Sunday, April 21, 2013

There's nothing quite like inside pressure

At the risk of sounding like the VoiceOver at the end of a Modern Family episode, you really can't overstate the power of family motivation. Families are generally pretty great. They tell you what you need to hear while also being so biased that they think you're gorgeous no matter what you wear (well, almost). They're great like that. But what they are also good for is supporting you, getting behind you and sometimes jumping into the raging torrent with you.

I am of course talking about the gym.

Now I have almost always been one of those people who would quite like to be a teeny bit thinner or be toned enough to pass for Jessica Alba but have never had enough of a problem with myself to actually do much about it (a few months of sporadic morning sit-ups and afternoon skipping reps barely count).
But when my mother convinced me to come along to her first taste of the local gym I was obliged to go along and sign up with her.

Not going to lie, the first couple of visits were tough. As a self-described energetic (read: spazzy) teenager, I had assumed that I would find the workouts far easier than I did and at no point did I entertain the notion that I would be less fit than my 40-something mother.

But I guess if it was easy they wouldn't call it a workout.

After a few visits I wasn't waking up aching the next day. Which isn't to say that I am ready to sign on for a personal trainer the way my parents have. Their frequent exclamations of pain and an inability to sit down without great difficulty days after a session aren't exactly ringing endorsements.
But my obligatory teenage whining aside I don't dread attending anymore. I like the feeling of achievement I get after completing a session on the exercise bike (man, is that thing painful. Ten minutes feels like an hour of uphill torture). And knowing that my parents are there too, working their hearts out on some other brutal machine, makes me want to work as well. Though they are in pain they still obediently go a few times a week. And when my mother chirpily asks if I will come too, how can I really say no?

Honestly, I don't think I would have gone if not for my parents' motivation. I'd thought about it, for five seconds every day as I walked past the gym on the way to the bus stop. And maybe I would have made it there on my own. Likely it would have taken at least another year of thinking and balking at membership fees. But with my parents there, all seemed possible. Realistically, I'm unlikely to look like a bombshell actress at the end of it. I'd need to become a vegan and spend all day working out in a private gym with a personal trainer, dietitian and dermatologist on hand. But I'm already starting to feel better about myself and look forward to promised future improvements. So thanks, mum and dad, for not so much pushing me as convincing me and for being there all the way with kind words behind your grimaces of pain.

Maybe shyness does pay dividends

I don't think I realised just how shy I am until I started uni. Making new friends is damn hard, especially when it seems as if everyone else already has someone. Some people are lucky enough to have school chums who have come along for the ride, while others are just monstrously outgoing and as such have no trouble meeting and bonding with strangers. I, on the other hand, have always relied on people I already know and people who introduce themselves to me.
This proved a problem when I reached my place of higher education as the multitude of people combined with the immediate workload from classes left me in a state of shock which saw me sitting alone during lectures and calling my parents during breaks so I would look like someone actually wanted me.

And you know what I realised? Nobody cares.

At uni, nobody really cares if you are alone and friendless, that you are sitting alone for the third week in a row. It's not a malicious carelessness. People don't go out of their way to exclude you or specifically ignore your aloneness. It's just that they are all far too busy with their own issues to worry about your teen-life crisis.

When I was in high school, almost every move was scrutinised and commented upon, and not just by people I knew. Whenever I straightened my naturally curly hair people who I seemed to only speak to on such occasions would stop me to comment on the dramatic change. New backpacks were noticed and discussed, and mufti days were a source of great consultation.
However, when I tried the hair trick at uni, no one said a thing. Not a single eyebrow was twitched. Notice was certainly not given.

Maybe it's just my vanity talking. It's nice to sometimes be noticed positively for changes and achievements. And when you are down its nice when people take an interest in your well being. But you know what? It's totally ok if they don't.
So far, of the people I've met at uni, there has been a clear distinction between those who will choose the neighbouring seat for the foreseeable future and those who are only going to be a source of conversation for one brief tutorial.
Of the former group, I seem to have acquired four. How do I know they are part of this group? Because one of them initiated (yes, initiated, shy little me didn't have to cyberstalk) a Facebook conversation just hours after introducing herself to me in a tutorial. A social conversation. Not in any way related to uni courses. There were pop culture references and in jokes and "haha, loves youuuus" which I wouldn't have expected from someone I had barely known for six hours.

It was amazing. And it didn't stop there. Barely a week later another member of the aforementioned group handed me her phone and asked me to put my number in her contacts as she "hated conversing online when you could have a perfectly good conversation on a phone". A person with the right ideals and wanting to pursue a friendship? Score!
An invitation to the first girl's upcoming 18th birthday party shortly followed, accompanied by a reassuring "you had better come, you know you'll make the party great- of course I'm inviting you!" to boost the ego.

So I've come to decide that it's absolutely okay for people to not seem to look like all the time. After all, the ego boosting from an excitable conversation finished with a love heart far outweighs someone who has never shown any interest asking you if you are wearing a wig because your hair looks really pretty like that.

Maybe uni won't be so bad after all. And those new Facebook friends? Not just for show.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Hey, it's a job

This is how every customer is going to appear to me at the end of my waitressing shift tomorrow.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A little something I'm proud of...

Last year I was lucky enough to write a short piece for the Sydney Morning Herald on Taylor Swift, titled 'From a fan's perspective'. It was based on an interview with her, conducted by my father, that I was able to sit in on and my piece was to run next to his. Unfortunately for some reason that article is no longer available on the SMH website. I want ed to put a link to the articles I've had written on this blog but as I can't do that for this story, here is a snapshot of the page from the paper itself.

Also, I wrote a lot more than was eventually printed (not uncommon, especially for some no-name 18 year old *sigh*) so at some stage I may post the entire original story. But for now, enjoy :)

Oh and btw, I posted a review I wrote of Miss Swift's concert  a few years ago. You can find it here: or the original here: