Ready Or Not…

Not going to lie, I’m still reeling a little bit from my Mums death and I haven’t really felt compelled to write anything here in a little while.

I am a little unmotivated, a little sad, a little lonely and feeling as though everything is still incredibly surreal.

I guess it’s a giant adjustment to say goodbye to someone that you spoke with almost every day of your life.

Every now and then I think of how she was back in July or August and I’m confused as to how she lost her life so fast. It doesn’t seem like it was fair or that there was enough warning.

I didn’t really believe that I would be celebrating my first Christmas without her in 2016. And trust me, Christmas without my Mum is going to be weird and devastating and the thought of it actually makes my stomach churn.

Christmas was my Mums favourite time of the year. She got excited about it and enjoyed planning what to cook, who she would be entertaining and especially loved the gift giving part of things. The last two Christmas’ were great and I found myself in a bit of a role reversal, buying her lots of stuff because I absolutely adored her hilarious reaction to gifts.

Everyone that I’ve spoken to has felt really indifferent to Christmas and maybe I feel that way this year because of everything that has happened, but I know I’m going to miss the fun part of it; of having her there not being a grinch about things but rather being excited and happy for the day to come along.

I’ll be taking it easy this year– I’ll be probably hanging out at home for the most part… and maybe sleeping it away depending on how I feel. Which, let’s be honest, will probably be shit.

Short and long of it, right now I really miss my Mum and I feel it most on my alone weekends and when I get home to an empty house.

I have my things to keep me busy, but I’m sure it’s tangled up in an element of avoidance because when I stop, I feel like I’m going to realise that she isn’t coming back.

So for now, I’ll just keep myself busy.

I’ve read The Wrong Girl by Zoe Foster-Blake to finish my 30 books for 2016 goal, so I’ll aim to post that review soon.

Meanwhile, check out my cousin and my blog for our business: http://www.bigcuzlittlecuz.com/blog/

Blogtober Schedule

I have decided to take part in the Blogtober challenge.

Blogtober is the vow to make a post every single day. I know I’ll probably fail, but I will give it a go.

Sometimes I struggle for posts to write so I thought I would post a loose schedule of what you can expect on my blog during Blogtober.

Here they are:

  1. Review of Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
  2. Review of 13 Reasons by Jay Asher
  3. Review of Under the rose tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
  4. Photo Blogs while I am on a trip for 5 days
  5. Post about my growing collection of very cool jewellery
  6. What Really Grinds My Gears Part 3
  7. Room Renovations
  8. Weekly Review Posts
  9. My Birthday Post

If there is anything that you would like to see here, let me know!

Until then, here’s to a great October – The Month of My Birthday!

My Secret Life Inside Scientology – Jenna Miscavige Hill

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing EscapeBeyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

 

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR THIS IS JUICY AS SHIT.

scientology

…. Actually not really. See what I did there? I totally excited you for a moment and you thought you were going to read something that would shatter everything you know and thought about scientology right here in this review right?

Wrong.

And that’s kind of how I felt about this book. Got me all excited to read things that I didn’t already know about scientology and how exposing this would be– and don’t get me wrong, there were things that I read in this book that made me furious and confused and frustrated — but never shocked.

I feel a little bit bad saying negative things about someone’s biography because you’re basically bitching about their experience. What you’re saying is, “your life experience is boring, make it more interesting!” so I’m not going to do that. This book is not boring by any means, but given the title, I think I expected to be shocked.

The thing is, what we as a collective community already know about Scientology is this;
L Ron Hubbard is a fraud.
Scientology is a giant pyramid scheme whereby the people at the top are the only ones seeing the money.
Celebrities buy in to Scientology because they have entirely way too much money and didn’t spend enough time at school discerning shit from clay.
Tom Cruise is an idiot.
L Ron Hubbard reckons that some Xenu from the planet he made up in one of his books is going to come back and help them all out.
They don’t believe in psychiatry (I know this because Tom Cruise said so, lol).

The rest of it seems far less ridiculous in comparison.

Jenna Miscavige is the neice of Dave Miscavige who had the job of taking over when L Ron Hubbard died. This book is the account of her moving with her family to become a part of the secretive “Sea Org”. Jenna and her brother were split from their parents from a young age and were forced to do manual labor as part of their contribution to the sea org and in most ways become responsible for themselves.

Children were give adult jobs and responsibilities and no real compassion was afforded to them from the higher up members.

This was probably the most alarming part of the book for me — children forced to grow up like little robots without all the things that children require to become well-adjusted adults. Given that Jenna and I are the same age, I was especially angry and frustrated reading how atypical her upbringing was from mine.

The clear and most evident thing from this book is how the church of scientology play divide and conquer among people who are not complying to their every whim and rule. The self esteems of those who didn’t follow the rules were entirely eroded until they had no choice but to ‘recognise’ the error of their own ways.

Given that I have grown up from my late teens and in to my adulthood as a mostly practicing Christian, I find it strange that this church is so secretive. If something is so wonderful and so good, why are the members so unwilling to speak loudly and proudly about the church? I don’t necessarily like get-in-your-face-preaching Christians, but I am not ashamed of my faith nor have I ever been unopen to critisism where it is due.

Jenna Miscavige was an incredibly strong-minded individual who had to be such in order to endure and accept the treatment that she was given within the church. She was equally lucky to meet someone within the confines of the divisive walls of the church who was able to see it for the fraud that it was.

I admired her will and her ability to stand up to those in charge in times of turmoil and solitude.

If you are looking for explosive stories, this probably isn’t the book for it, but if you are looking to read about whole the secretive sea org functions and are interested in learning about the church, then it’s a good read.

I liked it, but I felt at times it was a little tedious — as I said though, this is someone’s experience and it’s not really my right to critique that.

And lastly, can we revisit that scientologists think psychiatry and medicine is not a real thing? And that they know better? That they know that more than what we do when it comes to mental health? (And by we, I mean scientists who dedicate decades to their work on helping those live with mental health illness?)

scientology

Also, Tom Cruise is a dick.

Cancer Does Not Discriminate

This week has been a sobering reminder to just about anyone and everyone that cancer does not discriminate.

We saw the loss of too many house-hold names this past week with the passing of David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Rene Angelil and Dan Haggerty to cancer. This is just the list of prominent people; imagine the losses of those around the world on a daily basis due to this awful disease.

We found out last Monday that my Mum’s lung cancer has returned. My immediate reaction was the same as my first. I cried; I became emotional but then I wanted to know the most important things; treatment.

Mum starts treatment tomorrow and the chemotherapy journey begins once again. For me, I like to get us through the motions; I like to remain pragmatic and stay as positive as we can living with this shit storm. I only know how I feel dealing with this and partially my heartbreak is trying to imagine how it must feel for her going through this. We will continue fighting this because we all having a fighting spirit and cancer cannot win.

Today I read that not only did Celine Dion lose her husband this week to throat cancer, but she also lost her brother to cancer and the mind absolutely boggles. How is this fair? Celebrity, not-a-celebrity, who gives a shit — no one deserves to have a loss so great so quickly after another. If some random woman in some tiny little town in Australia feels overwhelmed by that news, I can only imagine the gravity it would have on the individual actually involved. My heart goes out to her, I immediately felt a little nauseous to read the news this morning. Incredibly unfair and incredibly heartbreaking.

Rene Angelil & Celine Dion

I guess the only thing any of us can do is to continue fighting cancer. Continue getting your breasts checked and your prostate checked and your moles / freckles and any irregular lumps checked. And be generous with donations. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating; when my Mum began chemotherapy back in 2012, the chemo was unrelenting and she was sick for almost 2 weeks out of each 21 day treatment over the course of 6 months. She lost her fingernails, she lost all of her hair, her appetite, weight and her eyesight never quite recovered the same. Earlier this year she began weekly chemotherapy and the treatment wasn’t nearly as harsh. Yes she lost her hair, she lost her appetite on some days and she lost a little bit of weight, but she wasn’t nearly as sick. She had some “off” days, but overall she remained upbeat and could deal with it.

The difference between that treatment was three years. Cancer treatments became so much more advanced in that short time. So, I implore you all to donate to any cancer charity of your choice because as I said; cancer does not discriminate. It doesn’t care your age, your race, your social status, your risk factors, your whatever — do what you can to fight this disease.

This cannot continue.

Helpful websites:

Victorian Cancer Council
National Breast Cancer Foundation
Prostate Cancer Australia
Sun Smart – Skin Cancer Facts

[Book Review] Before I Go To Sleep – S. J Watson

Before I Go to SleepBefore I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you’re looking for an easy read – this book does not have your name on it.

If you are looking for a confusing, underwhelming and somehow satisfying psycho/thriller then this book is probably going to be right up your alley.

Christine wakes up in a bed that she does not recognise with a man she does not recognise. She suffers amnesia and after she goes to bed each night, she will wake with the previous day erased. It’s kind of like a less funny (if that’s even possible) version of 50 First Dates. As the story unfolds, Christine starts to seem paranoid about all the stories she is being told about her past and she begins to realise with the help of Dr Nash, that things aren’t quite adding up.

With flashes of memories here and there Christine starts to discern truths and lies that her husband Ben is telling her. She begins to keep a day-to-day journal so she can remember bits and pieces to try to figure out who to trust.

What I loved about this book? The ending. Pure and simple. The ending was good for two reasons; I finally knew who to trust and I didn’t have to read it anymore.

What I hated about this book? It was flowery. It was confusing. While it was suspenseful, it was also frustrating because we were able to realise from the onset that “Ben” was a bad guy. There was so much internal dialogue and it got really tiring to read the same thing — almost like groundhog day.

I didn’t hate this book, but it wasn’t an easy read and I feel like it just dragged on. I’ve also just half watched the movie.

Notice I say ‘half watched’? Yeah, for good reason.

View all my reviews

New Year, New Name, New Life

I am no longer sensitiveaesthete.com. Besides liking the way the word, ‘aesthete’ looks and enjoying “Santa Fe”, I’m not really sensitive and I have no real attachment to the name. This new name is more on-point for me.

Since its 2015, I decided to start fresh. I am going to be blogging once a week, hopefully every wednesday or thursday (I say this even though today is Friday, so I’m getting off to a good start). This year for me is about making time for the things that I’ve always made excuses for.

Writing is another one of those things.

I wanted this to be a following of my journey, one that I have talked about a little below. I’m talking about my struggles of being comfortable and happy with who I am as well as what I’m going to do to achieve those things. Since very early January, I’ve been getting fit and have started personal training. I’m taking control of my health in terms of diet and well-being. It can be a little all-consuming some days, but its like with anything you’re proud of or have introduced to your life, you want to talk about it a lot.

If only but because I’m incredibly proud of my accomplishments. A year ago I would have laughed in your face if you told me that I would eventually be walking up to nine kilometers in one day.

So, to start off, I thought I would post the past week in pictures. Food, inspiration, exercise, hydration and plans. 🙂

5 4 3 2 1

In saying all of that, I don’t plan on making this blog solely about the healthy-living stuff, I have a lot more to say, a lot more thoughts and am looking forward to sharing more and documenting things better in 2015.

I think I’ll try defying gravity, and you can’t bring me down.

The Stress of Dreams…

As earlier stated, I’ve always wanted to write. When I was younger I used to read articles or interviews with my favourite celebrities or subjects and think about what I could/would do different. I used to write pointless stories using my favourite traits of people that I loved and condense them in to one catalyst that would invariably become the hero of each short piece.

I’m a curious person by nature and find that when someone has a completely different lifestyle to me, I am intrigued and want to know more. I think up heaps of different questions that I want to ask, but am sometimes afraid to for fear of being conceived as “nosey”. So basically, interviewing interesting people with interesting lifestyles as a job is something that I love to do.

I always dreamed of interviewing my idol, MJ (I’m sure you’ll figure out who that is, don’t want any googler to find my blog, lol). I always thought of questions that I’d ask, straying away from the usual stupid ones like, “how do you do the ‘spacewalk’?” or, “why have you had so many surgeries?” or the other trove of stupid questions that distract from the man and the talent. It was on a bucket list, but goodness knows at the time of his passing, I was no closer to the bucket than I was to the list.

I once told him that I was going to be a writer. I was 18, idealistic and thought that it might actually happen without a lot of work involved. His words were, ‘I believe in you, you can do anything, but be great at what you do.’ I felt like it was a strange thing to say, but it makes sense. It was his nice way of saying, “don’t do a half-arsed job, make sure you put in the work, 100%.” Goodness knows he dealt with a lot of half-arsed ‘journos’ in his time.

So, with great respect for his legacy, I came across his nephew, a budding, talented American artist who goes by his Dad’s family name. He carries that famous sound from his uncle, as well as fusing in his own style. I liked that this artist works hard and is humble and charitable without a sense of entitlement. Currently he is being written up in big U.S music magazines like Billboard, and Rolling Stone….

Naturally, I wanted to chase down an interview though I didn’t really think I had much of a chance, given the status of my publication in comparison to the status of his career. I emailed his management on a whim and got a very speedy response. This doesn’t mean much, often I get responses full of great promise and over-enthusiasm which basically dwindles away very quickly never to be emailed again, even if I harass with follow-ups.

I emailed my interest in writing a feature and chasing up an interview. I offered flexible methods of interview. I even offered to work around time zones and be at their whim. To my surprise, I got immediate responses with each email. The management were so kind in terms of letting me choose the time and the method and offering to work around me and my actual paid job.

So it was arranged. I was going to interview the artist at 8am on a wednesday morning, 4pm on a tuesday afternooon where he was. He was happy to work with me through Skype. Great, I thought, I have a wonderful program that hacks the audio from Skype conversations. I had been more than happy to do a phone interview. My method of interview is a bit neanderthalic. I usually use my mobile phone and put it on speaker and use my dictaphone to pick up the conversation. If I was intending on a phone interview international, I would have purchased an international call card to dial in to save myself a massive phone bill. But alas, I didn’t need to worry about that cos I was going to be using Skype.

Or so I thought.

I finished with work on tuesday night and went to Kmart to get some extra batteries for my dictaphone so I could record my interview via two sources in case something went wrong as I had a weird feeling that it would either be canceled or something would go awry. I was too buggered to properly prepare for it, so I went to bed early with the intention of waking up 2 hrs before the interview (6am) to write out all of my questions.

Lucky for me, I managed to get up early enough to receive an email from the management letting me know that the artist didn’t have access to a secure internet connection and if it was okay, could I dial-in after all. Sure, if I had an international calling card.

Which, of course, I didn’t.

I haven’t used a call card like that for about a year or so. But, I got in my car at around 6:30 ish in the morning and went to the supermarket where I used to buy them. In two years, mobile phones have obviously taken over more than I realised. The service check out girl had no idea what I was on about. I explained, a call card, for cheap international calls. She offered me a temporary SIM for a mobile phone. I resisted the urge to brain her. I asked for someone who might know what I mean.

Finally I realised the card I wanted was just in front of me on the counter. I spoke to a manager who was still quite vague and had no idea really how to go about business. She told me that the card wasn’t going to work and it was unavailable. I asked for a higher amount of credit, still unavailable. She couldn’t help me and suggested I try a petrol station.

Two stations weren’t yet open (oh, the joys of living regional). I got to the main petrol station that was actually open. Inside the door, I asked the cashier straight up if they sold international call cards. He said he was new as he was holding his hands up in an ‘I surrender’ way. I breathed in a deep breath and turned and walked out again.

I sat in the car for a good solid ten minutes trying to figure out a way to make it work. Dialling international on my mobile phone was not an option, it is around $2 p/m and I had 1 hr allotted to me for the interview. so I sat around casually freaking out about losing such a huge opportunity for an interview. I surmised that I might need to actually try to reschedule. I drove home, realising it was almost 7:30am and I still hadn’t written any questions nor had I been able to prep (poor planning on my behalf).

I quickly searched online to see if I could find a service that would allow a call card purchase with a pin that would be sent directly to my email. Finally as I was writing out questions, I found something. I had to put in my phone details and wait for a confirmation SMS before I could confirm my purchase.

Well.

I am still waiting for that confirmation SMS.

In the meantime as the clock was ticking very quickly toward 8am and I was debating a cancelation email, I realised something.  Skype offers credit purchases so users can call internationally at a low cost. Phew. I quickly purchased an unlimited amount of minutes to the U.S. Set up my conversation recording tool plus my dictaphone, spent an extra five minutes writing out my final questions before dialling in.

He dialled in around 3 or 4 minutes later. The audio was so low that I felt immediately disheartened. I apologised and told him I couldn’t really hear. He was sweet, offered to fix something. Ah, much better. He began telling me about his day, he had been working on some stuff for the victims of the Philippines Typhoon and then the audio went low again. I let him talk for a few moments, hoping my dictaphone or audio program was picking it up, but it became so hard that I couldn’t even respond.

I painfully let him know once again that I couldn’t hear a thing.

With great patience, he offered to try a couple of different things and low and behold… the audio magically became loud and clear and my interview properly commenced despite the bumpy start.

So the moral to the story here is that even if it seems unattainable, you should reach for the stars anyway, you may not get MJ himself, but you might get a stressful yet satisfying interview with someone who should probably have way more credit than he actually does presently.

And you get to kind-of wipe off another thing from your bucket list.

Patience, Virtues and my year old Baby.

A year ago, tomorrow I launched my own publication with uncertainty and trepidation. I have a lot of very good friends who I felt would probably cheer me on from the sidelines, because thats the type of people they are, but it wouldn’t go much further than that.

At best, I hoped that I could get my own work out there. Though, I really had no idea how on earth I was going to manage to persuade writers to write for me, for free. I have a couple of journo friends, but surely not enough to replicate a thriving online publication.

It was always my dream though — writing has always been what I’ve been drawn to. I can remember right back to Kindergarten at 5, being able to spell and write well enough to put together my own imaginative stories. My best friend’s Mum always tells the story of overhearing me reading to my best friend from a book before either of us had even began school. My love for words has never strayed too far.

My motivation for launching my own publication came down to my incredulousness toward the misuse of words. I was tired reading contradictory articles regarding popular culture with words that were firmly attached to mixed messages. Mixed messages about beauty, self-worth, talent, human interest — everything. I wanted to be the person who has the final say as to what gets published and what messages are worth sending out in to the world.

I see myself as a very positive person. Don’t get me wrong, I’m human, I have my days — but for the most part, I live my life by my own measures and I pride myself on not being a negative Nancy even when life gives me lemons (and I’ve had my fair share of lemons). I don’t like negativity because whether its constant complaining or the constant in-your-face sexual innuendo, imagery or whatever else, it makes people feel awful. I can probably count some very significant times in my life where I have read some blatant dishonest reporting, or even manipulated reporting. I wanted to make sure my publication steered away from all of these things.

Its been a really big year. At times I felt like it was going to be easier to throw my publication aside because I was going through my ‘lemonade’ phase, you know, where you get a bunch of lemons and you’re s’posed to turn it in to lemonade or some shit? Yeah, well… sometimes I got tired of making that sour, bitter beverage and wanted to just throw it all in the air and say, “fuck this shit, its too hard”, and crawl in to bed.

After having some very serious talks with myself and really discerning why I was working on my magazine and reevaluating its purpose, I realised that after just two months of launching my publication, I had put together a fantastic team of writers most of whom were strangers to me. I had a nice little website, a great audience and a lot of wonderful content and already my dream was born.

And who the hell was I to just toss it all in the ‘too hard’ basket?

And rather than continuing on, doing just the bare minimum, I decided that if I wanted my publication to grow and become more successful I would have to start putting in the effort. Working hard, making time, managing priorities and stop just short of badgering the powers of this business who can help me achieve greatness. Managers, advertisers, writers, etc.

I can sit back and finally feel proud. I am sure there were people silently making fun of my intentions to begin with, but right now I have never been more content with the amount of work I’ve put in, the team of writers and editors and social media specialists that I am managing and I am sure that by my publication’s second anniversary, we will be measuring up to our competitors.

Happy one year anniversary to my baby, TS Magazine.