Say it with me! No, not that.

Lately, I’ve seen a few things floating around the cesspool that is the internet, to the effect of “YOU CAN’T SAY ANYTHING ANYMORE IT’S P.C. GONE MAD WHY CAN’T I SAY ANYTHING I WANT EVEN IF IT HURTS PEOPLES’ FEELINGS”. Of course, it’s always marginally more subtle than that, but that’s the subtext. There’s one along the lines of ‘I made a snowman and then got attacked because there should have been a snowwoman too, then some transgenders asked why it didn’t have detachable parts, then the gays got mad that there weren’t two snowmen’, and on and fucking onnnn it goes with this poor straight old white man making fun of marginalised communities for cheap laughs. Another one I’ve seen is a parody of ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’, the great jokes being that the wool must be cruelty free, and instead of ‘sir’ we must say ‘gender neutral person’ instead (etc, etc. Ad nauseam). It goes on. It’s an ugly indicator that, in the minds of many, people who aren’t white/straight/cisgender still deserve to be the butt of jokes and the subject of ridicule.

The defence of shit like this is ‘oh but it’s just a joke! It’s funny! Don’t be so sensitive!’. And my response to that is: Explain the joke to me. Explain what makes it funny. If the joke is that it’s just stating the obvious, then why aren’t we pissing ourselves laughing every morning when we chat with our barista about the very obvious weather? No. This stuff gets laughs because it plays to those who think it’s funny that other people have to fight to be seen. To be heard. To exist freely. 

This kind of stuff isn’t benign. It’s not innocent. You can’t share a homophobic joke but then justify it as OK because ‘oh I’d never call someone a faggot’. You can’t laugh with your mates about ‘sluts and whores’, and then argue that you love women. You can’t giggle that someone is ‘a boy or a girl or whatever he is now’, and still tell yourself that you’re a respectful person. You can’t use words like gay, homo, faggot, the N word, tranny, retard, AND STILL THINK YOU’RE NOT AN ASSHOLE.

Because here’s the thing: if your main argument for being able to tell shitty jokes, and say shitty words, is that it’s too hard to remember not to? Then you are, in fact, an asshole.

If your comfort is more important than another person’s humanity? Then you are, in fact, an asshole. If someone asks you not to use certain words because it makes them feel uncomfortable or upset, but you continue to do so? Then you are, in fact, an asshole. If you don’t care that the language you use and the jokes you tell have an effect on the people around you? Guess what you fucking are.

If you make racist jokes? You are racist. If you make homophobic jokes? You are homophobic. If you make sexist jokes? You are sexist. There’s no blurred line.

The cries of ‘BUT FREE SPEECH’ echo throughout the land every time bigots get called out for their bigotry. But the newsflash here is: free speech just means you can’t be prosecuted for something you say. Not that other people can’t call you a steaming pile of dog shit for saying it.

The label of ‘politically correct’ gets thrown around as a catchall for majority groups to use whenever they feel their comfort levels slipping. Gender neutral and non-binary people preferring to use they/their pronouns? P.C. GONE MAD! White people not being allowed to dress up in blackface? P.C. GONE MAD! Educational scholarships specifically for indigenous people? P.C. GONE MAD! The slight possibility of a woman dressing as Santa? P.C. GONE MAD! Forms having an ‘other’ option in the ‘Gender’ category? P.C. GONE MAD. Ensuring that marginalised groups are seen, heard, respected, employed, educated, understood, prioritised and reparated, is not done in the name of political correctness. It is done in the name of equity.

Don’t be a dick.

To summarise: Fewer jokes that hurt and upset people, more jokes about fish.

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I love a list. But not these ones.

I’m turning 30 this year. I don’t have much to show for it, besides a startling number of hats I don’t wear, and several pairs of jeans that don’t fit me. Any milestone birthday means you are confronted with lists of ’30 Things You Definitely Have To Do By 30 Or You’ve Basically Wasted Your Youth’ (hot tip – we already know we wasted our youth). You know what I’m talking about. Those lists that tell you to ‘Make sure you’ve watched a sunrise in the Maldives while hand-feeding rescue turtles’, and ‘Pay off your debt’ (HAHAHAHAHA). A lot of those kinds of lists are – I’m just going to say it – unachievable to most regular people. If you’re like me, and you hate ’30 Before 30′ lists, join me as I rip one apart. This is for those of us who sometimes find it overwhelming just getting through the goals for the day, let alone half a lifetime.

1. Travel somewhere you don’t know the language. 

Ok, this is not a great start, because I have actually done this one, but it is not necessarily the starry-eyed, exciting adventure that it always seems to be painted as. It’s scary, it can be really lonely, and it’s usually fucking expensive, despite the related list of ’25 Ways to Travel the World With Only $25 in Your Pocket’.

2. Stop holding grudges.

How dare they. I will hold a grudge ’til I die. Probably of a stomach ulcer from holding said grudge, but honestly, a grudge is probably the only thing in life I can really commit to.

3. Feel the rain on your skin.

Spare me. We’ve all been caught out without an umbrella, we’ve all been rained on. It’s not romantic and whimsical. It’s damp and inconvenient.

4. Treat yourself to something really expensive.

This just seems 100% trivial to me. Sometimes, spending $40 on a shirt seems absolutely frivolous to me, other times I will spend that much on novelty greeting cards and not even blink. Once I bought a quite expensive handbag without a second thought, and then the next week agonised over whether or not I needed a three pack of socks for $7. If you have the means, once in a while, buy yourself something you really want, but don’t necessarily need. Whether that is a chocolate bar at the checkout, or a full velour tracksuit à la J.Lo circa 2001, you do you. If you don’t have the means, call me. I can always spring for a Snickers.

5. Attend the Olympic Games.

This is just taking the absolute piss.

6. Pay off your credit card debt.

How is one to do this if one has just travelled somewhere they don’t know the language, bought themselves something really expensive, and been to the Olympics? Seriously.

7. Learn the lyrics to ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ by R. Kelly.

This was honest to god on a list I read. If you were born pre 1990, you probably know all the words anyway. If you weren’t, and you don’t, don’t fucking bother. Space Jam is awesome, but R. Kelly is revolting, and I’m still trying to scrub ‘Ignition (Remix)’ from my brain.

8. Make music

The only music I can make is playing ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ on the jumbo xylophone at the playground, and that’s only because my kid can’t tell when I fuck it up. Does that count?

9. Wear more colour.

I shan’t. There is a breed of people who wear grey, black, and white, and we will not change. However, I did just buy a green jersey, so maybe I’m full of shit. (Spoiler alert: I am)

10. Find something you’re really good at.

I have dreams that one day I’ll try something for the first time and I’ll just be an absolute natural. Like, maybe one day I’ll be a champion ski jumper, or a world-famous whittler. I’m guessing there’s probably a bit of hard work involved in becoming really really great at something, which is probably why I haven’t yet.

11. Jump more often.

Pardon?

12. Write a book.

Look, I have seen all the typos in your bloody facebook posts. Don’t write a bloody book ok?

13. Watch 100 of the IMDb top 250 movies of all time.

Ok. This one sounds fun. BUT. There are veeeery few comedies on that list, so really prepare yourself for some harrowing viewing. Also, the list was compiled based on user-submitted ratings. Just keep that in mind, and ask yourself if you want to watch 100 movies recommended by strangers who rate stuff on the internet…Maybe instead ask five friends to recommend five films each. At least then you have someone to blame when you hate them all.

14. Keep a list of books you want to read and work your way through it.

I have a list like this. It won’t be completed by the time I die, let alone by the time I’m 30.

15. Find a way to wake up in the morning that you don’t hate.

This morning I woke up with wet pyjamas because my 3 year old peed in my bed, so to be honest, this is probably a great goal for me personally.

16. Go on a blind date.

Sure, Meghan and Harry met on a blind date, but let’s be real: your friends don’t know any princes ok? Blind dates are not usually fun. They’re usually set up by people in relationships who don’t understand that Bridget Jones’s Diary is not a documentary about single people.

17. Get married.

Come on. I know my limits.

18. Spend time with children.

You can do this if you want to, but children are tiny psychopaths. I say this as a mother and a preschool teacher, so just trust me.

19. Learn to gamble.

I have ZERO interest in gambling. I can’t even hold onto money that I’ve earned, there’s no way it would end well if I felt like it was all a game. That’s why I’m so shit at Monopoly.

20. Do something that scares you.

I am scared of stilt-walkers, and those street performers who stay really really still until you walk past, and then they try to shake your hand or something? I’m not doing either of them.

Ok ok, so that’s only a list of 20. But that was gruelling work. I’m very aware now of my failings as a 29 year old woman. I’m fine with it though, because even though I might not have run a marathon, or seen a Broadway play, today I got the washing off the line juuuust before it started raining, and that’s the sort of victory I can get behind on a wet Thursday afternoon.

 

From the mouth of my babe

This will be updated regularly because my kid is out the gate.

  • ‘Your tummy is squishy like slime eh Mum?’
  • Someone called her heinous because she was throwing a tantrum, and she said ‘I’m not a penis’
  • ‘I put a booger in my mouth’
  • ‘Can you see my face? I’m angry’
  • ‘I don’t like tractors, I like washing machines and vacuum cleaners and building’
  • She was showing someone her heart shaped glasses and they said ‘love-hearts’. She said ‘no you don’t love hearts, you love triangles’
  • ‘I don’t fart with my bottom. I just do poos with my bottom’
  • ‘You are being adicklious’ (code for ridculous)
  • ‘Can I ride on a camel when I’m bigger?’
  • ‘We don’t touch peoples’ boobs eh Mum? We only look at them’
  • ‘Can I smell you?’
  • ‘Mum can I pat the baby?’
  • She was frowning while she went to the toilet, and when I asked if she was ok she said ‘yes I’m just getting poos out of me’
  • We walked outside on a cold morning: ‘Brrr, it’s a bit chimney’
  • ‘I’ve got two girls. They’re called Menassy and Bejinny’
  • ‘Mum look at my hands. They’re beautiful eh?’
  • She found a dead butterfly on the lawn, and was carrying it around in a container. I bumped into the container, and said ‘oops sorry’. She said ‘say sorry to my butterfly’, and when I did, she said ‘she’s not talking to you because she’s dead’
  • After having curry for dinner: ‘Mum does my wees smell like curry?’
  • ‘There’s bird poo in my eye’ (there wasn’t)
  • ‘Mum I like your boobs’
  • ‘Mum do you know squids have a beak under they fanny?’
  • ‘Mum can you move the sun out of my eyes?’
  • ‘My grandpa was swallowed by a chicken’
  • I told her her hands were freezing, and she said ‘yeah because I’ve been in the freezer’
  • ‘[My daycare teacher] is naughty because she locks me in a cage’
  • ‘Im just pretending to be a girl’
  • ‘Love you my gorgeous dear’
  • ‘What is the purpose of your face?’

The space between singing in the rain and crying in the shower

I’ve had a few people tell me they were less than impressed at my post about my disdain for ‘inspirational’ hashtags a few weeks ago. That’s fine. Nobody likes everything on the internet, and nobody likes everything I do. 100% fine. That post was not intended for any specific audience, or intended to offend anyone, but for an insight into why I hate them so much, I though I’d share this:

Last night, my three year old didn’t go to sleep until 11.30. Ish. I don’t know for sure, because in between sweating my balls off in 7000 degree heat, taking her back to bed, giving her a cuddle and then not giving her a cuddle (‘go back to your room now Mum’), opening her windows, closing her windows, taking her duvet off, putting the ‘right’ blanket on, being told she didn’t want any blanket at all, laying down with her to rub her back, and then not rubbing her back (‘stop it now Mum’), retrieving the teddy she didn’t even actually want, I lost track of the time. Then she woke up at 6.30 this morning. Not a huge deal, surely? Except that she usually sleeps from 7pm until 7am. Which means that today she was operating on about 50% less sleep than she usually does. No problem. Surely.

Today, after being out for a few hours, I had the pleasure of being serenaded with two hours of screeching/whining/crying/yelling from my sweetheart. Stern words from me were an incredible study in ineffectiveness. Once home, I immediately got into a cold shower, sat down and cried. Got out. Cried some more. Breathed deeply and reminded myself that she is learning how to process her emotions, she is only three, she is even more tired than I am. Then she put her squishy little face on my shoulder and said ‘sorry Mumma, for I being grumpy and crying today’. Which made me feel like ASSHOLE MOTHER 2.0. The rest of the afternoon/evening passed regularly enough (she had a bath; I intervened when she poured water all over the bathroom floor, didn’t intervene when she peed in the bath and then 5 minutes later drank the bath water, put her towel round her wrong, put out the wrong pyjamas, read Guess How Much I Love You, tucked her in and held my breath that she WENT THE FUCK TO SLEEP THIS TIME). Once she went to sleep, all I fucking wanted was to go and order one of everything off the menu at KFC, but I can’t bloody leave her home alone for another 10 years or so.

This day was not remarkable. It wasn’t unusual. It happens, on average, three or four times a month. And that’s alright. I can mostly deal with it (crying in the shower is dealing, right?). But then I pop onto social media for some light browsing before I tackle the 300 household tasks I have to do, and I see a picture of a palm tree against a sunset with #lifeisbeautiful underneath it, and I want to drown myself in pissy bathwater. I know it’s no one else’s fault that I’ve had a shitty day. I know people are allowed to put whatever the fuck they want on their own social media. I know I have it in my power to not look at shit I don’t like. I KNOW ALL THAT. I just wonder – is seeing a picture that has had time, editing, and sometimes money go into it, that inspirational? I can’t stress enough that I don’t give a shit about the content, for me it is about the pretence. You post selfie after selfie my friend, show me that smoothie bowl pal, hit me with those beach snaps babe, but if you have to do it while pretending that you are bestowing inspiration on others, then you are being disingenuous. Inspiration isn’t a gift you get to give someone because you can take a nice photo. It’s not the thing, it’s the intent behind the thing, ya know?

My house is blissfully quiet now. For how long, I don’t know. I’m waiting for a knock on the door, and the inspirational sentence, ‘Hi I’m Jack, I work at KFC, and I read your mind and brought you one of everything off the menu’.

You are not what you eat

There is a weird thing that we do as people who eat stuff, and that is assign moral value to food. I have no doubt that everyone reading this has used language like ‘bad’, ‘naughty’, ‘guilty pleasure’, or ‘cheat meal’ when referring to something they’ve eaten. We’ve probably also all said something like ‘Oh man, I was really bad yesterday and had fish and chips for dinner’, or ‘You are so good, having a salad for lunch’. That’s because it’s a short leap between labelling food in a negative way, and labelling ourselves in the same way because we eat that food. I’m aware that they’re only words, but words have power, and the way we talk about what goes into our bodies affects the way we think about them. The more we imbue food with shameful and negative connotations, the easier it is to feel the same way about ourselves when we eat it.

Most adults understand what healthy and unhealthy mean – and somewhere, we transmuted those into meaning ‘good/bad’, and ‘clean/dirty’. And the more we’ve done that, the more we’ve accepted that we are good or bad, clean or dirty, depending on the food we eat. Somewhere along the line, we have also convinced ourselves that the ‘bad’ foods make us bigger, and the ‘good’ foods make us smaller. If the bad foods make us big then being big must be bad, and if the good foods make us small, then being small must be good. It’s a false equivalency, and it’s an insidious and persistent lie that diet culture sells us: that our bodies are a reflection of our morality. And it’s fucking bullshit. Just to be clear here, I have no interest in what anyone eats, or what size anyone is – eat salad every day of your life, or consider donuts a food group, whatever works for you – but remember that what you eat doesn’t determine your worth. Your moral value depends on many things, but the ratio of Snickers bars to kale smoothies you’ve ingested in your lifetime is not one of them. Eat the fucking cake. Drink the fucking coconut water. Enjoy the chips or the chickpeas, but know that your food choices don’t make you better or worse than anyone else.

There is a similar narrative which tells us that ‘food is fuel’ – existing to help us get those gains, lose that tummy, grow that ass, and that’s fine. But food is more than just fuel. And we have to let ourselves be OK with that. Food is fuel, but it’s also celebration, comfort, enjoyment, togetherness, nostalgia, and sometimes, the only thing that’ll get you through a fucking rough hangover.

(I know that most people who read this know me personally. And those who know me personally know that I am not a slim woman. I am not now, and I never have been. Chances are I never will be. I know that some of those people who know me personally will read this and have thoughts like “LOL she’s just talking shit because she’s fat, maybe she should try eating less bad food every week trololololol”. I won’t label food, but I will label those people ‘bags of shit’)

Things I am not here for in 2018

  • ‘Inspirational’ hashtags. I am not here for the vain attempts of people to grow an Instagram following by adding 6000 hashtags to every picture they post. Stop using #blessed to get strangers on the internet look at your boring pictures of wonky horizons and black and white selfies. In all honesty, I don’t really give a shit what people put on their own social media – but stop trying to act like the salad you made for lunch warrants being called #blessed #positivevibes #goodformysoul or #purehappiness. If all it takes for you to achieve pure happiness is to make a salad, you should be writing a fucking cookbook, not a hashtag.

 

  • Silence in the face of racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic bullshit. Don’t use gay/homo/f*ggot as insults. Don’t say shit about immigrants taking your jobs. Don’t be a loser who says things like Muslims are terrorists/Indians own dairies/all Asian people look the same. It doesn’t make you anything other than a big, steaming pile of ballbags. Don’t use the culture of others as costume or gimmick (take that bindi off your fucking head). Don’t laugh about not knowing which pronouns to use with someone who has transitioned. Don’t make jokes about rape. Don’t laugh at jokes about rape. Don’t whine about the friend zone, because women don’t owe you shit just because you’re nice to them. And if people do any of this in front of you (or any of the countless other small but significant ways people say ‘fuck you’ to minority groups) – say something. Otherwise, in your silence, you are complicit. And make no mistake: that is just as bad.

 

  • Trying to dress my three year old in anything other than what she chooses to wear. Because honestly, who cares that she wants to wear four necklaces, sparkly shoes and reindeer antlers with her togs when we go to the supermarket? I don’t. I don’t care at all. It’s a battle I am not fighting, because she looks bloody excellent.

 

  • Businesses that deliberately use spelling mistakes as a marketing gimmick. Sorry Kool Kutz, your inability to spell properly makes me doubt your skillz as a hair ztylizt too.

 

  • Leaving six month gaps between posting here. I am aiming for every second Sunday, but I am notoriously inconsistent, so if I stick to it…consider yourself #blessed…

Could you go back in time and not be such a dick?

Recently I visited some family who I don’t see very often, usually only a few times a year. On the day we were leaving, I put my child in her carseat, which prompted a midlevel meltdown from her. I then said goodbye to my relatives over the roof of the car, and made a face indicating how excited I was to deal with World War 3 that was happening in the vehicle. It was then I distinctly heard one of them say “Well, you shouldn’t have had a kid then”.

Excuse me? Fucking excuse me? How helpful is it to tell someone that the way to deal with a problem they are having right now is to go back in time. It’s an open secret among parents (and even some people who don’t have kids know) that once a baby comes out, you can’t put it back. No matter how loud it screams, or how many times it tells you it wishes you weren’t its mum. So don’t tell me that I shouldn’t have had a kid just because I’m not frothing at the bit to deal with the screeching of a tiny lunatic with a diminished capacity for rational behaviour.

Retrospective advice never helped anyone. No one ever overcame food poisoning because someone said “Oh you shouldn’t have eaten at that place”. No one’s arm has ever un-broken because someone said “Oh you shouldn’t have ridden that horse”. AND NO KID HAS EVER SHUT THE FUCK UP BECAUSE SOME DICKHEAD SUGGESTED THEY’D BE QUIETER IF THEY’D NEVER BEEN BORN.

Another stellar piece of wisdom I received recently is that “your kids pay you back for the kind of kid you were for your parents”. Huh? I heard this at a time when I felt really, really low. I wasn’t coping with being a mum, I wasn’t coping with being an adult person, I wasn’t coping with not coping, and I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it. The most well meaning people could say about as much as ‘Oh that sucks’, but what I needed was someone to say ‘Give me your precious baby who you love but cannot deal with right now and I will take her for the night and she will be fine and you can sit at home and drink three bottles of wine or go to bed at six o’clock or both if you like and she will be fine and I will bring her back to you happy and relaxed and she will be fine and you will be fine and you can do it because you are doing it but I can help you too. Let me help you’. But no one said that to me. Instead someone I did tell (who was a professional) said what basically amounted to ‘you deserve what you are getting and how you are feeling right now’. To anyone who has never been at such a low ebb, that probably sounds like an overreaction to a lighthearted comment. But to me, at that time, it felt like confirmation that the way I felt was my fault. I know that it wasn’t meant that way, that it wasn’t meant to make me feel even more helpless, but I think, when someone is feeling out of control or on the edge, the last thing you should tell them (no matter how vaguely), is that they put themselves there.

I have yet to meet a parent (or person in general) who likes receiving unsolicited advice. I got it in the supermarket when I was lumbering around at 15 months pregnant, I get it now, and I have a feeling it will happen for as long as people suspect (quite rightly) that I don’t actually know what I’m doing (so, by my calculations, the rest of my life). And I can accept that. I can. But only if the advice is “Yes. You buy that second wheel of camembert. And don’t give any to the demon snorting away in your trolley. She’s being a dickhead, and maybe that’s your fault, maybe it’s not, I don’t know – I’m only here to advise on cheese”.