Eclipse

29.10.2014

A few weeks ago I was on the train coming back from my Salsa class and the train driver announced that there was a lunar eclipse on our left as we left Flinders Street station. Like children we all rushed over to the left hand side of the train looking for the moon – or lack thereof. Sure enough we saw a black circle slowly block out the moon and on my way home I kept looking out for it. Closer to my house I saw a person standing in the middle of the road taking a photo of the roof of an apartment building. Thought she was kinda weird and continued walking past when I realised it was probably the eclipse.

Turning strangers into friends, we ended up talking for at least 20 mins, discussing eclipses we’d seen as a kid and how weird it was, whether solar eclipses make you blind, and lots of other things before we finally said our goodbyes and went home. Its amazing how little things like natures wonders can create a space where it’s possible for two strangers to begin talking and share details of their lives and their childhood memories within seconds of meeting each other. Some might say that’s just me or people who are ‘my type of people’ but I don’t think so. I think there comes a point when the barriers of societal propriety or restraint or decorum or whatever you want to call it are broken down by wonder and awe and a sense of being much smaller than the world we inhabit.

I looked out for her a few times after that but never saw her again but I will always remember the joy of making a new friend in an unexpected way. Weeks passed and summer is almost here, despite the torrential rain we had on Monday with thunderstorms all night. My 45 minute trip to work took one hour and 45 minutes that morning and my shoes were still wet at the end of the day. It seems like the rainbow is out now well and truly and summer is finally on its way. I feel like ice cream and sun block and strappy sandals with sun kissed freckles on my back. Speaking of which I finally own a pair of john lennon sunglasses – they are plastic not metal which is slightly disappointing but very Beatlesque never the less. Tres fontastique!

I went to a vintage sale held by Retrovintage in Brunswick last weekend and got some real gems including a bright orange sweater that I have fallen in love with. I have been busy altering all the clothes I’ve bought, hemming and taking in and taking in even more as I drown in most dresses but it will be worth it in the end. Also working on my Thank you presents for everyone at work and found some gorgeous Essendon teddy bears at a vintage toy shop which will be really handy.

Pushing to finish my picture book I’m making for a friend at work by tomorrow but somehow I don’t think its going to happen. Ah well 2 days until cup week and there begins my next Adventure  wherever the West winds blow me (they just happen to be going to Tasmania)!

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The New Disney Princess

20.10.2014

I recently watched Frozen for the first time and I have to say I’m amazed at the calibre of the new Disney movies and really impressed with the empowering role models that are presented to young girls in modern day Disney movies. Gone are the stereotypical lily white maids like Snow White and Cinderella who need a man to kiss them to awaken them from a deep sleep or a prince to rescue them from an ivory tower. These Disney princesses decide their own fate and boy can they save themselves.

I haven’t seen a lot of the new Fairy-tale type of movies but a few I’ve watched recently are Maleficent, Frozen and Brave. Maleficent for those of you who haven’t seen it, features Angelina Jolie as the Queen of the Fairies, the one with the most powerful wings, whose wings were stolen from her by a childhood friend she loved, whose thirst for power was stronger than his loyalty to her. His daughter is cursed at birth by Maleficent who soon regrets her curse and as she cannot reverse it, strives to protect the child and watch over her to ensure that no harm comes to the ‘little beastie’. The girl in return develops a kindred bond with Maleficent and believes her to be her fairy godmother, not knowing anything of her royal lineage and that Maleficent is the one who has placed the curse on her. On her 16th birthday the girl finds out and runs away to the castle only to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and descends into a deep sleep. But the prince she stumbles upon is not the one who gives her true loves kiss, it is Maleficent, the Fairy who watched over her her whole life and loved her like a daughter. Unlike the traditional Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, this modern day Disney story has a Motherly love save her and restore her to life. The scene actually made me cry because I missed my own mum so much…which is saying something…I think the last time I cried watching an animated movie was when I saw Up.

Both Frozen and Brave also deviate from the traditional endings that place the women in a vulnerable position and the male character in a superior position. Frozen tells the story of two sisters who grow apart as one tries to protect the other but in doing so shuts her out and makes her believe that she does not love her. When Elsa accidently freezes Ana’s heart, leading her to slowly freeze to death, it is not ‘true love’s kiss’ that saves her, but her willingness to sacrifice herself for her sister. Their love for one another is ultimately what saves them. Similarly, Brave also centres around a relationship that is fraught with friction and pride. A mother and daughter fall apart and only love can mend the bond torn by pride which has turned her mother into a bear. It’s a beautiful movie about parental love for a child and desire to shield them from anything and protect them but also the duality of that relationship and how both parent and child learn from each other. Mereida’s I-don’t-need-no-man attitude and her self-sufficiency is inspiring not only for young girls but grown women who flounder around waiting for a man to save them. I strongly believe that everyone should be able to look after themselves regardless of gender and Brave is a movie in succeeds in showing women that it is possible.

Ultimately I am very pleased by this change in female role models that are being presented in Disney movies and the strong and feisty women that are being displayed to our daughters through these films. As a young woman I look to my own mother for strength and am inspired by her humility and her courage. It’s wonderful that young girls are now being shown realistic role models who can save themselves. I hope that when I have a daughter someday I will teach her to be just as strong and fearless and if she does accidently turn me into a bear, I hope our bond is strong enough to heal those wounds again.

A reflection on “The Perks of being a Wallflower”

16.10.2014

Last night on the train home I finished reading The Perks of being a Wallflower and had a moment where I, like Charlie, felt like I was Infinite. I didn’t need to ride through the tunnel but if there was a tunnel and I had a car with an open roof I would probably love it.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a book that makes you question everything you take for granted and like Charlie, you begin to feel everything with a keen intensity and doubt everything you know to be true. I feel angry and sad and wonder about everything and feel very very disillusioned.

In the last couple of weeks I have been told that I’m too idealistic, lack finesse, too something. I don’t understand why I cant have my cake and eat it too. Why can’t I be a professional and a mother and a child and a woman and travel and do everything in between. What is the point of life if you can’t have it all? Maybe in ten, twenty years’ time I will be able to settle for just one of these things but right now I want it all.

Charlie’s journey in making friends and his exploration of his feelings lead him to discover that his Aunt Helen who meant so much to him molested him when he as a child. It is through this discovery that he is finally able to let go of his sadness and his breakdown helps to heal those repressed memories. His self-discovery and intense experiences force you as a reader to look into the abyss of your own repressed feelings and question what you have been hiding from yourself.

The last 10 months away from home have changed me more than I care to admit. In some ways I am exactly the same, in other ways I’m unrecognizable. I think I’m better at dealing with people and understanding situations, and I can now see that I don’t always do. Which I didn’t before. I can see that reality is far removed from my naïve 23 year old ideals and I probably won’t get all my hopes and dreams…but why is it so wrong for me to try? I think a degree of hopefulness and a positive yearning for the future and all you hold dear to you is refreshing. What is the point of ruling out options before life even begins.

Charlie is such an intelligent boy and so close to his sister. He reminds me of Boo Radley, a kind innocent soul, a mockingbird who has done no one any harm. He reminds me a lot of my brother who a teacher once said ‘has not a single malicious bone in his body’. My brother once got so sick of someone accusing him of doing something he just agreed to it for the sake of peace. And that’s so much like Charlie in so many ways.

This book makes me think about my family and what I would do for them. It makes me think about people who have touched my life and touched my body, with or without my permission and how that affected me. And I am glad that I wasn’t a child. I’m so so glad that I was stronger than Charlie because life is so good, on the other side. I spoke to a girl recently who does a lot of hard drugs and it made me so grateful that I have never touched anything more than alcohol. I’m more than happy to be that lightweight girl who just has a couple of wines or lolly drinks and is sorted for the night. Even that, is hardly necessary when youre with people who are fun and make you happy. I don’t need alcohol to dance and I feel like life is so beautiful in itself why do you even need ice or coke or anything to make it better? On the other hand you have the polar opposites, the ones who believe that life is not worth living unless its serious and you colour in within the lines. I hate that. Rules are made for breaking, I want to skip not walk, I want to dance.

I may seem like Alice in Wonderland but I would drink that bottle over and over again if it means I get to live in a land that has a Cheshire cat and a Mad Hatter because at least I’ve been there and you haven’t. I recently had a chat with a friend from work who gave me an example from a South Park episode to explain that everything people tell you is based on their histories and the advice they give you is based on their past, whatever that may be. It harks back to a quote from the Perks of being a Wallflower – Be a filter not a sponge.

At a point where I lack experience in life, in my career, in pretty much everything – this is easier said than done. Everyone seems to know so much more and it’s easy to absorb peoples good advice and their negativity at the same time. So maybe it’s okay that I laugh like a child, maybe it’s okay that I run instead of walk, and maybe..just maybe it’s not so bad that I am a child and a woman at the same time and someone will respect me for that. On one hand I almost want to be more sophisticated, I want to speak with class, walk like a lady, appear to have that finesse that few possess. But I want to want this for me, not for someone to want me. And that’s what scares me.

Awakening

6.10.2010

Sometimes I feel like I can exist out of my body and look at myself like a stranger, incredulous at the thoughts that go on inside my head. I am Macbeth with Scorpions in my brain and I am a scorpion that looks at Macbeth, watching its fellow crustaceans crawl out of his brain. How can I be both Macbeth and the scorpion?

This morning I woke up and poured myself some milk sleepily and put it in the microwave. My hands did so without ever making a conscious decision. Routine. Muscle memory. Whatever you want to call it. I did not know what my hands were doing but I was aware that I do this every day. At the same time I thought that if I was murdered, there would still be so much evidence to investigate in my tiny studio. I wondered how I had crammed so much life into this room in the last 8 months that I could gather so much evidence for a forensic team.

My room is a mess, could that be seen as breaking and entering, mistaking it for a burglary when really I am just comfortable with a messy home. Pharmacy bills and pills on the cabinet, the ends of a wrapper on top of the microwave, dirty shoe prints that are not my own, and my milk still in the microwave – would these all be part of the case, neatly labelled and categorised sample A. B and C.

Standing within my own skin, feeling the heat of my body inside me and within me, I still looked at myself like a stranger and mused over the scientific facts in the event of my death and wondered what the police would make of it. Accident? Suicide? Murder? I wondered objectively, if police would rule out suicide automatically if limbs were missing or would it still be on the table. Who would cut their limbs off before they kill themselves.

And even as I stepped outside my body and thought all these things about the strange girl standing inside me, I stepped out of this second person all over again and rejoined the first, saying babe you need to snap out of this. It’s not normal to be so intrigued by what might be contributable evidence for your own murder. So the third Anushka snapped her fingers in front of the second and both second and third Anushkas vanished while the first continued to pour cereal into a bowl and climbed into bed to eat breakfast.

the Paperboy

2.10.2010

The Paperboy

With a cast that is impossible to ignore and a sepiatoney grandesque feel to it, The Paperboy caught my eye as I was browsing through DVDs at the library. I put off watching it for a while and now that I finally have, I feel an eerie sense of catharsis. Like all my senses have reached their peak and cannot go any further, not because it was so moving but because it freaked the shit out of me.

The paperboy is set in USA at a time when racism against blacks was still rampant and white men and women couldn’t stomach the idea of a black man holding a serious job and competing in the same playing field as their own white men. It was a time when grown men were called ‘Boy’.

What started off as a storey about a dysfunctional family in the South, a father who owns a local paper, mother run out on her boys, older son Matthew McConaughey a newspaper writer in New York and the younger son Jack (Zac Efron) just thrown out of college – turns into a thriller that leaves you on the edge of your seat. John Cusack plays Hillary van Wetter a criminal who have been wrongfully accused of murder and Nicole Kidman plays Charlotte, the vapid blonde who is dead set on marrying him based on his dirty love letters to her from jail.

Life gets messy, as it often does, and Jack falls in love with Charlotte, seeing in her parts of his mother who left him as a child. When Ward Jansen gets beaten to a pulp during a homosexual hook-up gone awry, his younger brother Jack holds the family together, seeing him through his fathers wedding. In the meantime, Ward’s co-writer finishes the newspaper article that gets John Cusack out of jail – but its based on fabricated evidence and Charlotte is in more trouble than she can imagine.

Moving to the swamp, life is quite different from her glitzy New York lifestyle filled with hairdressers and pretty dresses. Charlotte longs to get out and when one of her letters finally makes it to Jack, he comes to get her. By then its too late, if only by an hour or two. While Jack stands calling her name outside her swampy hellhole of a house, Charlotte lies dead inside. And after her Crocodile hunter husband is accused of murdering her, he grabs his machete and slits Ward’s throat in front of Jack. Somehow Jack makes it through the night in the swamp, swimming to the bottom of the swamp bed and holding his breath with his swimmers lungs, while Hillary looms over him with a lantern and a machete in his boat.

Finally Jack makes it out in the morning, with the bodies of Charlotte and his brother lying in his boat. And he has the evidence he needs to convict Hillary of murder. Jack goes into that swamp a boy but comes out a man. His brother’s death forever on his conscience and the memory of his first love.