Badges Earned in Faux Adulthood

Here’s a couple of stories buried in enlightening messages I have picked up in my 25 moons. Um, 25 new moons? Okay yep that’ll do. Here it is:

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You can’t please everyone.

If there’s one thing I’ve always been, it’s a self confessed people-pleaser. I get it from my Papi. So sue us, we like being liked. However! Guess what happens when you get in to your mid 20s? If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably start getting tired of being a bit of a doormat.

Sadly something happens when you go through this period. Some associates may not like the new back-boned-of-steel you and jig their way backwards out of your life. Don’t despair. If someone truly loved you they would know you inside out and be proud of your transformation, not mad at you for changing and becoming a stronger you. Always remember that. If they aren’t happy for you they weren’t a good friend in the first place…

You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.
Dita Von Teese

I still care far too much what people think though, especially my friends. Overall I’m quite a nice kid, if I do say so myself. Maybe I’m a bit self indulgent. But I like talking and I like listening in equal parts. I know I’m not an easy friend to have in my over-dramatic and analytical state but in a heart beat I’m there to give advice and listen if needed.

I care a great deal about my friends. Very very much so. I like to tell them every chance I get and just to reiterate, I message you because I love you. Even if it’s meaningless crap, I love that bonding and the contact. You can tell me about your day, you know how I love to know everything about everything. I’ll fill the gaps with my own self-important rambles too. That’s friendship. It’s lovely.

Grazie mia caras for the bants and advice on a regular basis. It’s always appreciated, no matter how many miles away you are. Waking up to an inbox full of you makes my cold, dark and early mornings so much more bearable ❤️

~

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Being opinionated is a good thing.

Tying in to the above, I’ve realised how important it is to have convictions and be not only a supporter but an activist when it comes to things you care about.

Never again will I sit back and listen to racist, homophobic or sexist comments without putting in my two cents. If people don’t like it they certainly aren’t my people to begin with.

I’ll never forget cringing at BBQs of friends of friends in my teenage years and listening to the awful jokes they’d make about women and indigenous Australians and being far too terrified to say anything. All I could muster was a ‘please don’t take me there again’ to my ex on the way home.

These days I live on my soapbox and I’m all for an adult debate about a topic but when it comes to things as basic as human rights and feminism you can bugger right off.

I think my favourite example of a run in I had was a night in Memphis, Jessie and I found ourselves entertaining a group of eight southern fellas. J of course thought it would be hilarious to ask them how they felt about Trump.

With a roar and animated banging of fists-on-table they announced they think he’s a hero. I audibly scoffed. Jess followed with ‘oh don’t talk to Leigh about it, she hates him.’

The gentleman closest to me turned in his chair, placed an elbow on his knee and scratched his chin. The line that followed will go down as my favourite in our American history.

‘So you’re telling me, you’re okay with pedophiles using the bathroom with little kids?’

I snorted in to my drink. ‘I’m sorry?’ I managed after a small coughing fit.

He repeated, and followed with: ‘those transgender people want to make bathrooms co-ed, so that these perverts can use the bathroom with little kids.’

Tears streamed down my face at this point as I tried desperately not to burst out laughing. You know those times when you’re trying really hard to comprehend what someone just said but you’re drawing a blank? Yeah, that. I glanced up and remembered that there were eight of them and rather than making an absolute fool out of him I chose to put on my most charming smile.

‘I think there are bigger issues at play than that… Don’t you?’

He did not. I think I offended them, because they left us within a few minutes. We exchanged head nods and ‘have a good night’s before I turned to Jessie and laughed harder than I had in a while.

Okay, so, aside from in his mind all transgender (at least he used the correct terminology?) people being pedophiles, I don’t quite know how he missed the part where pedophiles are already using the bathroom with children. There isn’t a separate pedophile toilet, nor do most of them have a preference for gender. That’s kind of the point. They like kids.

I was bamboozled.

I don’t like to laugh at people for lacking intelligence, but after my little fit it dawned on me that those people all have the ability to vote.

And if they do, they’ll vote for that vile human being.

Shit.

Ironically their political convictions can’t have been that strong as they returned looking for us an hour later. At that point we’d infiltrated a Contiki group and I was far too drunk to be so tactful. On your bikes, fellas.

Thank you to the countless wonderful, open-hearted and enlightened Americans I met along the rest of our journey who showed me, although there’s a serious issue with scaremongering in the media over there too, lots of us try our best to self educate and actually care about the people around us.

Oh Australia. I hope you learn one day that ‘stop the boats’ should not be a winning campaign slogan…

~

Celebrities are people too.

So this one time many moons ago I was in love with Geordie Shore. Say what you will, it’s brilliant. To this day Queen Vicky is still my role model and when Miranda and I heard that she would be appearing at the ever classy Eve Nightclub in the Casino we just knew we had to go.

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Donning my blackest fake tan and hair piece, we pre drank and entered the den of seed.

The night started well. We gently elbowed our way to the front of the crowd and were the last in a chain of fifty to get a kiss from Scotty T. Like the ladies we are we turned our cheeks. We were there for Vicky.

Behind the DJ booth, there she was. My Geordie Icon. She was as beautiful as I’d imagined and pre-skinny Vicky looked lovely in her playsuit and huge hair piece. When photo time came I made sure to be memorable and told her how much I loved her and completely blanked Scotty.

We weren’t quite ready to leave our stars and so Mimi and I hovered near the bar and stared rather intensely at them. A gentleman who turned out to be their PR guy appeared next to us and asked ‘would you ladies like to party with Scotty T?’ Would we ever!

Half an hour later we sat awkwardly by the cordoned off and very average ‘VIP area’ and grinned eagerly as they were ushered in. We got the nod of approval from Mr PR and among fifteen other leggy blondes we were in!

We coolly took a seat at a table in the middle and watched the girls one by one twirl their hair at Scotty or marvel at Vick’s engagement ring (I told you it was a while ago!).

When the Queen took a seat on the lounge near by I seized my opportunity.

What did I do? I dropped to my knees and knee-walked up to her. I genuinely don’t remember why.

She grinned at me and offered me a seat next to her. For the next twenty minutes we chatted about who-knows-what, all I remember is announcing ‘my mums old best friend is your mums next door neighbour!’ (It’s a small Geordie world) and finishing off her drink for her. She was lovely. I didn’t mention her engagement to Ricci as, to be honest, I thought and still think he’s a complete bellend. It turns out at that time they had actually broken up and the ring was for keeping up appearances and avoiding spoilers. Poor thing.

After we got our photos they left and I knee-walked back to Miranda. We exchanged a giddy high-five.

There’s the tale of my one and only celebrity encounter. Here’s the photo evidence:

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~

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People will always justify their actions to themselves.

This is one my Papi taught me a few years ago and nothing has ever rang truer. It’s really helped me in my quest for understanding other’s perspectives and maybe it will help you too.

When people do and say things, be it to you or about you or whatever, they do it because in their mind it’s the right thing to do. If they hurt you, they’ve convinced themselves of why they had to. If they lie to you, they have a reason in mind to justify it.

It doesn’t mean you’ll agree with their reasoning, but to get through each and every day do we not tell ourselves why we are doing what we are doing constantly?

I sent that email for these reasons, I bitched about that person because… I killed those people as… Okay maybe not that one but come on, we all know why we do things.

So next time someone hurts you and you can’t understand why, remember that they have their own reasons. They have made their actions right in their own heads. Try to remember that sometimes people say things because other things are influencing them. They’re unhappy so they’re lashing out. It’s not necessarily all about you. Take some time, take a breath, and please try to be the bigger person. At least on occasion. I’m the worst for rolling over and taking it when I shouldn’t. But hey, saves an argument. Let’s all just try to be kinder to each other hey? You can’t have too many friends.

But if someone is a constant dick feel free to get rid. You have my blessing to cleanse yourself of negativity.

Thanks for reading my tales!

There will be many more to come.

Harleigh Q

Xo

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The Killing Joke: A Lesson In How To Nail It

 

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I’ve loved Batman and his dark and dirty city for many years now and one thing you see as a DC fan is multiple interpretations of the stories and characters we love so much.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have high hopes for The Killing Joke. I walked in to that special screening clutching my popcorn, jaw clenched in anticipation.

I took my seat three rows from the front, thankful that this time that I’d remembered my glasses and settled in for two hours of rollercoaster emotions.

*SPOILER ALERT*

If you haven’t read The Killing Joke, sort out your priorities and don’t read any further. You’ve been warned.

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I bought my deluxe edition hardcopy of the graphic novel in Boston. I was so eager to get in to it I curled up in the front seat of our bus and read it cover to cover in one leg of our drive to New York. I wore my sunnies to disguise the embarrassing amount of tears I shed and bit my lip to keep in the gasps. I fucking love comic books.

As a big Harley fan I’ve mainly stuck to stories involving her so TKJ for me was a whole new level of darkness. I was enthralled. It showed flashbacks of the Joker’s past which almost painted him in a sympathetic light. Suddenly it all makes sense! His psychopathic behaviour, his deranged attitude… But, the events that follow make you question everything. His determination to turn the moral compass of the series mad filled my chest with anger and frustration. Gordon is too good. He deserves so much better.

When I finished my book and watched the trailer for the feature length adaptation I prayed they would do it justice. They did so much better than just that. They added a feel to the story I couldn’t have predicted.

We began with a beautiful interview with the amazing Mark Hamill. THE Joker, in my mind. He was so humble. Hearing his voice again took me back to my childhood love of the series and with that I was ready. Bring on the carnage!

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Our opening story, narrated by the wonderful Batgirl, had me on the edge of my seat. Where I once so empathised with Harley and her love of danger, I now found my heart strings pulled by the lovely Barbara. Oh dear. I’m a Barb. I can’t wait to read her comics and learn more about her but the insight I gained from the first half of this feature has already got me on team Batgirl. Sadly I think we’re a little too similar. Always falling for the Batman….

Anyway! Knowing her fate made me incredibly emotional when she and Bruce shared that moment on the rooftop. It was amazing. Doesn’t that make it so much worse?

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This also further fuelled my anger when we are greeting by a smiling Joker when she answers her door. I’ve just bonded with this woman! Don’t take her away from me already! Of course, she lives, but not before horrendously graphic photos of her were used to try drive her father insane; a man who I see as the strongest and most righteous of any I’ve crossed. He’s so moral, yet it never comes across in a negative way. You want to do right by him. He’s just so well written and I understand completely Batman’s bond with him.

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The fairground ride juxtaposed with the most fucked up musical number you’ve ever heard sent shivers down my spine.

When I’m confronted with scenes like this, and being such a daddy’s girl myself, I couldn’t help but imagine my own Papi’s reaction to being in this situation. I’m sure he’d ring the neck of anyone or anything he could get his hands on. I’d do the same. For Gordon to cry out ‘by the book‘ as he sends Batman after the Joker, just goes to show what an epic man he is. Beyond human. He sees the bigger picture.

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The ending of The Killing Joke is superb. The laughter rang through the theatre. I heard the fans cackling along and those unfamiliar with the source material left with very confused looks on their faces. This is why I love the DC universe. It’s fucked.

The closing interviews with the composers and artists rounded out a fantastic experience. I marvelled at their genius. I’ve always admired composers for their incredible ability to make you feel things before you even know what’s happening. I felt like that throughout the entire feature; despite knowing what was going to happen, my heart was in my throat!

Thank you to every amazing creative involved in the production of this masterpiece.

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You definitely didn’t let this little nerd down.

Thank you friends for reading my review!

Harleigh Q

xo

My 100 Things

1. Speak fluent Italian
2. Do a Thai cooking class 
3. Complete a half marathon
4. Visit Yellowstone national park
5. Do an overnight hike with Nat
6. Go to a surf and yoga retreat
7. Publish a book
8. Attend a rally for something I’m passionate about
9. Attend a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto
10. Get to Everest Base Camp
11. Visit a host club in Tokyo
12. Sing on stage again
13. Learn to ballroom dance
14. Tattoo someone
15. Meet an A list celebrity
16. Watch sunrise over the Grand Canyon
17. Do a Northern Lights cruise
18. Become a decent surfer
19. Change someone’s life
20. Get inverted
21. Spend a week in silence
22. Camp on a beach
23. Introduce someone to a new passion
24. Hold a new born baby
25. Make pasta from scratch
26. Complete a piece of art
27. Dance in the streets of Cuba
28. Find a salsa club in Argentina
29. Hike the Inca trail
30. Raise money for charity
31. Teach someone something
32. Get another tattoo
33. Get married in Vegas
34. See the West Coast Eagles play
35. See a rocket launch
36. Kiss in the rain
37. Host a themed dinner party
38. Soul dance at a gig
39. Create my own signature cocktail
40. Get another piercing
41. See The Last Shadow Puppets live
42. Attend Comic-con in San Diego
43. Cosplay as Harley Quinn again
44. Meet Joe Gilgun
45. See a movie being filmed
46. Read the entire works of F Scott Fitzgerald
47. Be on the radio
48. Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower (not just level 2 this time)
49. Zip line
50. Record a song
51. Attend another NUFC game
52. Go vegan for a month
53. Decorate my own home
54. Have my own signature dish (not cob dip!)
55. Live overseas
56. Be a tour guide
57. Stay in a country to learn their language
58. Be able to confidently lift weights with the big boys
59. See a wild guerrilla
60. Join a sports team
61. See the Red Sox play
62. Visit all 50 states in the US
63. Touch a big spider
64. Visit a psychic
65. Find a Perth band I love
66. Meet my soulmate
67. Adopt an orangutang
68. Do a Caribbean cruise
69. Sail the Mediterranean
70. Have a big family
71. Own a vintage scooter/car
72. Live in Melbourne
73. Do Vodkatrain
74. Give something away for free
75. Party on a beach in Thailand 
76. Attend a sundowner dinner in Dubai
77. Visit every Aussie state
78. Have curry in India
79. Walk part of the Great Wall of China
80. Swim in Maya Bay 
81. Wear a proper Kimono
82. Visit the temple of Zeus
83. See a Broadway show
84. Have another white Christmas
85. Go to camping hippy festival
86. Take a burlesque course
87. Go in a hot air balloon
88. Learn the Thriller dance
89. Be a maid of honour
90. Enter an Egyptian tomb
91. Attend carnival in Rio
92. Longboard in Iceland
93. Meet a serial killer
94. Be someone’s date to an event
95. Ride a Harley
96. Stay in a beach shack in Hawaii
97. Fly business class
98. Watch turtles hatch and run to the ocean
99. Learn how to play something on piano
100. Have Papi give me away at my wedding

What are yours?

Harleigh Q

xo

A Living Project

This week three things happened; the only three things that didn’t involve copious alcohol on my part.

1. I watched the Graceland Happiness Project on the plane to Brisbane.

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I have been wanting to watch this SBS doco ever since I first heard about it. but being such a Netflix junkie and with no illegal download capabilities (anymore) I just hadn’t got around to it.

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Tim Dormer is one of my favourite Aussies. He’s a huge advocate for Australia Zoo and wildlife conservation, as well as being besties with the Irwins. He won Big Brother a few years ago and I’ve loved watching him grow.

Ben Zabel was a participant on the same season. The unlikely friendship between them was such a beautiful thing to watch. Where Tim is a kooky, calculated rock star, Ben is kind, sweet and fragile. Ben is the type of person you just want to watch on replay, because he’s so incredibly funny and unique. He admitted early on in the show that he struggles with depression.

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The basic story of GHP is a heartbreaking one. Years after the end of big brother, Ben had been really struggling. Tim decided he wanted to do something for him that would help this in some way: take him to Graceland. Ben was a huge Elvis fan and an old soul. This was to be his Disneyland, right?

I’m not going to ruin the way it all plays out for you but what I will say, and what affected me most, was seeing both of them trying to come to terms with Ben’s depression. I saw one man struggle to completely enjoy his own dream and another look on hopelessly, accepting this was something he couldn’t fix. People aren’t fixable.

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I feel I’ve sat on both sides of this fence. I’m incredibly lucky that my own bouts of depression have been few and far between but I’ve been there, as most of us have. It was such a real way to look at it. Sometimes living your dream won’t change anything. How could it? The demons are still inside your mind. The chemicals still aren’t balancing.

I really resonated with Tim’s struggle too. I just want everyone to be happy. I’m a self confessed ‘fixer’. I think everyone needs to care a hell of a lot more about each other than they do. I see this in him. I saw a reflection of my own face when he came to the realisation that Ben was going through the motions but he wasn’t about to have a big amazing breakthrough that would change the course of his life. He’s just Ben.

A beautiful line I’ll carry with me was when Tim ended up having his own epiphany. ‘Maybe I just need to be there‘. It’s as simple as that.

I cried on the plane. I’m absolutely hopeless. I’m so glad I know these two humans are out there and I will closely follow their journey for as long as they let us in to their lives. There are such good, real, genuine souls out there. Seeing that kind of love between friends was wonderful.

2. We had Sebastian Terry as our keynote speaker at conference.

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Working for Flight Centre for almost four years I’ve attended a lot of conferences and I’ve heard a lot of speeches. This one I connected with more than any other.

Seb is the pioneer of 100 Things. If you haven’t heard of him I shall explain:

At the age of twenty four he was backpacking around the world with an unused Uni degree in tow and had no idea who he was. One day he heard news of a good friend’s passing. They were only twenty four. He wondered, if his friend had known he’d only live for such a short period of time, would he change the way he’d done it?

Seb knew his friend was living his real, authentic life. He probably wouldn’t change a thing. Seb on the other hand, had no idea what he was doing.

What did he do next? He wrote a list: 100 things that would make him happy if he achieved them.

Then? He started doing them.

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As he explained his reasoning, and how his focus has now shifted to helping others complete their lists, because that’s where he found his fulfilment, again I tried not to sob. Very difficult after three hours sleep.

Here was a man perfectly articulating what I had been trying to put across to my people through this blog.

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Why don’t we live our lives in a way that makes us feel happy and fulfilled? Why do we get the half Uni degrees and house deposits and never look for a greater purpose? Just because society tells you money and security make the world go around doesn’t mean that’s right for everyone.

People are kind. Have faith in them. It’s other people’s kindness that have helped Seb in his journey and I can absolutely say the same about mine. Be it a place to stay, an adventure companion, a lift to the airport, a free meal, a big hug: kindness is all around us.

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I’ll be the first to admit I’m terrible with money, but because of the generosity of my family I’m okay. They didn’t turn my room in to a gym. It’s all good. I’ve had free accommodation all over the world, a stupid amount of free airport rides and city tours. I’ve had clothes to borrow and food to eat and stories to tell all because of these people who are absolutely everywhere.

Not knowing what’s around the corner is the greatest feeling in the world. As scary as being outside of your comfort zone is, fear let’s you know you’re alive. I live for that feeling now. It’s addictive. I hope I spend the rest of my life in a perpetual state of adventure and maybe one day have a person by my side who feels the same. We’ll see.

3. My sister lost yet another friend.

At almost twenty she has lost more people than anyone else I know. I can’t begin to explain or even comprehend why these young people are losing their lives.

You know what I take from that?

My sister is a stronger human than I am.

And we need to fucking live man. While we can.

~

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I’m going to go back to my bucket list and scrap that term. As Seb said its associated with dying. These aren’t my dying wishes, they’re my living goals.

I’ve written my 100 things and I would love it if some of you would do it too. I know a lot of you read this. WordPress dobs you in 😉

Write a list, even if it’s just 10 things, and write it in the comments of this post. Let’s see if any of us can help each other tick some boxes. I’ll bet we can!

My 100 Things

Thank you this weekend for helping me make some decisions that I have been mulling over. Thank you for putting a bit of life back in to this blue girl. Even if I can’t travel as much as I’d like this next year I’m going to complete some home grown goals and hopefully pick up some new friends along the way. I can’t wait to meet you.

I love you all

Harleigh Q

Xo