You remind me

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I’m not sure if this has ever happened to you. Have you ever spotted someone in a crowd who you thought – only for the briefest moment – it was your loved one who had passed?

It happened to me at a wedding, where I saw this kid dancing. He reminded me of my nephew who we lost about 10 years ago. This young man was the same age, had the same hairstyle and same mischievous attitude. It was the most sweetest moment, fleeting as it was.

You might be asking what is the Zeibekiko dance?

For the readers – The Zebitiko

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeibekiko

Here’s an example – stay with it – they guy does gets up to dance – although my nephew was never this dramatic

 

believe the stories

Recently I attended Creative Mornings – Melbourne talk given by Karolina Szczur.  Karolina talks about tech industry culture and ethics. She spoke about planing events that are genuinely diverse and accessible. A place where people could feel comfortable and safe.

I was struck by her energy and strong sense of justice when it came to the subject. And a little saddened to hear how nasty it all got. She was met with much hostility in her work within the tech industry. A lot of it quiet nasty (see link at the end of this post).

I couldn’t find the talk when I put this together, but came across and her article Three things you don’t need to become a speaker.  This is by no means a look at your flaws (which is what I expected). No. This is challenging one’s perception of their opportunity to talk. I’ve extracted the bits that resonated with me most.

Industry prominence and visibility

there are so many other voices out there worth hearing — we need to empower and elevate them.

Subject matter expertise

it’s your individual view and takes on the idea what makes it novel and worth hearing.

Previous speaking experience

just because you have never delivered a talk, it doesn’t mean your ideas aren’t worth presenting, or you aren’t capable of executing it flawlessly.

The title of this blog is taken from Karolina’s article A story of a woman in the tech industry

Don’t look back in happiness… and introducing Ms Self Pity

I was reflecting on what makes me happy before I created this work and what I came up with was me on a summer holiday with friends. Sunbaking all day, late nights and music. Meeting new people and the exposure to new ideas, culture and food. And all the laughter that comes with it.

As I was reflecting I hadn’t noticed Ms Self Pity who had very quietly walked in and sat next to me. She leaned forward and whispered

“hey… they were good times weren’t they?..”

Then before I know it my bottom lip started to tremble, eyes began to well up as I took in a deep breath in preparation to release the loudest adult infant style cry ever and instead this comes out of me….

“….ahhhh… ahahahagghghgh ha hahahah..hggggg..”

me laughing like a villan who has just realised the benefits of her evil (and mostly flawed) plot of taking over of the world or some shit like that …(and on that day my hair happened to have a horrific level of frizz to complimented this expression )….

….and I realised that IT’S ONLY WHEN I LOOK BACK do these moments appear happy. If I’m to recall what makes me happy what I really need to be doing is looking back at ALL THE MEMORIES during my holidays with friends not just the happy ones.

Like the hours of being bored shitless on the beach, the complete freakout I experience when I realised that I’m sharing the beach with jelly fish. And that early morning sun that wants you up RIGHT NOW THANK YOU! And that hangover feeling in the morning whether it’s because of too much alcohol, sun or food (or all of the above). And then some days later, ever so quietly and slowly the beginnings of a yearning to return home.

Then I think… I really miss those days.

I look over and see a fearful Ms Self Pity who left the room – work up the courage to come sit with me again and put her arm around me. And then starts to whisper…. “but today no one really loves you do they…. and ….”

Then before I know it my bottom lip started to tremble….

 

When the words stay the same and you don’t

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My hand is up. Yep, I have bought into the minimalist, sparkjoy movement. I’ve stripped my home to bear minimum and in the process acquiring 24 large environmentally killing plastic containers to store stuff in. And if I were a youtube video clip, it would be at this point that I would direct you to my bookshelf. And there you would find a neatly yet stylish display of books that have sparked my joy.

Not only did this movement create space in my home, it also created space in my head. Enough space for this thought to pop in.

If I were to read these books today, would they still spark joy in me?

And so on that day, I made a promise to myself that I would re-read one of those books.

And that book was The Mastreo by Peter Golsworthy. For an overview of the plot you can read this : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maestro_(novel).

And so I re-read it. At a snails pace, none the less – I read it all. And what did i find?

Some relief. For two reasons. It did spark my joy, and felt good that my

younger self wasn’t completely off target. The second thing was how much I had changed from my younger self. Today I felt a deep connection to the characters where back then I was too shallow or stupid or both to appreciate them and the beautiful story telling. It’s mostly the sad stuff that I’ve experience in the last #$@ years that’s enabled me to connect and empathise more with the characters of this book this time round. And just then I realised that I had grown up a little over the years.

References to music (classical) continued to be lost on me. I imagine there’s a whole little story in those. I’m ok with that. Know my limitations.

So, throw out lots and lots of stuff that you don’t need. Having space is truly liberating. In the process you’ll re-visit your old self. Keep the stuff you loved, your passions even the ones that you think today are really silly. Even the stuff you think you’ve out grown cause they all hold hints to you. Your authentic you. We loose our way sometimes and it all becomes unclear. Just a word of warning. Only just visit the past. It’s never too good to stay there for too long. And get outside of your self. Or just go outside. You don’t wanna be overly concerned with yourself. That’s just sad.

Mother and the Washing Machine

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It was an autumn day in Melbourne, with unusually warm weather on the day I walked into the laundry room and saw mum bent over the washing machine – almost inside the barrel. She eventually emerged with what appeared to be the entire load of washing in one big large knot.

Not what she had expected.

I see this

I say to her

“Mum let me get those out for you.”

“No, I can do it” she says.

I made a conscious note to remain calm. There was no need for hysteria and yelling, I really needed to grow out of that, there’s a point where…

…I’m distracted by the sounds of grunts.

I look over

I saw mum tugging on that large knot hoping to loosen it. Clothes were not budging, instead seem to be clinging even closer together – as though they had a life of their own.

I lower my voice

I say to her

“Mother…. [note pause here]… please allow me…”

I place my hand on my chest to avoid any confusion of who’s offering the help

“… to help untangle this”

I gently rest of my other hand on her shoulder to maximise sincerity.

She ignored me.

She continued to try to untangle the stubborn knot.

And as I watch her I began to trace her face and saw an expression of sheer determination and will. She was going to get this knot undone – no ifs or buts or help from me thank you. Her arms, in comparison were letting her down.

And I felt a sadness deep in my chest.

And then something inside my head snaps.

“MA I’VE TOLD I’LL DO IT.

I TOLD YOU THREE TIMES I’LL DO IT.

LET ME DO IT.

YOU CAN’T DO IT

AAAHHHGGGGGHGHGHG” !!???!!?!?!!

Hands were now clenched fists and waving in outrage.

Perhaps through her determination, perhaps through the jolt she received from my raised voice, in an epic gladiator move she managed to detach a hand towel. She stood tall and proud clutching the towel.

She steps away.

Lowers her head and quietly says…

“Ok do it”.