A COVID-19 Plea, For My Fellow Aussies…

Our world’s in a tailspin,

our reality has shattered,

if you’re anything like me,

you’re having a solid think about what matters.

You might be anxious, and scared,

maybe you’re angry, and in despair,

anyone else have trouble sleeping,

wondering what kind of world we’ve been keeping?

The handshake is gone, the high five too,

I don’t know where you sit, but this elbow tap business won’t do.

Our lives have been cancelled,

or at best postponed,

every festival has been called off,

and everyone’s working from home.

Whole industries are wiped,

so many jobs in hiatus,

while we sit inside,

wondering if anyone’s coming to save us.

The doctors, they’re pleading,

the mums, they’re screaming,

the curve isn’t flattening,

we aren’t doing what we’re needin’.

And the shelves are stripped bare,

no pasta, eggs, dunny paper or rice,

some people are even turning on each other

in the supermarket with knives.

This is not the country I grew up in,

not the one based on mateship,

or having a fair go,

and to be honest, I think it’s time for everyone to get a grip.

We know it’ll be over,

hopefully sooner rather than later,

and then we can get back to the things we love;

footy and gigs and seeing our mates over a pint at the pub.

Now isn’t the time for division,

for selfish behaviour,

it’s time to rally together,

and forget about the idea of a saviour.

Like time and time before,

it’ll be us that saves us,

the writers, the musos, the actors, the painters,

the comedians, the baristas, the teachers, the tradies,

the scientists, the nurses, the thinkers, the ladies,

the lovers, the dreamers, the poets, the babies.

We’ve got a fight ahead,

no matter how you see it,

for we are young and free,

except when we’re not, and now there’s a distance between you and me.

Now we’re social distancing,

and in self isolation,

two phrases I’ve never used before,

they’re the opposite of what it means to be an Australian.

Suddenly we find ourselves,

a little lost and a lot more alone,

thankfully it’s 2020,

and we’ve got these god forsaken phones.

And when it all passes,

I hope we make it through the other side a little kinder,

spreading much more love than hate,

I just wish we didn’t have to go through this as a reminder.

There’s some things we’ll all be doing,

you can count on it for sure,

like living like we mean it,

and not treating our time as an afterthought.

Right now, I miss a lot,

but I’m grateful for all I’ve got,

I just can’t wait to get back out there,

and be done with this nightmare.

Sure, it’s not the worst,

and staying in is the right thing to do,

but tell me it doesn’t kill you,

or that you haven’t felt a little blue?

Hold it close,

then remember what’s good,

all the things we’ve taken for granted,

all the places we wish we could.

It’s time to come together,

by keeping ourselves apart,

and while that’s hard to do,

if you haven’t already, please start.

Stay at home,

I beg you,

stay at home,

it’s not just the flu,

stop thinking of only yourself,

you’re not doing this for you.

Our most vulnerable need us,

and our old mates, too,

and if you don’t think they’re worth saving,

I want nothing to do with you.

When this is all over,

and we’re out on the streets,

and back at the bars and swamping the beach,

I want you to remember,

how tragic it felt,

to have life as we know it,

ripped from us at full pelt.

Do not forget,

those who have failed to lead us,

do not forgive,

those that refused to adjust.

I can’t wait for the day,

for this to be done,

so I can walk into the home I grew up in,

and hug my mum.

Stay at home,

I beg you,

stay at home,

it’s not just the flu,

stop thinking of only yourself,

you’re not doing this for you.

Be Well, Be Kind, Be Brave.

I think now is as pertinent a time as ever to say a few things I’ve got on my mind:

Kindness begins and ends with us. Individually and collectively. Ditto consideration. And respect. Use yours liberally, without reservation. 

Panic is not a plan. Panic is not a plan. Say it louder, for the people in the back. 

It can be easy to get caught in the unrelenting news cycle, but refreshing your feed every five minutes is not helpful or healthy. Be informed, heed warnings and advice, be proactive, be responsible, aim to help flatten the curve. But switch off the TV. Close the apps. Then take a walk. Soak in some gorgeous autumn sunshine. Breathe. 

We’ve had a rough few months in Australia — robbed of a summer because it was in flames, every breath choked by smoke. That anger you had over that? That sadness? Don’t direct it into fear. Repurpose it and put love and money and hope into the many small towns that still need you. And if you want to direct anger anywhere, send it via Climate Act Now and put pressure on your local MP and the government to act on climate change. 

You’re allowed to feel however you want to feel. If that’s scared, anxious, concerned, in limbo, completely unaffected…you do you. There’s a wave of emotions out there right now and we’ve got to ride them. Just remember that kindness begins and ends with us. 

Finally, and maybe most importantly: if you haven’t already been living like you mean it, every day, it’s time to start. In fact, you’re overdue. Time is finite, nothing is guaranteed. Don’t wait for the disaster, the diagnosis, the pandemic, the problem. Your world, our world, can change at any moment, so please, I implore you, live like you mean it. Enjoy every moment. Do what you love. Be grateful for what you have. You already have more than you need. Do what you can for others, do what you can for you. Drown in life. Wildly. Bathe in it. Soak it in. Plunge it in love. Drench it in laughter. Nothing else matters. 

Once we’re on the other side of this, I’m popping this gold number back on and shouting you all a well deserved chilli margarita. 

Until then, be well, be kind, be brave. 

I love you all x

Favourite Feelings…

Elwood Beach

I don’t have a favourite season, I have favourite feelings.

It’s driving windows down, hair moist from the ocean, grains of sand between the sole of my foot and the accelerator. It’s red wine with raindrops outside my window. It’s the blazed orange sky, right before the sunsets. It’s my hair, sticky and humid, being brushed aside, as the nape of my neck is kissed. It’s the dust that kicks up off a windy track to somewhere new, that gets caught in my throat and makes me cough. It’s the chilli that dances in my mouth, long after I’ve chewed through the last pork dumpling, and keeps the tip of my tongue warm. It is hands so cold they struggle to clap at the footy. It is leaves crunching underneath my shoes. It is walking to the train station without needing to carry a jacket. It’s the sound of crickets outside my window. When the concrete is so hot it burns your bare feet unless you run. When the wind off the water chaps your lips. When the cool change comes, and the curtains dance in the breeze. When you wrap your hand around someone else’s, and brush over some goosebumps. When you hear the neighbourhood, in your living room, and smell what number thirty-five is having for dinner. When the side of your foot slips out of your thong, onto the dewy morning grass. When your fingertips go wrinkly from swaddling a hot cup. When you gaze up into the dark blue and see something glimmering.

I don’t have a favourite season, I have favourite feelings.

My Problem With Faux-Aussie Pride Brouhaha

First published in Onya Magazine on January 25th, 2013.

I’ll be honest straight up; I’m not particularly fond of Dick Smith.

I appreciate his intense keen attitude when it comes to supporting Australian made products, and the way he encourages others to do so, but there’s something about his products, something about his marketing style that really gets up my goat.

I try and support Australian businesses where and when I can. I like shopping local; supporting the people that live in my street and run my local stores. But I also understand that sometimes, it’s not always possible to do so. I’m ok with that. I’m realistic. And I don’t really go around making bad puns trying to talk people into changing the way they shop.

As someone who really tries very hard to buy Australian made and owned products, I can declare that I’ve never bought a Dick Smith product and I never will. Because I think the man’s a dick.

And I have a real problem with the faux-Aussie pride brouhaha that some companies and businesses feel the need to push onto consumers. We don’t want it and it’s not working.

I don’t want my peanut butter to be emblazoned with the Australian flag. Or the name of my morning spread to be some awful play on words. I don’t want a company to market at me using outdated, colloquial, racist jargon. And I’ll go out of my way to completely avoid and never support such companies that do.

Do we really have to shove the fact that products and items are Australian made in consumer’s faces? I’m all for a small ‘Made in Australia’ tag, not a problem, but in 2013, do we really still need to keep the occa Aussie stereotype alive?

People aren’t buying it.

The Australian products I buy aren’t screaming “AUSSIE MADE! HERE’S A FLAG! AND A KANGAROO! WEARING A CORK HAT! WITH A SOUTHERN CROSS TATTOO! OZZIE OZZIE OZZIE, OI OI OI!”

Mostly, the products I buy just so happen to be made in Australia. From items in my pantry to products in my bathroom, they’re lovely; gorgeous packaging, encasing a product that works and one that I like, that just so happens to be made in Australia. No fuss, no fanfare, no bullshit.

That’s the type of support I’d like to see our Australian companies getting; support for creating products that are good and that people like. Not support for purely being Australian made, as though that somehow grants them unlimited access to our wallets.

This Australia Day, say no to the faux-Aussie pride brouhaha. Sam Kekovich can stick his lamb up his clacker, Dick Smith can suck a big one and anyone believing that a cheap Australian flag made in China makes them any more Australian than the next person can sign up for my head assessment program.

None of that is what being Australian is about. 80% of the messages we’re fed – via the news and morning programs, newspapers and online columnists – in the lead up to this Australia Day have missed the point entirely.

It’s not about sticking a Southern Cross tattoo on your face once a year. It’s not about buying products that assault your eyeballs. Or perpetuating silly ideals imposed upon us by a select group of outdated bigots.

It’s about compassion. Empathy. Kindness. Celebrating our resilience, our spirit. Showing support for those who are having a tough time; through migration or bushfires, a rough trot or a shitty start to the year. Being Australian isn’t about embodying the image the media is feeding us; if it was, I’d be on the first plane out of here.

It’s about acceptance, not tolerance. Learning from our mistakes, not creating new ones. Opening up our back gates and inviting our family, friends and neighbours to celebrate – whether that’s with a BBQ, dumplings, curry or koftas. It’s about learning from the many cultures that make Australia so unique, not celebrating a singular idea of what our culture is supposed to look like.

I know there’s more to us than the image we’re currently being presented with. And you know it too.

Happy Australia Day. Celebrate with pride for all the good things this nation is truly about, and all the change that’s yet to, but will, come.