Thursday, 25 October 2012

International friendships...

In a galaxy far, far away called my early twenties, I lived in Scotland.  Glasgow, to be precise.  I was there for two years and did the normal Antipodean backpacker things.  Drank, travelled, drank, travelled, drank…you get the drill.  And along the way I met the most wonderful people.  I still miss them today.  Alison, Lorraine Prentice, Gil Harvey, Charlie Kearton, Brenda, Eva Jacob, Brian O’Rourke.  An endless list of people who made me feel welcome in their rough, working class city.  A city I fell in love with.  I will forever be glad that I got off the bus a little early in Glasgow instead of Edinburgh.  If by chance, anybody reading this happens to know any of these people – please let me know how I can find them!

Anyway.  This post was meant to be about international friendships.   So I made a lot of friends and it was gut-wrenching to say good-bye to everyone.  I’ll always remember how sad I felt as the bus pulled out of the Glasgow depot and all my friends were waving me good-bye.  I was homeward bound.  And I was miserable.

My bus was headed for London where I was going to fly out for Brisbane the next day.  My friend Alison said she cried all the way home from the bus depot, and begged her boyfriend to drive down to London with her so she could see me one last time.  That’s how close we had gotten.

That was 17 years ago.  And now I’m the one who is befriending people who have moved here from another country.  I have met some wonderful people who, inevitably, will move back home.  For isn’t that the way it is?  Doesn’t everyone eventually go home?

And when they do.  When these friends eventually leave and return home.  It will be me wanting to drive to the ends of the earth to say one last good-bye.

But they're still here now.  And we'll always have Brisbane :)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Buzzword Bingo

I hate meetings.  Despise them.  And I don’t mean one-off meetings that you have when meeting somebody for the first time.  I’m talking about the recurring meetings that would pop up in my calendar in my previous life when I was in full-time work.  The Monday morning meeting.  The Wednesday afternoon meeting.  And then the Friday meeting.  They drove me insane.  I know I’m not alone when I say that these kinds of meetings are, for the most part, tedious and pointless.  I read once that some people would conduct their meetings standing up, which I thought was pure genius!

In a galaxy far, far away, when I worked in recruitment, there was a game that went around called Buzzword Bingo.  I don’t recall having ever actually played this game, but in my head, anytime I heard a buzzword or buzzphrase I would make a mental note of it.  Words or phrases such as:

  • Cherry picking;
  • Moving forward;
  • Take that offline;
  • Slippery slide
  • Deliverable;
  • Quals;
  • Touch base.

The list is endless and can vary from industry to industry. Whatever industry you're in, there was a perception that if you used these words, you do you say it.  Well, you were considered a bit of a wanker.  And seriously – I wish somebody had actually provided bingo cards in our meetings, I think I would have paid more attention.

Re-entering the workforce and having some meetings recently, I found myself going to use some of these buzzwords and being physically unable to get them out of my mouth.  On the fly, I replaced “touch base” (which is what I went to say) with “give you a call”.

But the buzzword bingo of yesterday would be vastly different today, surely.  All my bingo words would date me back to when Friends was on TV every Tuesday night at 7:30pm.

So could you please enlighten me.  What are the buzzword/phrases of today?

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Black Cloak II

Yesterday was one year since I wrote this post.  For those who can’t be bothered clicking on the link, I’ve cut and pasted it here.  It’s called:

The Black Cloak

“Winston Churchill was definitely onto something by referring to his depression as the black dog.  For me, a “black cloak” is probably more befitting.  It’s definitely black, this heavy cloak that I wear.  When I’m wearing this cloak, nothing seems to be able to shift it.

My husband tries to remove it for me, but I pull it closer around me, as if to protect myself from feeling better.  Sometimes I feel comfortable in it.  Lost in it.  Almost as though I’m home.  Which is madness, right?  How could anybody feel comfortable feeling nothing…

And yet…”

It was one of my first posts on the Dilettante Diva Blog and as you can see it’s very short.  This was back before I started writing as much as I could, and including an image.

Clearly I wrote this ‘in the moment’.  You can feel it when you read it.  I wasn’t in a very good place when I wrote that post.  It’s so bleak and heavy and suffocating.  But that’s exactly how I feel when I’m having these moments.  When I’m wearing this black cloack.  It hangs around me like the proverbial albatross around my neck, and it takes days (sometimes) to shift it.  Often it will come on from something I’ve seen on television.  For the regular readers, you’ll remember my post about crying my contacts out whilst watching Love My Way.  That episode drove me down to the depths of my soul and I wallowed around there for almost a week.  I came up for air, and haven’t been able to watch another episode of Love My Way ever since.  Let’s call it self-preservation and leave it at that.

Apart from the Love My Way episode, I haven’t really worn the black cloak often lately.  There was a time, back in my 20’s when I regularly shrugged on the cloak and didn’t remove it for weeks.  I dropped weight.  A lot of weight.  Despite the fact that I was eating my normal amounts.  Rumours were going around my work that I was bulimic.  Somebody even told people she smelt vomit in the toilet after I’d been there.  None of it was true.  The truth was I was in a depressive funk, but when people don’t want to look very closely, they’ll see whatever they want to see.

But I’m better now.  I surround myself with positive people who love and care for me.   These are the kind of people who ask how you are, and actually wait for the answer.  The following people have been culled from my life (or contact has been severely limited): the whingers, the fatalists, the narcissists and the victims.  All gone!  And it’s cathartic.

I understand now that I am prone to depression.  I understand that there are steps I can take to try and avoid it.  But I also understand that sometimes “the only way out is through”.

I'm not alone here, I know I'm not.  So for anybody who's interested, next week is Mental Health Week (7-13 October).  There are some events happening around Queensland and you can find a list of events on the Mental Health Week website. 

Stay happy everyone.  And when you're not happy, know that it will pass.


Image credit: Poofy / 123RF Stock Photo