someone better than me got the job. That’s better for everyone in the world, gotta be grateful about that 🙂

After days of working out what I’m grateful for, I feel I’ve found a happy medium. I think Miranda would be grateful that I was finding my own path.

Today:

  1. Woke up
  2. Passed urine without trouble
  3. Still breathing
  4. Bowel movement regular and unforced
  5. New security light installed. New security light doesn’t work. Can’t wait to see what fun that leads to…

 

Continue Reading

Australia, the land where wog brown isn’t real brown.

 

I read an article in The Age recently, because yes, the newsagency had sold out of Grazia – BAM! No, I was really reading The Age and no it wasn’t something I’d already read a week earlier on the Guardian Newspaper website and then was re-reading syndicated as ‘our’ news in ‘our’ newspaper, no this was proper Australian news, an entire article devoted to the ‘perish the thought’ idea that Australian women are more likely to list their ‘absolutely cannot live without beauty treatment’ as spray tanning over leg waxing, like I said my brain is actually perishing at the thought. I mean imagine the site of it, furry tangerine coloured women wondering around, freely and clearly without a thought for prioritisation. Personally, as a person of ethnic extraction I celebrate this coming together of colour and leg hair. Viva la revolution!

Earlier this year I was asked by UN Women (calm down, the Melbourne branch) to go into high schools and talk to you young women  and inspire them, well I was there to talk at them, a presenter from Getaway was there to inspire them. At the end of the session a young Greek girl raised her hand to ask a question and when it became clear this wasn’t a question about Getaway it was directed at me. It was a question asking why girls like myself weren’t ever seen on Australian TV, well not in things that weren’t Fat Pizza, well look not on any other channel other than SBS and to be fair, SBS 2. I jokingly remarked that years ago when I was first starting out in television in Australia an exec at one of our ‘ethnic orientated television stations’ actually told me I wasn’t ethnic enough for them, a sentiment re-iterated to me again earlier this year by the same station. I hadn’t conceded defeat though I told the young girl, cause well given my tanned olive skin I was hoping to score an audition for Home & Away. As the polite laughter died down another girl raised her hand ‘but wog olive skin isn’t the same as real olive skin is it?’  And then she motioned to the spray tanned glossed veneer of the presenter from Getaway ‘I mean that’s real olive skin nowadays isn’t it?’ And before I could object every girl in the room nodded in agreement.

It’s not the first time I’d been told the colour of my skin wasn’t what people considered ‘real olive’ nowadays. When I was in my 20’s I moved to the UK where lovers of the fake tan, muffin tops and chubby Page 4 blonde lived in harmony together. Given I didn’t have a muffin top or a desire to get my ‘knockers’ out for a lads mag I thought I was safe from this orange goo seeping into my life, but my Gordie housemates had something else in mind. Every Saturday morning after a night on ‘the pull’ my housemates would waft into the kitchen smelling of skin varnish and draped in sarongs to stave off streaking. A bottle of turps was always kept within grabbing distance in case of any furniture smudging. For the most part they left me alone, after all I didn’t even dye my hair, some people were such as myself were clearly beyond help, well that was until one day when I was ambushed while watching a re-run of Big Brother Up Late, my only witness Russel Brand talking to me from the TV as my arms were held down and  I was slathered in fake-tan because and I quote ‘we just really wanted to see if it would work on your skin’.

Of course amongst all those that don’t think my skin can actually be called olive and tanned these days because it doesn’t come with instructions to prevent streaking there are some purists like Tom, a guy I’d worked with at a music festival a couple of years back. We ran into each other again at a friend’s BBQ in the chilly winter Melbourne months when he saddled up next me and asked if I’d like a sip of his white wine and yes it was a euphemism. When I told him I was allergic to semen the conversation moved on…

‘You should keep that tan Lou, it suits you, how’d you get it?’ He hovered close enough so that I knew his body was covered in a combination of Lynx and skin.

‘It’s natural, I have olive skin.’ I replied navigating the hummus that only seemed attainable if my hand were to brush his against his person. I decided against using any dip with my bread.

‘You know Lou I’ve never touched olive skin before.’

The air vomited around us both…

‘It’s the same as any other skin.’

‘I doubt it Lou, here touch mine.’

He held out his arm…

‘Or if you’d prefer’ he began to mime unzipping his trousers as I turned away and silently began to cry – I really wanted that hummus, this bread was nothing without it.

‘Can I touch your skin?’ he asked.

‘No.’

‘If I bought you a drink maybe you’d let me touch it then?’

‘ Can we please stop talking about touching skin?’ I watched as the last of the hummus was devoured by someone who didn’t have to push past Tom’s penis to get it.

‘You’re a feisty girl aren’t you Lou…I like feisty girls, feisty Spanish girls, maybe you and I can get together one night and make paella together.’

‘I’d prefer it if you just fucked off.’ To be honest he was bearing the brunt of my frustration over my lack of hummus.

‘Ok Lou, no need to be a cunt about it. It’s all good. Anyway, if I’m honest I prefer dark skinned blonde girls; at least they care enough to pay for their tan.’

A few weeks after that encounter I was on a tram when a young woman approached me interested in where I went to get my skin done. I didn’t bother even explaining it was my natural tan, all I said was ‘make sure you ask your spray tanner for the colour that existed before orange became the new olive.’

THE END.

 

 

Continue Reading

The somewhat mediocre life of a Southpaw…

Last week I was off finishing up a contract when I noticed one of the girls in the office staring at me, the type of stare normally reserved for the blacks drinking from whites only water fountains in Mississippi during the 1960’s, gays attending an evangelical church conference, or a severe burns victim.

‘Is everything ok?’ I asked, putting my pen down.

‘You’re left handed’ she pointed out, almost accusingly. Obviously she’d never seen a ‘Southpaw’ up close before, perhaps her only exposure being a leftie idiot savant who ‘liked sling blades’ but accidentally beat children to death with rocks. I could see it in her eyes, the sort of eyes that said ‘being left is a choice so don’t flaunt it round these parts.’

‘And you’re ok with it?’ she continued.

‘Ok with what?’

‘You know, being all left?’

‘It’s not really something I can do anything about, I was born this way.’

‘My grandma says it’s a choice.’

‘You’re grandma isn’t the most educated of people is she?’

‘Well at least she ain’t a leftie.’

…this was not a time for ‘touches’….

I picked up my pen, partly in an act of defiance, partly because there was work to be done ‘You can get it fixed right? – like there’s lots of mutations they can fix these days’.

“It’s not a mutation’

‘I’m just surprised with all the advancements in technology you haven’t done anything bout it.’

‘It’s not something you can fix’.

‘Oh, that’s a shame – I’m sure if you wanted to change you could, but I guess you minorities like your soap boxes. Personally couldn’t think of anything worse.’

‘Really? You couldn’t think of anything worse then being left handed?’

She spat out what was left of her chewing tobacco and sized me up one last time.

‘I had to hit a ball with my left hand once, looked like a spastic – now if you ask me that ain’t no way to live.’

And with that she went back to work, or posting anti abortion rhetoric on the web, I didn’t want to speculate.

This wasn’t the first time I’d faced the ‘idiot brigade’ (a group of like minded people generally set up to pontificate about subjects they know little to nothing about).

At a pub once playing pool a small man, who after inadvertently trying to touch my vagina 2-3 times while trying to reach his beer, noticed rather suddenly as I was about to take my shot that I was in face left handed – he called it out from the other side of the room ‘well fuck me till Tuesday she’s a leftie…shit hand jobs but gotta give em an A for effort’.

So now we were bad at manual labour, which further compounded what the lady at the supermarket check out once said to me as a signed for my purchase.

‘you think you guys be extinct by now, what with survival of the fittest and all, I mean statistically you’re more likely to be schizophrenic, more prone to alcoholism, dyslexia, Chron’s disease and mental disabilities…like you hear all them people going on about how getting rid of a kid when they have the downy gene, if it were me and my kid was a leftie, I’d have to say I ‘d give it some thought – I mean most of you can’t even cut paper.’

Ok –she was right there, most of us (lefties) remember primary school and being allocated the special green Crayola scissors sans blades! And it didn’t matter how many times you tried to tell the teacher that you didn’t have a learning disability you were never allowed on the swing like the other kids and, were supervised unlike the right handed kids in class whenever you required a toilet trip, or any other trip that involved being responsible for locking your own door.

Registering at a doctor’s surgery one day, my boyfriend noted that I had failed to put anything in the ‘suffer from any other condition we should know about’ section.

‘You should let them know you’re a left handed.’

‘Why?’

‘Cause what if they give you the wrong medication?’

‘Maybe you should put down you’re Jewish’.

‘That’s being stupid, it’s not an illness – it’s something you’re born with.’

‘But what if they give you medication for Christians?’

‘What a stupid thing to say Lou, for a smart girl you can be so ignorant sometimes, I mean you try being part of a minority.’

I was banned from writing on the board at school because I was a ‘smudger’, a devout Catholic wouldn’t sit next to me once because I was powered by the hand of the devil; this was a girl mind you who masturbated next to me 8 months later in church, but to her credit she used she used her right hand – the hand that Jesus would’ve used.

My mum even took me to a left-handed support group once (where you could buy the T-Shirt; ‘Once you’ve turned left you won’t want the rest’), where an expert on the affliction came along to talk to us (he was right handed). He told us that in his experience that being left handed was just one of life’s anomalies – sure we all had a predisposition to violent primitive crimes, but we also be geniuses in the making, basically that we made up the extremely gifted – we all smiled – but he continued – ‘but a majority will find that you make up the extremely compromised’, and we should be encouraged to get involved in wrestling and boxing – any sort of primitive sport that doesn’t involve thought or reason – we were after all left handed and according to Darwin’s theory of evolution should’ve been killed off years ago – and then he asked if there were any more chocolate biscuits left to go with his tea.

The mutants in the room all grunted, some even banged their chests…but chose not to attack…our time would come.

Continue Reading