Month: September 2013

the bachelorette: alex’s adventures in tinder-land (part 2)


Le Tinder Adventure continues..

I have come to the (deep and meaningful) conclusion that Tinder is, without a doubt, a rascal. A classic example of this is when you’ve been matched with someone, but neither of you have taken the first step by sending the other a message. Tinder then butts in with bossy little encouragements to get the conversation started which, despite being passive aggressive, are rather hilarious. Or at least they are to me. Some of my favourites thus far have been:

“You’re not getting any younger.” Cheers, bro.

“They probably look better in person.” So reassuring.

“See this box? Type something into it.”

“You both like things. Talk about them.”

If Tinder was a gent I’d swipe ‘Like’ for him.

I’ll be honest with you: the initial sheen and novelty rapidly wore off after Week One and I became rather ambivalent about the whole thing. Now, I am So. Over. Tinder. Then why on earth did you keep using it, you dingus? Good question, amigo.

Well, I was still messaging some guys who had some potential (whatever that means) through the app.. whom I was hoping to meet up with before logging off indefinitely. So, despite my waning enthusiasm, I continued to inundate myself with photos of men within a 20 mile radius of my present location.. which left me salivating smiling, chuckling, grimacing and furrowing my brows more than once. And not just because of some truly bizarre selfies.

Zoolander 01Swipe right. Obvs.

See, despite its tacky reputation, I actually think that Tinder is onto something: physical attraction is an essential and undeniable part of overall attraction (particularly so if you’re seeking something short and casual). In a way Tinder is just facilitating what we do every time we walk into a bar, a uni tutorial or a train carriage in that we can assess in a matter of milliseconds who the most physically attractive specimens are within our vicinity. And by ‘we’ I am referring to myself.. and I hope to god that I’m not the only one who does this..Anyone??

So, has Tinder just harnessed and digitised what is innate and involuntary and placed it in our palms? Well, yes.. but it’s not as simple as that, either. For starters, can you truly tell whether you’re attracted to someone through a maximum of five 42cm2 photos? That’s a lot smaller than life-size.

This question popped into my head when I was staring at the faces of some guys whom I’ve previously dated upon my phone screen. My first reaction was to laugh hysterically – purely because it feels pretty crazy to see any familiar face on Tinder – but especially so when it’s one that you’ve already studied up-close in real life. After that: the swipe decision. I swiped left (Nope) to each of them because, although I am still vaguely attracted to a few of them, we stopped seeing each other for a reason. BUT would I have actually swiped right (Like) to any of them if I hadn’t previously dated them and I was going off their Tinder profiles alone? Interestingly, I came back with a resounding No. Which is bizarre considering I can remember pretty clearly just how attracted I was to each of them in real life..

Liam Hemsworth 03Week Two: I’m sure you can guess way I’d swipe for
the newly-single Mr Hemsworth.

So, personally, pixels don’t actually guarantee attraction (or a lack thereof). I guess that awesome electricity fluttering through your veins when you’re instantly drawn to someone just can’t necessarily be felt through pixels. Which is fine, apart from the fact that technology is increasingly becoming a mainstream way of meeting new people and that it allows us to quickly and dismissively make a call on whether someone is worth our time or not (with the simple swipe of our thumb, no less). Oh, and you completely miss out on the electricity-fluttering-through-your-veins thing.

See, although I’m glad to have moved on from each of these guys I dated, I don’t regret having invested some time and emotional energy in them because they’re all lovely (and, coincidentally, attractive) guys. However, if I was deciding whether to go out with them based on their Tinder profiles then I would never know how great they each are or just how intoxicating the chemistry between us would be..

Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention: I met up with a guy from Tinder. And it was actually fine.
(Ok, it was much better than fine.)

The third and final installment of the Twilight Tinder Saga will likely make reference to a hot muso, some breathtaking music, Alex being an absolute dingus, sweltering heat and double denim. You’ve been forewarned.

Alex x

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this is a post about mental illness.

“What a piece of work is a man!
How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties!
In form and moving, how express and admirable!
In action how like an angel!
In apprehension how like a god!
The beauty of the world!
The paragon of animals!
And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?”
― William Shakespeare, Hamlet, II, ii, 291-298.

Do you know what depression actually feels like?

Maybe it’s me, but, despite its unprecedented awareness, I feel that for lots of us mental illness remains a vague, hazy concept. We understand what it is on paper, perhaps. For example, many of us are probably aware that nearly 45% of us will suffer from some form of mental illness during our lifetime [1]Which is quite a major chunk, just quietly. Or, perhaps, not. Perhaps it’s all much more foreign than that to some of us.

This, gorgeous rascals, is a post about mental illness. More specifically, it’s a post for anyone who has ever wondered what things like depression and anxiety can feel like. (I say ‘can’ because the spectrum of experiences is, without a doubt, very varied and I’m not going to pretend that my personal experience is either definitive or normal.)

I guess now would be a helpful time to give you a brief synopsis of my life in recent years, wouldn’t it?

I guess it’d be fair to say that the past five years of my life have been my hardest thus far. A big part of their tough-factor can be attributed to an eating disorder followed up by some depression and anxiety being thrown into the food processor that is my life. That’s a lot of fun stuffed into the one blender. Although I have come a long, long way and I am generally going really well, particularly compared to previous years, it continues to be a long, difficult slog… but, despite that, it’s definitely the best and most worthwhile slog I’ve slogged at to date. I have changed so much in so many (positive) ways and I am actually very thankful for going through this.. because I’m glad to have moved on from being the person that I was five years ago. I was a crazy-lady perfectionist, for one.

But, that’s not to say that the crap days aren’t sh!t. Because they are. They really are.. Even when my depression and anxiety are, thankfully, on the ‘mild’ (i.e. things-could-be-so-much-worse) end of the spectrum.

I know that even for some of my closest family members, getting their heads around what mental illness is, what it can feel like and how it can manifest itself has been truly perplexing. So, if this is of use to you, then I’m glad.


What depression can feel like on a bad day: some firsthand experiences.

Everything feels hopeless. 

I feel like a sad zombie. Not in the ‘I have a craving for brains’
sense, but in that I feel like I’m in a very glum daze.

Everything feels really hard. Things which would normally feel
achievable feel so very far from my reach. Frankly, even bog
standard daily tasks feel like a challenge.

I feel sad, really sad. Sad without any particularly good reason.
Bit of a given with depression, but hey.

I feel overwhelmed. 

I can barely think straight. 

Sugar. I need sugar. And starch. Please. Now. Damn it.

I really just want hugs. Lots of hugs.  

Struggling to remember what I love about life.
Struggling to get away from the laptop
(aka Primary Mind-Number which isn’t actually that cathartic at all).

Generally, body image and self-esteem are subsequently pretty average now, too.

My room, invariably, looks fairly disastrous today.

Negative thoughts abound.

When is this (down patch) going to end?

Today feels lonely.

Remember how much I would like to do and achieve
in life and how much potential I like to tell myself that I have.
Result: feel worse.

Categorically do not believe in myself at the moment.

Am I allowed to give up yet?

Should probably just sleep it off. Invariably I just stay up late instead.

I feel enveloped in bottomless hopelessness and sadness.

I feel paralysed.

I feel numb.

Thankfully, the vast majority of my days are happy, normal and even-keeled, but I still have down days like that which I’ve just described, too. I know that, to an extent, they’re just a part of life. But for me they’re also something which I’m still having to work through. In the meantime, a large part of me just wants to get through this stage and just get on with the rest of my life.. but I guess this obstacle is helping to shape me and the direction I want the rest of my life to go in..

Ok. And now that I have scared off any potential suitors from my life for the foreseeable future, I shall go back to Tinder..

Alex x


PS: On an editorial note, I don’t expect that mental illness is going to be a reigning feature of my writing going forwards. It’s not my plan at this stage. (Partly because writing about failing at life is a touch more amusing and enjoyable for me to write about, for starters.) But, if you would like to continue the discussion, or have questions or you’d like to share your own experiences of mental illness etc, you’re so welcome to get in touch. Ax. 


the bachelorette: alex’s adventures in tinder-land (part 1)

And the things that happened when I hurled myself down this bizarre rabbit-hole..

Background:

Now, I won’t lie to you: I’m hooked. It may even be a mild addiction.

I have been watching the new series, The Bachelor Australia.. and I am loving it hard. This is mainly due to the fact that I spend nearly every minute of it in hysterics. Oh, the gaudy McMansion, the emotional rose ceremonies, the cartloads of makeup, the stilettos at lunchtime, the melodrama and bitchiness. It’s divine.

Although I am being very cynical and judgemental, for which I do apologise, there are some things which I would genuinely like about participating in the show: namely, going on all of those awesome dates. Oh, let’s just casually take a private plane to a deserted beach where we’ll go horse riding and then have a romantic dinner. Oh, if you insist. Oh, and Tim isn’t too shabby either.

Now, over the past week I’ve been having a little taste of how Timmy must be feeling.

Enter: Tinder.

Oh, yes, I did. I enlisted myself as the guinea pig for this social experiment (I couldn’t find any other volunteers within the vicinity). Tinder works by creating a mini profile for you (accessing photos, your interests and friends via FB) where you can upload photos and write a blurb about yourself. From there you are shown pictures of guys (or girls) within the mile radius and age group which you’ve selected. You can either ‘Like’ a person by swiping RIGHT or say ‘Nope’ by swiping LEFT. If you’ve Liked someone and they’ve Liked you too, you can start messaging each other through the app. If one or both of you say Nope to each other you never have to know.

Hypothesis:

I got introduced to Tinder through some of my single girlfriends who like to Tind (is it a verb yet?) after having one (or four) glasses of wine for sh!ts and giggles. So, my expectations of Tinder were (and are) pretty LOW, as in, I will not be disappointed if a Chuck Bass/Nate Archibald/Dan Humphrey hybrid doesn’t come waltzing into my life. I like Gossip Girl, ok? No need to judge. See, Tinder has a reputation for being on the sleazy and superficial side, to put it nicely, where Real Proper Relationships are a strange novelty from a world far, far away.. Anyway.

Tinder                       Tinder 02
Left: Profile. Now, which way to swipe? Right: Bingo!
PS: I give you permission to pretend that I am that babe.

Observations – Week One:

 Day One: 50 matches. And The Bachelor thought he had his hands full.
I see your 25 and raise you another 25, sir. Feeling slightly overwhelmed.


So many guys surf. Hmm.
 I don’t surf.. Maybe I should get back into it… Nah.


Is it me, or does everyone have tattoos these days?
I am feeling like such a nanna.


Ok and what is with 90% of the guys I am chatting to being named
either Michael, Andrew or ALEX?! So flipping confusing.. and weird.


How long is a mile? (1.609344 kilometres if you’re interested.)


Must stop swiping ‘Like’ to people simply because they look like an ex
or someone
whom I was previously attracted to. Bad Alex.


The “trying to trick me into thinking you are a babe by using a photo with
your hot friend as your primary photo” tactic does not fool me, sir.
(I check the subsequent photos.)


Babies! Toddlers! Puppies! Kittens! Lambs!!

Yes, you are clearly taking advantage of the fact that I am a sucker for cute stuff.
And I love that. Swipe RIGHT.


Oh, look! The guy whom I was dating until two days ago.
Long time, no see, buddy.
Swipe LEFT.


How come there are so many hot guys on Tinder? It’s perplexing.


That gratuitous ab selfie? Yeah, you know the one.

Well, it’s reminding me about my lack of a six-pack. 
And I was perfectly happy without that reminder, thanks.


So is this the one time in life where I don’t have to be
ashamed about being superficial?


I hope I don’t stumble across my brother or any of his friends.
God, that’d be awkward..

It’d be fair to say that I have been a tad distracted over the past week.. and perhaps flipping through countless pictures of countless men has become a mild (temporary) addiction in it’s own right.. Awks. Actually, I think I was probably looking for another way to procrastinate when I first logged into the app.

Conversations on Tinder thus far have ranged from fairly standard meet & greet stuff to “I don’t want my Dad to see this. Ever.” to the.. memorable.. Take this one for example:

(As an introductory message)
Gent: “Hey Alex, I’ve been thinking.. Oranges must have been discovered before carrots, right?” Seriously. WTF.
(Quickly followed up by..)
Gent: “If you could design a new fruit what would it be like?” You, dear sir, have had WAY too much time on your hands recently.. and your fruit obsession is a bit intense.. #fruitloop.

Conclusion – Week One:

Week One Tally: So far, I’ve encountered three five guys whom I’ve dated or similar etc, five guys from uni, one guy seven guys from school, my friend’s good-looking brother and one guy whom I had a crush on at a high school holiday camp. He was such a babe as a fourteen year old.

Forecast: 

What’s ahead for Week Two? Meeting up with some of these rascals, trying to get my head around the perceived hotness of “first thing in the morning” selfies and whether chemistry can truly be felt through pixels.. Stay tuned. I may need rescuing from the rabbit-hole.

Alex x

what to do what your ex gets married: a DIY guide.

This post comes accompanied by a soundtrack of “Falling” by HAIM and Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek”.

As I type this sentence my ex is getting married.

He is standing in the church at this very moment. He is going to say his vows any minute now. Literally now.

And that’s ok. But this moment feels surreal, nonetheless.

I wasn’t particularly ok when I heard the news of his engagement just over twelve months ago: I felt like I was in a car crash in a movie – where everything gets thrown backwards and then forwards in slow motion for what seems like hours. Despite having long moved on from him I was in shock.. and I was surprised at just how much it stung.

Perhaps this was because of who he was to me. See, he wasn’t just an ex. He was my first one. And not only was he my first relationship, he was my first (nearly) everything else. Fill in the gaps, Clouseau.

Not only was he all of this, our families have been best friends since before we were born.
Not only this, he is my Dad’s godson and the apple of his eye.
Not only have we known each other for all of our 22 years, there was a time when it wouldn’t have surprised our parents if it was us who were getting married today. (Yes, they verbalised that).

Quite someone. 

Well, for a time.

Thankfully, the feeling-like-I’m-in-a-slow-motion-car-crash sensation only lasted for 36 hours, during which I consulted my reliable sidekick, Google, with the statement: “my ex is getting married”. The blogs and forums that I found were quite comforting with their general advice and sentiment of “this too shall pass”. And they were right: it has become easier and easier since then.. although, I’m not going to lie, there have been some plenty of moments over the past twelve months which have been less than.. enjoyable.

Initially, it felt like The Wedding was all that my parents could talk about. Yay! Then attention turned to the wardrobe, with my Mum constantly consulting me on what to wear to The Wedding. Only two new dresses, two new pairs of heels, one new bag and a fascinator were required to finally formulate the perfect outfit. Yes, mention of The Wedding made me bristle up quite easily initially.

I should explain: It’s not that I want (or wanted) to be with him. No, not in the vaguest. See, I fell for the 16 year old him.. and we’ve both changed and grown so much since then. In fact, I don’t actually know who he is today..

No. I think part of the pain came from receiving that final confirmation that my youthful dreams for my life would never become a reality. Dreams in which he played a starring role.

Those dreams and plans were put through the shredder many years ago, but hearing that he had put a ring on it (oh, Queen B) momentarily brought everything to the surface again. It felt like some annoying git was rubbing this bizarre form of defeat in my face, declaring in permanent marker that we were never, ever going to be together. Yes, thank you, sir. I got that memo and if you remember correctly, it was my dream and it was I who chose to put that dream through the shredder in the first place.

As I type this my parents are watching my ex getting married. My Dad is doing a reading during the ceremony, in fact. I was invited to The Wedding and I would’ve been happy to go, but, as it so happens, it is being held in England. And, let’s be honest: I wasn’t going to pay a few thousand dollars to flog my arse over to the other side of the world during the middle of the uni semester to a wedding during which I would’ve been faking a smile.

But, here’s the thing: that was my rationale this time last year. I think that if I was sitting in the church with my parents today that my smile would be genuine, because I have since realised that even if things had worked out between him and I, that I do not want the life that he wants, nor the path that he is taking.

I know that, personally, I am not ready to get married. I’m still getting to know myself and, let’s not lie, I am looking forward to spending my 20s enjoying life without too many major commitments or responsibilities. I don’t think that getting married young is a bad thing, but it’s just not right for me at this present moment.

So, I am happy for him and his (now) wife. I hope that their marriage is long, happy, peaceful and full of contentment.

I send them nothing but my love and the small smile playing upon my lips.

DST

Alex x

treasure hunting.

“Treasure, that is what you are,
Honey, you’re my golden star,
You know you can make my wish come true
If you let me treasure you.”
– B. Mars, ‘Treasure’.

For those who do not live in Australia or who do but, by some miracle, have managed to avoid all mainstream media over the past few months, we have a federal election tomorrow!

I am not actually that excited about it. I mean, I’m certainly thankful for our political system and our democracy, but I have become so disillusioned and disheartened by our politicians in recent years that I am very tempted to throw my hands up in the air and not give a damn anymore.

The Australian Electoral Commission ran a series of ads in 2007 titled “Your vote is a valuable thing” (which you can check out here) encouraging people to enrol to vote and to see their vote as an important thing. In the ads people who were rummaging around in their houses stumbled across a previously hidden light source which illuminated their lives with its warm glow (metaphors! similes!) accompanied by a sombre, yet hopeful xylophone melody. And whilst despite being a bit cheesy, I must admit that I agree with the sentiment.

Personally, I live in a very, very safe electorate. So safe that it may as well be Tony Abbott’s hometown. Except, I’m not particularly enamoured with the party who has a stronghold over this seat, but seeing as it is really safe I feel that my vote isn’t going to count. It feels so helpless that I’m tempted to do a donkey or blank vote.

Vote 02
Well, how about that? This sums up EXACTLY how I’m tempted to feel.

Except, if I do that I know I’ll be letting myself and others down. As we all know, women’s right to vote is something which many people have fought tirelessly for over many, many years.. and for which people are still fighting for in Saudi Arabia. So, to throw my hands up in the air and do a blank or donkey vote feels like I’m just giving all of the people before me the finger to everything they did for women today.

So, in summary: I’m jolly lucky to live in a prosperous, peaceful, democratic country in which I can vote and where anyone can put themselves forward to stand as a candidate.
But whom should I vote for tomorrow?

Well, I have decided to put my cynicism in a box for the next 24 hours at least (in you go, sweetheart) and I’m going to vote for the party whose policies I agree with the most, despite the fact that they have close to no chance of winning this seat.

My logic is that I can’t be the only one who feels like this (right?), but if everyone who is in the same boat as me just says “F&*# it!” then what difference will that make apart from to ensure that the parties whom we don’t support stay in power? Instead, perhaps if everyone who feels this way spends two minutes voting for the party whom they actually believe will represent and lead them best over the next three years then, over time, that may make an impact. Perhaps we’ll gain some momentum and then, in the future, the safety of such seats may gradually diminish to the point where one little vote no longer feels so meaningless.

See, this is what happens when my twenty-something cynicism gets put on mute: we have an abundance of youthful naivety. Darryl Kerrigan might tell me I’m dreaming, but what would life look like if we didn’t dream? And if you have no idea who Darryl Kerrigan is, please, for your own sake, rectify this issue immediately. You can thank me later, you rascal. 

Although it’s 10 minutes out of our Saturday and the ballot papers can be a bit confusing (Above the line? Below the line? Numbers? Wikileaks? Palmer United?) and it can feel pretty meaningless, I think that Gollum was on to something..

Gollum
A decade on and Lord of the Rings is still amaze. That’s what.

Happy voting, amigos.

Alex x