I Know

Tiny Interesting Choices

“That’s what I love about life, you never know how the day's going to end." - Sandi Sieger

I was just chatting to my friend and I uttered my famous line, the one I rip out about every fourth day:

‘That’s what I love about life, you never know how the day’s going to end.’

Even though I’ve said that line about 84,932 times, I really mean it.

When I wrote this blog the other week, one of the things I listed liking was tiny interesting choices.

Tiny interesting choices.

They’re my favourite.

A lot of people think it’s the milestones that matter in life – and they do – but so do the tiny interesting choices.

Graduating is exciting, but you know what else is? Being on a city street on a Tuesday night and making the choice between turning left or right.

I’m not being sarcastic.

The big things in life – weddings and babies and houses and holidays and birthdays ending in 0 – they’re all very special. They’re magical and memorable and I love the way they pepper life with joy and love and adventure.

But you don’t do them every day.

Living from milestone to milestone is not for me. It’s not enough. It’s not living.

Living is making tiny interesting choices.

Left or right. Up or down. Yes or no. Jump or freeze. Charge or stall.

All the little things; the choice between smiling at a stranger, or not. Meeting a friend at the corner café for a chai latte at 9pm on a rainy night, or watching TV. Walking through an unmarked door, or walking past it. Replying to an email, or sending it to the trash.

They’re the things that make the difference. They make all the difference.

They might not make it to the photo album – or they may.

The best thing about tiny interesting choices is you don’t know where they’ll wind up. Maybe the stranger walks right past you or maybe they become someone. Maybe you just chat with your friend or maybe you have the longest, hardest laugh you’ve had all year. Maybe the door leads to a dead end or maybe you discover something wonderfully new.

You don’t know.

I don’t know.

And that’s where the magic is.

In the tiny interesting choices; the underrated, unknown, seemingly unremarkable.

In the conversations and the promises and the aspirations. In the mistakes and the frustrations and the chaos. In the glances and the giggles and the noise.

Ahead of you are goals and plans and milestones.

And right now you’ve only got tiny interesting choices.

Don’t write them off.

There are so many adventures you will miss in the pursuit of a milestone.

Don’t.

Don’t be comfortable.

Don’t be hesitant.

Make tiny interesting choices.

You never know how the day’s going to end.

It’s what I love about life.

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I Am

Over (It) And Out

I’m done.

I’m throwing my hands up in the air and calling it a week.

It’s been a day, I’ll tell ya. And this all but tipped me over the edge:

Screen Shot - Sandi Sieger

I opened this email and without a word of a lie it took all my strength to not throw my laptop across the café, over the heads of some unsuspecting people eating lunch, and launch it straight into the feature brick wall.

You may think I’m overreacting. And, yes, perhaps today my ranty pants are pulled up a little higher than usual. And, yes, I’m about to unload a tirade of first-world problems, but I DON’T GIVE A PHUCK.

I’m over it.

I don’t care how nice someone’s manners are – I’m over people I don’t know emailing me out of nowhere asking for shit, like it’s expected I’ll trip over my own feet racing to the keyboard to make their job substantially easier.

You know what else I’m over?

Everyone talking about this cold snap that’s hitting us this weekend as though IT’S THE END OF THE FUCKING EARTH.

Guys, WE CAN HANDLE TEN DEGREES. Sure, it’ll be fresh, but it’s nothing an extra layer or two can’t solve.

While I’m at it, can we all stop talking about winter, in general? I don’t know about where you grew up, but where I did, every year, for about three or so months, give or take, it gets cold. There’s nothing particularly earth-shattering about it. A usual year goes something like this:

TOO FUCKING HOT.

STILL TOO FUCKING HOT.

AH, LOVELY.

WHAT A DAY.

NICE.

MILD.

LOTS OF LEAVES EVERYWHERE.

CRISP MORNINGS, SMASHING DAYS, COOL NIGHTS.

COLD.

COLD.

COLDER.

EVEN COLDER.

MILD.

NICE.

WHAT A DAY.

AH, LOVELY.

WARM.

HOT.

HOT.

HOTTER.

EVEN HOTTER.

Feel free to copy and paste that shit somewhere so you can refer to it in future. Print it out and stick it on your fridge, or pin board, if you’re so inclined. Give or take some slight variations, that’s about the extent of it.

Now that’s sorted, how about this?

I went into three shoe stores today, looking for a new pair of leather ankle boots.

Tell me this: when I say, “Hi, can I please try these in a size 10?” what does that mean to you?

Does it mean come out with multiple pairs of size 9 shoes?

NO.

Does it mean bring out a pair of knee-high boots in an 8?

NO.

Does it mean try and up-sell me some god-awful zebra print hogwash?

NO.

Ok, moving on.

Have you ever tried to have a (semi-important) conversation with someone who is juggling about forty-seven things on the other end of the line?

I absolutely love trying to lock shit down when the person I’m speaking to is ordering lunch, grocery shopping, spinning plates and training a monkey whilst on speaker phone.

Yo, people with phones, this might seem completely absurd, but IF YOU’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF SOMETHING, it’s perfectly ok, entirely reasonable, hell even somewhat expected to NOT ANSWER YOUR PHONE.

Just let it ring. Let it ring right out to the very end of R.Kelly’s Ignition and go to voicemail. Call them back when you CAN TALK.

It’s not that I don’t love being told ‘hold on’, ‘just a minute’, ‘one sec’, ‘hold two’, ‘hang on’ every third syllable it’s more that I FUCKING HATE IT.

You know what else?

Last night I went to see a play with one of my good friends. To the left of me sat this mountain of a man who TOOK HIS LEFT BOOT OFF FOUR TIMES during the play. We were in the front row. Insanely talented people were acting their hearts out. And this guy kept leaning forward, leaning back, leaning forward, leaning back, left shoe on, left shoe off, left shoe on, left shoe off. To the right of my friend was a woman, and it’s fair to say she had a lot going on, the least of which was coughing up a phlegm ball in middle of the production. Just casually chugging back some meds, clearing her throat and half of dinner. All of this after we had to edge our way into the theatre through a cluster of people STANDING IN THE DOORWAY.

Yeah, that’s right, STANDING IN THE DOORWAY.

No worries, guys. That’s cool. Just grab your tickets and BLOCK THE WHOLE FUCKING ENTRANCE. It’s not like there’s a heap of people behind you trying to make their way in. Maybe while you’re holding everyone up you can talk loudly about shit no one cares about, just for kicks.

Speaking of kicks, I bought (another) sweet pair last night. There is absolutely nothing infuriating about them. And when I look at them I think of people that say ‘money can’t buy happiness’ and I laugh. For the most part, money doesn’t buy a single iota of happiness, but there’s the small part where it does. Like when I’m caressing, I mean using, my 27 inch iMac, I know what real love is.

It’s about 27 inches wide and it’s amazing.

But I digress.

My left eye started twitching earlier. I’m not sure if it’s from the emails or the people talking incessantly about the weather or the sales assistants or the phone-calls or the people at the theatre, but I tell ya what, here’s a diagram I think you’ll find handy. Feel free to save it or print it out. You can stick it next to my yearly weather chart on your fridge or pin board. It’s a really solid and entirely accurate pyramid of what to expect in life. A gentle reminder.

Spend as much of your time as possible in and with people in the top triangle. You will have to, on occasion, whether you like it or not, veer out of it from time to time, and when you do, please call me (but not on speaker phone while you are juggling forty-seven things) so we can find a mutual place to twitch together and possibly throw some shit.

Over (it) and out.

Smart People, Stupid Fucks

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I Am, I Do

I Like…

I Like...

I like being around people who make me hungry for life.

I like doing things without knowing how they’ll turn out.

I like tiny interesting choices, because I know they make all the difference.

I like dinner for breakfast.

I like talking to strangers.

I like celebrating every little victory, because I know that’s what makes a win.

I like dancing.

I like it when my blood races.

I like it when people randomly remember completely insignificant things about my life, because I can then put them in the ‘keeper’ file.

I like long dinners, with wine.

I like words, and how putting different ones next to each other creates a rhythm, without there being any need for music.

I like listening to people, and their stories, because it’s the best way I learn.

I like how once you’ve experienced something new, you can never go back.

I like honesty.

I like the seconds, between moments, where the unsaid lingers, because anything could happen.

I like optimism.

I like people who have the courage to be themselves, without any apologies or excuses.

I like being afraid, not all the time, but quite a bit of the time, because then I know I’m doing it right.

I like it when you want catch a wave, and there’s that brief moment where you can either get sucked under or ride it, and all you can taste is salt, and all you can hear is your heart pounding, ba ba bum, over and over in your ears, and then all of a sudden you soar, and it feels like you’re free, and everything slows down, and you look up to see the bright yellow sun, and it’s kind of blinding.

I really like that.

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I Am, I Know

I Just Don’t Know How To Be Any Different

In The Thick Of It Blog Comment

Cheryl left this comment on my last blog, asking how I go about self-care when it comes to wearing my, let’s call it, ‘cape of no fear’.

I’m not really sure how to answer or where to even start.

I realise that’s incredibly unhelpful, so I’m going to try and break it down.

I’m a really positive person. And when I say really, I mean r – e – a – l – l – y. Like, there’s almost something wrong with me really.

I believe it’s one of my greatest assets, but also one of my biggest downfalls.

It’s where a lot of my strength comes from, but it also makes me blind as hell.

And it’s a double-edged sword.

When shit hits the fan, when things go wrong, when nothing feels right, when people screw me over, my ability to see the positive is ridiculous. My knack of finding a shining light in everything and – to a certain extent – everyone, is outrageous. But it’s all I know. Why I am like that – why I think like that – is beyond me. I just don’t know how to be any different.

The problem with that is sometimes I’m a little out of reality. I don’t think ahead too much, and I don’t plan enough, and I get kicked in the guts more often than I’d like because…because…because in my head, it’s different.

I’m not stupid.

I’m not out of touch.

I’m not in la la land.

I’m quite reasonable.

I’m pretty intuitive.

It’s just that I always always come out the other end of every hiccup, every challenge… happy.

I told you. There’s almost something wrong with me.

I still go through the motions.

I feel it.

I feel everything.

Some days I just want to pack it all in. Other days you can’t tear me away from my computer. Some days I want to move to a tropical island and live off coconuts. Other days I have five coffees and six meetings and I swear sparks fly out of my shoes when I’m sashaying down the street. Some days I wake up and wish I could go back to sleep for 72 hours. Other days I’m up at 5am buzzing. Some days it takes the best part of twenty hours for me to tick two things off my to-do list. Other days my to-do list literally cannot keep up with me. Some days things hurt. Other days things don’t.

Sometimes I can feel myself starting to harden. When I’ve been burnt or disappointed. And then I remember that while it’s hard feeling so much, it’s better than feeling nothing at all. And while on the inside everything feels like it’s crumbling, it’s really not. And when all I want to do is curl up on the couch and get lost in something, it’s better to get dressed and show up.

For me, anyway.

I realised, actually, I decided, years ago, that I didn’t want to be the kind of person that let the bad things in life determine the kind of person they would be.

People often confuse my positivity with an assumption that the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced is a broken fingernail. It’s so ignorant of them. I don’t subscribe to the idea that if you’ve had a tough life – challenges, hurdles, obstacles – you need to be bitter about it.

What I know is that what’s happened has happened, and, for me, that means one of two things: let all the bad, all the hard, all the really messed up stuff hold me back or let it set me free. Let it bring me down or let it make me soar. Let it make me despondent or let it make me grow.

I always choose the second option.

I don’t know why.

I just don’t know how to be any different.

So, Cheryl, for you, or anyone else out there that feels the highest of highs, but also the lowest of lows, know this:

It has to be that way. As long as you have some of both, and some days that fall smack bang in the middle, you’re doing it right.

I need to feel low-spirited at times, because it makes the times when I’m towering over everything feel so much better. I need to feel angry and enraged and saddened at times, because it makes me feel. It makes me a better person. A better writer. And it makes the times I’m elated so much more valuable.

Some days you’ll want to Netflix your life away. You should. Some days you’ll want to be alone. So be alone. Some days you’ll just want to stare out a window for a while. So do exactly that.

We’ve got to stop permeating the idea that every day needs to be perfect and well-balanced.

It’s rubbish.

The truth is some days are good and some days are bad. Some days are easy and some days are hard. Some days make you and some days destroy you.

They’re just days. It’s just life.

And all I know is the difference between the people that are happy and the people that aren’t is the way they choose to be.

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I Am

You’re One Of Two People In This World, I’m Sure Of It

I’ve never understood people that live for the weekend.

Who doesn’t love a Wednesday?

Who can’t make the most of a Thursday?

Who lives for two days out of seven?

I’ve never understood people that are afraid to say what they’re thinking.

Who can keep it in?

Who can stew on letters and words?

Who can resist and refrain?

I’ve never understood people that worry about things that haven’t happened.

Who can be troubled by a hypothetical?

Who can limit their lives by fearing something that may not even occur?

Who can?

There’s so much I don’t understand.

I’m scared and you’re scared and we’re all scared.

They’re over there whining and worrying and the only difference between them and us is that we pull on our boots and step out onto the frost covered streets and give a damn.

Give a damn about life.

Give a damn that it’s Wednesday. Because Wednesdays are for living.

We make the choice between sitting back and marching on, and we choose to march on.

To discover new places; bars on corners and barns in fields, and meet new people – the kind that challenge and captivate – and we make it up as we go along, without any idea of how it’ll turn out. And it’s good. It’s brilliant and stirring and I think it’s what it means to be alive and they don’t know.

They don’t know what they’re missing out on.

That feeling; when nervous energy and apprehension and excitement combine in the pit of your stomach.

You’re one of two people in this world, I’m sure of it.

You either run from that feeling or you live for it.

You push it away or you embrace it.

You hide from it or wear it like a cloak.

Sometimes it’s heavy,

itchy,

sometimes it’s even too big,

but it’s a cloak I always want,

pinned on my shoulders,

engulfing and enveloping me.

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I Am, I Do, I Know

31 Things I Know, Now That I’m 31

1. When I was 16, I felt like I knew everything. Now that I’m 31, I know that I definitely don’t.

2. Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.’ As I get older, I see more and more people dying. Their bodies just haven’t realised it yet.

3. There’s nothing wrong with routine, or habit, but every now and again shake it up; take a different route, start the other way around, order a different drink. Just because.

4. Where possible, do things because you want to, not have to.

5. People change. It’s unreasonable to expect someone to be the same person for an entire lifetime.

6. Don’t make excuses.

7. A well-stocked freezer never disappoints. There will be nights when you’re cold and weary. Nights when your legs feel like lead. Nights when even thinking is too tiresome. These are the nights you defrost.

8. Different people will stir different things inside of you. That’s why your circle should be wide and varied.

9. We are guests of this world, this planet, and we don’t own shit; let’s all act accordingly.

10. People do the best that they can with what they have and what they know. But people can always do better.

11. Anything is possible. I mean Cadbury just put Vegemite in chocolate, so really.

12. Use everything; your best earrings, your favourite shoes, the expensive hand cream, the fancy gifts. Use ‘em all until they fray and run out and break.

13. Figure out what you’re not prepared to compromise on, ever, and don’t.

14. There’s very little black and white and a whole heap of grey.

15. If you have to choose between settling and running, run.

16. When a day ends and you’ve been scared and challenged and nervous, understand that’s not a bad day. That’s the very best type of day.

17. Live like you mean it.

18. When it all seems too hard, too big, too messy, wait until the sun sets and the sky goes midnight blue and the stars start twinkling. Then look up.

19. Love yourself first.

20. Someone recently shared some advice with me they’d once received, advice they live by: ‘just say yes’. So just say yes. To the things you want to do, to the things you don’t know how to do, to the things that scare you.

21. Throw yourself out of your comfort zone. Often.

22. Eat your greens.

23. You’ve just gotta listen to music every day.

24. There is enough of everything for everybody.

25. People will tell you to ‘be yourself’ but in order to do so, you’ve got to get really comfortable with who you genuinely are.

26. Don’t do anything you don’t want to do.

27. One day you’re 20 and then you blink and you’re 30. Some days might be long but the years are short so if you can do something with them – something meaningful and good – then you should. Don’t let a decade pass only to wonder what could have been.

28. You will likely leave this world in a similar way to how you entered it; naked, screaming and gasping for air. I don’t know why people make the part in between those two events so difficult and pointless, but if you can help it, try not to be one of them.

29. Everyone is on this quest to find the blank white space where everything is neat and perfect and sorted and solid. And that’s great. But if you can get lost in the sticky for a while – that gooey, uncomfortable place that everyone’s running from – then you should. Get wildly lost.

30. Things are only ever as complicated as you make them.

31. To feel is to live. If you don’t feel it, you’re not living.

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I Read

Swing, Man.

I stumbled upon this letter the other day:

Frank Sinatra's Letter to George Michael, 1990, Calendar Magazine

It’s written by Frank Sinatra, in the September of 1990, to George Michael, following an interview Michael did with the LA Times’ Calendar Magazine. Talking on “the tragedy of fame”, Michael declared that he would shun the limelight before and during the upcoming release of his album ‘Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1’ – meaning there’d be very few interviews, absolutely no promo videos and no tour.

Frank Sinatra's Letter to George Michael, 1990, Calendar Magazine

The week following Michael’s interview, Sinatra’s letter was published in Calendar Magazine.

And I bloody love it.

Particularly this paragraph:

Talent must not be wasted … those who have talent must hug it, embrace it, nurture it and share it lest it be taken away from you as fast as it was loaned to you.

But really the whole darn thing. Every word of it.

There’s so many truths in it. So many absolute gems. I’ve read it over and over and, to me, it’s not just a polite dust up of George Michael’s attitude. It’s a kick in the face to those coasting along. Those being ungracious. Those who aren’t hungry anymore.

I think most people could take a little something from it. Like:

Feed your talent.

Take life a little less seriously.

Don’t forget where you came from.

Be grateful for where you are. And what you have.

And:

You are stuck in a whirlwind of lament. But you have nothing to really complain about.

So have fun.

Go easy.

See where the ride takes you.

Swing, man.

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I Am, I Know

Yesterday, I Was Called A Bully And A Bitch For Having An Opinion

On Thursday night, I shared a Facebook status from MND Australia, celebrating the fact they’ve had $500,000 donated in the past two weeks from the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Sandi Sieger - Facebook Status

A Facebook “friend” made a point that the money they’ve raised is taking away from other charities and we delved into a discussion about it. Well, I think we tried to delve into a discussion about it, but when I began questioning the person – and sticking to my guns and not backing down from something I believe to be true – they didn’t like it. Not one bit.

The discussion very quickly moved away from the challenge and fast became all about me being a very insensitive and mean person for being so offensive. I did, after all, call people who are negative ‘miserable sods’.

Which they are. Well, at least from where I’m standing.

The thing most people that know me understand about me is this: I will never enter a debate, or be so incredibly headstrong during one, if a single fibre of my being is unsure about my exact opinion or the facts. And, during debate, I’m always open to other opinions and points and arguments – otherwise, you’re really just talking to yourself, aren’t you?

But here’s what people that know me also understand about me: I won’t tolerate bullshit. And name-calling. And finger pointing. And cowardice.

The discussion went down hill quickly because the questions I asked failed to get answered. Because they couldn’t be answered. Because hypocrisy was rife. And I called it out.

So I got called a bully.

And instead of bowing out (I gave an opportunity to ‘agree to disagree’), the person kept at it. And when I told them, if they continued, I’d give them something to be really offended about, they kept at it. So I told them to go and find something more productive to do with their day, instead of hassling me.

So I got called a bitch.

To be clear: being called a bully and bitch doesn’t bother me. I know I am neither.

What bothers me is that someone – this man – made our entire conversation redundant because he chose to be offensive (something he was admonishing me for, funnily enough) and, instead of answering the question, or raising a single point at all, threw his hands in the air and yelled ‘bully’ and ‘bitch’.

We all know it doesn’t work like that.

If you choose to enter a debate, be bloody prepared to battle it out, like an adult, leaving insults aside, and if you can’t handle it, don’t step up to the podium.

Or, as the old saying goes, don’t dish it out if you can’t take it.

I’m assuming I was called a bully and a bitch because I dared to question him. Because I didn’t back down from my opinion. Because I didn’t give in. And because I wouldn’t just darn well come out and say that yes, I was offensive and yes, you are right and I shouldn’t call people who are being negative ‘haters’ or ‘miserable sods’.

The real issue is I called him out. Period. I dared to hit him with a little bit of honesty, without sugar-coating my words, and he didn’t like it.

That’s not really my problem.

I don’t expect everyone to always agree with me. Far from it. I’ve had my opinion swayed far more times than I’d like to admit because I sat back and listened to someone else’s view.

I believe healthy and lively discussion is the only way people, and countries, really progress.

But there’s a big, big problem in Australia at the moment; the second anyone shares an opinion (whether it be your version of right or wrong, or completely outrageous) they’re shut down and ridiculed. If they’re well known, the media turns their opinion into a circus, if they’re not well known, they’re defriended on Facebook and blacklisted.

All for having an opinion.

Let’s get one thing clear: healthy, lively debate, where both sides are prepared to listen, but also belt it out, is vital. It’s vital to life, and relationships, and growth, and hope.

But when adults allow themselves to be disgracefully over-sensitive, when they allow ignorance to rule their mouths, and shut down their ears, we are left with a really big problem.

Stagnancy.

We become boring and dull and downright sluggish.

And whilst I’m not suggesting that everybody starts throwing opinions around every five minutes, I am saying we need to shake off this culture of shush and start learning how to listen and engage without being so offended.

I have absolutely no problem with the person that called me a bully and a bitch. I’d sit opposite them at dinner tonight and chat away happily. But I doubt they could say the same applies for them.

When did people become so petty? When did we, as a culture, become so offended, by everything, that it blinded us from what really matters?

I always believe that out of a negative comes a positive. And yesterday, when I was scratching my head and wondering how little this person must really think of me, the positive started to appear.

My phone started ringing. I started getting text messages. And private messages. It was from friends saying: ‘Well done.’ ‘Good on you.’ ‘Need me to put my fist in anyone’s face for you?’ And they kept coming from people I haven’t seen in far too long: ‘I love it when you speak and write.’ ‘Go for the jugular!’ ‘I’ve just read through the comments on your profile and this bloke is a bit out of line, I just wanted to offer my support to you.’ And then they started coming from people I don’t even really know at all: ‘I totally agree with you!’ ‘You’re bloody goooooooooooood.’

And, that, right there, made me realise that out of all the good things in my life, and out of all the good things I have done, this was the very best of them: surrounding myself, and building for myself, a network of positive people. Passionate, intelligent, rational, spirited people.

They are the very antithesis of stagnant.

And the reason I’m writing all of this is because I want you to know that you should never shy away from your opinion. By doing so, you shy away from yourself.

I want you to know that you should always stand up for yourself and sticky by, and to, the things you believe in.

Most of all, I really want you to stop pussy-footing around. Around people. Around issues. Around ideas. Around yourself.

Be proud of who you are.

I sure as hell am.

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I See

That Sky…

That’s the thing about Far North Queensland.

The sky.

That big, beautiful, magical expanse of sky.

Far North Queensland Sky

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I Know

Not All Mothers Are Created Equal

Not long after I had my baby boy last year, a friend added me to a Mum’s group on Facebook – the kind of closed group where people ask questions and share advice about parenting.

Tonight, I left the group. I can no longer deal with the completely ignorant, trivial, outrageously stupid comments. It’s infuriating. And I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the intention of the group.

I’m honestly surprised I remained a part of it for so long. Sure, there have been a few helpful posts from time to time, but not often enough to justify seeing absolute dribble pop up in my timeline more often than desired.

Perhaps something went wrong when I had my baby. I didn’t change as a person. I didn’t grind my life to a halt and spend every moment obsessing about my child. I didn’t become paranoid about germs and noise pollution.

I am still the same person.

In fact, I might even be a bit better. A tad wiser. And even less interested in being diplomatic.

Because, after having a child, here’s one thing I know more than anything else: having a child does not make you intelligent or productive or logical or accomplished or attractive. If you didn’t have it before you were a parent, you aren’t going to have it after becoming one.

And contrary to what the world will have you believe, we are not all born equal. I am not the same as you or him or her and certainly not them. We are the product of our environment, our genes, our choices, our experiences, our opinions, our attitude and so much more. Some people are better than others. That’s not even up for debate. It’s the bloody truth. And if you disagree, if you’re offended, you should probably stop reading now.

This is only going to get worse.

Tonight’s post, the one that raised my blood pressure and quickly prompted me to hit ‘leave group’, was from a mum expressing concern that the childcare centre she was considering enrolling her son in had a male carer and that was a major turn off to her. Because, you know, male carers in childcare centres must automatically be child molesters.

I was actually a little disgusted by her view. I read through the comments on the post and some people thought she was being overly paranoid and others agreed with her. And then I thought; I wonder what people would have said if she expressed concern about an Asian carer at the childcare centre? Or an Indian one? Or a homosexual carer?

And then I thought; what kind of men does this woman have in her life? Because all of the men in mine are wonderful and decent and exceptional, and dare I say it, sometimes much better people than their female counterparts.

And then I thought; how did we get to a point where it’s ok to validly and publicly assume that the actions of a few horrible men can define an entire gender and generation?

And then I thought; I bet she watches A Current Affair every night. That or Today Tonight. Because if you’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer or you’re more ignorant than informed, it’s the exact type of deluded paranoia that these pathetic programs rely on to keep their ratings afloat.

And now, typing away furiously, I think; why just men? Women can be violent and abusive. What about that?

So that was it for me.

That and the fact I’m not actually interested in half the shit these mothers talk about. Parenting isn’t actually that complicated. Your child is not a robot designed to mimic your life and embody your hopes and dreams. Your job as a parent is to equip your child for the world, to the best of your abilities – to encourage them, to help them grow – physically, emotionally, mentally – to guide them, to give them the tools to be the best person they can possibly be, and hopefully use that in a way that helps others.

No one talks about that in this group. The focus is on more important things, like, you know, how to get your child to sleep in later, so you can sleep in later, and how to buy a house in the right zone so you can get the best education for your child without having to pay for it, and where to stay in Bali, and ‘oh, where was that café again, the one where I can sip my decaf-skim-latte-and-let-my-kids-run-wild?’, and how to give solids to your child, and why weet-bix are evil, and ‘where can I buy a realistic looking doll that doesn’t look too doll-like but is still a doll?’

There’s a lot of that going on.

It’s all funny memes and quotes about motherhood that are supposed to make an ordinary woman who has never done anything significant with her life feel better about her decision to bear children and cries of ‘I’m boooooooored, what can I do today?’

Bored? Bored? I haven’t been bored a day in my life.

And now, thankfully, I won’t get infuriated half as often either.

The mums I know – the ones I’ve made friends with and met along the way – are all amazing women. So I console myself with the hope that the ones that grate me so much are far and few between. Because I don’t want my son growing up in a world where he thinks that being a male child care worker, or a male anything, is weird or uncomfortable or unmanly.

I don’t want him to believe that what he sees on television and in advertising is a true depiction of what it means to be a man. Newsflash; not every man loves his shed and only knows how to navigate a remote control and enjoys beer and is stupid/embarrassing to his family.

For all our efforts in telling girls they can be anything they want (and they can), and for all the trail-blazing in helping them get there, we have somehow left behind a few huge gaping holes for our boys.

The holes are everywhere. On our TV screens and in our iPhones and in our schools and coming out of the mouths of women.

Enough.

To the woman concerned about her son being in a centre with a male childcare worker, I only want to know your answer to this:

If you think so poorly of men, how can you ever hope to raise a good man?

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I Am

30

Tyler Knott Gregson - Wrinkles

Tomorrow, I turn 30.

It’s exciting.

People keep asking me how I feel about it.

I don’t quite know what to say.

Apart from the fact I am excited.

There’s more hype when the clock ticks over and you enter a new decade. It’s more of a big deal. Even though it’s very likely that you feel the exact same as you did the decade earlier.

And I do feel the same. Truth be told, I still feel 17.

Well, maybe 17 is a stretch. When I was 17 I was starting University. I don’t feel the same as I do then. I probably feel more like 22.

22. That was a good year.

Actually, all of my years have been good years.

I keep thinking that maybe 30 should be a bigger deal for me. That there should be some clearing out and reinventing and some serious life changes.

But I’ve kind of done all that, to a degree. I like to clear out and reinvent regularly, so as to avoid big life overhauls. I try to work towards being a better version of myself everyday. Not just on grand occasions.

It’s kind of nice to enter a new decade feeling relatively sorted. Without stress or anxiety. Quietly content.

I’ve made a life for myself – one filled with love, good people, a job made up of work that never feels like it, tear-inducing laughter more than is probably necessary and a sense of purpose – a life that I wake up every day chomping at the bit to get stuck into. None of that needs reinventing. I don’t want to clear any of it out.

I will approach 30 with the same attitude I approach any birthday, new year or Monday; with a promise to grab life by the balls and live like I mean it.

Tomorrow I will wake up next to the man that I love. I’ll plant kisses all over my little boy, who is so incredibly perfect it sometimes hurts. I’ll have breakfast and a coffee and walk my dogs through the hills. I’ll venture into the city with O and soak in the Melbourne sunshine while we meander the streets, stopping to watch buskers or the trams. We’ll play at the park for a while. Maybe we’ll pop into the library. Or a Musica Viva concert. Maybe we’ll just be for a while. And there’ll be calls from the people I love and kisses from family and the opening of presents and the excitement of my birthday party mere days away and I will probably sit back at some point and think, ‘well, isn’t this lovely.’

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I Know

Scare The World

Scare The World

I believe two of the most important things in life are being yourself, wholly and fully, and being honest, with yourself, and everyone else.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve grappled with the idea of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ – doing the ‘right’ thing as opposed to what’s right for me. I’ve grappled with being the ‘bigger’ person, as opposed to being the best version of myself.

I made a promise to myself a few weeks ago. And then the other night I drifted from it, just a little bit. And when, the next morning, I realised I’d drifted, I felt sick. To my core.

So I swiftly went about fixing things. For me. Which was not particularly easy. But it was necessary. So necessary.

Because if you’re not who you say you are, then you’re no one. If you’re not the person you promise you will be when the time comes to be it, then you won’t ever be anything.

People spend half their lives ranting in their heads about all the things they’ll do and the words they’ll say, and then they stumble and quaver and choose the easy way out, the one that involves making no choices or avoiding the truth or shying away from the conflict or maybe all of those things combined. And they mask it all with phrases of ‘being the better person’ and ‘doing the right thing’ and ‘keeping the peace’ whilst the truth almost chokes them.

Here’s a few truths; if you sit on the fence, you’ll live your whole life with splinters up your arse. If you avoid conflict, chances are you’ll end up creating more of it. And if you avoid the truth, you are gutless.

It’s easy to say who you are but much harder to be it. But you should never waiver from who you are.

So make the tough calls. Take risks. Stick to your word. Swallow the lump in your throat. Be bloody bold. Make yourself proud.

Scare the world.

And every other mofo who dares to stop you from being honest and being you.

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I Know

It’s Worth Remembering…

It’s worth remembering that people, not all, but some, will take advantage of you when and if they can.

Being taken advantage of isn’t always the end of the world.

But it’s very, very annoying.

It’s worth remembering that people will often forget the things you have done for them; the very good things. The things you have sacrificed. The time you have spent helping them.

People forgetting the things you have done isn’t always the end of the world.

But it’s very, very annoying.

And it sometimes results in being taken advantage of.

It’s worth remembering not to have too much to do with dumb people.

Dumb people are dumb.

They are forgetful. They aren’t ‘with it’. They’re rarely up-to-speed.

When you have things to do with dumb people you spend a lot of time repeating yourself. Going over old ground. Going around in circles.

It isn’t always the end of the world.

But it’s very, very annoying.

It’s worth remembering that some people are selfish. Some people are obviously selfish and some are less so but selfish is selfish.

So because of that it’s worth remembering to look after yourself; your priorities and interests, first and foremost, before you sacrifice too much and put the dreams and ideas of others before your own.

Because in the end those people will look after themselves; they will take advantage and forget the things you have done because they are dumb and selfish.

And being too loyal, too kind, doesn’t win you any prizes.

Sometimes there’s no prize to be won.

Maybe there’s some acknowledgement or recognition. Maybe there’s a little thank you or some appreciation.

It’s worth remembering that you won’t always get that, even if you never expected it.

And so, it’s worth remembering that you can learn your lesson once, twice, even three times and then still find yourself back to where you once were, wondering how you forgot about people that take advantage and forget the things you have done, people that are selfish and dumb.

So try not to forget.

Do your very best to remember.

Put your energy and effort into the things you love, the things that build your dreams in the night and pump blood to your heart in the day.

Spend your time with the people you know are not selfish and dumb.

And then you will not be forgotten. Or taken advantage of.

But be grateful you once forgot, because it reminded you to stop and walk in a straight line, along some new ground.

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I Am, I Do, I Know

Why I Love Him

This morning I read this beautiful piece, written by Malcolm Turnbull, to his wife, Lucy.

And I loved every line. It’s about real love; the kind that is enduring and somewhat rare. It’s about honest love; love that has grown, with people that have grown.

My favourite lines are these:

Yet, truthfully, we have been so lucky in so many ways. To meet the love of your life at all, let alone at such a young age, is such a blessing.

Over the years, we have grown together. It is almost impossible to imagine, let alone remember, what it was like not to be together, so much so that I have a much clearer sense of “Lucy and me” than I do of “me”.

I think I love this piece so much because it reminds me of my great love.

I met my husband when I was 17. He was 19. We have grown and evolved and changed but we did it together, teetering a fine line between growing and thriving personally and staying together, on the same path, walking beside each other but never for each other.

We did it, truthfully, without great effort. Without trying too hard. Or being too conscious of it.

I know people, couples, that have been wonderful but they met and then grew and then grew apart.

I’m not sure why we didn’t grow apart. Life has pulled us in different directions, it has sometimes even chewed one of us up and spat us out, somewhere far away, but together we have stayed.

I also don’t remember what it’s like to not be with Kaz. Even though we both have separate interests, and do things together, but often apart, I know he is always there, somewhere, metaphorically hovering around.

Perhaps that’s where our strength has been; being together whilst also remaining ourselves, pursuing our own interests, whilst supporting and fiercely defending each other.

Perhaps it’s because, before anything else, he is my best friend. And that has never waivered.

Perhaps we are lucky, but I don’t particularly believe in luck. Perhaps we have worked hard at it, but I know that hasn’t been the case, at least not most of the time. Or perhaps it’s because it just works, without too much effort, and maybe that’s the most important part.

Kaz and Sandi Sieger

On our wedding day 

There are so many reasons as to why I love Kaz; because he is kind and caring. Because he is funny and witty. Because he is talented and modest. Because he is fair and clever.

But maybe, and maybe somewhat selfishly, I love him because of how he makes me feel and how he improves my life.

Because he makes me laugh, when I need it most. Because he finds humour, and beauty, in things I would sometimes ignore.

Because he pushes me to be better, when I think I am, or have done, enough.

Because he makes me happy.

Because when I was in labour with O, he was brave, when I needed to be brave, even though he was more frightened than me.

Because he teaches me things, all the time, probably without even knowing it.

Because he makes me more capable than I already am.

Because he is my greatest cheerleader.

Because he usually makes me see the other side of an argument, or issue, and even though I usually fight the point, or disagree, I am later thankful. Sometimes I even change my mind.

I don’t remember ever thinking, or believing, that we’d never end up together, forever. I never saw my life without him in it. I still don’t. It’s unimaginable.

I know what we have is special. Sometimes people tell us that, and it’s a nice reminder. Sometimes we recognise it ourselves. Sometimes, I see a film, or read a piece like I did this morning, and I think, ‘I have that. We have that.’

And it’s all kinds of wonderful.

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I Do

Travelling Made Easy Thanks To My Little Pocket Rocket Friend

First published in onyamagazine.com


Point Leo

I’m currently enjoying a gorgeous summer break on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. My days consist of morning beach walks in Balnarring and Somers, bike rides, meandering around markets, exploring Arthur’s Seat, Red Hill and Flinders, sipping iced coffees in cafes, swimming at Point Leo, catching up on my reading pile and spending time with family.

It’s bliss.

But here’s the thing; I don’t really ever have the luxury of switching off. Well, at least not completely. It’s more about picking and choosing my moments. In my line of work – digital and social media – things don’t ever really stop.

And while I enjoy my holidays immensely, I still need to be connected. Truth be told, I still like being connected.

And that’s where the Telstra Pre-Paid Wi-Fi 4G comes in handy. I need quick, fast internet that I can use on the run and most importantly, I need it to be reliable. No drop outs. No painfully slow speeds. And thankfully, this little 4G pocket rocket delivers.

I’ve been able to stay on top of a few projects that needed my attention while away, I’ve been able to FaceTime my mum from my iPhone so she doesn’t miss out on seeing my eight month old – all from the holiday house, local café or beach. Yes, the beach. I mean, which Grandma wouldn’t want to see this face having fun in the sand?

Sandi Sieger and O

FaceTiming Mum from Point Leo

I love that the Mobile Wi-Fi 4G hotspot is light, compact and functional. It’s 2014 and I don’t believe internet is a luxury, or that it’s even optional; it’s a necessity. A must have. For work and social purposes. I certainly can’t live without it. And thanks to my little pocket rocket friend, I don’t ever have to.

For more information on the Telstra Pre-Paid Wi-Fi 4G, click here

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